Today is MyFitness Pal Streak Day 3,652 – That’s 10 years!
MyFitnessPal is the calorie and exercise logging app I use. I eat whole food plant based for overall health, but I find that logging calories is also important. Some people seem to be able to get by without it, but I can’t. As I like to say, “Calories count, whether you count them or not.”
MyFitnessPal has really been a great sanity check over the years. Even during times of partial rebounds I kept logging weight at least, and just looking at the numbers saved me from a full rebound.
Currently I’m maintaining. My weight goes up and down a couple of pounds, but am currently 144 lb. That’s down 140 lb. Almost half of me gone.
My biannual blood test results were done this week, and things continue to be great. Like last time, I was slightly worried about my HbA1c blood sugar results, because I continue to eat fruits every day, and also sometimes some 100% honey hard candies (honey is not vegan, but OK with Dr. McDougall, though Dr. Greger thinks honey is only slightly better than sugar, and Chef AJ frowns upon it). But my HbA1c blood sugar actually went down again! And all my blood test results continue to be great.
I can’t emphasize enough how great I think WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) eating is for health and weight control. I’ve been completely off blood sugar meds for two-and-a-half years now.
Eating WFPB seems to have reset my body. I wish I had discovered it earlier. My doctor said I have absolutely no more blood sugar worries, and I should just concentrate on building upper body strength. I get plenty of cardio exercise with my dog walks. And lately I have been doing some extra resistance training, like daily squats and short workouts with my old Bullworker.
I’m not having any trouble maintaining weight, though it does go up and down by a few pounds. Basically I’m stable around 144 or 145 lb, a total loss of about 140 lb. Sometimes it’s a bit more, sometimes a bit less. While I continue to log my weight every morning I don’t let fluctuations of a few pounds bother me.
You can read more in detail about what I eat in my blog post, Oh Boy! Doug Food Again! But to sum up quickly, I follow WFPB (whole food plant based) eating: mostly vegan, no oil, very limited nuts, and limited sugar and salt. No intermittent fasting, no keto, lots of carbs including potatoes and fruits. I stick to low calorie density foods to help with maintaining weight loss. For example potatoes are surprisingly low calorie and bread is very high calorie.
Here’s a recent before-and-after photo. (This is the same photo I posted last time. I’ll try to take a newer one.)
I log my food and exercise calories in MyFitnessPal, and keep within 1600 net calories per day (food calories minus exercise calories). I recently upped that a bit. Today is MFP streak day 3,644.
As far as the new test results go, my blood sugar remains normal, without medication (HbA1c is 5.1, normal range 4.7-6.2). That’s down from 5.3 in my last test, and way down from a dangerously high 11.8 when I started WFPB.
My cholesterol is fantastic (total 128, normal range 120-219; bad cholesterol LDL 65, normal range 70-139; good cholesterol HDL 39, normal range 35-80), triglycerides are fine (83, normal range 30-150), and blood pressure is great (101/59 with heart rate 62 bpm). If you are interested you can check my May 2021 biannual results to see the historic values and how they have improved over time. You can also see my October 2021 results from 6 months ago.
I do recommend WFPB eating for both health and weight loss.
Caution: Boring note ahead if you are not interested in dieting and healthy eating. Yes, you, Muttle. 🙂 So feel free to skip.
Note: Originally posted 3/31/2021, Updated 9/12/2021 with current weight, MyFitnessPal streak days, and some different things I’ve added to my typical daily diet. I also updated my before/after photo after getting a haircut and some new clothes in June.Updated 12/19/2021 after hitting MFP streak day 3,500 and made some recent modifications to what I eat to control calories better.
What I Eat Every Day
The reason I posted this is because recently I’ve been talking with someone I met on Facebook in one of my diet groups. As you might know, because of Facebook bugs/issues I often have trouble creating new posts in more than half my groups, but I can comment in all of them. I commented, he noticed what I wrote, read about the success I’ve had with my way of eating, and we struck up a conversation. He asked me to lay out my weekly meal plans. I explained I don’t have a weekly meal plan; I basically eat the same thing every day. In fact I basically eat the same thing all day long. I’m not opposed to variety, I just find I don’t need it so much. And I don’t like spending time in the kitchen cooking. Plus I don’t have great cooking facilities. I’m happy keeping it simple. So this post is more about what I eat during a typical day, which is what I eat almost every day.
