Monday, August 17, 2015

Updating the Blog

I’ve updated my links to the right to reflect my current thinking.  I now believe that healthy fat is an important part of my diet so I took off the links to sites that promote extremely low-fat diets.  I’ve recently discovered some vegan Registered Dieticians (RDs) whose recommendations fit very well with my experience and make a lot of sense to me.  I’ve read the new edition of Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, and think that is an excellent resource for anyone who is vegan.   I’m still exploring these sites.  The Reasonable Vegan site is not even about health.  Even though my blog is about health, I’m an ethical vegan first and this blog has many articles of interest for me.  This reminds me that I have noticed that most of the vegans I know are not any healthier than the general population and I’m concerned that some appear to be less healthy.  I think many vegans lack some knowledge of simple ways to make their diet much more healthy.  I think it’s important for us to thrive on a healthy diet so we don’t feel the need to go against our core values and start consuming animal products again.   The Vegan RD website has a few easy-to-read articles that tell you pretty much all you need to know to get enough protein and calcium, and to thrive on a healthy diet.

I'm also updating some of my featured posts that are linked at right.  It will take a few days to get through all of those.


This is a fun lunch I make for housemate.

2 corn tortillas
some beans seasoned with chili & cumin powder
little bit of tomatoes chopped
little bit of cilantro chopped
little bit of lime juice
little bit of avocado

Use these to make the shells:

My tortillas are in the freezer.  I thaw for 10 sec in the microwave, then smash them between two of these pans and heat in the oven (350 F) for, say 10 minutes, then take the top pan off and toast for, say 5 minutes--the longer the better without burning.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Training Plan

I am hoping to do a backpacking trip this fall.  There is a situation out of my control that may cause me to cancel.  But in the hopes I can go, I've started training.  Here is my training plan.  The top table is a plan, the bottom, what I actually do.  I'm having fun doing it.  MBG is Monkey Bar Gym, where I go for exercise class.  Devil's Lake is a state park with some 500 ft bluffs.  That's as steep as it gets around here.  I do a 5 mile walk around the lake climbing 2 bluffs.  It's very pretty.

Update:   The trip was cancelled.  But I'm hoping to go in 2016.  I should be in even better shape by then.  I'll keep training.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Am I a Food Addict?

Someone asked me if I really consider myself to be a food addict.  Here is what I think:  yes.  I developed patterns of behavior that became ingrained in my brain and that I think can be classified as addictive.  Susan Peirce Thompson uses an analogy of the neurons laying river beds in your brain for these behaviors.  I am now developing new healthier patterns and new river beds, but the old river beds are still there, and it would be very easy to drop back into them, more easy than someone who has never developed these behavior patterns.  What are some of these behaviors?  Because I choose to follow a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet with little added salt, oil or sugar, I eat differently from most people and I deny myself many foods that everyone else around me eats.  Many times in the past, this has set up the dangerous diet mentality that leads to all kinds of unhealthy behaviors.  If I did deviate and go off-plan, I would say, “Shit, I blew it, I’ll restart tomorrow.  Well, I may as well to eat everything I’m not supposed to eat for the rest of the day."  Fortunately, I haven’t done that in over 140 days.  And most fortunately, I currently don't have any desire to eat what everyone else is eating, and I'm very satisfied with my own food.  However, I have crossed the quantities and meals "bright lines" (the other two are no sugar and flour) 5 times, and in 4 of those cases, I ate nuts and fruit beyond fullness. I consider this to be addictive eating behavior because I had that same binge mentality ("I blew it, I'll restart tomorrow") and I ate beyond fullness.  So I still have some issues to work on, but I think there is hope for me with this plan.  On the positive side, the last time I behaved perfectly normally, realizing I had made a mistake (was tasting some food for a backpacking trip--should have counted it with my meal) and I just got right back on plan immediately.  That makes me hopeful.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Split Pea Soup

This is another soup I make for housemate that I want to log for future reference.  

1 large onion or 2 medium, chopped
1 large carrot or 2 medium, sliced
1-2 potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 cup green or yellow split peas
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
5 cups water

Combine everything into the InstantPot pressure cooker, and cook for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My weight journey

A friend on the BLE forums shared an excel template for plotting your weight, so I've been having fun playing with that.  Here is my 4.5 year history:

The green triangles are pre-BLE, blue diamonds are BLE (Feb. 25, 2015 to present), and the red squares are my fictional future starting on July 9, when I reach goal weight, if I continue on my present course.  You can see my weight gain accelerated over time!  That was due to going off plan more and more as time went on.  My eating was definitely out of control.  Here is a zoom of the BLE portion of my journey:

After the initial faster weight loss (I was on vacation so I have a two week gap between the beginning point on Feb. 25 at 157 lbs and March 11 where you start to see lots of dots), it stabilized at a rate of 1.1 lbs/week.  According to the trend, I should reach my goal weight on July 9.  Then I will start my "maintenance dance"  (currently the fictional red squares), if all goes well!

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Health Update

Here are some blood work results after following Bright Line Eating for nearly 4 months.


ComponentStandard RangeYour Value
CHOLESTEROL115 - 200 mg/dL135
TRIGLYCERIDE10 - 149 mg/dL47
HDL40 - 60 mg/dL46
LDL, CALCULATED50 - 130 mg/dL80
ComponentStandard RangeYour Value
GLUCOSE65 - 105 mg/dL79
ComponentStandard RangeYour Value
VITAMIN B12 239 - 931 pg/mL 778
ComponentStandard RangeYour Value
FERRITIN 11.1 - 264.0 ng/mL 31.0

That looks good to me!   I'm 3 lbs away from the weight Fuhrman recommends (for women, the formula he suggests is 95 + 4 x [the number of inches you are above 5 ft], so for me that's 129 lbs.  

Here is my typical menu:
B:  4 oz cooked oat groats, 2 oz edamame or 4.5 oz yogurt, 6 oz fruit, 1/2 oz nuts/seeds
L:  4 oz beans, 6 oz non-starchy veggies any combo of raw and cooked, 6 oz fruit, 1/2 oz nuts/seeds
D:  6 oz beans, 14 oz non-starchy veggies any combo, 1/2 oz nuts/seeds

Food prep
cook up 6 oz dry oat groats into 4 servings.
cook up 1 lb beans into 8 servings, 4 4oz, 4 6oz

Does it sound boring?  I really like it.  For one thing, you vary the beans and the nuts and the fruit and the veggies every day and every meal.   Once corn season arrives in mid-July, I will modify the plan to include starchy veggies!  I should be at my goal weight then but even if not, I will eat corn!