Made goya for the first time

A student in my volunteer teaching class has a garden and she gave me some cherry tomatoes she grew, and a couple of goya, Japanese bitter gourds. I used the tomatoes last night in my dinner salad, and topped it with my homemade healthy dressing.

As for the goya, I had never made it before. She told me they need to be sliced open, and the innards scooped out and discarded, which is what I did first. Then I sliced them, added them to a 300 g bag of frozen mixed Japanese vegetables, and simmered them in water to which I added smoked paprika, turmeric, ginger, and nutritional yeast.

After the water boils down I was left with a nice, thick, slightly cheesy flavored sauce that covered everything.

To finish my dinner off, I had two small potatoes, not shown in the photos.

It was very filling, and delicious. And everything altogether, including the potatoes, came to just 398 calories.

Special diet milestones

It’s a special milestone day for me. At 88.8 kg I broke the 90 kg barrier and I am at my lowest weight since I started logging with MFP (MyFitnessPal) 2,632 days ago. As of today, I have lost a total of 40.2 kg = 88.4 lb.

Since recommitting to WFPB (whole food plant based) in September, after reading Dr. Greger’s “How Not to Die,” I’m down 22.6 kg = 49.7 lb. In fact, I would say that all my 40.2 kg = 88.4 lb have been lost while sticking to WFPB.

I’ve had ups and downs over the last 2,632 days, but MFP daily logging has kept me from total rebounds each time. And calorie counting has kept me sane. I know some people can lose weight without tracking net calories (calories eaten minus exercise calories) but I definitely need to track calories, no matter the diet regimen. Calories count whether you count them or not.

Recently, with some trepidation, I lowered my daily calorie goal from net 1800 to net 1540 because my weight loss had slowed too much. I’m not trying to loss rapidly, but I would like to lose at a reasonable rate, like 0.5 kg/week. What convinced me to make that change was that I see after I reach goal I should be able to eat more every day and still maintain my lower weight. So I think this is long-term sustainable. And I walk as much as possible, tracking with MapMyRun, to have an extra “calorie buffer” if I need it.

Importantly I’m eating in a way so that I don’t feel deprived. I am being more conscious of filling, satisfying “lower calorie density” foods. I’m following the suggestion of Chef AJ and others to “sequence” meals so I start with lower calorie density vegetables and then finish off my meals with a satisfying starch. For example, for breakfast this morning I started with a big bowl of salad (mixed greens and tomatoes with homemade dressing), then went on to 300 g of frozen veggies simmered in water with spices and nutritional yeast, boiling it down to a tasty, thick, cheesy-like sauce. And then I might have a potato afterwards. Just a little over 300 calories for breakfast. No “intermittent fasting” is needed at all.

I eat WFPB for my health. My cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc, are all fantastic now.

But here is the amazing part for me, and what I’m really psyched about, having been obese for so long. Recently, according to my BMI, I moved from the obese range to the overweight range. That was great. But I noticed today that to get into the so-called “normal weight” range I only need to lose another 13.4 kg! It sounds better in kg. 🙂 That seems absolutely amazing to me!

And onward…

Let’s talk health care coverage in the U.S.

I have conservative friends who are opposed to what they call “socialized” medicine. And they claim breaking up the for-profit health insurance system would hurt hundreds of thousands of people employed by that industry.

And I have liberal friends who want to scrap the entire private insurance system altogether.

I think letting people keep what they have if they like it (i.e. private coverage through their work) is important. It’s a more winning, practical position to take politically than saying we’re going to take your insurance away from you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being practical and making actual progress, rather than taking an adamant, unyielding stance.

While I like the Japanese model of national health insurance and single payer, I recognize that it’s not the only possible model. Some European countries with full coverage also have a mix of private and public insurance plans. It might be hard getting the U.S. to completely dump private health care.

But… but… but… The current U.S. health care model does not work. And sorry my conservative friends, but the private marketplace is not the complete solution. There are huge gaps of desperation. If you don’t recognize that you are plain wrong. High risk pools in the private market place have never been the solution to that problem. That’s why the ACA was passed to begin with.

I was talking to one friend the other day. She has a private business and under the ACA it would cost her and her husband $2,800 a month for coverage with an annual deductible of $6,500 each! That’s like no coverage at all! It’s unaffordable. So they opt to pay a few thousand dollars a year instead as a tax penalty for no health care coverage. She was in an accident recently and couldn’t afford to go to the hospital!

Clearly that system doesn’t work.

So I think adding the so-called “public option” is the way to go. People should be able to buy into Medicare (or something like it) at a guaranteed affordable rate. Preferably something based on income.

I think that’s a reasonable, achievable way to go for now.
It’s also one of the things Biden describes in his platform. It seems like a good way to make progress.

My healthy WFPB breakfast this morning – with sequencing

As part of my weight loss strategy while eating WFPB (whole food plant based) I’ve started “sequencing”, a strategy suggested by Chef AJ. 

This just means starting meals with vegetables before proceeding on to the higher calorie density starches.

For breakfast, in particular, I’m doing what she refers to as VFB – veggies for breakfast.

I started with my very delicious salad, consisting of mixed greens, including spinach, and other vegetables, flax seed, and cherry tomatoes. I typically have this salad two or three times a day, depending on whether I’m working from home or not. The dressing is my own homemade dressing made from soy milk, some brown mustard, nutritional yeast, and balsamic vinegar.

My next course was a 300 g bag of frozen mixed vegetables, simmered in water, to which I added various spices like smoked paprika, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper. I mixed in some nutritional yeast so when the water boils down it becomes a thick, cheesy flavored sauce.

Finally, I had a potato, microwaved. I mashed it up and added some spices to that as well, and also some nutritional yeast, and added a little soy milk for moisture.

All in all, an extremely filling, tasty breakfast and only 329 cal for everything!

Following this sequencing procedure the past week or so, I’ve noticed that the number of calories I am taking in every day has naturally dropped from around 1800 to around 1300 or 1400, and as a consequence my weight loss has continued, with basically no extra effort. And most importantly with no hunger.

For snacks I’m eating fruits, but I’m tending towards the fruits with lower calorie density like berries, watermelon, apples, and things like that. I am tending to avoid bananas because they are higher in calorie density and too easy to binge on.

And no, I am not doing intermittent fasting at all. I think this is perfectly sufficient.