If you look at my biannual blood test results from October, 2021 you’ll see the great health effects I’ve achieved from eating Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB). My blood sugar is down from dangerously high levels to a completely normal range, and I’ve been off blood sugar medication for over 2 years now. My cholesterol is in the “heart-attack-proof” low range. All my tests are great, and my doctor is very pleased. As is my nutritionist.
As of this morning, I’m about at my lowest weight in my adult life – currently 65.8 kg = 145 lb. That’s a total weight loss of 63.2 kg = 139 lb. My weight is staying about the same, within a few a few pounds.
My BMI is 21.7, well into the normal range. My doctor says I don’t need to lose any more weight, and I’m trying to maintain now, and want to focus on upper body resistance training if I ever get around to it. I enjoy what I’m eating. I think it’s healthy any satisfying. I don’t feel deprived at all.
A New Before and After Photo
Here’s a before/after photo showing me a few years ago, and in June. I got some new clothes finally. The shirt is an ordinary Japanese L size from Uniqlo, and is comfortably loose on me.
In an earlier post I described the kinds kinds of foods I eat. You can read many of the details there. I won’t repeat them all here. It’s basically vegan, no oils, and no nuts. In that post I wrote about Dr. Michael Greger’s “Daily Dozen” recommendations, how calories do count (whether you count them or not), the impact of nuts on weight loss, Chef AJ and her discussions about low calorie density, “sequencing” (going from non-starchy vegetables to more satisfying starches to finish meals), fruits, things I like snacking on, healthy fats (not oils!), how I do not do intermittent fasting, and how I continue to log every day with MyFitnessPal (today was streak day 3,500!).
My cooking facilities and interests
Basically none. I don’t like cooking. I’m not interested in cooking. Recipes are boring to me. I don’t have a lot of cooking facilities – basically just a pot and pan, a stove top, a microwave, an air fryer I haven’t used in over a year, and an InstaPot I bought two years ago and still haven’t plugged in. I have no regular oven or blender.
The friend who asked me to write up a “weekly menu” didn’t seem to get it. I don’t have a weekly menu. I eat basically the same thing every day (like the dogs in the cartoon).
[Note for visually impaired friends: The “featured image” is an old “Far Side” cartoon. A woman is opening cans for her dogs and one dog excitedly says to the other, “Oh boy! … It’s dog food again!” Thus the title of this blog post.]
Like the dogs, Doug doesn’t seem to need much variety. There are some foods I enjoy, and I don’t mind eating them day in and day out. But I promised I would write up the details of at least what I eat every day, and what I avoid.
Trigger foods (including fruits)
Some foods I like, but are trigger foods, so I don’t eat much of them. This includes most fruits. For example, I love bananas. But if I buy a bunch of 4 and eat one (it takes about 30 seconds to eat a 100 calorie banana), it isn’t filling, and it triggers me to eat the rest of the bunch.
Same with apples. If I buy 6 Fuji apples, I will eat them all in one day. It’s sort of a waste of calories.
I do better with bags of frozen blueberries. A 200 gm bag is only 98 calories, and it takes a long time to go through. So I usually limit my fruits to at most a bag of frozen blueberries a day. Lately I’ve been having some watermelon and Asian pears, being careful to weigh them so I don’t overdo it.
Nuts to nuts
Dr. Greger recommends nuts in his Daily Dozen and claims that in certain amounts they don’t seem to hurt weight loss. Many WFPB people have discussed this, and many, including me, disagree. My final word on nuts I wrote in this blog post. I respect Dr. Greger and his suggestions, but he isn’t God. It’s important to note that he talks in statistics. 65% of people experience this. 80% experience that, etc. It’s not always 100%. That’s how I feel about nuts. I tried his Daily Dozen recommended servings of nuts and it was definitely hurting my weight loss. Why? The calories were just too high. Calories count, which is why I log calories. So there are some things I disagree with him about.
