Sunday, April 20, 2014
After about a year following the plant-strong way of eating, I can now report that this works!!! I am free!! No more counting calories; no more weighing food or portioning out little servings. Right now I weigh less than 140 and have maintained below 140 for about the last year. And I feel great, with plenty of energy. I feel "clean" after each meal, and when I do eat the old way I used to eat I feel sluggish and even drowsy. My husband loves this plant-strong way of eating and we see our future as one that follows this way of eating.
After watching the movie/documentary "Forks Over Knives" recommended by another Sparker, we decided to investigate more about the claims made in that film. Actually, what was discussed there was so compelling that it was impossible not to investigate further, which we did.
Our meals now are plant-based. We eat a lot of grains--all kinds and all whole grains. We also eat lots of veggies and beans. We eat no dairy or meat, including fish or poultry. When I read about the latest foodborne illness in meats and dairy products it is comforting to know that it's something that I don't have to worry about. When we saute veggies we do so in a hot pan with a little water in it, so oil is almost nil. Even olive oil, which is 100% fat and pound for pound the most calorie dense food there is.
Here's a typical day's menu:
Breakfast--oatmeal and walnut waffles topped with some maple syrup and fresh fruit. Or softened old-fashioned oats topped with fresh fruits and unsweetened almond milk.
Lunch: Large salad with lettuce, garbanzos, avocado, tomatoes, walnuts, onions, and carrots with fat-free vinaigrette dressing.
Or, 15-bean soup (homemade), a small salad, and all natural peanut butter spread on 1 piece of 100% whole wheat bread.
Dinner: Steamed sugar snap peas, broccolini, onions, sliced carrots ("sauteed" in water) mixed with homemade spicy peanut sauce mixed with lots of brown rice. Cooked greens (collards and beet greens) on the side. Fresh pear.
Or, veggie tacos, with store-bought taco shells filled with canned and cooked pinto beans, fresh tomatoes, slice lettuce, salsa, avocado, and steamed bell peppers and onions. Mmmmm! Can also be done as soft flour tacos.
We thought we'd have a hard time not eating meat, but it was not that hard. Ditto for cheese and dairy. And oil. The food is great tasting. Very good. Different tasting from food cooked in oil, but good nevertheless. The benefits of change outweigh the challenge of dealing with change.
We are not religious about this. We occasionally have meat, usually when invited out for dinner or having people over who are not "plant-strong eaters."
Just though you might like to know how we've been doing with this change.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Rip Esselstyn gave the closing remarks, challenging the attendees to do the following to Make Health a Habit.
1. Take the 28 day challenge.
2. Don't eat the wrong things.
3. Get support. engine2diet.com, engine2extra.com, jeffnovick.com, facebook for all of these, including Forks over Knives.
4. Develop routines
-plan my meals in advance
-Find 2 or 3 restaurants where I can eat plant strong.
5. Keep a food log
6. Educate myself--read books, watch videos, new cookbook in May "My Beef with Meat"
7. Surround myself with food I enjoy
8. Get real with myself and know that I can do this.
Then we left, off to face the world and deciding to accept the challenge.
There were several other sessions that I did not blog about. One was how to read food labels. Main point I learned here was to read the nutrition label for fat calories and sodium grams. The fat calories should not be more than 20% of total calories per serving. That's easy to figure. Sodium grams should be no more than a 1 to 1 ratio with the overall calories per serving. For example, for a serving with 120 calories, there should be no more than 120 gms. of sodium per serving.
The other part of the label to read is the ingredient list, looking for hidden sugars. There was a very interesting presentation on how the food industry hides sugars and fats in their products that they don't have to list on their labels. For example, Pam cooking spray can indicate zero calories because a serving is 1/3 of a second spray, which has less than .5 grams of fat. For a one second spray of Pam, the fat calories would be MORE than .5 grams, and so they would have to list the fact that there are REALLY calories in this product. Some of the information they gave us was just shocking and disgusting. The food industry is all about the buck and not about nutrition--that's what I came away with in that regard.
I know that my choice to go down this lifestyle path will not be easy. There will be stumbling blocks along the way. What to do about eating out? What about being invited over to someone's home for dinner? How to make the food enjoyable? Will I get tired of it? Will I lose weight?
I noticed that all the team members were very thin, slender and healthy looking. I want to look like that. Can I do this? I guess it's up to me to take the first step. And then the next step. It's just one meal at a time. Is my health and appearance worth doing what it takes to succeed? Do I love myself enough? Who is going to make the personal lifestyle decisions in my life? Me? Family? Friends? Society?
