Category Archives: Weight Issues

CALORIE RESTRICTION

I was recently alerted to the video, “Eat, Fast, & Live Longer” through a newsletter I receive from VegSource.  The concept of elongating lifespan through calorie restriction  or intermittent fasting is fascinating.

“The CRON-diet (Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition)[1] is a nutrient-rich, very low calorie diet[2] developed by Roy WalfordLisa Walford, and Brian M. Delaney.[3][4][5] The CRON-diet involves calorie restriction in the hope that the practice will improve health and retard aging, while still attempting to provide the recommended daily amounts of various nutrients. Other names include CR-dietLongevity diet, and Anti-Aging Plan. Several people, including the Walfords and Delaney, founded the CR Society International to promote the CRON-diet.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting (usually meaning consumption of water and sometimes low-calorie drinks such as black coffee) and non-fasting.

There is evidence suggesting that intermittent fasting may have beneficial effects on the health and longevity of animals—including humans—that are similar to the effects of caloric restriction (CR). There is currently no consensus as to the degree to which this is simply due to fasting or due to an (often) concomitant overall decrease in calories, but recent studies have shown support for the former.[1][2] Alternate-day calorie restriction may prolong life span.[3] Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction are forms of dietary restriction (DR), which is sometimes referred to as dietary energy restriction (DER).

Scientific study of intermittent fasting in rats (and anecdotally in humans) was carried out at least as early as 1943.[4]

A specific form of intermittent fasting is alternate day fasting (ADF), also referred to as every other day fasting (EOD), or every other day feeding (EODF), a 48-hour routine typically composed of a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period.” – Wikipedia

While this is not a short video (clocking-in at around 1 hour), it is a very intriguing watch.

Have any of you tried intermittent fasting?  Any fasting experience?

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Filed under Cancer, Cholesterol, Cleansing, Diabetes, Education, Fat, Immune System, Metabolic Syndrome, Weight Issues

INSPIRING TEEN NUTRITARIAN

I subscribe to Dr. Fuhrman’s DiseaseProof newsletter and was impressed with one of their most recent posts.  It is so powerful to watch a teen take their health into their own hands…what an amazing guy!

Interview with a Teen Nutritarian: David

POSTED ON JANUARY 15, 2013 BY EMILY BOLLER

JUNE                               AUGUST                               DECEMBER

David is your typical, 14-year-old teenager that was severely addicted to the standard American diet. In fact, he was resistant to have anything to do with eating for health, even though his parents and siblings had embraced nutritarian eating and radically improved their health and quality of life because of it. However, on Father’s Day weekend this past summer David had a wake-up call; a frightening experience with dangerously high blood pressure and the telltale symptom of a TIA (transient ischemic attack); aka mini stroke. Today, six months later and 27 lbs lighter, he’s a changed person as a result of eating high-nutrient foods. Welcome to Disease Proof, David.

What was your life like before Father’s Day weekend?

My parents and siblings were nutritarians so there was always plenty of healthy food to eat, but I refused to eat it. At every chance I could get away from home I ate whatever junk food I could find, and without my mom knowing it I bought donuts, candy, and other stuff.  Because I wouldn’t eat “Fuhrman food’ as I called it, my mom didn’t force me to eat it because my dad didn’t think she should; after all, I wasn’t a little kid anymore. My mom wouldn’t prepare junk food so I learned to cook my own meals. I ate frozen pizzas and lasagna, macaroni and cheese, pot pies, and all kids of frozen processed meals. Even with that, there were many foods that she wouldn’t buy for me like processed cereals, milk, cheese, and butter.

How did you feel?

I didn’t feel well most of the time. It was hard for me to move around because I was tired and would get out of breath easily, so I didn’t exercise. I was always thirsty, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose; it was always stuffy.  Plus, because I was tired a lot I just slept whenever I could.

What was your wake-up call?

During a family crisis my mom requested no junk food be brought to our house. However, some thought nutritarian eating was extreme and felt sorry for me so they asked me for a list of my favorite foods anyway.  It was great!  I loved it because I could eat anything I wanted.  A week later, in the middle of the night, the entire right side of my body, including my leg, arm, and jaw was numb and tingly, and I was very scared. I woke my parents up, and my mom took my blood pressure and it was 158 / 108. The next day she contacted Dr. Fuhrman, and according to my symptoms he said that I had experienced a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini stroke that happens before a major stroke*. Immediately, on Father’s Day, I became a nutritarian. Within a week my blood pressure came down to a healthy range, but for several weeks I was scared to fall asleep at night, because I was afraid of having a stroke during the night.

