My Low-fat, Plant-based Diet

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I’ve been following a low-fat (no oil), no prepared foods, plant based diet since the middle of March.  I was over-weight and just couldn’t lose any weight, even though I had been Vegan for 3 years at that point.  I had watched Forks Over Knives and was aware that I needed to decrease my oil and processed foods consumption.  However, it wasn’t until I got the book Seven Day Rescue Diet by Rip Esselstyn that I found a simple and easy diet to follow.  And that was when I started to lose weight.  Was it hard?  Well, cooking without oil can be a little bit difficult, but I quickly adjusted.  Now I use some water instead of oil and I add more herbs and spices to my food then I ever did before.  One of the easy things about this diet change is that I liked all the foods that I was eating.  For the first month, I was completely about cooking my own food.  These days I will get a pizza with no cheese on it from the local take-out, so no, I don’t feel “cheated”.   I will also eat Chinese take-out that has been steamed with no sauce on it.

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So, have I been losing weight?  Yes!  With absolutely no calorie restriction (I actually eat a lot), so far, I’ve lost 23 pounds.  For a moderately over-weight woman of over 50 this is huge.  I don’t exercise every day, but I do eat all I want every day.  Here is a list of my meals for one day:

Breakfast – one shredded wheat biscuit with plain Almond Milk (I eat Post Shredded Wheat), I only eat one because I also have a large glass of water, a banana and a peach or plum.  If I’m not that hungry I’ll save the banana for a snack around 10:00 or so.  I will eat another banana if I’m hungry later on in the morning.

Lunch – a fairly large salad with either homemade oil-free dressing, or bought oil-free dressing with little to no “extra” stuff in it.  I’ll then have a baked potato with a little salt, pepper and garlic on it.  And again, I’ll have a large glass of water.

Snacks – if I’m hungry in the middle of the afternoon I’ll eat some fruit.  With it being summer, that could be sweet cherries, a peach or plum, grapes or a banana.  If I’m really hungry I’ll have more than one piece of fruit.  If I’m eating cherries I’ll just have a few (or more) handfuls of them.

Dinner –  usually I’ll have a bowl from Seven Day Rescue Diet.  If I’m not having that, I could be steaming up some veggies and having them with preservative and oil-free soy sauce and some brown rice or quinoa.  I put a ton of spices on my food.  I’ve always used a lot.

Desert – I usually have fruit in the evening.  Right now, since it’s summer and strawberry/blueberry season, I’ve been having that for a treat.  And, even though I normally only eat whole food, I will have the vegan whipped cream on those.  Not every night but one or two nights a week.

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When I started this diet, I didn’t eat a single prepared food.  I made everything from scratch, including hummus.  Homemade hummus is really good.  I now eat some no-oil, no-preservative guacamole, oil-free salad dressing, and I make veggie sandwiches with vegan sandwich thins.  But, I mostly (6 days out of 7) still follow the no-oil, low-fat diet.  I now have added plain peanuts to my diet, so that’s really good if you feel like a nosh.  I’ve also had air-popped popcorn with a small amount of salt on it – one caveat, popcorn without vegan butter can be pretty dry.  I’ve also made potato chips in the microwave – they are really good with some garlic powder on them, but are time consuming to make.

The only issue with eating this way is that you have to actually make your meals.  It can take more time than I’m used to, but it also tastes much better than prepared foods.  If you want some recipes let me know and I’ll share some with you.  The other important thing is that I drink a lot of water.  All the time.

As far as health is concerned, I used to have fairly bad asthma and now I don’t.  We’ll see how the rest of the summer goes, but the humidity hasn’t really bothered my breathing as much as before I started this eating plan.  My fibromyalgia also isn’t giving me as much pain as before.  Those were my two health issues, and they seem to be improving.  So, I’m looking forward to losing more weight on my goal to a healthy weight.  If you have any questions let me know in the comments below.

