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Harvest Time

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Are you ready to lose weight? Harvest time is a great season to make the transition to a whole foods plant based life. All the fresh fruits and vegetables are really beautiful, sweet and juicy! Many of them are locally sourced, picked ripe and at their peak flavor. Here in Michigan we are celebrating with fresh peaches, tomatoes, plums, melons, blueberries, blackberries, apples and of course cherries!  Everything is in season; plentiful with low prices and huge varieties.

    It’s way easier than you may think to give up animal products like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, milk and cheese. All the nutrition you need is readily available at every local grocery store without visiting the meat department. You can eat all the fruits and vegetables as frequently as you want so you won’t feel hungry. Limit the nuts and seeds due to their high oil content and thereby high calorie count.

    

    To cover your daily needs for protein, vitamins and minerals all you have to do is have a few servings of a combination from these food groups:

  • Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat, sweet corn, millet.

  • A handful of some nuts or seeds like walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, milled flaxseed, sunflower seeds, quinoa or chia seeds.  

  • Some fresh fruit including but not limited to apples, bananas, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, peaches, nectarines, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, pears, pineapple, grapes, raisins, apricots, dates, figs, grapefruit.

  • Some vegetables including lettuce, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, parsley, peas, green beans, black beans, chickpeas, lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, soy beans, bean sprouts, onions, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, bell peppers, squash, eggplant.

 

    Pick something to eat from each group. Your amazing body will break it down into amino acids (protein building blocks), carbohydrates for energy and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support your nervous system and cell walls. All this will be absorbed along with vitamins and minerals with no cholesterol in any of it. Take a vitamin B 12 supplement and you have fulfilled all of your body’s nutritional needs.

    Each of the above food groups contains choices that you already eat. Notice that oil, processed sugar, white flour and white rice are not in any of the lists. They are nutritionally empty calories with no fiber and do not belong in your diet.

    Lots of simple recipes along with testimonials and other educational materials are right here on this website. Take advantage of it and get started to lose weight and improve your health!

 

Click on my name for more about me along with some more in depth recipes @:

Dr. Allan Kalmus

I was reluctantly vegan but now I am enthusiastically whole foods, plant based, no oil!

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Harvest time

Harvest Time.jpg

Are you ready to lose weight? Harvest time is a great season to make the transition to a whole foods plant based life. All the fresh fruits and vegetables are really beautiful, sweet and juicy! Many of them are locally sourced, picked ripe and at their peak flavor. Here in Michigan we are celebrating with fresh peaches, tomatoes, plums, melons, blueberries, blackberries, apples and of course cherries!  Everything is in season; plentiful with low prices and huge varieties.

    It’s way easier than you may think to give up animal products like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, milk and cheese. All the nutrition you need is readily available at every local grocery store without visiting the meat department. You can eat all the fruits and vegetables as frequently as you want so you won’t feel hungry. Limit the nuts and seeds due to their high oil content and thereby high calorie count.

    

    To cover your daily needs for protein, vitamins and minerals all you have to do is have a few servings of a combination from these food groups:

Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat, sweet corn, millet.

A handful of some nuts or seeds like walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, milled flaxseed, sunflower seeds, quinoa or chia seeds.  

Some fresh fruit including but not limited to apples, bananas, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, peaches, nectarines, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, pears, pineapple, grapes, raisins, apricots, dates, figs, grapefruit.

Some vegetables including lettuce, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, parsley, peas, green beans, black beans, chickpeas, lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, soy beans, bean sprouts, onions, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, bell peppers, squash, eggplant.

 

    Pick something to eat from each group. Your amazing body will break it down into amino acids (protein building blocks), carbohydrates for energy and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support your nervous system and cell walls. All this will be absorbed along with vitamins and minerals with no cholesterol in any of it. Take a vitamin B 12 supplement and you have fulfilled all of your body’s nutritional needs.

    Each of the above food groups contains choices that you already eat. Notice that oil, processed sugar, white flour and white rice are not in any of the lists. They are nutritionally empty calories with no fiber and do not belong in your diet.

    Lots of simple recipes along with testimonials and other educational materials are right here on this website. Take advantage of it and get started to lose weight and improve your health!

 

Click on my name for more about me along with some more in depth recipes @:

Dr. Allan Kalmus

I was reluctantly vegan but now I am enthusiastically whole foods, plant based, no oil!

 

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Weight Managment

Two days ago my wife and I were grocery shopping and we bumped into a friend who we hadn’t seen in months. After we got past her looking over my grocery basket and my looking over her’s, she reminded me of how I had helped her get past a weight plateau. She is also a vegan and took the extra step of moving to a low oil, whole foods plant based life about a year ago. At that time, she was already in great shape but wanted to lose about 10 lbs. She and I went over her average daily diet and she agreed to make 2 small changes.

  1) She was stir frying vegetables using a little oil. Using 2 tablespoons of olive oil adds 240 calories. Cooking this way just 3 times a week adds 720 calories per week and 2880 calories per month.  Recommendation: Stir cook using vegetable broth or water instead.