How do you feel now?

I have a lot more energy. I’ve lost 27 lbs so far and my blood pressures are consistently around 113 / 72. I no longer have numbness or tingly feelings, and the best thing is I’m not afraid of falling asleep and having a stroke in the middle of the night.  I’m no longer thirsty all the time, tired, or have shortness of breath, and because of that I like to run, workout at the Y, and lift weights. Plus, I can now breathe through my nose for the first time that I can ever remember; I always had a stuffy nose. According to a blood test in June I was pre-diabetic, and now with nutritarian eating I won’t have to worry about getting diabetes. I just feel better all over, and my mom says that I’m happier and not grumpy anymore.

What would you tell kids who love junk food and hate even the thought of eating healthy?

Try nutritarian eating all the way for just one week. Do it cold turkey, 100%; no cheating. After that week is over then re-assess your opinion and see if it changes. I gutted it out mentally for one week, and it was hard, but I knew it would be worth it to feel better and be healthier. Now I’m glad I did.

I still sometimes like eating junk food when I’m away from home, but I know nutritarian eating is healthier for me, and I always feel better when I stick to it.

What are your favorite foods now?

My favorite foods are tomatoes, cucumbers, Honey Crisp apples, green peppers, snap peas, sautéed onions, hummus, and my mom’s Oatmeal/Almond Bars.

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Easy Oatmeal/Almond Bars

5-6 ripe bananas
4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raisins
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups unsalted sunflower seeds
2 cups chopped raw almonds
1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl mash the bananas and then stir in remaining ingredients. Press mixture into the baking pan and bake for 40 min. Let cool. Cut into bars.

Congratulations David and keep up the great job!

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Click HERE to read the original post on Diseaseproof.com

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Filed under Children, Education, Interview, Metabolic Syndrome, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

What I WISH I’d Known When Becoming Vegan

The other day I was thinking about what I wish I knew when I decided to become vegan and that led to this post.

The number one piece of information I wished I knew at the time is this…

You can NOT eat an unlimited amount of plant-based fat (Even if it is in the form on WHOLE foods)!!!  

I was initially under the assumption that if it was a whole food and plant-based, then it was healthy. I was adding coconut oil to my green smoothies along with peanut butter AND half an avocado…using olive oil liberally in sautées and stir fries, making nut and seed cheeses, etc.

I was also eating nuts by the handful (ok, actually handful”s”).  Toward the beginning of my vegan journey I discovered nut-based raw cheesecakes and became very successful making them for friends and family (aka a ploy to always have some on hand for myself).  A slice of cheesecake became my after dinner ritual…after all, it was plant-based and therefore healthy, right?

Shortly thereafter I took a raw foods dessert class and was amazed by how wonderful everything tasted. Thus my love affair with raw desserts continued.

While I did not gain a significant amount of weight per se, I did notice my body becoming more soft (for lack of a better description) despite a very active training schedule.

Bottom line, you can not expect to eat a large volume of fat and not have your body increase its body fat percentage.

I decided to check my body fat percentage and was shocked to learn that I gained approximately 5% body fat (yowza!). I always pictured people becoming leaner when transitioning to a plant-based diet, not doughier!!!

I was left scratching my head because I was eating WHOLE foods, not a bunch of processed vegan cinnamon rolls.

I assumed that I could up my plant-based fat because I was no longer consuming saturated fat in the form of animal-based meats and cheeses. Boy was I wrong.

Since making the connection I have been consciously eating a limited amount of whole food plant-based fats.

I could have saved myself a lot of time had I known this information from the start, which is why I am sharing it with you.

Since limiting my plant-based fats I am as lean as I used to be.

Lesson learned.

What information have you learned since becoming vegan that you wish you’d known from the beginning?

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Image courtesy of Flickr’s The Commons.

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Filed under Education, Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

The Sleep-Weight Connection

This is a FANTASTIC article written by Peggy Kotsopoulos for Vega’s Blog.

I have been short-changing myself on sleep lately (OK, actually for a LONG time now) and this is a good reminder that I need to make sleep a priority.

_________________________________

The Sleep-Weight Connection

Whether you’re tossing and turning all night thinking of everything going on in your life, or just choose to stay up till the wee hours of the night working or playing, you are missing out on one of the most powerful health and weight loss boosters around — SLEEP! Here are 5 good reasons why you need to get a good night of shut-eye.