That said, his book, “How To Not Die” was a really big inspiration to me. It got me back on WFPB eating and I’ve been on it now for over 900 days. The effects have been fantastic for my health: blood values, blood pressure, weight loss, etc. I’ve gifted the book to friends and family. My doctor is amazed. It’s the basis for how I eat – with some input from other people in the field, and variations.
I think of Dr. Greger as a great place to start. And the same thing with the Daily Dozen. But in the end you have to see what works for you and tweak as necessary. Because as I said, nothing is 100%. Dr. Greger’s research analysis shows that. I don’t think he anywhere says 100% of everybody will experience such-and-such if they eat 3 extra servings of fruit a day, or things like that.
It’s important to note that his book is not a diet book per se. It’s a healthy eating book. So I have to take into consideration overall calories too. He did write a followup on weight loss, “How To Not Diet,” which I found less informative, though there are a couple of hints there as well. Still, calories count. That’s the bottom line for me.
So to me, Dr. Greger is a great start. But in the end you have to see how it goes and what works well for you, and what needs to be tweaked more. Some WFPB people are completely no salt and no sugar. Greger is not. Some WFPB people are completely no nuts. I’m basically the same. Nuts are dangerously high in calories and for me, at least, it hurts weight loss. In WFPB groups we’ve had lot of debates about nuts.
Anyway, the book is an inspiration and Dr. Greger is a fantastic resource, and I recommend it highly to everybody. But after you try things you might have to tweak this-and-that, and that’s what I’ve done.
OK, so what is a typical day’s menu for me?
My new friend asked me what I ate exactly. So here are details from a typical day. Actually, the day I chose, yesterday, I ate a bit more than usual. But it didn’t hurt weight loss. And I stayed within my net calorie goals of 1500 calories (eaten, minus exercise calories). Note that I started with a net calorie goal of 1800 calories a day, but as I lost weight I needed to adjust it downward a bit to keep losing. This is net calories though – so if I exercise more I can eat more.
Breakast (512 calories)
Doug’s Healthy Salad
Potatoes (436 g, about 1 lb)
For potatoes, I usually have two or three medium-to-large sized potatoes in the 400 to 600 g range. I scrub them, stick them 4 or 5 times with a fork, and heat them in the microwave at 900W for 14-15 minutes. Then I mash them, add spices to my liking (things like smoked paprika, chili powder, turmeric, ginger powder, black pepper, a Japanese spice mix called yuzu shichimi), sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top, and add some soy milk to moisten it.
My salads are made from bags of pre-washed, single-serving salad veggies from the supermarket or 7-Eleven. My favorites are a spinach and green salad mix with a few soy beans it it, and a bag of coleslaw with some kernels of corn in it. Each bag has 125-130 g of salad in it and has 35-40 calories. To that I will add some cherry tomatoes, a sliced up cucumber, and a teaspoon of flax seeds for my healthy fats. Or more lately I’ve been leaving out the tomatoes and cucumber and adding brown mushrooms instead.
For salad dressing I make “Doug’s Healthy Salad Dressing” for each salad. This is my only “recipe claim to fame.” In a measuring cup I add 50 cc of soy milk (updated this recently), a squirt of grated ginger, a heaping teaspoon of nutritional yeast, stir it, and then add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar which magically thickens the dressing. The dressing has lots of protein and fulfills my legumes quota for the day.
The soy milk I use has exactly one ingredient: organic soy beans. Also, the okara (soy bean fiber) is left in it making for a creamier, thicker soy milk.
The nutritional yeast I use is Now Brand nutritional yeast flakes I get from iHerb. They deliver free to Japan in just a few days! Nutritional yeast is tasty (a slight cheese-like taste) and is fat-free and has loads of protein, and is very low calorie. It’s also fortified with vitamin B12, the only vitamin missing from a vegan diet.
Between the soy milk and nutritional yeast I meet my protein requirements for the day, though everything I eat (all the veggies, and the potatoes, and everything) also have protein in it. So there is definitely sufficient protein eating this way.
