The nuts wars
I’m more comfortable going forward with WFPB (whole food plant based) eating now that I’ve discussed this “nuts thing” with people. I realize I just need to use some common sense cautions regarding the pronouncements of Greger (and others as well), and not consider their writings as having been handed down from heaven on Mt. Sinai. Greger isn’t perfect either. He has a lot of interesting things to say, but his conclusions aren’t always on target. I need to be careful about that.
I found out that among vegans my questions about nuts is an ongoing, endless debate, which some refer to as “the nuts wars” – and I found myself caught up in it. But it was good. We had some lively conversations about this in the Forks over Knives (WFPB) group on Facebook. And I had some interesting side messages as well.
It does seem that people like Esselstyn, McDougall, and Ornish (with whom I started my vegan + no oil + no nuts journey 6 years ago) are also skeptical of the nutritional importance of nuts, though I notice that Ornish currently allows for 1 walnut per day.
While Jeff Nelson, the Vegsource guy with the interesting “Nuts won’t save your life” video doesn’t spend time on the question of calories, Greger himself does seem to claim that the calories in the recommended walnuts simply don’t count. I think it’s fair to say that is probably not true. And I am discontinuing nuts as a regular part of my diet.
I never would have even dreamed of adding nuts into my daily diet in the first place except for the fact that Greger goes on and on about (1) how important they are nutritionally, and (2) how reassuring he is that the nuts won’t adversely affect weight loss. If not for the first point I wouldn’t have bothered with them at all. And it was the second point that clinched me into wanting to try them. Because I do need to lose more weight as part of being healthy.
Anyway, I am now finished with my last regular serving of nuts – with the calories scrupulously counted and logged – and I will not make nuts a regular daily item from now on. If I do, say, buy a snack bag of 30 g of almonds or something, I’ll make sure the calories get properly logged.
The reason this all came up is I just didn’t want to feel like I was missing something important, nutritionally. Greger makes it sound so important. The consensus from most vegan whole food doctors and scientists, however, really seems to be that I am not missing anything. I’m “staying the course” and will look at all advice with open eyes and some skepticism going forward.
My plan is easy. I’m sticking with “generic” whole food, plant based, vegan , no oils, no daily nuts, logging calories (they do count), avoiding as much sugar as possible, avoiding as much salt as possible, greatly limiting healthy but high calorie foods, such as avocados and nuts, and, of course, getting more exercise.
We’re on the right path. Real food, made from scratch, without adding too much flavouring (salt oil and sugar). As you wrote in your last paragraph.
I honestly believe this will allow us to get to at least 90. Our hearts will stay strong due to Esselstyn’s studies. The other chronic conditions are either avoidable or mitigable following Gregor’s publication of many studies as well as the Blue zone populations.
Losing weight helps both of us to avoid diabetes, as well as so many other conditions influenced by excess fat, as well as eating more than one needs as a lifestyle.
I actually went through the exact same thoughts regarding nuts. From Dr Gregor’s site, nuts seemed to be a miracle no-calorie food. I knew it could not be, but I let myself believe it for a few weeks. I added nuts. And then after a gluttony cycle, I crashed and accepted that it could not be true. Damn, back to the lifestyle of counting calories, tweaking the types of foods to the lower caloric density side of the scale, and knowing the fat loss will take a long time.
Your blog will help others going through the same OMG nuts are zero calories hope. Just like Keto people saying that fat doesn’t count.
When you say “get to at least 90” do you mean get down to 90 kg? I was hoping to get down to that before my U.S. trip in April, but it will be close.
I do think obesity is the primary thing to attack first. Some people talk about being healthy even though you’re fat through proper diet. But I don’t think there is really such a thing as an obese healthy person. Of course we are “healthier” eating this way. But the obesity problem needs to be solved to become truly “healthy” for the reasons you mentioned.
whoops. I meant 90 years of age.
I totally agree with attacking obesity first. I have 30 pounds to lose (maybe 40). Currently, I eat once a day, in a window of 44 minutes. I chose this number because it sounds cool. To get ready for this, I had a stop time of 7pm, and checked this off for 2 months. Then, 2 weeks ago, I added a start time, and a duration.
What is interesting is that I simply chose higher calorie options, which ended up at my caloric needs of 2200 per day. I added breads and peanut butter. It reminds me of the time principle where we don’t start a project till the last minute, Parkinson’s Law which states work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Of course I will remove these, though I permit these excesses for around a week each time. Another time I did this was after a 12 day water fast, I ‘let’ myself eat vegan pizza and gorged myself daily, for around a week. I have never touched pizza since then (2 years now).