  1. Lack of sleep promotes weight gain
    Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your metabolism and has negative physiological effects promoting weight gain. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that sleeping for short durations (less than 7 hours per night) is associated with future weight gain. In fact, the study showed that women who sleep less than 7 hours per night are likely to gain an extra 2.5 lbs.
  2. Sleep promotes more FAT burned when trying to lose weight
    If you are eating clean, exercising and trying to lose weight, lack of sleep can impede your efforts. A study conducted at the University of Chicago suggests that lack of sleep reduces weight loss efforts by 55%. In addition to that, in those who slept less, only 25% of their weight loss came from fat — the rest came from loss of muscles and water (not good). Whereas, those who slept more, lost more actual fat than those didn’t.
  3. Sleep regulates your hunger hormone 
    When you compromise on sleep, your body produces more ghrelin (the hormone that triggers hunger) and less leptin (the hormone that tells you to STOP eating). Adequate levels of sleep (7 to 8 hours/night) regulate your hunger hormones, whereas 5 hours or less can promote a hormonal imbalance1. Think about it: if you’re tired, you tend to reach for food as fuel to boost your sagging energy (and tend to be hungrier thanks to ghrelin). But higher ghrelin levels are also associated with reduced energy expenditure and reduced fat oxidization. That, coupled with the decrease of leptin that tells you to stop eating, is a potential weight gain nightmare.
  4. Lack of sleep depletes your body of vitamins and minerals 
    Vitamin C is such an important vitamin; an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to manage stress, support your immune system, slow down signs of aging caused by free radical damage, boost mood, and aid in weight loss. In fact, studies show that upping the intake of vitamin C before a workout promotes more calories burned. Vitamin C deficiency may also be correlated with weight gain. And, guess what? Sleep deprivation sucks you dry of vitamin C — along with other precious minerals, such as zinc — further compromising your immune system and contributing to weight gain.
  5. Lack of sleep increases risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer 
    Lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease2  3, diabetes4, and cancer.5Studies suggest women who work shift work have higher incidence of breast cancer.6 7 Melatonin, an important hormone produced during sleep, seems to inhibit the estrogen pathway, and its antioxidant activity may specifically combat free radical damage due to estrogen metabolism8. If we’re not sleeping well, melatonin production is reduced, increasing the potential risk of estrogen-related cancers.But the benefits of melatonin are not limited to just the girls. Since melatonin is also an antioxidant, a decrease in production means less juice to give cancer-causing free-radical damage a kick in the butt. 9

    Cheers,

    Peggy K

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Click HERE to see the original article.

Image courtesy of Flickr’s The Commons.

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Filed under Education, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

WEIGHT OF THE NATION – 4 Part Series

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My friend Anita sent me information about this new 4 part series about the health of our nation.  HBO will be airing this series to subscribers at no charge.  Check out the trailer and the fascinating infographics I downloaded from the main website.

Kudos to Kaiser for attempting to right this issue.  Between my dad’s double knee replacement and my mother’s hip replacement surgeries, I have spent a decent amount of time at the Santa Clara Kaiser recently and was impressed with their efforts to promote heath.  I feared the cafeteria food, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that I definitely had healthy vegan options within their cafeteria; the salad bar was wonderful and one day I even got vegan pho noodle soup (There were definitely unhealthy options there for those who wanted them though…I saw a LOT of fries making their way past the cashiers)!  Kaiser also had Farmer’s Markets in their courtyard while we were there and had nutritionists walking around the cafeteria talking to people about nutrition.  I see the effort they are making and only hope that they begin to lean even more toward plant-based diet recommendations.

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Filed under Education, Events, Metabolic Syndrome, Video, Weight Issues

BOOK REVIEW – The Lean

People often ask me if there are any plant based weight loss books that I recommend and while I definitely refer them to excellent books written by the likes of Drs McDougall, Fuhrman, Barnard, and my other favorite plant-based authors…I am adding another favorite to the list.

The Lean by Kathy Freston lays out a plan for transitioning (or rather “leaning”) into plant-based living that is so gentle and reasonable. Frequently people try to transition to plant-based eating too quickly and when they mis-step they trend back to their old ways. Kathy’s writes in such a non-judgmental and wonderfully guiding voice that the reader realizes they need to be gentle with themselves during the transition.

The Lean is a plan that is more about what is ADDED to your diet than what is taken out (though the animals products are eventually removed). When people focus on adding good quality food into their daily food plan, they naturally crowd out the undesirable food.

