Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sue's Monthly Update - Month 3

Time for another update.

My Vegan ways have veered off-track. When it's possible, I choose vegan. But I was probably at about 70% of the time. Healthier than not at all, but, I'd like to get a little better at this. I have pretty much ditched the dairy altogether, without a lot of trouble. I thought I'd have a harder time without the cheese, but it's not a big deal to me.

From last month, I didn't meet any of my food goals. So I'm bringing them over to this month:
1.) 1 skip day per week for Vegan
2.) Order the Vegan Cookbook I mentioned last month
3.) Do the Tofu "class" with Cydney - might actually get to that this week.
4.) Go eat Tofu Scramble with HeatherB and see how it is at Kerbey Lane

One thing I did do was contact Veggytopia. Last week, I had a week of Vegan meals delivered to my house!!! How cool is that? I loved most of it. But my main point in doing it is to taste the different foods and see what I'd like to learn how to cook. I didn't get it ordered for this week, but I might just go to Sprouts or Whole Foods to buy some pre-made vegan entrees. I'll let you know what works. 

Here's the breakdown:
Asparagus and brown rice - great!
Macaroni - not that great. It's too much of the vegan cheese.
Polenta and beans - delish!
**My 2 favorites
Blonde Brownie - yum - especially with coffee!
Quinoa & veggies - I really love quinoa recipes
BBQ - ok
"Chorizo" and potatoes - ok
**Mock Chicken salad - wonderful
**Parsnips, carrots, dates - wonderful

They tell me that your food consumption is 70% responsible for your weight, while your exercise is only 30%. So need to focus a little more in this area. 

I've lost 18 lbs. so far.

I'm still doing well with this. Better each month, really. I exceeded all the goals I set for myself last month. Now I just have to keep up with them. I got a trainer and worked with her twice a week for a few weeks. We're starting once a week this week, and I really have to prove to myself that I can push myself as hard as she pushes me. I can't afford her forever, so I simply have to make this happen.
  • Lake walking  (3 miles) - doing that at least 4 times per week
  • Weights - 3 times/week is the goal. I've done about 2x/wk consistently
  • Water Aerobics - 4x/week (Tues & Thurs this happens twice/day)
  • 1/4 mile swim 3x/week - my goal is to do this after the weight training (I did it twice last week, now have to keep it up)

With the switch to healthier lifestyle, I've been reading more about being meatless and dairy-free.  I have a hard time explaining to people what and why I'm doing what I'm doing.  So all this reading helps. Many people have given me suggestions, so I thought I'd share some of them here.

Shattering The Meat Myth: Humans Are Natural Vegetarians
I liked this article. Some of the arguments I've heard are disputed. People often point to our canines saying  that's why we are designed to eat meat. But the size of our canines compared to animals that are REALLY carnivores - much different. And our hands, more designed for berry-picking than ripping and tearing. Meat-eating is simply a tradition we've adopted, and we're slow to let it go for cultural reasons.
"Although we think we are, and we act as if we are, human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us, because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores."
What Eating Too Much Sugar Does to the Brain
This was good because it talks about how sugar IS needed by the brain to function, but the amount of ADDED sugar is simply not necessary (and quite harmful). The article gives links to several research studies, and makes a lot of connections to some of the health problems I'm seeing in myself. Even memory issues - an area in which I seem to have an increasing problem.
In other words, chronically eating added sugar reduces "brain-derived neurotrophic factor" (BDNF), and then the lowered levels of the brain chemical begin contributing to insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which eventually leads to a host of other health problems.  
Changing Food Choice and Dietary Habits Requires Breaking Old Behavior Patterns
He talks about the problems and the reasons people have with creating new ways of dealing with food - why people resist the changes when they know that some of the foods we eat are toxic for us. For instance, with the typical bacon cheeseburger:
Sodium nitrite in the bacon -- that's going to cause colorectal cancer.
Saturated animal fats in the bacon and in the burger itself -- that's going to promote heart disease and atherosclerosis.
The bun is made from refined white flours -- that's going to cause nutritional deficiencies and promote diabetes and obesity thanks to its high glycemic index.
The fake slice of cheese melted across the burger -- that's made with saturated milk fats which are going to further promote heart disease, and also, since it's a dairy product, it's going to cause system-wide stagnation, meaning it may clog up your sinuses or cause constipation.
The ketchup has tomatoes and lots of corn syrup, so you get more sugar.
Tons of salt in the whole thing: there's salt in the bacon, there's salt in the cheese and of course there's salt in the burger itself. So you're going to get hypertension and high blood pressure from the salt, plus you'll promote chronic dehydration of your internal organs due to excessive consumption of salt. Then you've got kidney stress, liver stress, uric acid in your blood, suppressed immune system function, impaired oxygen diffusion in lung tissues, and so on.
Not to mention all the preservatives and chemicals!
Now, I didn't know there was anything wrong with TOMATOES! And I know this list sometimes makes us all gloss over with a big "whatever!" But then I read this:
Pretty soon, you're into a self-perpetuating cycle: you eat well, you feel great. Then you have the motivation to eat even better, and suddenly you feel even better! Little by little, you transform your diet because it makes you feel good: better energy, improved mental clarity, better sleep, fewer aches and pains, heightened physical performance, improved sex drive, you name it!
That seems like a better motivation to me!

Meatless Mondays, a Movement that Has Legs
This article starts with Chef Mario Batali instituting a Meatless Monday in his 14 restaurants. The authors give a little history of the meat industry's resistance to people choosing to eat less meat in their diet, which was interesting and expected. The article is simply showing how plant-based dieting is making its way into the mainstream.
It's enough to make the meat industry nervous. Over the past year, lobbying groups including the American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Pork Board and the Farm Bureau have launched a quiet campaign to try to reverse the momentum. They have fired off missives to institutions that embrace the call to reduce meat consumption, and they have posted talking points for meat producers on the Internet. They are also making a final push to ensure that the government recommendation of two servings of meat per day remains enshrined in the new dietary guidelines that the Department of Agriculture will release this fall.

Engine 2
Engine 2 is what started me on the Vegan path. I started last year, with reading the book, discovering their website, recipes, encouragement, etc. The Forks Over Knives website has been revamped, and has more info there too.

New 21-Day Vegan Kickstart Plan (Pam & I talk about doing this one)
Beauty that Moves - 30 day workshop (thinking of doing this with Heather Boothe, but I may have missed the deadline)

Mighty Vegan
Salad of the Day - Pam's blog about, salads


Rose S. said...

Sue, you are AWESOME. =D Keep it up!

-- Rosie

Cap'n Franko said...

Power to ya!

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