Quarterly health results, August 2019

My quarterly blood test results are in, 46 weeks after recommitting to WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based), following Dr. Greger’s guidelines in “How Not To Die,” and following additional recommendations for comfortable, sustainable weight loss from people like Chef AJ.

To sum up, blood sugar is normal, cholesterol is fantastic, and I continue to lose weight. 

The rest of this post are details, if people are interested in numbers and more!

What I eat and don’t eat

I try to follow Greger’s Daily Dozen for the most part. As I mentioned last update, the main exception is that I avoid eating nuts. As with many people, I find that they do, in fact, impact on weight loss. Calories do count. See Chef AJ’s advice for example. She’s very supportive. 

I’ve also been “sequencing” more, which is recommended for people trying to lose weight, by Chef AJ and others. Sequencing just means starting meals with very low calorie density foods, like a big salad. Then going on to cooked non-starchy veggies. Then, if you like, finishing off with satisfying starches, like potatoes.  Desserts are just fruits. I find sequencing really helps with calorie control. In fact, it’s usually hard to reach my calorie limit when eating this way. There is no feeling of deprivation. If I’m hungry I’ll eat something, like a fruit, or some cherry tomatoes, or even a potato. 

So I eat lots of veggies, and have multiple fruits every day. In other words, I eat lots of carbs. Carbs do not impact negatively on blood sugar or weight. 

I also eat firm (momen) tofu a few times a day. I find it filling, and it has a lower calorie density than potatoes, and has lots of protein. I’ve been eating tofu in place of other legumes in general lately. It agrees with me more. 

I avoid animal products, oils and other added fats (completely), added sugar (as much as is practical), added salt (as much as is practical), and also stay away from highly processed high calorie density foods, like breads and pastas. I don’t obsess about tiny amounts of animal products, like bonito extract in miso soup at a restaurant. I’m trying to make this easy and sustainable. I will also very occasionally have some sushi with a friend. When I eat rice I try to go for brown rice when possible, but I will eat white rice if that’s all that’s available. 

I do not do intermittent fasting. It’s not necessary and I’m not interested in that.

Logging with MyFitnessPal

I log my food and exercise calories in MyFitnessPal, and keep within 1540 net calories per day (food calories minus exercise calories). 

Today is my MyFitnessPal Streak Day 2,657. Daily logging in MFP has been a great sanity check and prevented me from having a complete rebound when I fell off the wagon in the past. 

Blood test results

Here are the last and previous results. Normal ranges are in parentheses. 

Total cholesterol (120-219)

  • Aug 29 – 116
  • Jun 8 – 136
  • Mar 19 – 133
  • Dec 20 – 124

This dropped a lot this quarter. Healthy eating helps. 

HDL good cholesterol (35-80)

  • Aug 29 – 40
  • Jun 8 – 34
  • Mar 19 – 38
  • Dec 20 – 36

LDL bad cholesterol (70-139)

  • Aug 29 – 56
  • Jun 8 – 73
  • Mar 19 – 72
  • Dec 20 – 67

Quite low! But that’s supposed to be great for your heart. 

Triglycerides (30-150)  

  • Aug 29 – 79
  • Jun 8 – 129
  • Mar 19 – 114
  • Dec 20 – 100

Also a big drop from last time, which is good. I had been worrying because it had been creeping up. 

HbA1c (4.7-6.2)

  • Aug 29 – 6.1
  • Jun 8 – 5.5 (wow)
  • Mar 19 – 5.9
  • Dec 20 – 6.5

Previous HbA1c quarterly values were 8.2, and 10.8. So it’s a great improvement over time. This value does not fluctuate over the short term. It’s a 2-3 month average. 

While it is up slightly for some reason, it is still within normal range, and my doctor said such fluctuations are normal and it’s all good and not to worry about it. I was a bit surprised/disappointed though. 

I met with the nutritionist, and she recommended cutting back on bananas in favor of berries and watermelon. I might do that.

And weight loss!

Weight loss is also going well. Slowly but surely – more or less a straight line. Since last September when I recommitted to WFPB my weight is down 24.0 kg = 53 lb.

My total weight loss following WFPB is down 41.6 kg = 92 lb since my peak back in 2012. It’s never been this low since 2012. 

According to BMI calculators I’m now just 13 kg from a normal weight. It’s starting to look possible!

My doctor reduced my blood sugar medication last time. He says next time he might reduce drugs more. He’s taking a conservative approach. Since he’s my doctor, I will stick with his advice for now. 

My daily exercise is back up again after going down after my accident in May. I’d say my strength is back to normal now. 


A diet milestone post

Since things are going well I felt like posting a milestone.

On WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) eating I’m now down 89.95 lb which is almost 90 lb. OK, I could probably have waited another week to announce that. But I was feeling good about seeing the scale go down so I decided to mention it.

And since recommitting last September after reading Dr. Greger’s “How Not to Diet” I’m now down 51 lb – more than 50 lb.

Oh! This is a good one! I now weigh less than the average U.S. man’s weight. The average weight (which has crept up over the years) is (wow) 197 lb! I broke through the 195 lb barrier and my weight today is 194.4 lb. The average weight for men over 60 is apparently 194.7 lb now.

Anyway, onward.

Air fried carrots

I have a confession. Until just now I had never cooked a carrot in my life.

I like carrots. I often eat them. Usually in bags of frozen mixed vegetables. Or if they have baby raw carrots at the supermarket I’ll have those. But I’ve never cooked them before.

Carrots are really low in calorie density. There are just 172 cal in a pound of carrots. That compares favorably with 391 cal in a pound of potatoes.

Anyway, since the only thing I’ve ever made in my air fryer are potatoes, today I decided to take up the challenge and air fry carrots!

In the first picture you see the two carrots I chose. I didn’t want to peel them, so I decided to use my potato scrubber and just washed and scrubbed them. Then I cut off both ends.

After that, I sliced them and let them simmer in water for a little over four minutes.

Then I put them in my air fryer, and cooked them on vegetable mode, which is 17 minutes at 160°C.

You can see how they came out. I would say they were “OK.”

They were certainly edible, and they had a good carrot flavor.

Next time I might try cooking them on potato mode, which would be 20 minutes at 200°C. I would say maybe they were slightly undercooked.

I ate them with some sprinkled ginger on top and a little bit of catchup. I know it sounds strange, but it was pretty tasty.

Total calories, just 137.

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.