Lunch (282 calories)
Doug’s Healthy Salad (see details above)
Japanese mixed vegetables
Usually I just have my salad and soy milk based salad dressing for lunch. That’s my busiest part of the day, and it’s just a few hours since breakfast, and Pao is waiting for his walk. So I typically have a small lunch (about 140 calories) and save my calories for later in the day when I feel like snacking and eating more. Sometimes, like yesterday, I might also heat up a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave and sprinkle some nutritional yeast on it.
My go-to frozen veggies are 300 g of either western style veggies (99 calories for the whole bag) or Japanese style veggies (141 calories for the whole bag).
Dinner (495 calories)
Doug’s Healthy Salad
Potatoes (417 g)
See the breakfast section for how I prepared everything. Dinner is basically a repeat of breakfast with maybe a different salad combo, and a different amount of potatoes, and different spices added to the potatoes. Like I said, not much variety. I’m not philosophically opposed to variety, I just don’t feel like spending time achieving it. I don’t mind eating this way.
Snacks (368 calories)
After I get back from my dog walk, and before dinner, I do snack. Here are some things I might snack on:
A carrot (163 g) sliced up, heated in the microwave for 3 minutes, and sprinkled with some nutritional yeast.
Some brown mushrooms, raw. Surprisingly filling, and very low calorie, and high in protein.
Sometimes some eggplant, or some cherry tomatoes. I am careful and also track calories.
Cauliflower rice is filling. I take a 300 g back of frozen “rice” and microwave it purposely too long (about 10 minutes) to make the texture more like rice, add 30 cc of soy milk, 1 t of nutritional yeast, and maybe 1 T of balsamic vinegar. It tricks me into thinking I’m full.
I might have a bag of frozen blueberries. A 200 g bag is just 98 calories.
I might also have bags of frozen green beans – just 60 calories for a 200 g package, microwaved and sprinkled with spices and maybe some nutritional yeast.
My three meals totaled 1,657 calories.
I took two walks yesterday: a 55 minute walk in the morning to run some errands and do some shopping, which my Apple Watch told me burned 93 calories. And after lunch I took Pao for his afternoon walk, which was 74 minutes and burned 185 calories (I walked further during the Pao walk). So I burned a total of 278 calories. Not so much, but it gives me a nice calorie buffer, and it’s good to get out and move.
My total calories for the day was thus 1,657 calories eaten – 278 calories burned = 1,379 calories net, which is below my goal of 1500 net calories for the day.
And that’s how a typical day/week/month goes.
Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen
If we’re looking at Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen I satisfy his beans quota every day with my soy milk and the few soy beans in my salads. I often, but not always, satisfy the berries quota with bags of frozen blueberries. I rarely satisfy the other fruits quota because I find them to be “trigger foods” and higher calorie than you might think and I tend to overdo them if I get started. I satisfy the cruciferous veggies quota in my salads and frozen veggies I heat up. I satisfy my greens and other vegetables with my salads and snack carrots. I satisfy my flaxseed quota with the teaspoons I add to each meal salad. I do not satisfy the nuts and seeds quota (see above) because I just think they are too high in calorie, and many WFPB people agree with me. I satisfy the herbs and spices quota easily. And for the whole grains quota I eat lots of potatoes, which aren’t grains, but count, and are lower calorie density than rice or other grains. Sometimes I might heat up microwave rice instead of potatoes. It’s higher calorie per 100 grams, but sometimes I don’t even feel like going through the trouble of cooking potatoes.
And I satisfy the exercise quota by lots of walking. I do feel I need to do more resistance training, which I never seem to get around to doing, but at least I move around a lot.
I also don’t eat late at night. I tend to finish up eating around 7 pm. Dr. Greger does recommend that in his 2nd book, and I take that into account, but mainly I just feel eating late at night doesn’t feel healthy and can lead to problems like acid reflux which I haven’t had for years now.
And that’s about it. I hope my new friend, and maybe some other people, find this useful, simple as it might be.