I have joined engine2extra.com for $99/yr. I blog my food there every day. At that website there are forums about the questions the plant-strong eater asks to be able to maneuver successfully through daily life. There are food coaches to help us along the way. And weekly and monthly challenges. So I'm doing this. Have been since Jan. 4. Wish me luck and check in every so often to see how I'm doing.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Doug Lisle gave this presentation. It was very helpful and I've used some of his suggestions. The presentation dealt with the problem we face from people that ask, "Aren't you getting enough protein?" Or, "Do you think you are too good to eat our food?" Etc. etc. We've all faced these kind of situations. Doug opened by stating that we'll have a lot of conflicts on interests with what we are doing. Bottom line to the problem springs from the fact that "It's all about status (respect, regard). It also involves this question: "How well am I making choices re. short term, med and long term outcomes?" We give more status to those who make choices based on long term solutions. When the status shifts away from other people, then they get "disturbed."
In society, according to Doug, there is a dominance hierarchy. The higher in the hierarchy one goes the greater the mating opportunities. You can see that Doug truly is a psychologist. But his discussion of this actually made sense. So the problem about status is really about where someone feels they are on the hierarchy ladder. If I start doing something different that changes their perception of where they might fall on the hierarchy ladder, this is disturbing to them and they react in ways that present a challenge to our eating plan. If I start doing things "better, especially if it is not as "tasty" as I used to eat or as "tasty as societal norms, then I must be doing it for a superior reason, so I must think I am superior and the other person down a notch on the ladder. This upsets their "status."
Doug taught that there are 2 types of people that we will have to deal with:
1. People that don't know (anything about what you are doing and why), and
2. People who know why we are doing what we are doing.
To deal with the Type 1 person, understand that they are anxious that you are pulling ahead of them (in the village) and that they are slipping behind. In dealing with them, you can respond by saying, "I don't know. That "texts" that you are not fighting with their status.
A Type 1 person will wonder and ask "Why are you doing this? It seems too much a sacrifice for what you are getting out of it." It will be tempting to want to explain to them and get the status I deserve. But, long run, if we use the proper strategies to not disturb their status, it will be easier for us to get along with out having to go along. They will then leave us along to eat as we please.
1. Answer, "I don't know."
2. "It seems . . ." strategy, also designed to indicate that you are not fighting with their status.
3. "It's probably not right for everyone . . ." -- validates them and their eating fat, sugar, etc.
4. "I'm just trying to get more . . . (antioxidants, etc.)
These are all designed to indicate that we are not out to change anyone's place on the hierarchy ladder.
To deal with Type 2 people: the issue is not about knowledge, but about their status. We take care of Type 2 people by giving them status.
1. Ask questions -- This elevates them in their own eyes. You are acting "subservient" which is a good strategy.
2. Give compliments
3. Take away from yourself, deprecating.
4. Let them feel OK, I don't have to "grandstand" that I'm better.
Bottom line for dealing with all people re. eating plant-strong:
I have to be SMOOTH to get along.
My innate "status checker" knows when my status goes up or down. My ego is a mechanism for checking status. When we want to GO along and give up how we plan to eat, it's our mechanism for handling their changing status. We are embarrassed for them, so it's easy to give in and go along.
Using the above strategies is better for you in the long run.
Then we all will have the life we deserve.
One last photo: A "pizza" plant-strong, made on WW pita bread or maybe WW tortilla, with a bed of greens, topped with hummus and then veggies, including sautéed onions and peppers, and then tomatoes. Could also use broccoli, pineapple and whatever. It was very good!!
I will post one final blog about this weekend.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
There were several cooking demonstrations during the weekend, 2 by Ann Esselstyn and her daughter, Jane Esselstyn. They had one where they showed the right things to have in your kitchen, which veggies were the "tops," and just some general "stuff." The second one they actually prepared some food. They handed out recipes and we received recipes of everything that we had eaten that weekend. There was so much information on this topic that I cannot include it all. Some recipes are included in Dr. Esselstyn's book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease."
Ann is a huge proponent of raw oats and said she has them a couple of times a day. The main difference between Engine 2 diet and Dr. Esselstyn's diet is that Dr. E's diet omits avocados, nuts, soy, and chocolate. Ann called Dr. E's diet "Plant Perfect" whereas Rip's E2 diet is "Plant Strong." Depending on your health, you can choose one or the other. The "Plant Perfect" would de-emphasize breads, cereals, and crackers because they are higher on the calorie density scale. They pretty much stick to veggies, fruits, beans and whole grains in their natural state, such as brown rice. Ann also stated that if you are trying to make stuff taste like meat or cheese, you are heading toward a veggie "junk food" diet. She said that, for example, there are NO alternative cheeses out there and you just have to decide you are not going to eat cheese. Don't try to make good food something it is not.