2) She was eating peanut butter, snacking on nuts and sunflower seeds. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 190 calories; 140 calories from16 grams of fat. That means 74% of the calories come from fat. One serving (¼ cup) of Sunflower seeds contain 190 calories; 150 calories or 78% from fat. Ideally the percentage of your daily calories that come from fat should be less than 10%.  Eating one serving of peanut butter and/or sunflower seeds 5 days a week adds up to 950 calories per week and 3800 calories per month.  Recommendation: Snack on fresh fruit, vegetables and air popped popcorn instead.

Those 2 small changes made a huge difference and she reached her goal quickly.

      Once you reach your goal the next step is maintaining your weight. It is natural and normal for your weight to fluctuate. Many factors such as activity, stress, hormonal changes, medications, holiday eating, social activity, alcohol consumption and variations in which foods are available and how they are cooked are all contributory. Personally, my weight will vary by 3 to 5 lbs during any given week. Sometimes I can account for the changes and sometimes I’m clueless. The problem is never that I have lost too much weight either. Here is what I do to get back to my target.

 1) Get a scale. Don’t depend on a mirror or on how tight your clothes feel. Monitor your weight every few days to catch any undesirable changes early. Conversely, when you are trying hard to lose weight and having success it gives you rewarding positive feedback.

 2) Admit to your weaknesses. I happen to love pasta. My problem is portion control. Knowing that even whole grain pasta, while a healthy choice, can be “over served”. My solution is to use a small plate or bowl for the pasta and a big plate for salad and veggies. My stomach gets full and all I have to do is hold myself back from going for seconds (or thirds).

 3) Collect a few recipes for meals you like. It’s not hard to do. Check out the recipe section in the PBNSG.org website. Don’t be afraid to ask your server at a restaurant to make substitutions and to cook things without oil. I’ve ordered chicken cacciatore but hold the chicken and add some portabella mushrooms instead. They have never said no to me.

 4) Stay on track. Eat whole, unprocessed by a factory, plant based foods with no oil at every meal and for every snack. Stick with mainly fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit your consumption of nuts and seeds to just a small handful not more than 3 days a week. Stay in control of your portions.  

 You are in charge of everything you put in your mouth. Make good decisions and you will be amazed at how quickly and comfortably you will reach your goal. 

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Three Things You Can Do Now

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In 2013 I was feeling pretty good, taking my blood pressure medicine, my cholesterol medicine, using my CPAP machine for my sleep apnea and coping with random aches and pains in my back, knees and shoulders. I knew I was fat, wearing size XXL shirts and size 44 pants. My weight maxed out at 284 lbs the year before. By the end of that year I had managed to lose 10 whole pounds. Not much of a difference and I knew it.
 

When I decided to change my life I was lucky enough to have access to the information I needed to point me in the right direction. Here's my list of 3 things you can start doing right now:
 

1) Get some motivation from your television. Your TV is a remarkable teaching instrument. It captures your attention and allows you to stop, rewind and go over information as  many times as it takes to understand. If you have Netflix, watch Forks Over Knives and then watch Plant Pure Nation. You have all this great information available right in your own home. It's time to sit down and let it sink in.
 

2) Collect a few Plant Based Whole Foods recipes. Learn about things you can do to veganize food that you already enjoy. For example I love oatmeal for breakfast. I buy steel cut oats because I like the texture. It's available at any grocery store and also in most bulk food stores. Instead of cow's milk I like vanilla almond milk. Make a pot with 2 cups of steel cut oats, 4 cups of water, 4 cups of vanilla almond milk then spice it up. I put in varying combinations of cinnamon, a chopped banana, allspice, dried cherries, raisins, chopped dates, chopped walnuts and or chopped apples. All of that is from plants and nothing has been highly processed. I like to sprinkle on a tablespoon or two of milled flaxseed for the Omega 3 fatty acids once it’s in my bowl. My blog has a bunch of other simple recipes for spaghetti, macaroni, veggie burgers and ice cream substitutes that you're going to love. There are lots of vegan cookbooks out there. Pick one, like the Engine 2 Cookbook  or The Plant Power Way and flip through it. It will give you great results and give you an idea of the many substitutes you can use instead of oil, milk, sugar and meat! Once you collect 10 or 15 recipes to rotate, you'll never get bored.
3) Make a commitment to yourself. Set a time to get started. Changing your eating habits is the same as breaking any addiction. It takes your body a month to get over the withdrawal symptoms of an addiction. It's not a coincidence that the most effective substance abuse rehab programs are a minimum of 1 month. High fat, processed, sugary, salty processed foods stimulate the same pleasure center in your brain as opiates.  I chose New Year's Day and committed myself to do this for 1 year. By the end of the 1st month I had lost 20 lbs and already felt better physically and mentally. Three years later, I'm down 110 lbs and off the CPAP, off the meds and feeling great! We're all watching football and recovering from the holidays on New Year's Day. It's a great time to begin.
 

Here’s a chance to follow through with the same resolution you've been making every year and breaking every year. Make this the year that you commit to yourself. Your family and friends will probably poke fun at you. When you are committed to improving your own health you can laugh along and still stay on track. Nobody is going to do it for you!

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Eat Plants, Get Active, Lose Weight! Duh!

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Eat Plants, Get Active, Lose Weight! Duh!

