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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to Lose Weight at a Healthy Pace Without Starving

Exactly a year ago, I weighed 196 pounds which is down from 232 pounds.  I had been on Joel Furhman, M.D.'s Eat to Live diet to treat the neurological effects of celiac's disease, and also to treat pre-diabetes, plus,  I had hoped to shrink a breast lump I had discovered.

I was on this program for two years, and had accomplished the healing of the neuropathy that had been triggered by the celiac's disease, and had also totally reversed the diabetes looming over me, and had shrunk the breast lump, but not completely.

A year ago, I discovered Caldwell Essestlyn's diet, which is now well discussed on this blog, and rediscovered Dr. McDougall's diet which I had followed strictly from 1997 to 2001.  I went on McDougall's diet when I was diagnosed with Grave's disease, which is often a result of celiac's.  (At that time I did not know I was a celiac.)  The Grave's disease was quickly reversed on the diet.  I never had to be treated for it.

In 2009, I had gone off of the McDougall plan because I had developed neuropathy in my feet and lower legs, but I later learned that it was the celiac's disease that was causing it. Not realizing that up until this year, I had searched for another vegetarian diet that would help me to improve my health.  My answer was Joel Furhman's Eat to Live, or Eat for Health plan, which did cure the neuropathy.  I could have stayed on the McDougall plan, if I had realized that all I needed to do was substitute out all of the gluteny grains I was eating, but I didn't make that connection until this past year.

So on Furhman's plan,  I healed up some, lost a little weight, and then I plateaued for a couple years.

Now, in 2012, one year after being back on Esselstyn/McDougall,  I am 38 pounds lighter. I weigh 158 pounds, 8 pounds over the line that says I'm overweight.

I did experiement for three months this year with the paleo diet, adding back meats and dairy.  It had been discovered that I had h. pylori and I was put on triple antibiotic therapy to kill the h. pylori.  I went back on meats and dairy, thinking I needed it to heal up after the antibiotics.  Primarily, I was making homemade yogurts to add the friendly bacteria into my system that the antibiotics had killed off.  I also ate chicken thinking the extra protein would be beneficial for healing up my ulcer.  What happened instead, however, was that not only was I not healing the ulcer, I was developing more ulcers in my colon, and I developed severe trouble with my entire digestive tract.  I was in severe pain, and I mean severe.  I also developed gallbladder trouble resulting in it's removal, plus terrible acne and an itchy scalp.  I also gained ten pounds.

This summer I stepped away from the paleo diet for good, went back to McDougall/Esselstyn, and the weight continues to melt off.  I also have had a resolution of all of my symtpoms.  I also had a resolutions of other symtpoms that I thought I was just having to live with, including anxiety, joint pain,  PMS, and menstrual cramps.

Previous to going back on the low-fat plant based diet, when I was doing Joel Fuhrman's nutritrarian diet, I have since learned that while the nutritairan diet helped me to lose weight, originally, through getting my blood sugar under control, I had a hard time keeping full since I couldn't eat enough greens to keep myself full.  I have learned that we vegans either need more starches in the form of whole grains like oatmeal, or more vegetable fats, which make a body gain weight very quickly, and in my case destroyed my gallbladder.

I am forever grateful for the Eat to Live program and the healing it promoted, but I found myself eating more and more nuts and avocadoes, and regaining my lost weight.

Staying full and losing weight has been far easier, and far less expensive on the low-fat plant based diet promoted by Drs Esselstyn and McDougall, and I am continually suprised when I get on the scale that I have lost, yet another pound, without starving and without exercising!

I've been overweight for 23 years, and now, in my 40's during perimenopause, during a time when women usually gain a lot of weight while trying to lose weight, I am losing weight without stressing about it, and without living at the gym.  In addition, I am all physical issues are resolving as I said before.  That breastlump that I had three years ago can no longer be found.!

I don't count calories. I don't count fat grams. I don't count carbs.  I eat until I'm full, and I eat when I want.

