Friday, August 24, 2012
Trying Something New...Again
Hi-Di-Ho friends and family. As luck would have it I actually got a fair amount of positive feedback during my last foray into the blogosphere. For this reason you only have yourselves - or more likely, those that unfortunately chose to egg me on, to blame for this new idea on how to occupy myself during the next chapter of my life.
As luck would have it my dear, sweet Babooh is heading back to Africa to spend a bit more time on the Africa Mercy (click for blog) now that they are in Guinea. Since I'm staying home I've been trying to think of ways to occupy my time since the job search has not been fruitful. So I thought what could I do that would benefit me that might be of interest/ benefit to others?
I hit on the idea of doing a "Julie/ Julia" style blog wherein I would adhere to one or several of the many, many diet books that have proliferated in our home library. I have more diet books at home than I can count and like most people - I think- I flip through the book, try a few recipes, throw it aside and look for the next miracle cure. Sound familiar?
The other excuse I fall back on for all my failures is that I feel guilty making my dear hubby eat stuff that he's not crazy about. Now, he never complains. I know, he's a saint. But I still feel bad. So, with my dear one out of the country - there goes that excuse.
Another reason for my repeated failures is that I lose interest, steam, stamina, commitment. So, I thought- what if I did a series of diets that started with the most stringent, restrictive, etc... and then progressed to a more liberal menu as time went on? That might be do-able.
A few weeks ago as I was exploring this idea I culled through my library of diet books to determine which I was willing to commit to. For the past several years I've become more and more convinced of the health benefits of being vegan. I am an animal lover and the more I read about industrial farming methods, cattle stockyards, chicken coops piled on top of each other, how veal is raised, etc... It does give me a sad, sick feeling inside but after living for a bit in the third world I do also believe that a bit of free range animal protein, if that's all that's available is probably what the good Lord intended. OK - I admit. I have a closet full of leather shoes so my stance at this time is - I'd rather not be the reason an animal is killed for food but once the poor thing is dead I'll gladly display them on my feet. So - that's the brand of vegan I am.
For anyone that questions the science behind the dangers of animal protein, I implore you to read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD. What an eye opener! But let me back up a little. I first put my toe in the vegetarian pond when I was introduced to one of the many books written by Marilu Henner. I faithfully followed 30 Day Total Health Make-over, lost several pounds and became an active member of her fabulous website: Marilu.com. I've been fortunate to not only meet Marilu several times I've actually gone on vacation with her a couple of times, including a cruise. I can truthfully say that she is a very smart woman who has done her research and certainly walks the talk! The more I learn about nutrition the more I hear myself say - "Yup - Marilu said that years ago!"
As the years went by I learned more and came up with more excuses and continued to pack on the pounds since I rarely ate the way I should. I realize, I'm not so unusual. Then, several years later I went to the yearly VegSource Healthy Living Expo. This three day health extravaganza featured Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn - the famous heart surgeon as well as his son, the Fire Fighter, Rip - the author of Engine 2 Diet, Dr. John McDougall, also author of multiple diet books- well the list goes on and on.
Once again, I bought all their books, tried a few recipes, fell back into old routines and gained a few more pounds.
Two years ago my dear husband was kind enough to drive an hour north of where we live to attend a film I'd heard about called Forks Over Knives
This amazing movie about the dangers of animal protein was another eye-opening experience for the both of us. He started being more supportive of my efforts to decrease our animal consumption.
Then last year we saw the very entertaining movie by Joe Cross from Australia:
Joe's movie is a completely true story of how he decided to do something about his obesity and a chronic autoimmune disorder. He went on a vegetable juice fast while driving across America. His experience and the interviews of the people he met were an astounding message of how diet can affect your entire life both positively and quite negatively.
Since watching this movie I've started having home made vegetable juice for several meals a day and know I feel wonderful when I adhere to this regimen. Joe's website: Join The Reboot has multiple juicing recipes and plans for rebooting your health via adding juice and fresh produce to your diet.
All of the books, movies and websites I've shown here advocate a vegan diet for health reasons. So - I surveyed my diet book collection, culling out those that were not of the vegan variety.
I have several books from Dr. Neal Barnard of Physicians for Responsible Medicine, who advocates a vegan diet but in looking at his menus I saw a lot of sandwiches and other noodle-y dishes. Since I've noted a problem with wheat and gluten, I opted not to use his diets at this juncture. See how lazy I am? But I encourage you to look through his website and buy his books.
I also opted not to use Dr. McDougall's Maximum Weight loss Diet or the Engine 2 Diet because they had longer - 21 and 28 day plans that limited the number of diets I could try in the 49 days that My Sweet Babooh (AKA, MSB from here on out) - will be away. If all goes well with this experiment perhaps I'll continue on with the longer plans but for now I thought I'd concentrate on a few shorter plans that have been laying around the house, collecting dust.
OK - so the decision is....drum roll please. I figure I'll start with the Joe Cross, Reboot Long Weekend Plan which is all juice, all the time for the first three days. Then move to a plan several of my Marilu.com friends have raved about. Ani's 15 day Fat Blast A close friend and frequent health coach on Marilu's site blogged about her 15 day Fat Blast: Jill's Well on Ani's Fat Blast I only hope I do as well as she did. Jill - you're always an inspiration to me, if you're reading this! This diet has several days of just juice but then moves into salads and other raw delicacies.
After these 18 days I thought I'd move to The Raw Detox Diet I've done some of this diet before and I like that it has several phases depending upon how much or little you each raw food and or any animal products. In looking at the phases I think I'll do the two most stringent one week phases so that's the next 14 days. I do remember I really like a lot of the recipes and that it wasn't all just salads of varying types. That's 32 days
Next, I'm going to move on to The Raw Revolution Diet. I got this book from this amazing Raw Cooking School in Northern California The Living Light Culinary Arts Institute They have wonderful classes in raw food preparation for the home cook all the way to professional chef training programs. They have a six day plan that I'd like to follow - 38 days.
Finally - my current, very favorite vegetarian cookbook, textbook of all time that I have given to several people and recommend to everyone is Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Eat For Health". This amazing, two volume set has all the information and tools one needs in the first volume and then five different eating plans in the second. Genius! I'll talk more about the plans when I get to this stage but suffice it to say he eases people into eating more vegetables based upon where your current eating habits are right now. Since I'm pretty vegan and will have been 100% by this last week I'm just going to go with his 7 day plan 5 which is, of course, entirely vegan. That's 45 days by my count. MSB will actually be away 49 days but my sister is coming out for a week long road trip so there's the possibility that she might be willing to sign on for a week as a guinea pig or we'll do our best on the road eating vegan using my go-to website: Happy Cow
So - there you have it. My plan, along with a couple of classes I've signed up for, a few relatives that will be dropping into town and a bunch of exercise classes I'm hoping to take should not only keep me busy but give me something to write about.
I know today's post has been Looooong, but I promise to be less verbose as I describe each day's offerings. I encourage you to not only keep me accountable but let me know what you think would work for you or not.
I'm hoping that as time goes on you'll see me as a taste tester for you and yours. I'd like to find what works best as we all strive to create a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and our families. Most of the authors I've cited have noted that we can't depend upon our government and insurance companies to take better care of our health than we take care of ourselves. I encourage to you jump in, join me in the experiment and see how you feel while eating as cleanly as possible.
The vegan dieting challenge begins on Monday, August 27th. See you then.