Hi everyone, The 6-week challenge starts in 2 hours. Here are some motivational thoughts that help keep me on track:
1) I live in my food universe. There is infinite variety of delicious foods to choose from in this universe. I will be satisfied and happy if I stay in this universe. Today I watched a friend eat a big ole' burger and fries. It did not compute. :)
2) Now is as good a time as any to get started, regardless of our current circumstances. Once you are healthy and thin, you will have circumstances too and that won't stop you from continuing to be healthy and thin (I hope). I'm happy to see a lot of people doing the challenge even though circumstances during the 6 weeks are not ideal (vacation, parties, restaurant plans, hanging out with old buddies). That is life!
3) I am most likely to stray and overeat when I'm tired. Maybe I should just go to bed early if I'm tired. I consider that a luxury! more satisfying than eating!
Tomorrow I'm taking the day off. When I get back in the evening, I'll post the challenge participants and brief goals--unless there is objection to the latter. I'll also post my food logs since some people like to see an example.
I think I will go experience the luxuriousness of bed now.
Archive for August 2011
Hi everyone, The 6-week challenge starts in 2 hours. Here are some motivational thoughts that help keep me on track:
Well, some of us eager beavers started already.
So far I have 26 participants though I don't have all the info for all of them. I will post all the participants (screen-names) on Sept. 1 so you can check to see if I missed you.
If you have any questions, please comment to any post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want a review of the challenge, you can just scroll back to read some posts, or go directly to these posts:
I wrote some tips for beginners here:
Some people like me to post my daily meals so I am fine doing that during the challenge. For fun, I can even log my food with cron-o-meter. Talk about making me accountable! Just note that I consider my food to be pretty boring. I like it, but I don't do anything gourmet. During the week, I throw together my meals in the morning before work, and during the weekend I'd rather play outside than cook. I like veggies a lot and stay away from the sweet treats. I link to other blogs (below at right) that show much more thrilling recipes. I love healthy sweet treats and would like to convince all my nutritarian friends to make them for me on special occasions but I'm not interested to make them myself. I'm looking forward to eating great food at Dr. Fuhrman's weekend immersion in November.
Add your comments/progress reports to any post and I'll note them. I get an email notification of each comment.
Excellent travel advice from Carrie on Vegan:
I've got several posts describing what I do when I travel:
Howard at Lifestyle Power developed this graphic that describes how to eat healthy. It looks pretty good. What do you think, is it useful for you?
His blog has lots of good information and links to articles, including a recent show from CNN called The Last Heart Attack.
This is from Healthy girl's kitchen ,who I believe is joining our 6-week challenge, yea!
In case this helps newbies starting the 6-week challenge, I'll try to log the food I eat (like I used to). You can let me know if this is useful to you or not. Here's what I did today.
Brekky: went on an early-morning bike ride. stopped at a bakery. don't worry I didn't eat anything there--my friend had something or another. I could have gone to the co-op next door for some fruit but I got distracted by a flat tire. ate a large peach and some raw veggies when I got home.
Lunch: yummy salad, super yummy corn on the cob, yummy tomato. The salad had cabbage, spinach, summer squash, cilantro, edamame, tomatoes, bell pepper, balsamic vinegar, and seed mixture.
snack: kiwi, raw carrots and sugar snap peas
dinner: lots more of the lunch salad, small baked oriental yam (these are the best sweet potatoes!). dessert: small bowl of frozen blueberries and mango.
Some people starting the 6-week challenge have not read or finished Dr. Fuhrman's healthy eating books. I highly recommend reading either Eat to Live or Eat for Health. I think until you ingest the information, you will not understand fully what healthy eating really is and what it can do for you. In the meantime, here is a set of posts I've written in the past on healthy eating that might help guide you a bit as you get started:
Here's another link Jim sent me today that could be very helpful for someone starting out:
It's a program to try healthy vegan eating for 21 days.
Also you may be motivated now but if you need a little help later, here are some posts about motivation:
Some people, including myself are starting the challenge early. Add your comments below on your goals and progress.
I will post in the comment section too so we're all on equal footing. My screen name is "kneecap" by the way.
Here are my goals:
Eat health promoting food, not too much. Don't eat disease-promoting food.
How to do this? I like Dr. Fuhrman's 6 week plan, described in his book Eat to Live and this blog post. Another healthy plan is Dr. McDougall's Maximum Weight loss plan, described in his book, and in this newsletter. Both of these can be modified if more calories are needed by adding additional grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, and nuts and seeds.
I misbehaved several times this summer, enough to say I'm not "walking the walk." So I want to reset and I want to stick with this forever. From my experimentation this summer I learned that I'm not missing much. Sure, some things do taste really good (the most unhealthy things), but most of it is not as desirable to me as my healthy food. As Laurie, a famous nutritarian from the Fuhrman forums, puts it, she likes to live in the universe of nutritarian eating. She looks for all her food and treats and desserts in the nutritarian universe, and doesn't venture into the SAD (Standard American Diet) universe. I've always liked this concept and would like to adopt it as mine.