All I do is follow the following rules....  Don't eat animal products. Don't eat any added oils. Don't eat oily plant foods like avocadoes, nuts, or coconuts. Don't eat dairy. Don't eat process flours like white flour. Don't eat sweeteners, except I do eat Stevia, and don't drink fruit juices.

What do I eat?  Greens like kale and romaine lettuce,  beans (legumes), vegetables (there are so many different kinds),  fruits of all kinds, potatoes, rice, oatmeal, dried fruit (in moderation), frozen fruit, teff flour, cornmeal, Bob's Red Mill Gluten free flour, stevia, chia seeds and almond milk. I make many recipes out of many combinations of these mentioned foods.

People always ask me how hard it is to get enough variety of food to eat.  It's not hard once you put your mind to it.  I have a lot of recipe books, and get recipes off of the Internet everyday.  Besides, our Creator made a lot of variety of plant foods in which there is no end.

People ask me how I can afford to buy the produce that I buy.  Well, I'm not spending money on meat, ice cream, cookies, or those expensive gluten free junk foods.  It balances out.  I try to buy what's in season and fill up with lots of inexpensive foods like rice, peas, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, foods that are inexpensive pretty much the whole year.

I eat until I'm full and eat when I want.  I don't feel guilty for one thing I put in my mouth, and that is pretty good for someone who, in the past, has felt guilty for every morsel placed in my mouth since I was five years-old.

I have gone down eight dress sizes in one year.  I love the way I look from head to toe.  My kids can put their arms all the way around me when they hug me.  I can climb to the top of the boys bunkbed, and I can run.

My blood sugar is steady, and never spikes and never dips, unless I eat a processed food like Corn Chex, which is something I recently discovered is a problem, and it really doesn't fit the list anyway.

Everytime I go to the doctor now, they say, "nice pulse", or "excellent blood pressure".

Everytime I tell a doctor how I lost the weight they say, "Good for you!  Keep up the good work!"

Regarding fat and food absorption, which I get asked about a lot......  Each one of the foods I eat has it's right amount of fat in it, and helps itself to absorb itself.  I don't need fat from nuts to absorb the vitamins in garbanzo beans.  I might need fat from nuts to absorb my Corn Chex, however.  Eating everything in their natural state eliminates the need for extra fats to absorb nutrients.  I am not suffering from it.  I can tell because my skin is clear and it is not dry, not even in the winter.  I used to have to use hand lotion in the winter, but not anymore.

However, vegans do have some deficiencies.  I have found that I do best if I take a daily supplement of D3 1000 iu, magnesium (which every red blooded American needs), and B12, which I get from nutritional yeast added to my foods for flavoring.  Vegans can also be deficient in phosphorus and zinc.  I take zinc, but I don't take phosphorus, because I have counted the amounts I get, and I'm getting enough.

Years ago, before my celiac's was diagnosed, like I said, I weighed 232.  I prayed and prayed for help to lose the weight, and heal my thrashed nervous system, and the still small voice said to me over and over again, "Follow the Word of Wisdom".  The low-fat plant based diet fits extremely nicely in with Doctrine and Covenenants 89.

Grains are now back to being the basis of my diet, even though I can't eat gluten.  People have asked me many times, "How does the Word of Wisdom reconcile with being a celiac? Why does Heavenly Father tell us that wheat is for the man, when it is poisonous for you?"   Well, the fact is, I am a mortal, and I am subject to my environment and my DNA.  I got the DNA that makes me a celiac from one of my ancestors.  That is part of my mortal testing.

In the Word of Wisdom the Lord declared, "all grains are good for the use of man."  He provided alternatives for those of us who became subjected to faulty DNA, so I can still follow the Word of Wisdom without making wheat the basis of my diet.

