Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lentil stew with sweet potato

Nothing I like better than making dinner in the morning (slow cooker) and forgetting about it until we are hungry for it in the evening.  Yesterday we had a dear friend (also a McDougaller) from out of town coming by in the afternoon after she had finished her job in the area.  I wanted to be able for us to have an easy meal together while we caught up on news and not spend much time in the kitchen.  This isn't a new recipe exactly but more of a stream-of-concsiouness-what's-in-my-fridge type of recipe.

2 cups red lentils well rinsed
4 cups water
1 can salt-free chopped tomatoes and juice
1 cooked Japanese sweet potato
1/4 cup red wine
1 TBS curry powder
1 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 cayenne pepper

Toss it all into a slow cooker and cook for about 4 hours or until lentils are cooked through.  The longer the better for the spices to blend.

I steamed kale and zucchini to go with it along with the usual steamed brown rice.  It was delicious and Bob and I are going to enjoy leftovers tonight.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

More good news

Farley and I enjoy helping people in person.  Farley just received an email from her friend Alison.  Alison's two adult children each had arthritis.  She herself wanted to lose some weight.  She had seen some of Farley's posts about our lifestyle and asked about it.  She also joined our soon-to-be defunct bulletin board.  She got some information and gave the diet a try.  She just reported that her kids' arthritis is better and she herself has lost 17 pounds.  This has happened in only nine weeks.  She gave us permission to tell others about her story and she is delighted. We are delighted too.  Congratulations to Alison and keep up the good work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spreading the good news

Farley told me an interesting story.  She was shopping yesterday and one of the sales ladies turned out to be a former high school classmate of hers.  As they caught up, she mentioned that her husband had suffered some sad health events - a stroke and a heart attack.  Although he is doing better now, he still has problems.

Farley told her my experience.  She had never heard of Dr. McDougall or Dr. Esselstyn or any of the plant based docs that we love so much.  Now she knows.  I hope that this will be her and her husband's luck day much as it was for me when I found out that I didn't have to put up with lousy health.

Helping people in person is really enjoyable.  Helping people online is also enjoyable except  there seems to be more than a few people that are not interested in getting better and resent those who do. Still, it is great when just a single person decides to really do what is necessary to get better.  Many of the people we have talked to have themselves spread the word with some success.  That is what it is going to take, because I do not see the government or the medical establishment leading the way.  My own cardiologist was totally disinterested in what I had done to reverse my heart disease once it was determined that I did not need heart surgery, which is really not that surprising.  Mark Twain once observed that you can't convince a man against his salary, and too many salaries depend on the status quo.  That is why we have to spread the good word that our health is really in our own hands for the most part.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Interesting Post over at McDougall Board

Jim just started a thread about the holidays over on the McDougall board. I have to confess that I posted a pretty negatively charged reply. Seriously, I cannot deal with the holidays this year, I just can't. I wish I could pull the covers up over my head and not come out until sometime in January.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Summing up, and Some Thoughts on Control Issues and Eating

Thanks, Bob, for giving me a place to post on this blog.
First, I'd like to try and summarize my eating experience over the past seven months. I had thought of myself as a McDougaller for a couple of years. My search for a better way to eat was triggered by a medical checkup which showed elevated cholesterol, and prediabetes. I started the McDougall plan weighing 225 pounds and initially dropped 50 pounds without too much effort. Then I got a lot less disciplined with my eating and was stuck at 175# for a long time. The truth about this "stall" is that I was addicted to food and was lying to myself about that. When I experimented with keeping a food journal, I found that I would be on plan ("good") for about three days in a row and then have a really spectacular cheat. The thing is, I wasn't noticing the frequency of the cheats...or I wasn't LETTING myself notice. I found myself showing addicted behaviors around food: sneaking food into the house, eating in private, wolfing the food down to get it all in before anyone could catch me eating, and having the sensation of watching myself acquire and eat the food, almost as if I were watching someone else. It was almost like some kind of sleep-walking; a deliberate unconsciousness of my actions. It was being in willing denial. When those pieces of the picture came together, I was shocked. At first, I tried to deny that this was happening. What? Addicted? ME!? Seriously, I had stayed away from addicting substances all my life because I'd seen addiction in action and wanted no part of it. Talk about unfair! But once the kicking and screaming was over with (figuratively) I had to admit that what I was doing sure felt and acted like an addiction.

Owning that truth turned out to be strangely liberating. I had been afraid to admit the addiction; feeling that doing that would make me feel weak and powerless. But what actually happened was that I gained a real sense of control. Once the problem was identified, there was a whole arsenal of tools for dealing with it, and I practiced every one I could get my hands on. I made a commitment to go "cold turkey" off all the trigger foods for at least a month. I kept a food journal,just for my own use. I practiced being completely honest about food both in private and in public. I embraced the concept that I was the only one who could be in total control over what I put in my own body.

Learning to plan ahead was a big part of making this all work. You've heard it before; keep the fridge and pantry stocked with the correct foods, don't let the incorrect foods into your house. Especially for the first couple of months, stay strictly away from all the "trigger" foods. Don't take even one bite. "Not ONE bite!" became my mantra. Making sure that there were "grab and go" foods in the fridge, and planning all my meals for each day became a habit, became natural. And the weight started to drop off again.

Right now, I'm at or around 140#, which is still about 20 pounds more than I want to be, but I've got the habits installed now: low calorie density foods; fresh whole plant-based foods; unprocessed foods, If you've read Dr McDougall's free plan or any of the books, you know what I mean. Life is about choices and I'm doing what I can to make sure my choices are good ones. A temptation or a craving is not a command to do something, it's a decision-point where you decide what you are going to do. Keep making the right decisions and those decisions will build on each other. Establish good habits and those habits will also build on each other. Control in one area grows naturally into control in other areas. So, with my food choices more under control, I find that I'm no longer biting my fingernails, and that I'm discovering that a lot of house cleaning can be accomplished, cumulatively, in small spaces of time. Don't try to change everything at once; take on the thing that is blocking you most, conquer it, and the rest will begin to fall into place. Or at least that's how it seems to me.

Right now, without going into too many unsettling details, things in my life feel like they are spinning out of control. It's the kind of feeling that used to send me running for fried foods and chocolate in an attempt to lose the emotional pain under a mountain of comfort food. This time, though, I am not trying to tranquilize myself with food. What I have realized is that there will always be things in life that are outside my control, but my food choices (and thereby, to a very large extent, my health) are completely under my control. There is still a part of me that could murder a bucket of fried chicken followed by a Whitman's Sampler, but it is my choice whether or not to give in to that feeling. And my choice is not to give in to that temptation, because to do so would amount to an act of self-destruction. There are moments when this feels really hard and I want to say "The heck with it. I'm angry and frightened and so very, very sad and I'm going to eat chocolate and damn the consequences!"  but resistance does seem to get easier over time. I am very much a work in progress, but there HAS been progress and that gives me incentive to keep on working toward better times ahead.


Back to the Future

For the last year, this blog has been inactive while we tried out a bulletin board concept.  The bulletin board had pluses and minuses, but in the end, we are going back to the blog.  The big advantages of the blog are the relative lack of spam and expense.  What we will miss is the more free interchange of ideas on the bulletin board.  To that end, I would like to invite others to become authors here at this blog.

Being an author does not require any commitment - it just allows the author to write posts here, as opposed to comments.  The posts can be as long as you like and contain pictures and links.  One spectacular success at the bulletin board was Cyn, who really tightened up her eating and achieved great success despite being stuck in her progress for a long time.  I hope that one of her first posts here will summarize her experiences.

But blog entries here can be on any subject you like if related somehow to a healthy lifestyle.  My lifestyle these days includes a lot of home renovation work, and I am off to pick up some siding for my house, so enough for today.

One thing to consider for any readers here - it has been questioned whether this blog should be public so that anybody could view it, or private so that posters could post more freely.  I can see advantages to both approaches and wonder what readers/participants might prefer.  The blog has always been public, which allows everybody access to the information.  We have had a few abusive comments however, and a private blog would solve that.  I could screen for legit members and that would not be too hard.  OTOH, we might miss out on some great members who would have no way to know about a private blog, so what do you think?

Monday, November 28, 2011

A New Healthy Lifestyle Forum

An idle mind is a dangerous thing.  I have been thinking about how the McDougall Board differed from the forum that Farley and I would like to belong to.  We are interested in focusing on people who are really committed to changing their lifestyle, and people who have already done so and want to help spread the word.

While browsing forum software, I spotted a cyber Monday deal that is probably too good to be true.   I don't want to give particulars until I am convinced that it is not a scam.  Buts right now I have a forum up and running, although the service seems slow.

But if anybody would like to drop in and register, I am interested in what people would like to see.  If what we decide becomes popular enough to warrant improved performance, we will do that.  I am really interested in exploring common ground amount our hero plant food docs, and sponsoring a place where controversial ideas may be discussed courteously.   I paid for the year, so if the hosting company stays afloat, this should be a fun adventure.