Okay, I got feedback from readers here and on the Fuhrman forums and the eat-to-live yahoo group and here's the plan I've come up with:
1) Set a goal or goals for yourself. You might want to pick something you think you can reasonably accomplish, or maybe you want to take on the world. I recognize that the same goal can be easy for one person and hard for another. We're all at different levels with different challenges.
2) Send me your name and a screen name (which could be your real name if you want), and your goal(s). I will post the screen names of everyone participating, along with your goals. Send this info to my email address: email@example.com
3) For accountability, try to post a comment here on the blog once a week, stating your progress. I won't be strict about this, it's just a goal. You can post every day if you like.
4) At the end of the challenge, if you want to win the vita-mix, send me via email a short essay (200 words max) describing how you did in the challenge (remind us of what your goals were), and why you want the vita-mix. I will probably have a hard time deciding between lots of entries and will have to do a lottery because I'm sure you will all have compelling stories!
5) I would like to post the winning essay and maybe excerpts of others. I will ask you for permission before posting. I will give runner's up the option to not let me post excerpts of your essay but I will require the winner to let me post their essay. :)
6) You can start anytime between now and Sept. 1. I know several people on the Fuhrman forums started today! I'm starting tomorrow.
7) I will try to post often during the challenge. You can post your progress as a comment to any of my posts--probably the most recent will be easiest. I am going on vacation for 2.5 weeks during the challenge so I might miss some days.
8) Please post you progress here rather than or in addition to other forums you are members of (Dr. Fuhrman's member center, or the Eat-2-Live yahoo group).
9) The winner will have to pay shipping costs for the vita-mix. I hope that is okay.
Let's have some fun!
I've been intrigued by the McDougall Advanced Study Weekends because he invites many different experts to speak, often the big names in the area of healthy whole plant foods research and eating and psychology and society and science and cooking, and probably more. I haven't made it to one of these yet because, California is a long ways away and I don't enjoy flying anymore and it makes for a relatively expensive trip. But the great thing is, he makes an internet broadcast of the entire weekend available. If you sign up now, you can get it for $125 (for the upcoming Sept. 9-11 weekend). That seems like a pretty good deal. You get to watch/listen to it for 6 months and then it disappears. I decided to try it out. I'll let you know if I think it's worth it.
Someone I respect told me that they use PeerTrainer to help them with their eating/fitness program, so I got on their email list to find out more. It is led by Jackie Wicks, who promotes a relatively healthy eating program, similar to Dr. Fuhrman. Her emails sometimes include some interesting articles, like this one about 7 steps to overcoming emotional eating. If you want further support, they have a emotional eating mini course. I have no idea if this is good or not, I'm just pointing it out since it was in the email I received yesterday. She also linked to another program they do called Point of No Return, for dealing with the psychological barriers of dieting. If any of you have ever tried these programs, I'd be interested to hear what you thought of them.
I just came up with a crazy spur-of-the-moment idea and then acted on impulse so here we go! There is a great organization called the Nutritional Research Project. If you donate $1000 to them by Aug. 27, you get a vitamix blender. Well, I already have a vitamix, but I feel strongly about this organization, so I thought, I could offer my vitamix to one of you guys! Let's do a 6-week challenge together starting on Sept. 1. I'll work out the details in the next few days. I'm taking the day off work tomorrow to have fun, and I have lots of other stuff to do tonight. Plus I'd like to hear your ideas for how we should award the blender. I'm not sure I want to make it a competition but if I make it a lottery, anyone could say they are joining in and then not do anything. So maybe it should be something in between. You send me some info before sept. 1 (I'll clarify soon), and then send in your story at the end of 6 weeks and I choose one that is inspiring to others. I want everyone to have a chance, from beginners to long-timers. You don't necessarily have to lose weight if you are already healthy, for example.
Okay, I have to go fix tomorrow's meals, so will send more details later!
Oh, and if you have the means and would like to support a worthy organization and guarantee yourself a vitamix, feel free to donate to the NRP!
And now this is what I really meant to post about but I got totally off track: today I had as pleasurable an eating experience as my SAD dalliances. It was the banana and pecan butter spread. Here is a picture of this treat:
Now it doesn't look like much, does it? But it's not just what you eat, it's when and where. I had just finished a good workout at the gym, it was 7 pm and I hadn't eaten since lunch, and I love a fruit treat after exercising. I stopped at the co-op and saw they had perfectly ripe bananas. yes! I found the pecan butter spread in the refrigerator. yes! I had a little butter knife in my bike bag (I was hoping for this even though I was gambling on the ripe bananas). The pecan butter spread comes in a 1.5 oz container. It's a combination of raw pecans and cashews and hemp seed. I bought the treat and a few other groceries and sat outside in the warm evening air and slowly enjoyed this wonderful treat.