 Summer is here! Time for outdoor activity including SWIMMING! Growing up and into adulthood swimming has been a favorite activity of mine. I love the water. When I was a kid, if there was a pool around, I couldn't wait to get in it. Getting me out of it was a problem! I remember some very pruney fingers and toes and quite a few epic, painful sunburns as well. Now we have the luxury of Sunscreen. Back them it wasn't available. That never stopped me, my cousins or my friends from getting out there and squeezing in every minute of outdoor activity we could during Michigan's short summer. We had no electronic distractions other than the TV, which had 3 channels, to keep us inside. The interactive devices that we used were called books. 

     In today's world, getting kids pried away from their electronic toys is a daunting task. Back in the 1960's it was all our parents could do to keep us inside! In the 1960's and 1970's only 5 to 7 percent of the children in the U.S and 13 percent of adults were obese. Now 17 percent of the children, 32 percent of adult males and 36 percent of adult females are considered obese. The statistics are worse if you are a Black (50%) or Hispanic (45%) woman.

        So what has changed? Lots of things! We eat more in general, more highly processed food in particular and we move around far less.

     Now what are we going to do about it? How about setting a good example for the people around you starting now with a plant based whole foods diet! When you make a change like this and start seeing the dramatic results in just a few months, people notice.  If you have children at home what kind of example are you currently setting for them? When they are young, they are going to follow the path on which you set them. Now think about the kind of example you would like to be setting and get started!

     Personally, I changed over to a whole food diet that is all plants with almost no oil. It took a little over a year for me to lose what turned out to be 103 lbs. just by simply giving up meat, chicken, fish, dairy, eggs and oil.

     Without all that extra weight holding me back I started running a mile at a time just because I could. Now I'm running a mile and swimming a mile 2 or 3 times a week. It bores the heck out of me, but I feel like something good has been accomplished when I finish. It is personal validation that I've chosen a healthy path toward a longer and  healthier future. The exercise is great for my cardiovascular system but it is NOT how I lost weight. That is totally due to converting to an all plant diet.

     We all know what to do. The only question is when will YOU be ready to do it? When I started I was 58 years old. Today I am 61 years young and feel younger every day. Now I have a grandson. He's the cutest! My goal is to watch him grow up to be healthy and strong so he can try and keep up with ME!  ;-)

Dr. Allan Kalmus

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Sustainable Weight Loss

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Sustainable Weight Loss

     I have struggled with my weight my whole life. When I tell you that this lifestyle is easy, sustainable and rewarding I'm speaking first hand. This is a diet with very few rules:

1) If it came from an animal, don't eat it.

2) If it has undergone processing that you couldn't do in your own kitchen, don't eat it.

3) If it is a plant i.e. vegetable, fruit, nut, seed or bean eat it!

     Speaking more directly toward weight loss and preventing heart disease, stay away from oil. There is no such thing as a "healthy oil". Whether it is derived from olive, vegetable, sunflower seed, coconut, almond or any other plant it still is calorie dense at 120 calories per tablespoon and has virtually no nutritional value. Oil is not a food group and has no place in a weight controlling, heart healthy diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are available through milled flax seed, chia seed and hemp seed. You don't need oil.

     Nuts and seeds need to be eaten in moderation. When I first transitioned to an all plant diet, my weight hit a plateau after losing 40 lbs. Not knowing what I was doing wrong, I attended one of the PBNSG lectures and realized  I was eating way too many nuts and seeds. As soon as I cut back to about 12 almonds every other day instead of eating half a bag full in one sitting, the plateau disappeared. Over the next 8 months I lost another 50 lbs. 

     It's going on 2.5 years for me now. My internist took away all my blood pressure and cholesterol pills a year ago because THEY were making me sick. He keeps monitoring me with lab work and blood pressure checks but can't find anything wrong with me anymore. I've lost about 95 lbs plus or minus 2 lbs. Other than counting out 12 almonds I don't measure my food. 

       The rules of eating healthy have been summed up before and they always say the same thing:  "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants".  That's just 7 words. Let's add one more word.  "Eat whole foods. Not too much. Mostly plants."

       For more information and encouragement, join us at PBNSG.org and start!

 

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Happy New Year!!! A Resolution Worth Keeping.

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Happy New Year!!! A Resolution Worth Keeping.

    Happy 2016 everyone! What a great time for making a decision to improve your health. I made my resolution to change my life 2 years and 1 day ago. It was so easy and so rewarding that I want to share the experience with anyone who will listen. As you may have guessed, I'm completely plant based whole foods now. I've reached my major goal of weight loss. My waist went from 44 to 32. I'm 60 years old now and my waist is where it was when I was 18.  

     I think I have a form of body dysmorphia. When I was 274 lbs, I didn't see myself in the mirror as fat. Now at 180 lbs, I don't see myself as thin. That means I have to depend on my scale and how tight or loose my clothes fit. It seems to be working. As long as I keep eating completely plant based with no added oil and just a handful of nuts a few times a week, my weight remains stable + or - 5 lbs. When it goes up a little, I usually know why and make adjustments. 

     Seriously. If you are reading this, you have to be at least curious if not already committed to improving your health through your food. Since you can't out exercise a bad diet and you didn't have the long term success you were hoping for with the diets you have tried in the past it's time to move forward. The recipes are delicious! I just came up with a Macaroni and Cheese recipe that's terrific! The recipe with pictures is on my blog.