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Compassion is a Verb

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Compassion is important to me.  It should be important to all of us.  Compassion is what religion is supposed to be about.  “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”  Is one of the most quoted statements from the Bible.  Somehow, we have lost whatever compassion we had as a country.  The reason I’m saying this is specifically related to the new TrumpCare Bill that is in Congress.  This bill will take insurance away from the very people who need it.  Anyone who is older, or has pre-existing conditions will lose their health care.  Well, if they don’t want to eat, or have a place to live, they might be able to pay their premiums.  Otherwise, those premiums will be too big to pay.

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Where is the compassion?  I look around me and I don’t see any.  Disabled people are blithely told to “just get a job”.  When was the last time you saw a blind or deaf person in your office?  How about the elderly?  Have you seen many 95-year-old delivery people, or an 85-year-old working at Walmart?  No, neither have I.  Even though this bill has “died”, they are still looking to simply get rid of the ACA, leaving millions of people without healthcare.

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It’s called compassion.  Find some, use some.  Be the person you were meant to be.  Compassion.  One day you will need it.  When you do, will it  be there?

Create Your Life

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Sometimes we are so busy reacting to the things that life throws at us, that we look around and realize that we haven’t so much as “made” our own lives, instead we’ve had them thrown at us.  Instead of setting goals, and taking the appropriate steps to reach those goals, we’ve simply been reacting to whatever has come our way.  While this is a fairly normal thing, it’s not the best thing.  Simply reacting doesn’t promote a happy, healthy lifestyle.

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So, here is the thing.  Take some time out of your busy life, and ask yourself if you are happy.  Do you feel fulfilled in your job and in your life?  Is there something else that you’d rather have?  If you find that at your core you are not happy, then carve out some time for you to be quiet with your own thoughts.  What can you do right away to change something that you don’t like?  If you’re in a situation not of your making, but you need to stay there for some reason or another – money, marriage, bad job market; how can you change what you are doing to make it more pleasant for you.  If you hate your job but can’t leave due to financial issues, is there something you can do to make it more interesting/pleasant.  Maybe you are not actually bored with your job, maybe it’s something about your life.  Whatever it is, can you change yourself to improve the situation?  Sometimes frustration with ourselves is at the core of our larger unhappiness.

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Whatever it is that you’ve found out, now is the time to decide to take action to change your life.  Make a goal and plan action steps to get there.  Once you begin working toward a goal, you’ll be amazed at how much happier you are.

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The Benefits of Walking

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While we all know that we should walk more, there are now even more reasons to do so.  In a study published one year ago in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2047487316655466  low aerobic capacity was associated with increased mortality rates.  In other words, if you don’t walk, you will die.  Of course, this study was conducted on middle aged men, however, as with other studies, one can assume that it will hold true for women as well, since other scientific studies do show corresponding factors for women.  To back this assumption, there is another study http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288042.php  completed with 340,000 male and female participants showing that 20 minutes of brisk walking per day was enough to decrease the chance of early death by 16% to 30%.

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However, there are benefits other than fitness and lower early mortality rates to consider when a person walks.  For one thing, anyone can go take a walk.  We don’t need fancy shoes, we can walk no matter what our fitness level is, and we can control how long and how difficult our walk is.  Just the very fact of getting outside does wonders for our mental health.  We can get some sun (not too much), breathe fresh air, and enjoy nature.  All these factors are a mental health boost.  Not only that, walking in our neighborhoods gives us a chance to interact with our neighbors, boosting our sense of community.

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I go for a daily walk, and I find that it really helps me to be outside and getting some much needed exercise.  I love the boost walking gives me, and of course being in nature is so important to my own mental health.  Do you go for a daily walk?  Where are your favorite walks?  Do you prefer your own neighborhood or do you go to a park or a walking trail?  Have you felt the benefits of walking in your own life?  Let me know in the comments below.

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And of course, don’t forget to perfect your silly walk!