This was more pleasurable than the ice cream a few months ago. Isn't that cool?!?!??! okay, I admit a chocolate truffle would will stimulate more pleasure centers but it's not good for me and keeps me awake at night. so I'm happy with fewer pleasure centers stimulated and a good night's sleep, and good health too.
And, in case you are wondering, I do hope I've satisfied my curiosity about the SAD food (pretty please!).
I think Douglas Lisle is my new hero. There are several heroes in the healthy eating community: Drs. Fuhrman, McDougall, Esselstyn, Campbell, Ornish, and Barnard. I have to add Dr. Douglas Lisle to this list. He's a psychotherapist who works at the True North Health Center. You can read some of his articles here. He has lectured at a few McDougall conferences and I think the DVDs are taped from these events. This one I just watched is called "Losing Weight Without Losing Your Mind." He talks about 3 major obstacles to losing weight: 1) the pleasure trap, 2) the ego trap, and 3) the pull of other's demands.
1) He's talked about the pleasure trap in a few other lectures, DVDs and a book. I highly recommend the book or DVD. Very briefly (and hopefully somewhat correct), the pleasure trap is about how it is perfectly normal to prefer chocolate candy to an apple. We evolved in an environment of scarcity of high-caloric food and we are hard-wired to prefer it. If you can abstain from the artificial food for a while, for example, with a fast, your taste buds re-adapt and you can enjoy the healthy food just as much. But it aint always easy to say not to that high calorie-dense food.
2) The ego trap. I loved this because he described me. The ego trap is where you or others have high expectations of you, perhaps because of a previous success, and you know deep down you can't live up to those expectations so you quit before you fail. In your mind, quitting is preferable to failing. This is what sometimes happens to me with healthy eating. I achieved success sort of accidentally, just experimenting with this. Then I joined the Fuhrman forums and started a blog and became something of a role model. I didn't feel comfortable being a role model and started doubting myself and suddenly eating healthy became harder than it was before, and the temptations, which were almost non-existent before, became greater. Dr. Lisle says the solution to this is to lower your expectations. Pick a goal that is better than where you are, and achievable, something you are pretty confident you can do. You can even pick a goal that is insulting to you so you say, of course I can do that, in fact I can do better than that, I'll show you. He described working with kids and saying, do you think you can get B/C grades? and the kid says, yes, I can do even better than that!
3) other people's demands. He described how we evolved in an environment of 30 people where everyone knew what everyone else was doing so they couldn't demand too much because they already saw everything you are doing. Nowadays, our spheres are so separated, your boss doesn't know what you home/community demands are; your spouse and kids don't know your work/community/friend responsibilities, etc. So everyone wants the most out of you and this situation benefits naturally pushy people and hurts naturally nice people. You have to learn to say no and you don't have to say why. You say, "I've got something else I have to do." "I made a promise and have to take care of something else." And you don't say what and it becomes clear that it's none of their business and they don't have a right to know. You have to be able to say no so you can make priorities for yourself. If you are going to change your diet and develop and exercise program you need time to commit to this. It IS high priority.
I'd be curious to know what other people think of this lecture.
I had this today and tomorrow. Then I'll run out of oatmeal and will do some experimentation with kamut berries and oat groats.
1/4 cup long-cooking oats
2 small figs or 1 medium fig, chopped (optional)
3-5 fresh sweet cherries, chopped
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 banana, sliced
note: substitute any fruit available: strawberries, blueberries (can be frozen), dates, raisins, mango, etc.
1/2 cup water
1/2-1 Tbsp seed mixture (optional)
Combine and soak overnight in fridge (except for the blueberries). Heat in the microwave for a minute or 2 (until hot). Let sit for a few minutes. Add the blueberries and heat up until they are warm. enjoy!
If you didn't think of this idea until breakfast time (like me this morning), heat everything except the blueberries and bananas in the microwave for a minute or 2; let sit while you do some other things; heat again; let sit. do this until it's the consistency you like.
Here's tomorrow's breakfast, soaking in the fridge:
I've had lots of visitors lately and was busy at work so didn't have much time to post about food. One of my visitors liked my food and asked me to post the recipes. I didn't use any recipes, or write down what I did, but I did snap a few photos. So hopefully I can re-create them from the photos. It was more of a method than a recipe which I can describe here.
The meals lately usually consist of beans, greens, salads, and corn on the cob, pretty much all locally grown. and fruit for dessert (not so much local). The beans are prepared on the weekend and frozen into daily containers. Right now I have two batches in the freezer. One is made with "runner cannellini" beans from rancho gordo. This is what they looked like after soaking--gigantic!
