Saturday, April 29, 2017

My eating and drinking history

I was thinking today that my eating history is like my drinking history. I tended to drink like those around me.  For the years I was living with my boyfriend, I drank daily because he did  (we also smoked 1-2 cigarettes a day and drank coffee).  Then when I lived alone, I drank several days a week, by myself or with others.  Then when I lived with Marilyn, she didn't drink so after a while I stopped at home, and when I was out with others I drank (they did too).  The worst was at astronomy conferences.  My friends drank a lot.  I wasn’t used to it and would get really drunk, even on modest amounts, and then really hungover.   Sometimes I got excessively drunk and excessively sick and hungover. Then eventually, the obvious hit me and I realized that the drinking culture in astronomy might not be a good thing. I had just assumed it was normal and therefore good by some definition, but it’s not. So I stopped drinking altogether. 

My history with food was kind of similar:  I used to eat the SAD diet all the time and I didn’t overeat or binge, I just ate that stuff all the time in normal amounts like everyone else. Then I started eating healthy and stopped eating processed foods most of the time. On the occasions when I ate them they were hyper stimulating, and even eating normal amounts for a day or 2 felt like a binge and made me sick. I’ve done this occasionally for the last 8 years. and it seems to me that it’s time to stop. There’s no good reason to do this. 

I hope my future with processed food is the same as my drinking turned out!

Friday, April 28, 2017

walking challenge

Since I seem to be in to challenges, I started another blog for my walking challenge.  I've really been enjoying walking lately and would love to do it every day.   I once logged my daily bike ride for a year and that was fun, so I'm hoping to do the same with walking.  ha!


I'm realizing this challenge is really about nuts.  All the other things on the list I am always happier doing without no matter what the situation, even if I tell myself differently beforehand.  But I've always had an exception for nuts because they are supposed to be healthy.  The problem is, they are kind of a "gateway drug" for me. They don't have the same drug-like effects and hangovers that sugar and flour do, but I have a hard time regulating their consumption, especially roasted peanuts and cashews.  But even the others:  pecans make me want dates (pecans and dates are just like pecan pie!), almond butter makes me want manna bread, raw cashews make me want grapes.  And all those combinations are very very hard for me to eat in moderation.  Plus after I fill up on this stuff, I get a stomach ache, and despite that, I want to continue to dopamine party so I often move on to the process foods with sugar, flour and oil and salt, and then I'm a goner.

I'm really curious to know if going without nuts will make me feel deprived.  Going a year without them will be a good test of this question!  Is life less enjoyable without them?  I'd like to find out.  Healthwise, I won't deprive myself of the following:  flax, chia, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  So I will get all the healthy benefits--more actually--as nuts, if I feel I need them.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

And the Challenge is back on, lol!

Well I still want to do this.  Like I said in my original post, I'm attracted by the idea of seeing what it's like to get through the variety of situations and holidays and seasons you encounter in a full year.  Here's the challenge again and why it's really not that hard.

  1. no nuts.  They give me a stomach ache anyway.  I'd rather eat every other healthy foods than nuts:  beans, starches, veggies, and fruit.  Nuts don't taste all that great and they are high calorie and high fat and I tend to overeat them (which is a bit odd, since they don't taste that great, though the combo of fruit and nuts is tasty to me).   If I need some omega-3, I'll eat flax and chia seeds.  If I feel I need fat, I can add pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.  
  2. almost no added salt.  I'm not going to say no added salt because there are rare occasions when I will consume some.  For example, at UWL potlucks (UWL is Chef AJ's Ultimate Weight Loss program, which I'm following.  I wish it had a different name because I'm not trying to lose weight), sometimes people use small amounts of condiments in their recipes (e.g., mustard) that have salt in them.  And when I backpack in the desert, I might panic and think I need salt (I added 1/8 tsp per day on my Grand Canyon trip but I don't think I needed it).  So I will say:  no added salt most of the time, but occasionally (once a month or less) a few hundred mg is okay (about 1/8 tsp) in a day.  The reasons for very low salt are:  salt makes you overeat, it raises my blood pressure, and it masks the taste of food and my taste buds.
  3. no animal products.  duh.
  4. no wheat.  I don't know if it is a problem for me, but Chef AJ and Alan Goldhamer don't recommend it, so that's fine by me.  There are lots of good grains and pseudo grains that I can have instead.
  5. no flour or sugar.  This was a hard one for me to say never to, because I realized I had this vegan exception:  I still entertained the notion that I would make exceptions at famous vegan restaurants or big veggie festivals or fancy vegan dinner parties when I just want to bond with my awesome vegan friends and the awesome vegan-ness of it all.  But I realized I'm just using communal vegan bonding as an excuse to eat sugar, flour, salt, and oil, and I called bullshit on that, haha.  Nice try though. So once I realized that, then actually, this is easy too. I avoid these most of the time anyway.  I have so many reasons not to eat these foods, mainly that they always come packaged with oil and salt, and the combination of all four of those things just makes me sick when I eat them.  Then when I combine that with chocolate and caffeine and alcohol, because I'm celebrating with my friends and I'll want dessert too, right?,  then I can't sleep and it just totally messes me up.  And then I have cravings for the next few days and want to go off plan again.  It's just not worth it.  Talk about wasting time feeling sick.
  6. no chocolate or caffeine or alcohol.   They are drugs and they keep me from sleeping (I think chocolate is the worst for that), and I get a hangover even with small quantities, and again with the chocolate, it gives me a headache the next day.  I don't need any of that. 
  7. supplements:  only vitamin B12, and nori sheets for iodine--I don't call that a supplement though, that's food.  Vitamin D is another controversy and I figure the only way to answer it for myself is to do the experiment on myself.  All the studies on vitamin D and nuts are done on people eating the Standard American Diet.  I don't think you can extrapolate to our diet.  So the only way to answer the question for myself is to not take it and see if there are consequences on my health and how I feel.  And I can get my blood tested though I don't know how meaningful the recommended levels are, or how effective supplementation is even if it raises your blood levels.
  8. Oh, and since I am following Chef AJ's program, I will avoid foods with a calorie density more than about 700 calories per pound.  So I'll avoid avocados and dried fruit. I'll make an exception for dates that are blended into recipes, like AJ's red lentil chili or bean salad dressings.
Okay, the challenge starts tomorrow April 28.  I did say goodbye to nuts today by eating a few pecans and cashews and peanuts  (I only bought a small amount so I wouldn't overeat them!).  They were not that tasty, I'm glad to say.   Carrots and sugar snap peas are much more appealing to me.   Okay, now I'm looking forward to this.  It's just a fun thing to try.  If I change my mind, that's fine.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The challenge is off