 

This Day

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Last Saturday began as a normal day.  As I fed my two dogs and one cat, my oldest dog, Sierra, was behaving normally.  She’s been having a really hard time walking due to arthritis and old age, but she has been holding her own even though she’s been getting worse and worse over the past year or so.  However, by nine in the morning she’d lost control of her bowels, and was just lying on the floor looking upset and confused.  I called the vet and told them what was going on.  That afternoon we took her in, determined that there was nothing more to be done, and we had to let her go.  I can’t tell you how horrible this has been.  While I know that it was the best thing for her, it’s been the worst thing for us.  We have been devastated by this.  Every time I go through this, I both can’t believe that it’s happening, and vow to have no more pets.  My heart is ripped apart, and I feel as though I just won’t be able to get through it.  I’ve been crying almost non-stop for days, even waking up crying.

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This is the story of Sierra.  Our son wanted a dog of his own for his fifteenth birthday.  I took him to numerous shelters, however all of the dogs there needed to be the only dog in the family due to previous issues. Since we had another dog and two cats at that time, none of the dogs were a good fit.  I went on Pet Portal and found a no-kill shelter about two hours away.  They had pictures and histories of all the pets available on their web-site and we found the prettiest mixed-breed dog.  Her name was Sierra, and she was available.  So, we took a trip there with our other dog (to make sure that they would get along), and met her.  She was skittish and shy, but very loving and got along with our dog Shadow.  She had had a hard time of it, since she’d been an abandoned dog, and then had been adopted and brought back twice due to her nervous and skittish behavior.  However, we just knew that she was the dog for us.  And the rest is history.  At first, she would “squat and pee” when people approached her due to her fears of being abused.  But with time and love she calmed down enough to realize that she was safe.  Although for years she was afraid every time she got in the car that she was going to go back to the shelter,  she eventually came to believe that we were never going to dump her.   She was sweet, and funny.  Her favorite thing to do was to hop around on her back legs when she was excited and also when she wanted to see what it was that you were carrying.  We called her a Kangaroo due to this, and also due to her coloring.  Going for a walk and getting treats were two of her favorite things.  She also had a blue ball that squeaked, that we called her “baby ball” since she would walk around with it in her mouth, put it on our laps and we were expected to tell her how beautiful her “baby ball” was.  She’d then grab it and jump up on the couch to cuddle with it.  She was such a loving and sweet girl.

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In our family our pets are our family.  They are our children, they are loved and they are a huge part of our lives.  There is a hole in my life the size of our sweet and loving girl.  Sierra, you have been loved and will be forever missed.

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Casein – A Cancer Promoter

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Everyone has seen the advertisements “Milk, it does the body good.”  These ads are everywhere.  We’re told from an early age to “drink your milk”.  Cheese is added to so many recipes, and I must admit, when I ate a typical American diet, I too loved cheese, and drank my milk just like I was advised to.  Why?  Because the food pyramid said too.  My parents, my doctor and my school told me too, also.  So, did commercials on t.v., and everyone around me was drinking and eating casein make me think that this was a “good” food?  Of course, it did.

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But, what was all this milk and cheese doing to my body?  What is it doing to yours?  Well, one of the main things that it’s doing is promoting cancer cells to grow, in fact it’s been found to be a carcinogen, and should be avoided at all costs.  One of the reasons for this is that casein (along with the hormones that dairy cows are given to promote even more milk production) is stored in our fat cells for long periods of time.  This gives them a chance to promote and trigger cancer growth.  Everyone has cancer cells in their body, but these cells must be triggered in order to grow.  A carcinogen is what triggers the cancer cell.

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For a more scientific explanation of casein I’ve left the links below.  I also suggest that you watch the documentary What the Health (found on Netflix) if you want even more information.

http://freefromharm.org/health-nutrition/21-experts-on-the-dairy-breast-cancer-connection/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166373/