That's the beans. Then for the most of the veggies, I've been using kale, collards and herbs from the garden (basil, rosemary, chives, dill, cilantro--no rhyme or reason to this besides it grows well), and local produce from the co-op or garden which lately has been summer squash and zucchini and eggplant. If I use the white beans, I add tomatoes from the garden. I cook up the veggies in the pressure cooker while the corn on the cob is prepped and boiled. After the veggies are done, add the beans and 1-2 Tbsp of seed mixture.
Here are some beans & greens:
Here's another batch served up with our usual corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes:
Salads consist of lettuce, maybe some cabbage because the local cabbage is real sweet right now, fresh garden tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, bell pepper, occasionally broccoli from the garden, maybe peas or edamame, and dressing made from a little fresh squeezed orange juice (optional), vinegar (d'angou pear, riesling raisin or a good balsamic) and seed mixture. Here's today's salad (with cabbage and spinach, forgot to buy lettuce):
We often add some Penzey's no-salt seasonings to the veggies, salads, corn and tomatoes. Our favorite is mural of flavors, but we also have been trying out sunny paris.
Sometimes instead of greens and beans, we'll have fresh green beans from the garden and salad and corn. I'll combine the green beans with potatoes and herbs for housemate and guests.
Here's something I made up one night when I was concerned that my guest might be tired of greens and beans. This was a vegetable curry:
I didn't have much in the fridge so the vegetables were summer squash and cabbage, onion, mushroom and frozen peas. It looks like there's a potato in there too. I don't usually make potatoes for myself but I probably thought the guest would like it. Eggplant would have been good too. Now I know from experience that curry without salt and sugar tastes bitter and bland. Since I don't use salt, I needed a sweetener. I had banana and frozen mangos which I thawed. I cooked up the squash, cabbage, onion, mushroom, and potato in the pressure cooker with about, 1 tsp of curry powder and 1/2 tsp of garam masala. Then added the peas to cook in the hot veggies as they cooled. I blended up the water that the veggies cooked in with 1/2 banana and some seed mixture (1-2 Tbsp). Then pulsed it with about 1/2 cup mango. Added that back to the veggies. As usual, we had this with corn on the cob. This recipe was a big hit, which is funny because I just made it up spur of the moment.
I think that describes everything except my latest yummy breakfast which I'll describe in my next post. I also like to eat raw veggies: carrots, kohlrabi, and sugar snap peas. Today I added some lime and cilantro but I don't think it's worth the bother. They are great all by themselves.
For fruit, I usually buy what's in season and on special (discounted that is). Lately it's been delicious organic cherries, both from Washington state and our own Door County. Blueberries have been on special too. And grapes occasionally. Earlier we had a fabulous strawberry and raspberry season. They are both still good, just no longer on special. Local watermelons and muskmelons are in season now. Fresh figs are available (from California). We are getting peaches from Door County which are wonderful. I'm sure I'm missing something. There's so much to choose from right now. It's a great time of year. I think the cherries are my favorite though---they are really good right now.
Wow! Dr. Furhman did this PBS pledge program called 3 Steps to Incredible Health. To support Dr. Fuhrman, I pledged to one of the stations that gives a bonus gift. Well, I guess I didn't read the fine print, but the bonus gift consists of 2 books, a workbook, 6 DVDs, a 3-month membership to the Fuhrman website, oh, and a refrigerator magnet.
The books look outstanding. They look like a rewrite of the Eat for Health 2-set series. One book describes the science of eating healthy, why to eat this way and what to eat. The second book describes more how to do it in 3 phases, and gives lots of recipes. The workbook gives an overview and exercises to work through. The DVDs are "3 Steps to Incredible Health," which is the show that airs on PBS, then "Eating for Incredible Health," "The Skinny on Fats," "Say No to Heart Disease and Diabetes," "Winning the War Against Cancer," and "Success Stories Before and After" (I'm the last one featured, hee hee). I'm really impressed with the quality of this material. This seems to be the perfect toolset for someone just starting out. I guess $150 is a lot of money but I think it's worth it for this package of materials. I highly recommend it to anyone starting out on this program, or anyone wanting to recharge their nutritarian batteries.
I’ve recently been reading and watching material from Jeff Novick, a dietician who used to work with Dr. Fuhrman and now works with Dr. McDougall. It’s been interesting to compare advice from all three of these guys. I think they all offer very healthy eating plans. The average advice is pretty similar but the ranges are different. Here is a description of Dr. McDougall’s Maximum weight loss program. Here is a description of Dr. Fuhrman’s 6 week plan.
Healthy fats communicate with your genes in a different way compared to unhealthy fats. Healthy fats bind to receptors called PPAR receptors which improve insulin sensitivity and enhance fat burning. Trans fats do the opposite.
Since eating 1 oz of nuts and seeds fits in with the guidelines of all of these guys, I will stick with that recommendation.