Wow, that challenge was a huge mistake for me.  I was doing perfectly fine before I did this challenge, eating healthy, following UWL.   I do have this notion that I want to go a whole year just to see what it's like to go through all the seasons and a myriad of social situations.  But I raised the bar too high I guess.  I totally went off plan today and I haven't done that in months.  I'm tempted to delete all these posts but maybe they are a good reminder to me and anyone else.  Just pick a plan, follow it the best you can, and don't raise the bar too high, that's my advice.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

That challenge is totally stupid

I can't believe I set up that stupid challenge publicly.  I bet I don't even last a day.  Someone was just talking about peanut butter and I thought, shoot, I should have got some peanut butter before starting up this challenge!  why am I denying myself nuts?  and a little salt occasionally?  I'm setting myself up for failure.  oh well, so far I'm halfway through the day.  it's not hard, I just think it's doomed to failure.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My year-long "ironman" vegan challenge

I would like to try the experiment merging Dr. Goldhamer’s and Chef AJ’s diet and doing it for 1 year.  This is the most strict diet of all the plant-based diets.  It is like the ironman of vegan diets:  no oil, sugar, flour, salt, alcohol, chocolate, and no nuts and seeds either!  It’s essentially Chef AJ’s Ultimate Weight Loss program, which I currently follow, but she recommends full abstinence only from sugar, flour and alcohol (and probably chocolate), and leaves some wiggle room for the others.  Oh, and I'm not going to take any supplements either, besides vitamin B12 and some nori when I feel like it (for iodine).  I'm curious to see if I have any adverse effects from lack of supplemental vitamin D and all the others.

Why?  Well, when I eat this way, it’s actually super easy, surprisingly, and the food tastes good—my taste buds really sensitize and I taste so many flavors and sweetness in vegetables and fruit.  And my cravings disappear.  And I can eat as much as I want and my weight doesn’t increase, and if anything I lose weight.  And I can eat all the potatoes and sweet potatoes and squash as I want and those are my favorite foods. 

But what about the salt?  That is really extreme.  I mean, what if I’m at a WFPB potluck and the food is perfectly compliant except it has just a little bit of salt?  Well, it’s just a year.  If it’s too ridiculous, I can change my mind in a year and allow some salt.  What if I’m hiking all day in hot weather in the Grand Canyon or some other desert?  Well, I’ve done that twice and both times I only added about 1/8 tsp of salt each day, which is only about 300 mg.  My dehydrated food has celery and other vegetables and probably has plenty of sodium.  But I always bring salt for emergencies so can use it if I think I need it.

But why no nuts and seeds?  Well, sometimes I overeat them and get a stomach ache.  And I’m curious to see if I can get all those omega-3 fatty acids I need with just my veggies.  I guess I can’t help thinking that all those long-lived healthy blue zone societies didn’t have ready access to daily flax or chia seeds, so maybe I don’t need them either.

I’m curious if life is easier or harder under these rules.  And I’m curious to go a whole year, through all the seasons and special events and to see if there is ever a good reason to eat this stuff.  I’d get a good idea after a year.

What are my chances of success?  Well, I think it’s higher than my chances of completing a real ironman.  But…I don’t have a lot of confidence I can do this.  Hardly any.  The salt is going to be the biggest challenge--it means I will have to say no to a lot of people who offer me food.  But I do love a challenge.  And I’ve always wanted to do an ironman.  So this is my version of an ironman.

When should I start?  I guess I’ll start tomorrow, April 19, 2017.

I know, this is crazy. I shouldn’t even post this.  But here goes…