Her rules for Plant Perfect:
1. No oil. To stir fry use water or veggie broth. Kitchen Basics brand unsalted veggie stock was one she recommended. She reminded us that Garlic needs to be started sauteeing in water, although onions don't. They can simply be started cooking in a dry pan on medium heat.
She iterated that hummus with NO tahini should be what you should choose, but there is a good recipe for that in the E2 book.
A good salad dressing is: hummus, balsamic, mustard and 1/2 an orange with its juice.
Regarding oil on salads or food, use a good quality balsamic vinegar. The Olive Tap online is a good source.
2. Fill your life with greens--kale, collards, etc. She showed how to make a collard or chard "burrito." If you cook beets and beet greens, boil the beets and then cut up the greens and cook in some water. Mix 2 T dijon mustard and 2 T water, plus 1 T maple syrup and drizzle on top. Bok choy is good in stir "fry"; it's like celery and good in soups. Can eat romaine with hummus or peanut butter (if eating plant-strong and not plant perfect). Pasta sauce--Walnut Acres brand. She also suggested greens shredded on pizza or cooked with pasta and mixed in with it.
3. Eat oats for breakfast to help reduce cholesterol, lessen inflammation. Also good for snack. One T flax seed meal or chia seeds is very good to take. 3 T water plus 1 T ground flax seed meal = 1 egg.
4. Eat beans and lentils.
5. Make whole grains a part of your life. Suggested Sammy's pizza crust or Nature's Pita bread for pizza crust.
6. Avoid salt, use lemon or vinegars.
7. Avoid sugars. Can freeze grapes for good dessert. One recipe: light silken tofu + 3 T lime juice + 1/3 C maple syrup. Layer this in a wine glass with raspberries.
The main recipe I got was from a presentation by Jeff Novick showing us how to easily cook a great meal that is plant strong. He started by telling us the 10 healthiest packaged food, and said that 90% of what he eats comes from these:
1. frozen veggies, 2. frozen fruits, 3. Success quick cooking brown rice, 4. NSA (no salt added) canned beans
5. NSA or low salt canned tomatoes (Pomi chopped tomatoes!!!)
6. Intact whole grains (buckwheat, quinoa, kasha, etc.)
7. Whole grain pasts
8. Dried fruit--It's a condiment!!
9. Unsalted nuts and seeds--It's a condiment!!
10. Salt free spice mix. Get the mixes already done -- eg. "mexican mix" "southern mix"
Every recipe he fixes is based on 5 ingredients:
1. One entire box Pomi chopped low salt tomatoes.
2. One whole can beans
3. Frozen veggies
4. 1 1/2 cups starch (potatoes, rice, etc)
He commented that "when the pleasure trap kicks in, I want to throw in the towel." But fixing these easy recipes quickly helps to assuage hunger and eat healthily.
When fixing this, by changing the veggie or bean or spice, you change the recipe.
People, this works! I've fixed this several times and it is fast and easy. It is no bother and I keep this stuff on hand so I'm never lacking for something for a decent meal. Here is one I fixed:
1 box Pomi tomatoes, NSA and chopped
2. 1 can rinsed and drained garbanzo beans
3. frozen veggies: 1 large pkg. froz. cauliflower, some frozen sliced carrots, peas, onions, and whatever I wanted for a "curry" meal.
4. About 2 T raisins
5. Curry powder enough to flavor it the way I liked.
6. Success brown rice, cooked
7. 1 T chopped walnuts and 1 T dried currents
Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a pot. It's OK if the veggies have thawed out. Quicker cooking that way. Heat until all the veggies are cooked to the doneness you like. Mix the currents and walnuts with the cooked package of rice. Spoon some rice onto a plate. Top with the tomato-veggie-curry mix. Yum! You can also mix the brown rice into the main pot instead of keeping it separate. My husband really like this. I've fixed "Chinese" where I omitted the raisins and curry powder, added 2 T peanut butter to the pot, added different veggies, including bok choy, water chestnuts, carrots, broccoli, etc, a dab of hot bean sauce and served this over rice, with 1 T chopped unsalted peanuts sprinkled on top. That is pictured in one of my earlier blogs. This serves 4 people with some left over.
Dessert recipe from the weekend.
I served this at a dinner for another couple and just called it "fudgy brownie cake." I served ice cream along side for them and a small scoop of raspberry sorbet for us. The company loved it.
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
3 T dry cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 C maple syrup
6 T or 1 4 oz. cup unsweetened applesauce
1 T white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C cold water
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare non-stick cake pan 9 X 9 or 8 X 8 with a cut-to-size sheet of parchment paper on the bottom.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour cocoa and baking soda. Mix well. Mix maple syrup,apple sauce, vinegar, vanilla and water together in a separate bowl. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients.