     Heart disease, Obesity, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure problems respond so quickly to this simple change in eating that within a month you will notice a significant difference. Anyone can do this. It's cheaper than meat and very easy to maintain long term. Try it for a month. It will be much easier than you imagine. The only one that can make a difference for you is you!

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Plant Based Cross Country Road Trip!

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Plant Based Cross Country Road Trip!

I'm writing this on a plane, flying home following 3 days of driving.  My son got hired for his 1st job as a teacher in a suburb of Seattle, Washington.  I jumped at the chance to help him drive his car from Michigan. It was our first road trip together without the rest of the family; a time to bond. Neither of us had ever driven that many miles and we were excited to get started. We packed every square inch of his Pontiac with his clothes, books and precious vinyl record collection leaving just enough room for the 2 of us, my carry on and my little paper bag of plant based food.

Which brings me to an interesting problem. With very limited space, no refrigeration, unplanned stops and a 3 day road trip ahead, how does a newly Vegan like me maintain a healthy diet? It turned out to be pretty easy and very cheap.  I did a little cooking the day before.  The homemade veggie burgers that I enjoy so much travel really well! I bagged 12 of them, 2 per serving, with no buns and cooked BBQ sauce right into them so we didn't need to bring any catsup. They are oil free/fat free/mess free and could easily travel through 9 states in 80 to 90 degree weather without refrigeration. Perfect for a long, 2300 + mile drive.  We crossed the Mississippi River before we knew it. What I didn't expect was that my son, who is not a vegan, asked if he could try one.  He ate 6.

I was so happy!  With each of us doing half the driving, I had no doubt half our stops would involve someone asking me: "Do you want fries with that?"  Instead I found myself asking him: "Do you want fruit with that?"  My wife had packed my bag with fresh cherries, grapes, pears, apples and nectarines along with a sodium free bag of a fruit and nut California medley. Raisins, dried cranberries, almonds, pistachios and whatever else makes a medley also travels very well requiring no refrigeration.  A few handfuls of that stuff with a cold drink of water is way more filling than a bag of potato chips. Avoiding the extra Sodium had the additional benefit of eliminating the tendency for my ankles to swell on car trips.  I found that eating light helped keep me from getting drowsy while driving as well.  When we stopped for the night, we had no trouble finding restaurants that had menu items we both could enjoy. We even went to a Mexican Style place where my son had his usual food and I had a plate of butternut squash, rice and black beans (hold the cheese) along with a salad using red wine vinegar, a touch of Tabasco Sauce and a squirt of catsup as my improvised dressing. When we finally stopped for the night in South Dakota, we were both well fed, tired out and slept great! 

The hotel had a complimentary breakfast the next morning that included lots of fresh fruit and oatmeal that was dairy free. I cut up a banana, threw in some raisins and grabbed a cup of coffee for the road.

Since my personal supply of food had proved to be so popular, we stopped at a local grocery store close to our hotel. They had a beautiful selection of fresh fruits and vegetables to add to our bag.  That powered us through South Dakota, where we took a detour and explored The Badlands National Park and went on to Mount Rushmore.

They are about an hour apart. If you get the chance to visit, don't pass it up.  They are both breathtaking! Bring your camera. We weren't planning any side trips and I left my Nikon at home. Fortunately for me though, I recently picked up an LG G4 from Verizon. It has an obscenely fine camera built in and I was able to keep everyone posted on our travels in real time through the magic of Facebook and Instagram!  Lunch for me was a fresh salad, a plain baked potato and more coffee.  We stopped a few times for gas and bathroom breaks through the rest of South Dakota and made it most of the way though Montana, me powered by fruits, nuts and water.  

  The night sky in Montana was spectacular! The Milky Way graced the sky with its bright band and the stars looked like they were so close you could reach out and touch them. We found ourselves a comfortable hotel in Helena Montana not too far from the I 90 expressway and said good night. I don't think we even stopped for dinner. We were both doing just fine on our bag of healthy goodies. 

     The next morning we had another hotel breakfast almost equal to the previous day's. We still had our fruit from the day before and most of the fruit and nut medley.  We filled the tank again, washed the bugs off the windshield and off we went!  We were both stunned at how beautiful everything around us was. When we had reached the hotel the night before it was after 11 pm and the only light was from all those stars.  We hadn't even noticed the Rocky Mountains surrounding us.

Now, in the morning light, we found ourselves marveling at the natural beauty around every turn.  Our cell phone cameras were kept busy and we kept taking turns driving, taking pictures and recharging our cells with the phone charger. When we would change drivers every 2 to 3 hours, neither of us in the shotgun seat chose to snooze. We were having too much fun taking pictures and sharing the experience. We crossed into Idaho without even noticing. If there was a sign marking the border we both missed it. At it's northern region Idaho is very narrow. We crossed through it without even stopping for a baked potato.

     We bought some more gas and were welcomed by a relatively small sign marking the border with the state of Washington. We were both surprised by how many wind turbines there were and how sparse the vegetation. 