The concept of the book is that the reader will tackle one issue per day (each outlined in a chapter of the book). Kathy’s philosophy is that if it takes you longer than a day to add the new habit, then give yourself longer than a day before moving on to the next chapter.

Some of the easy nutritional modifications within The Lean are:

Day 7: Put a Little Flax On It
Day 14: Eat a Superfood
Day 16: Toss up a big bowl of Love, a.k.a. Salad
Day 25: Juice It!
Day 28: Do Something Purposeful

What I appreciate most about The Lean is its practicality.  If you live your life according to the principles found within The Lean, health will follow.

To purchase The Lean, click HERE.

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Filed under Books, Education, General Vegan, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE – Free Worldwide Online Premier

 

Hungry For Change, a movie from the makers of Food Matters, is hosting a FREE 10 Day Worldwide Online Premier MARCH 21 – 31 2012.  I just watched the movie trailer and am really enthused about how eye-opening this film promises to be.

“This inspiring film has the power to transform your health!” ~ Anthony Robbins

According to the producers:

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weightloss and food industry don’t want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more. 

Could the foods we are eating actually be keeping us stuck in the diet trap?

In this free online premiere event you’ll discover:

  • How to navigate your supermarket – what to buy and what to avoid
  • The real truth behind “DIET”, “SUGAR-FREE” and “FAT-FREE” products
  • How to overcome food addictions and cravings
  • Why fad diets dont work
  • What food additives to avoid and how to read labels
  • What is fat and cellulite and how do we get rid of it for good
  • The most effective detox and cleansing strategies, and
  • How to eat for clear eyes, glowing skin and healthy hair

I was really excited to see two of my favorite experts on the trailer, Kris Carr and Dr. Christiane Northrup.  This looks very promising…
Click HERE to sign-up for the premier.

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Filed under Alkaline, Cancer, Cholesterol, Cleansing, Diabetes, Education, Fat, General Vegan, pH, Research, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues

DOUG LISLE – Q & A

As promised, here is the Q and A that followed Doug Lisle’s Pleasure Trap presentation  (click HERE for my recap of his presentation).  Doug has some great suggestions and insights.

The questions below are written exactly as they were asked.

QUESTION – When everyone around you is eating crap, how do you stay on track?

When you go to drug rehab, everyone supports you and it is acceptable to make the decision to stay away from old friends and bad influences.  The same does not hold true when you are trying to kick your food addictions.  While food addiction is not as potent as drug addiction, it can actually be a harder habit to kick because there is generally very little support and it is not acceptable in our society to distance yourself from people merely because they are bad food influences in your life.

I suggest you tell people you are conducting an experiment.  Tell them that you read a book that makes sense to you, so you are going to give this way of eating a try.  Be humble and tell people that it is probably just a wacky idea and may be wrong (that takes people off their guard), but you want to try it.

QUESTION – If you have eaten a lot of crap in your life, are you more susceptible to being sucked back into eating the crap?

We will never know because we have ALL been exposed.

QUESTION – Since we naturally want to conserve energy, how do we add exercise into the equation?

Some people like to exercise hard (though not most people) and some people like to do social exercise.  For most people, in order to stick with exercise, there has to be an additional benefit from the exercise (i.e social interaction).

QUESTION – How do you get children eating healthier and more plant-based?

I only really care about dairy.  They have plenty of years to see the light later, because they generally won’t end-up with cancer or heart disease until their 20s.

Dairy is a HUGE proponent of auto-immune disease and can make children very sick (He mentioned that some children have a 1 in 16 chance of getting diabetes…THIS is what I found when trying to research that statistic).

They can choose their later life, but we choose this for them and it’s not fair for us to choose the possibility of auto-immune diseases for them.

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Filed under Children, Education, Events, General Vegan, Junk Food, Weight Issues

BOOK REVIEW – Healthy Eating Healthy World

In a word, Healthy Eating Healthy World is groundbreaking. Never before have I seen such a multi-faceted look at the power of plant-based nutrition. J. Morris Hicks (With Stanfield Hicks) examines the destructive nature of meat consumption on our environment as well as our personal health while also delving into the cruelty animals experience on factory farms, and the horrendous issue of human starvation throughout the world. Hicks successfully demonstrates the causal relationship between the SAD (Standard American Diet) and the aforementioned issues.

