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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why I Love Being On a Low Fat Plant Based Diet

It is finally spring, now, and I'm so happy to be able to get out and do some yard work.

This is my backyard...

We bought our home last fall, and when we first moved in, I would get tired just walking up and down our hill once.  However, after six more months living on a low-fat plant based diet, a diet I have followed for 1 1/2 years, I no longer get tired.

For the past three days, since spring has begun, there has been much yard work.  I've been out working and have even been able to sprint around with no shortness of breath, chest pressure, or loss of energy.

I feel my cardiovascular health, even having just gone through winter has greatly improved.  Although I have been a vegetarian for many years, this being my second time around trying a low-fat plant based diet, (I abandoned it ten years ago when I thought it was making me sick and it turned out to be a gluten allergy), I have not experienced this type of stamina in 16 years which is pretty great because I am now a middle aged person!

The diet has not been hard to follow because I can eat when I am hungry and eat until I am full.  I do gain weight when I stuff myself which is hard not to do because the food is so tasty, but it is easily lost when I listen to my body and just eat when I am comfortably full.

Because of the carbohydrates I am consuming which are not carbohydrates obtained by sugar, white flour, and juices, I have a lot of energy.

I used to suffer from severe anxiety.  I no longer suffer from this condition, and I now know the anxiety was due to not getting enough carbohydrates in my diet.  Adding those back in, I now have mental clarity, and strength to handle the stresses of the day.  I am also sleeping better, as well.

The following conditions have disappeared since I started following the low-fat plant based diet as explained by John McDougall, M.D.  and Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.  Keep in mind, I follow a gluten free version due to biopsy diagnosed celiac disease, and some of those improvements may seem to have come from going gluten free, but I had these conditions for two years after going gluten free, so the diet definitely had an impact.......

1. Ganglion cyst in my right wrist
2.  Fibromyalgia
3.  Ulcerative colitis
4.  Gastritis
5.  Acne
6.  Exaggerated PMS (I still have a little bit but with less anxiety, I have less PMS)
7.  Cysts in breasts have shrunk
8.  Candidiasis
9.  Fluid in ears and tinnitis
10.  Low energy
11.  Knee pain
12.  Blisters on fingers
13.  SVT frequency has gone way down
14.  Pelvic pain
15.  Borderline Diabetic blood sugar.  My fasting blood sugar used to be 110 and now is 83.
16.  High blood pressure
17.  High cholesterol
18.  Neck pain and back pain
19.  Worries about about future chronic disease (I no longer have obsessive worries that I'm going to get heart disease or breast cancer)
20.  Bad breath and body odor.

A typical menu for me starts with oatmeal, blueberries, sweetened with carob powder for breakfast, a mid morning snack like a banana or apple.  For lunch I have a huge salad with a variety of chopped vegetables.  I crunch up a few Corn Chex (about ten squares) since I can't have croutons and I want a little bit of crunch in the salad, and my dressing is a mixture of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and one small squirt of stevia.  I probably have about six cups of salad for lunch.  Mid afternoon snack is another bowl of salad, about half of what I ate for lunch, or a half bowl of oatmeal, and dinner might be a layered Mexian Lasagne with corn tortillas, beans, bell peppers, onions, corn, salsa, or baked potatoes, salad, and a low fat plant based chili.  Dinner is where I tend to over-eat, and right before bed time, Yikes!  It's just so good.  I have many dinner recipes posted on this blog that I love that are hard not to over consume.

I lost 16 pounds altogether and I have 20 more to lose, which I hope will just melt off now that I'm able to work like a horse, and love it.

As mentioned on other places on this blog, DH has lost 75 pounds and he doesn't exercise and consumes a lot more food than I do.

I come from a people of pioneer stock with very efficient metabolisms.  Gaining weight happens for  my family members just by looking at food because having gone through a few generations of crossing the Plains while pulling handcarts and taming The West, and the great starvation that came with that experience, my family developed the ability to survive on very little food.   I have pioneers on both sides of the family, so I am doomed, and both sides of the family struggle with weight problems.

We gain weight very easily from eating just normal amounts of food.  This is the only diet I have been able to stay on successfully because I don't feel hungry all of the time with all of the fiber I am eating and the food is very satisfying.  I do not feel deprived, even on those days I count calories, which I only do as a check up to see how much I am eating.

I am not a sleek and slender person, nor do I expect to be.  But, I am thinner than the trend that's running on both sides of my family, and I am healthy.  That makes me very happy.  I hope to lose more, in time, but I am making good enough progress for my feeling of well being and happiness.

This photo was taken in October 2010.  I weighed 200 pounds.  I had been on Joel Furhman's Eat to Live and lost 32 pounds over two years time.  I got down to 196 and hit a plateau.
This was taken Christmas 2012.  I had been on Esselstyn's Diet for 11 months and lost 40 more pounds.  I got down to 158 pounds.  Prior to going on Esselstyn's diet 100% I had to have my gallbladder removed.  After surgery I gained 20 pounds, which is typical after gallbladder surgery (a consequence of convalescence and being able to eat what you want).  I have maintained my weight at 179 pounds since April 2013 without calorie counting or a dedicated exercise program.  I'm expecting to lose more weight with my increased activity, but I have no plans to change my eating habits, other then stop stuffing myself to the point of feeling like I'm going to burst.  We'll see what happens, but I'm not stressed out about it because I feel so good


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