 

The yellow, dry ground stood in sharp contrast to the irrigated farmland separated by straight lines.  It was like a desert there complete with tumbleweeds. I don't know if that's normal for the region or part of the hot dry weather pattern plaguing the west. We could see very large areas blackened by some of the wildfires that were keeping the fire fighters and broadcast media busy.  Fortunately for us, we never smelled smoke or saw a fire.

     We were both doing fine on our supply of plant based whole food in the car and very excited to have crossed 2/3 of the country before noon on the 3rd day.  We agreed that, since neither of us was feeling hungry, and my son was so excited to see his new home, we would drive straight through. We stopped for bathroom breaks and gas but totally skipped a lunch break that day. The mountains started to get closer and greener as we drove west. I wasn't thinking about eating as the much higher chain of the volcanic Cascade Mountains began to loom in the distance.

Somewhere ahead of us was a traffic accident on the expressway. Google Maps saved us over an hour of frustrating traffic by routing us through some of the most beautiful country side anywhere. My son was driving and I started taking pictures in all directions. In many of them you can see what were once bugs shmearing the windshield. Even through the window the photos were coming out fantastic!  One of my cousins commented on a post that it looked like a painting.  That's kind of how it felt; like driving into a pastoral painting. It was relaxing just watching the mountains get closer.

        Not A Painting!

        Not A Painting!

Our friends, who live in a southeast suburb of Seattle, were putting us up for our 1st night. They had a BBQ planned and had very kindly let me know lots of veggies would be there.  Google Maps took us right to their driveway.  We parked and virtually ran to their front door bearing Sander's chocolates and milk chocolate fudge topping, a Michigan favorite that's unavailable this far west.  My wife and family love this stuff and loved the idea of us hand delivering it as a thank you.

Almost before I could ring the bell, the door was opened by a very friendly, welcoming complete stranger. We introduced ourselves and asked if our hosts were there.  He told us:  "No."  there was a pause....."they live next door!"  We thanked him and ran up the next driveway. The address was blocked by some leaves.

As we approached, they threw open the door and welcomed us to their beautiful home!  We exchanged hugs and kisses,  got the grand tour and settled in.  True to her word, lots of fruit and vegetables were washed and waiting on the kitchen counter.  She even had veggie burgers out just for me!  We all laughed when I told her in the past 2.5 days we had eaten 12 of them.  Having read my blog, she stood back and let me improvise.  

This was great!  Water was already boiling on the stove for fresh corn.  I put 2 ladles of hot water in a pan with a little salt, cut an onion  into 1 inch strips , a handful of shredded carrots, zucchini, a tomato and mushrooms, added a dash or 3 of Sriracha and water sauteed it for about 10 minutes, adding a little more water as needed and stirring constantly.  I felt like something was missing so their charming daughter stepped in and stirred for me while I ran to my car and grabbed our bag of nuts, raisins and dried cranberries.  They were roughly chopped on the cutting board and added to the pan with some lemon zest, 2 cups of chopped lettuce, kale and about a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.  No Agave nectar was on hand, but they had maple syrup.  As the nuts started to soften, I drizzled in a teaspoon of maple syrup, gave it a quick stir, let the little bit of excess water boil off and put it in a bowl to share.

Our host, my son and I enjoyed it but the girls weren't having any.  Neither of them will have anything to do with Sriracha.  Yes it came from their fridge but it was something that only the males of the family liked.  Bottomline, we all had plenty of food and a lot of fun!  The weather was perfect and unlike Michigan, there were no bugs so we sat outside and talked for awhile.

The sun was getting low and they wanted to go to the water to watch it set.  We were still a little early so they took us across the bridge to take some pictures with the city of Seattle and the Space Needle in the background.  

We jumped back in the car, crossed over Lake Washington,  walked along the beach, took some more pictures and let the Sun disappear behind the ring of mountains and clouds.  We stopped at Starbucks and I got treated to a Tall black coffee. They called me boring.  Seattle takes its coffee seriously. We stayed up a few hours talking, watching Netflix and trying to adjust to the 3 hour time difference. Everyone had to work in the morning so we didn't stay up very late, local time. For us it felt like 2 a.m.  I relaxed and fell asleep secure knowing that my son had been so welcomed by our Seattle friends.

On Monday morning we made plans to get together after work.  My son and I got a lot done that day. In addition to finding his apartment, unloading the car and finding a store that would deliver a bed the same day, we explored Kirkland a little. One of my friends who I knew in middle school through college even stopped by.  She was also so welcoming to my son, exchanging phone numbers and inviting him over for upcoming holiday dinners! That visit was too brief. 

There are a large variety of restaurants in the area. We picked a middle eastern place a few blocks from Lake Washington. I had a falafel with lettuce and tomato in a pita but hold the tzatziki sauce. I know they're fried in vegetable oil. I'm not perfect. I was on vacation! Don't judge. I feel guilty.

We got back in the car, found a Costco to stock up on basics, get a bunch of fruit, vegetables, grains and staples for his kitchen and then stopped at Target for more apartment essentials.  We were done!  Back we went to his place, unpacked his things and the truck pulled up with his bed right on time!  Dinner in Kirkland that night was full of charming company, great food and beautiful scenery. The greater Seattle area is loaded with vegetarians and vegans. Everywhere we went I had great foods from which to choose with very little or no modifications necessary.  My son was comfortable and although I knew we'd miss him being so far away, I left happy knowing that he was beginning this next phase of his life with good friends, a great job and a fantastic location.