I use all plant foods to build my meals, but because we are encouraged to eat fruits in their season, I keep the high fat ones down to times when they are in season, which is in the winter, i.e. avocadoes, and nuts.  I don't eat nuts by the handfuls.  They are not meant to be eaten that way.  They are meant to be eaten by breaking them and picking them out of their shells.  I will rarely eat more than 5 a day on the special occassions that I do eat them.

I do eat some seeds, mostly chia, which I add to my baking.  One once has 9 grams of fat that is extremely high in Omega 3 fatty acides, as opposed to nuts that are high in Omega 6.  Chia is nearly a complete food and it is said that one tablespoon can sustain a person for 24 hours.

D&C 89 says to eat meat sparingly.  I would never judge or tell someone they were a bad person for eating meat, but we are told to eat it in the winter or in times of famine. It hurts my feelings very much when people tease me for being a vegan, so as to treat others as I would like to be treated, I don't do the teasing in reverse.

 I live in a 70 degree house, so my body thinks it's spring in the winter, and I have plenty of plant foods around me, so I don't think my body needs meat, if D&C 89 says I only need it in the "winter or time of famine. ''

If I was walking across the plains in the Willie/Martin Handcart companies, I would welcome the meat served to sustain my life, but I don't wait with baited breath for a 70 degree day so I can grill outside.  I am grateful that the Lord has sanctioned the eating of meat in time of need.  Had he said it was strictly forbidden to eat animals, I would not be alive today because my ancestors would have died crossing the plains.  There were days they were sustained solely by the fish they caught in the stream, or a rabbit on the trail, and nothing else.

On wheter to eat meat or not, one has to decide that for themselves because I have known people that just seem to need it.  We had an elder riding with us back home from the temple whose mother had been a vegan for years and she was ill for many years.  When she added meat back to her diet, she got well.  I would imagine, she just never found out the right combinations of plant foods to help herself heal, or she didn't get enough sunshine, or didn't supplement with B-12.  But, who am I to say.  The story he told of his mom reminded me not to judge.

The Word of Wisdom says we need to use prudence.  To me that means we need to think.  It takes study, and a good working knowledge of nutrition to be a vegan.  I know vegans that have lots of health problems because they think that all they have to do is stay away from meat, yet they eat a lot of vegan junk food like potato chips.  It would be better for them to stay away from the chips and eat a piece of chicken.

I find that the simpler my meals, the easier it is for me to stick to this way of eating, and the simpler the diet, the more it agrees with my digestive system.

It's not uncommon for me to have a bowl of oatmeal with frozen cherries in it for breakfast.  Rice and peas for lunch, and vegetable stew for dinner.  I have found that a bigger spread of food on the table lends itself to more indigestion, and simpler meals lend themselves to a much happier digestive system, and much lesss work, and much more time for family.

My boys don't seem to care if I only put a casserole on the table for dinner with some fruit, as long as there's enough to fill their tummies.

With this way of eating, I don't have one overweight child in my family.  None of them are underweight either, just healthy, and energetic. In fact, three of my boys made it to the top of Mount Elbert this past summer!

 DH has lost 35 pounds this year as well,  and we are very happy with each other's progress!

Just thought I'd share what I have learned as we approach the New Year.

This year is my first New Year in 40 years that I don't have the goal to lose weight on my New Year's Resolution's list.  Instead, I'm going to take a math class.

At 230 pounds and celiac sick in 2002.  I'm the one in the Salmon colored T-shirt under Mickey Mouse

Here I am in 2010 at 200 pounds, and still a suffering celiac.  At this point, I've been doing Eat to Live for a year, and having a lot of trouble with anxiety, dizzy spells, brain fog, acne, but feeling so much better about myself already, even though I had glutened myself that day, and wound up in bed with the pain the next.

DH and I a month ago before his second heart procedure.  I'm weighing in at 160 pounds, and feeling like I did on our first date, happy, pretty, and healthy, and able to do so much more, like going to a symphony with five boys between the ages of 4 and 16.  Anxiety levels are next to nothing, and I'm dealing with the most stress in my life, with the most capability.

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