Pour into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for 30 minutes for 9" cake, a hair longer if 8"
Let cool and frost by heating gently until smooth all-fruit seedless raspberry jam or SF chocolate sauce. Drizzle over the top of the cake.
They gave a frosting recipe using tofu but I didn't want to use that, so I just did the raspberry jam drizzle. I decorated it with fresh raspberries around the edge. I unmolded the cake from the pan and put on a cake stand. A 9" cake will be fairly thin, maybe 2" tall. An 8" cake will be higher. The original recipe as given at the conference specified a 9 X 9" pan. This was a very good cake, and if one didn't know, they would assume that it was a normal fudgy kind of cake.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
This talk, given by Doug Lisle, of True North Health www.healthpromoting.com was most interesting and opened my eyes to what the food industry is doing to capture my "eating soul" and why it is so hard to resist eating Snickers or whatever "calls your name."
True North Health is a center where people go to get over food additions. Apparently the main treatment is water fasting, for as much as 30 days. The patients are carefully monitored daily. Doug is director of Research at True North and a psychologist there as well as at the McDougall center. You can buy his books and there are a good number of youtube entries showing his talks. One in particular shows much of what he talked about at the Clearwater immersion. www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
Here is my summary:
A shark has teeth to eat in order to survive, in order to reproduce. A shark knows when to eat by instinct. Its brain produces the way the animal acts--its nature. General motivational systems have similarities in all animals (Lisle calls this the motivational triad): (1) Pleasure seeking (food, sex), (2) Pain avoidance, and (3) Energy conservation--be efficient in use of its energy expenditure.
Lisle also talked about there being more to life than just those 3 things, and that there are "variables" in our reward system that he called "moods of happiness" which allows for systems of feedback. For example, the "mood of happiness, will keep me cleaning the garage so it looks nice, and then I'm happy. But, the most heavily rewarded thing (sex activity) rewards with dopamine. Further, there are some stimuli that an animal or human will seek out that will give them the greatest pleasure for as little energy expenditure as possible. In extreme cases it is possible for these stimuli to be so great and the relative energy expenditure to be so small that they will be fatal. That is what Lisle calls "The Pleasure Trap." Overeating or eating
"bad" foods, even when we want to avoid doing so, is an example of becoming ensnared in the Pleasure Trap.
Lisle showed us a list of the foods that are the most popular: chocolate, hot dogs, cheese french fries, burgers, chips, pizza, donuts, ice cream, and more chocolate. The common denominator to all these is fats, salt and sugar.
When the machinery of the dietary Pleasure Trap has been tripped, the food becomes far more attractive in some way that will override the thinking process of the eater.
For example, what if we "doctor up" the grass a gazelle eats, so he will be compelled to eat because of the super-normal stimulus of the grass. The stimulus to keep eating the grass will override the normal thinking process of the gazelle for self-protection from predators, and he will forgo his "thinking" about stopping to check to see if lions are near just so he can keep on eating the "super-grass." This is what humans do with certain foods that are "doctored up" to keep us desiring them. Our built-in need for (1) seeking pleasure, (2) avoiding pain (lack of that super-stimulating food) and (3) conserving energy by choosing the most calorie dense, sweet, fatty, salty food, is what drives us into this Pleasure Trap of addition to that Snickers bar.
He discussed the variables in eating choices:
1. How hungry you are
2. The amount of calories per bite
His comment: A caramel apple will be a super-normal stimulus, which our body was not designed to have. Food is becoming as important as sexual activity.
He discussed how to escape from this trap. He also discussed the decreasing rewards from the super-normal foods and how we need to keep eating larger quantities of them to get the same stimulus. So we eat more "junk food." He also showed a chart depicting why escaping the Trap is so hard to do. That is, when you do the right thing (eating fruits and veggies, for example, vs. Snickers bars), it feels wrong, and the wrong thing (eating the Snickers) feels right because we get so much satisfaction from it. The reason it is hard to escape is because we are fighting addiction. Recovery takes about 4 months, he said. He said that drastic measures to escape The Pleasure Trap include (1) fasting for a day or so and then healthy food will taste OK, (2) Go on a juice fast, or (3) "Go to jail" (go to a clinic.
Once we get out of this Trap then we will have the life we deserve.
Check out Doug's Youtube presentation I listed above.
Here is a photo of a plant-stong taco. Actually, this was last summer, and I didn't know to read the label as carefully as I know now. The taco shell actually has too much fat. But the insides are great, starting with a base of black beans and then hummus.
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