The bottom line is, travel for a vegan like me is no more challenging than it was before I switched. The pre-travel food preparations that my wife and I made were helpful, but we would have been fine without them. Any anxiety I felt about maintaining my lifestyle away from home was unwarranted. Bonus!!! I lost 3 whole pounds in a 4 day weekend trip!  Lifestyle is 90% mental and 10% mental! Geography has no bearing. The only barrier is within you!

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Choices, Choices, Choices.

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Choices, Choices, Choices.

Arugula salad, chickpeas, tomatoes, shredded carrots, mixed veggies, beets, dried cranberries, pickled peppers

Arugula salad, chickpeas, tomatoes, shredded carrots, mixed veggies, beets, dried cranberries, pickled peppers

 

     First, Let me wish a hearty Mazel Tov to Emma and her family celebrating her Bat Mitzvah.  A truly outstanding Torah reading! We were honored to be included!

     The meal that followed was served buffet style leaving me open to choose and I  choose health! In doing so I passed on the roast beef, chicken and the variety of pasta and other mixed salads containing mayo. I totally filled my plate with 8 of the 10 fresh plant based foods on the table. Passed on the onions.  The pickled peppers served me well as a dressing alternative. The dessert table included, at the center of all the baked goods, a big platter of colorful fresh fruit. I ignored the baked goods.  

     My choice is to eliminate all animal products and all oil from my diet. In so doing I've lost 96 lbs, reduced my total cholesterol to 137 and my blood pressure to 105/72. All that with no pills, surgery or regular exercise. 

     I'm a firm believer that a whole foods plant based diet with little or no oil is the healthiest long term sustainable diet out there. The hard science supports my personal experience. Seriously, what's more important than your health?

"The healthy man dreams 1000 dreams.

The sick man dreams but 1." - author unknown

Choose health.

Dr. Allan Kalmus     01Reluctantvegan.blogspot.com

 

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Five Tips For Long Term Weight Loss

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Five Tips For Long Term Weight Loss

 

FINDING A WAY TO BETTER HEALTH

             

My great niece and me 3 years ago.

My great niece and me 3 years ago.

     That's me with my great niece 3 years ago and another picture of me today with my grandson. If you want to talk about motivation to lose weight, I'm holding mine. Looking back, it's hard for me to imagine myself comfortable when I was so big. The truth is I wasn't comfortable, but I couldn't see that it was due to my weight. One hundred pounds of excess weight just crept up on me at the rate of about 5 lbs per year. The problems that come along with obesity such as high cholesterol, back and knee pain, lack of energy, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart burn, fatty liver, kidney and heart disease creep up on you too. As they appear, your Doctor usually writes a prescription or three, tells you to lose weight, shakes your hand if you're lucky and moves on.  Year after year I would promise to eat better and get more exercise. Sometimes I would try for a few weeks or months but most of the time I just took my pills and didn't even try.

           My grandson and me 9-27-2015

           My grandson and me 9-27-2015

     After losing the weight and keeping it off over the past year and a half, I started to pay more attention to the stories people were telling me about their own struggles. 

The most common things I would hear: 

1)  "I don't eat that much." 
2)  "I'm going to join a gym."
3) "I know I drink too much soda pop/beer every day."
4) "I'm busy and eat a lot of fast food."
5) "I've tried to lose weight and I don't know what I'm doing wrong."

 

Here are my 5 common replies:

 

1) Keep a food diary.

     You may be surprised by the amount of food you eat in a day. A simple way to actually find out is to keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat or drink including water. Note the time. Be honest and write down the approximate portion size as well.  If you drink coffee with milk and a sweetener, the coffee the milk and the sweetener are 3 separate entries. If you add sugar to iced tea write down how many teaspoons. If you make a sandwich write down how many slices and what type of bread. Include separate entries for how many slices of meat , how many tablespoons of peanut butter, mustard, jelly, mayo, catsup, lettuce, peppers, pickles etc. If you ate some potato chips with lunch, had an apple, a glass of pop, more water, be honest with yourself and write it down. Same thing with every meal and every snack. Do it for at least a week. You are training your brain to pay attention to everything you put in your mouth. This is just between you and your diary. No one else has to see it. You may find yourself eating less and making better choices just because you don't want to write down that donut or that second glass of pop. You may surprise yourself and lose a few pounds just by doing this simple thing.

2) Increase your activity. 

     It's great that you want to be more active, but you don't necessarily need to join a gym. Activity will tone you but it's very hard to lose weight by exercise alone. There are plenty of things you can do in and around your home or work. Start by setting aside just 10 minutes a day. Go for a 10 minute walk. Put on some music, stand up and move to it for 10 minutes. Walk up and down some stairs. Combine running in place,  jumping jacks, push ups, sit in a chair, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, repeat for 10 minutes. As you get stronger and healthier, if you still want to joint a gym, do it!

3) Stop fighting yourself.