  • In all, raising livestock accounts for 78 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet. -Page 72
  • To produce one kilo of potatoes requires 100 litres of water; to produce the same amount of beef requires 13,000 litres of water. -Page 78
  • [T]o feed a single person the typical Western diet (heavy with animal products) for a year requires 3.25 acres of arable land. To feed one vegan requires about 1/6 of an acre. -Page 109.

These facts force one to go inward and examine how one can in all good conscience eat the hamburger that contributes so strongly to the hunger of others.  If we were to use the feed given to animals to feed humans I have to think we would be moving in the direction of a solution.

While reading Healthy Eating Healthy World I was struck by the ease with which J. Morris Hicks was able to join together such a comprehensive amount of information with regards to plant-based eating. From the health benefits, to the scientific evidence behind those benefits, to Doug Lisle’s research on why we are so addicted to the very foods we need to be avoiding (The Pleasure Trap), to the HOWS of living a plant based lifestyle. So many books focus solely on the problems our world is facing, and while this book definitely explains those issues, the solutions are detailed as well.

  • In August 2010, for the first time ever, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that they will pay for intensive diet and exercise programs developed under the Ornish and Pritikin brands for reducing cardiovascular event risk. -Page 17

When I read that I practically jumped for joy.  We are starting to see REAL solutions.  Nutrition-based healing vs. drug dependency is going to propel this nation toward health.  While medication can be lifesaving during acute illness, nutritional excellence can achieve true healing versus the masking of symptoms long-term medication provides.

Along those same lines, Hicks digs his heels into the inefficiency and corruption that exists within the health insurance and food industries.  We have hospitals charging $8 for a single Motrin (personal experience) and nutritional researchers being financed by the food industry itself.

  • [A]nother found 34% of the primary authors of 800 papers in molecular biology and medicine to be involved in patents, to serve on advisory committees, or to hold personal shares in companies that might benefit from the research. -Page 145 

I don’t know what the solution is, however if people are not aware of the problem, the solution to it will not be found.  For that reason I am thrilled that Hicks is bringing these issues to light.  

As I mentioned above, Hicks does take the time to explain HOW one can healthfully follow a whole food plant-based diet. 42 pages of the book are dedicated to educating the reader about nutrition and WHAT to eat.  My hope is that the reader will be inspired by what they have learned and push further into the subject matter by reading the works of Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

I highly recommend Healthy Eating Healthy World for those who are looking for a concise yet wonderfully in-depth and well-rounded book that truly does bring all of the issues into the same room.  These issues are truly interdependent.

 

To read my interview of J. Morris Hicks on Chic Vegan click HERE

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Filed under Animal Welfare, Books, Education, Farming, General Vegan, Metabolic Syndrome, Research, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

JON HINDS – Plant Strong Gym Owner

“Train like a Gorilla, Eat like a Gorilla, Chill like a Gorilla”

I first learned of Jon Hinds through the T. Colin Campbell newsletter which I subscribe to.  Jon founded the Monkey Bar Gymnasium and has had a very successful career (Don’t you love the quote above from his website!).  He is a former NBA strength and conditioning coach and is currently a consultant for both the NFL and NBA.  Jon trained Darryl Strawberry (New York Yankees), Glen Braggs (Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals), Charles Smith (New York Knicks), Anfernee Hardaway (Phoenix Suns), Eric Davis (St. Louis Cardinals), Lucious Harris (New Jersey Nets) and members of the L.A. Clippers.

Personally Jon has achieved some amazing feats:

  • Gold Medallist in the 2000 Pan American Games – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
  • Gold Medallist in the 2001 Rickson Gracie World Championships – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

In an interview with Bodybuilding.com (click HERE for the interview in it’s entirety), Jon explained his nutrition philosophy:

For nutrition, I use a simple plan called the “Hand Plan”. The “Hand Plan” follows simple portion control with a plant based diet. Most people love to eat meat, or believe that you need to eat meat to keep or gain muscle, but I am trying to do and teach what is most healthy for the body and the environment and eating animal products is not the way.

We suggest people eat 90% or more plant based foods. This has proven extremely effective for burning fat as we average 17 pounds of fat loss and 5 pounds of muscle gain in the first 60 days of Monkey Bar Gymnasium training and nutrition.

The “Hand Plan” is simple: eat portion sizes that are as big as your open hand, keeping the majority of the plate or bowl green foods. Keep plenty of nuts, seeds and legumes in your intake as well.

Click on the link and enjoy the video where Jon explains what led him to eat a plant-based diet and what he has learned.

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Filed under Althletics, Education, Exercise, Fat, Protein, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues