With Farley's help, I intend to blog for a complete month everything I eat. Pictures and recipes will be posted as well where necessary. I will strive to make my diet really excellent, and in compliance with the teachings of my heroes - Drs. John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, and Jeff Novick. Dr. McDougall is a legend. Jeff Novick is/was my personal coach, and directly responsible for my health recovery. Dr. Fuhrman is a brilliant physician whose ideas have recently helped me greatly. I will try this month to eat a diet that would adhere to the teachings of all these great men. Although each has slightly different ideas, there is a large area of common ground, and that is where I will try to stay.
In addition to posting each day's meals with pictures and recipes, I want to challenge myself (and you if you wish to join) to try some new things. The main challenge is eat nothing but unprocessed and unrefined whole plant food. This should be a revelation to anybody who has never tried it. An additional challenge is to write down each day whatever refined or processed foods that you do eat. This too could be a revelation.
I also will periodically address some concepts that have made a difference for me in my diet. Today's concept is what Dr. Fuhrman call "Toxic Hunger." It is an important concept for me because, despite my excellent diet over the last 3+ years, my weight was still a bit higher than I wanted. (194 pounds at 6'0"). My wife got to a very trim weight eating a more liberal diet then I did - but we both noted that I ate a tremendous quantity of food. In part, I thought that this was a residual from converting to a McDougall/Esselstyn diet. It was so important that I adhered completely that I made sure that I was never hungry so that I would not be tempted to stray. I got used to eating a lot of whole plant food.
In his excellent book, "Eat to Live" (revised edition) Dr. Fuhrman distinguishes between Toxic Hunger and True Hunger. Toxic hunger is felt mostly in the stomach often as an unpleasant sensation of emptiness, and can be accompanied by a feeling of shakiness or belief that blood sugar is crashing (which it is not). However, this is not true hunger. It is just the body shifting gears once the stomach is empty.
When the stomach empties, your body stops digesting food and does a number of other important tasks, such as detoxification. During this time, you are operating on the food stores that you accumulated during the digestive cycle. This is when you really burn fat and repair your body.
Many people, such as me, consider this empty feeling to be hunger, and indeed, eating dispels the unpleasant sensations. I was in a cycle where I was constantly digesting food, because I always ate at the first sign of what I thought was hunger.
If you challenge yourself to skip a meal or two, you will notice that the unpleasant toxic hunger sensation subsides, and you can go for hours until you experience a different type of hunger, which is felt more in the throat. It is not such an unpleasant sensation, but you are definitely interested in food.
For the last few weeks, I have been eating only when truly hungry. My weight has dropped from 194 to 187 and I feel fine. I no longer eat breakfast since I am not truly hungry when I awake. Therefore, there is not breakfast listing for today. For those who need breakfast, a great choice is oatmeal with some fruit mixed in (no soy milk or rice milk - that would be processed).
The revised edition of "Eat to Live" is such an excellent book that I would recommend everybody get a copy. I really can't praise this book enough, and I will be discussing it more as the month goes on. So that is this morning's entry. For those who do not participate in the McDougall forum, I recently posted some before and after pictures of my wife Farley, which shows what this diet can do. The before picture is over 8 years earlier than the after picture, and this is the sort of change you should expect if you are unhealthy and overweight.