     When you tell me you know you are drinking something or eating something that you think is in the way of your goal, stop doing it! That's an argument you are having with yourself. You are telling me you know one simple thing you could be doing on the road to improving your health and you are consistently choosing not to do it. To lose weight and to keep it off, you have to make good choices. This is going to be a lifestyle change for you. The extra weight did not get there overnight. It's going to take time to get rid of it. You are going to make mistakes along the way. That is part of the learning process. Nobody is perfect. You will find real foods you like that are healthy to replace the things that you know are contributing to your problem. You have to make good choices. Nobody can do that for you.

4) Plan your meals and snacks in advance. 

     To avoid fast foods that are bad for you may take a little planning. I like to pack some fruit with me in case I get hungry during the work day. Most days I brown bag it with one main dish packed in a container prepared the night before. Since I only eat whole foods that are plant based and I don't use any oil, I had to do some reading to learn how to cook this way. Once I got started it kept getting easier. Now I hardly ever use a recipe and just stick to the basic no animal product and no oil ideal.   In today's world I'm finding that almost any restaurant will have healthy choices available. Even the chain restaurants. If you are afraid that you won't be able to resist the fatty, salty, sweet items that you are addicted to, simply don't go in. Have a little faith in yourself, but avoid temptation until you kick the habit of  eating high fat and high calorie foods with low nutrient density. The part of your brain that is addicted to these heavily processed foods, has to go through withdrawal.  It may take you a week or a month to get there, but you will. These foods have been engineered to feed your addiction. It's hard to give them up. But you can do anything for a week. When you start to feel better, you may set a new goal of 2 weeks, a month, a year; whatever it takes to make yourself feel better. Try it for a week. See what happens.

5) Have your questions answered.

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     If you don't know what you are doing wrong, congratulations. You have come to the realization that you must be doing SOMETHING wrong! By reading this blog and exploring this website you are taking a step in the right direction. Everyone who has successfully changed their lifestyle to lose weight or to improve their health started by looking for help.  There are movies and books available at the website Forks over Knives.  There are lots of books that can educate you on a Plant Based Whole Foods lifestyle. I like The Whole Heart Solution by one of our founders, Joel Kahn, MD. Stop him in the aisle at a meeting.  Take a selfie.

 PBNSG.org is a really great place to start. There is no charge to join and there are a lot of really smart, highly qualified, educated people eager to answer your questions. YOU have to ask them though. We're here to help guide you through the transition to improving your health. Please take advantage of us, join us (no fee), come to lectures (small fee). Listen anonymously  or introduce yourself to everyone in the room. We are here just for you. I promise you, when you ask us a question, we will get get back to you quickly and make you feel like you are the only one in the room.  Start making good choices. I know you can and we'll help as soon as you're ready.

Dr. Kalmus     01Reluctantvegan@blogspot.com 

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Everything Changes...

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Everything Changes...

  

That's me in September 2013 on the left and me August 3, 2015 on the right.  Weight loss is achievable and sustainable.  I didn't have surgery, take a magic pill, join a gym or get hypnotherapy. All I did was spend some time reading about a whole foods plant-based way to eat, bought one cookbook to get some basics, set a date and changed course.       

Now I’m 13 lbs away from my goal of losing an even 100.

It took about 3 months to unlearn what I thought was a healthy diet and accept that everything my body needs can be provided by plants.  I lost 40 lbs in 2 months.  Then I learned about calorie dense, nutrient poor, harmful foods like oil. Make no mistake; there is no such thing as healthy oil. Learning to cook without it took less than a minute. No kidding.  The list of alternatives to oil is long and deliciously simple.  I picked vegetable soup stock for cooking and applesauce or bananas for baking. When I cut down on nuts, which are healthy but calorie dense, my weight loss gained momentum.

After a year I plateaued.  THAT's when I joined a gym and started getting some exercise.  You can't out exercise a bad diet, but you can benefit tremendously from exercise and a healthy diet.  I broke through my plateau and lost an additional 15 lbs.  Now I'm 13 lbs away from my goal of losing an even 100.  Now, in the home stretch, I'm drinking more water.

I didn't start out with a step-by-step plan.  There was that 1st step that put me in motion.  The steps that followed were small and simple. I learned by making mistakes, reaching out for guidance and making small changes that led to more small changes.  When you put a lot of small changes together, EVERYTHING changes!

 
 
Dr. Allan Kalmus

01Reluctantvegan.blogspot.com

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"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

In my practice I've been noted to quote the well known philosopher, Yoda, from time to time.  

If a patient has a broken foot and I ask them if they have been following instructions and staying off of it the answer is usually "I'm trying to."  To me that's the same as, "No. I walk on it."

steps.jpg

My experience with a plant-based diet was all in from day 1.  But that's the day I chose to go all in. It's not the day I first started to learn about a vegan diet. The learning part took me months. I went through many steps before I decided to just go ahead and do it. 

I like that the character on the top is green! Every step is one that I had to take to get to where I am now. The only one I skipped was "I'll try to do it."  Since I am of the Yoda axiom, the words "try to" were replaced with "have to."  That makes a big difference.  There is no room for failure when your own health is at stake. 