Maybe you did the same, letting yourself free reign on nuts, for a short duration. Possibly knowing in the back of your mind, and pulling that excess back after short time.
Can I ask what your starting weight was, and what your ideal goal is?
Living in Japan, how easy or hard is it to implement plant based whole foods? I lived there for 4 months, and the super markets were filled with packaged foods, and a small selection of fruits and vegetables. I cannot recall street venders of whole foods, whereas I know that these markets are still present in Korea (though dwindling).
Can you do a post of where you buy your pantry goods, where you get your bulk stuff like beans, what type of kitchen equipment you have (like a Instant Pot pressure cooker, possibly a Air Fryer which is amazing), and where you eat out and what you order. I would love to know this prior to coming back to Japan in the nearish future.
So you are into “intermittent fasting” I see. I’m not really interested in that, and can’t imagine ever trying that. I think there has to be a way to eat healthy and lose weight and still continue regular eating schedules. So I will continue to try my best without fasting.
By the way “44” is unlucky in Japanese. The number four has the same pronunciation as “death” so 4 is often avoided, much like 13 is in the U.S. If you go to a hospital for a checkup you will see that checkup room 4 is skipped over. Sometimes buildings don’t have a 4th floor. Dishes come in sets of 5 instead of 4.
My starting weight was 129 kg in 2012 and is 102.2 kg as of yesterday morning. I can’t wait to break 100 kg and get into 2 digits! My weight when I started reading HNTD 99 days ago was 111.4 kg. So I’ve lost 9.2 kg = 20 lb since I started the book and recommitted to WFPB. I’ve lost a total of 59 lb total on WFPB so far. But still have a ways to go.
The supermarkets have plenty of fruits and vegetables in my neighborhood, but I am not a cook, really, so except for potatoes and salad vegetables I usually get bags of frozen vegetables, which are easy to cook. You don’t see many street vendors of foods, except in parks and at festivals.
I don’t really buy “bulk” stuff. I get small 50 g bags of salad legumes at my local supermarket. I have an air fryer and use it almost every morning for air fried potatoes. I just got an Instant Pot, but haven’t hooked it up yet. I need to find some space for it. Other than that I just have a stove stop (no oven) and a microwave. I don’t even have a blender.
I love the information on the number 4.
What is your high school weight? I find that to be one of the best ways to discover a person’s lean weight. For me, I know that I need to be around 125 pounds (57 kg) to see my 4 pack.
Regarding intermittent fasting – I have tried lots and lots of eating methods over the years. This is simply one, meant to lose weight. My long term goal is to eat 2 or 3 meals a day, on set meal times, and see food as fuel not a pleasure.
I’m an addicted personality type, and I have been getting rushes from food. Usually binge eating. My near goal is to cut off that fix I get from food, and substitute a designed fix (gamification) in my chosen field of work.
You are a real minimalist regarding your kitchen and food stuffs. I plan to do the same. The instant pot is very cool for cooking beans and lentils. I mostly use it to make my dogs food in large batches (sweet potatoes, oats, mixed vegetables) into which I mix some meats just before serving.
Do you have a rough idea of your cost of food during a month? Mine has been super cheap when I eat only at home. Like crazy cheap – frozen vegetables, beans, oats, berries, fruits, mushrooms. Which might be 3 to 5 dollars per day or less.
What age do you expect and hope you’ll live to? Do you have long lived relatives?
I’m not sure of what my high school weight was. I don’t remember it being a concern, but I also don’t particularly remember weighing myself. I wasn’t an athlete by any means. And I doubt I was 125 lb or had any visible ab muscles. But for a time I was pretty active, cleaning swimming pools in the summer. I did find an old picture from junior high school and I looked skinny in that photo.
I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with the Instant Pot. Sweet potatoes is one thing I was going to try since I’ve not had any luck doing those in either the microwave or air fryer.
I’m sure I spend more on groceries than you do. Definitely not as low at 3 to 5 dollars a day. Here a single tomato can cost $1 or more! So hundreds of dollars for sure.
It’s impossible to predict ages. My father passed away when he was 82. My mother is going to be 92 in April. My father’s brother also passed away in his early 80s. My mother claims her grandmother lived to be 107, but I don’t know if that is “just a story” or not.