This site is an excellent resource to help your transition to a healthy life.  There are stories of success that will encourage you to get past the beginning and make it all the way to the top and stay there!  Once you recognize the huge difference between CAN'T DO IT  and  WON'T DO IT, you become empowered.  

There is no room for failure when your own health is at stake.

Start reading some of our stories. They are compelling.  Take the time to watch "Forks Over Knives," available on Netflix. Make the commitment to make healthy choices regarding what's on your fork before you're forced to have a surgeon do something with a knife.  Ask questions. We're here to help. It won't cost you a thing and may save you everything!  

I'm all in. Which step are YOU on?

Dr. Kalmus

 

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Yes, I said "cold turkey"

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Yes, I said "cold turkey"

Last week, I did a survey asking my readers what their thoughts were on the best way of transitioning to a whole foods plant-based or Vegan diet.  Is it best to do it gradually or just do it? The overwhelming majority from the group that have stuck with it for a year or more did it, excuse the expression, "Cold Turkey".  That's what I did and it really wasn't all that traumatic. I had done some reading prior to making my decision by following my friend Joel Kahn, M.D. on his blog and Facebook pages.  After reading his information daily about the effects of food on my cardiovascular system for about 3 months, my mindset had changed. I went from thinking "This is something that I could NEVER do" to deciding "this is something that I HAVE to do!" Once my mind was made up, I set a date and just did it.  That was January 1, 2014 when I weighed 274 lbs, had high blood pressure and high cholesterol with back pain, shoulder pain and knee pain.

It's now June 18, 2015. My weight is 189 lbs, my blood pressure is 112/72, my total cholesterol is 139 and I have no pain anywhere! This is fantastic! No more medicine for any of that and I can even walk fast, jog, ride a bike and go up and down stairs without feeling winded. I'm playing golf with no shoulder or back pain either.  I still suck at it, but I'm playing and happy! 

"Food is for health, Medicine is to treat sickness."  Ask your Doctor for help, but don't rely on him to make you healthy by himself.  He just can't do it without your help!  Do your reading. Make up your mind and set a date.  Mine was a New Year's resolution that I actually was able to keep!  Don't wait until you have no choice. Make an effort to prevent that heart attack, avoid that stroke, protect yourself from Diabetes by simply eating right. You choose what you put in your mouth. Do some reading and get started.  By reading this you've already taken the first step.  Now is the time to keep going!  Join us at our monthly PBNSG support group next Wednesday and find out more. 

Dr. Allan Kalmus

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Whole Wheat Bread. Plant Perfect! #OilFree

Whole Wheat Bread

I love to bake when it's cold outside. I know its July, but I live in Michigan. We do have 4 seasons here; Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and 3 months of bad sledding. Our summer was Sunday when it hit 85. Now it's Tuesday and its 64 so time to bake!!

Don't be afraid to eat some bread on your diet. Making it yourself with no oil, no egg, no milk and no nuts reduces the calories significantly. You can eat a few slices and still lose weight!

Whole wheat bread makes the whole house smell like home. I like to add different flavors and spices to give it a little kick. You can choose sweet with your choice of raisins, chopped dates, dried cherries, banana, zucchini, apple sauce, cinnamon, maple syrup, etc. or savory with salt, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, onion, garlic, jalapeno or a combination. That's the beauty of baking it on your own. You get to cater to your personal taste! As a member of PBNSG.org, I choose to make my bread oil free and nut free because I'm trying to make it as heart healthy as possible. That's my choice but you get to do what's right for you! I give it texture using ancient grains like Pearled Farro, also available as Spelt and Pelted Wheat. Its high in protein with 18 grams per 1/2 cup dry, no fat and 10 grams of fiber and that's just the Farro. The numbers are even better when you include the whole wheat flour. Pretty good for bread!

 

Makes 2 loafs.

Plant perfect.

 

Recipe:

3.5 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 oz rapid rise instant yeast

1.5 cups warm water

1/2 cup Pearled Farro

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

2 TBS dried rosemary

 

Cook the Pearled Farro per package directions then drain and set aside.

 

Add the yeast to the warm water and let it activate for 10 minutes. Put the Farro and everything else in a bowl and knead it into dough by hand or with a mixer and dough hook. Once the dough has stopped sticking to the bowl pat it down, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place the bowl in a warm area to rise for an hour.

Once the dough doubles in size, smash it down, divide it in half, put it in 2 loaf pans, cover it with a damp cloth to let it rise again for another hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the dough has risen to the top of the pan, bake it for 35 minutes. Let it cool, slice it up and enjoy!

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Your Health: Are You Reactive or Proactive?

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Your Health: Are You Reactive or Proactive?

Last year at my annual physical I shared my choice to be Vegan with my Doctor.  The "BIG" question was, what made me choose to do this?  My answer brought a satisfied smile to his face and the comment: "That's the message you should share with everyone!"  So on the advice of my Doctor, this was my answer:

Dr. Kalmus in September, 2014

Dr. Kalmus in September, 2014

 "I'm almost 59 years old and I took a look at myself and the path I was on and I didn't like where I was heading.  My weight was a problem, as it had been for almost all of my life.  I was taking pills to lower my cholesterol and blood pressure and pills to fight depression.  My back was hurting, my right knee was hurting and my family was fearful that I was a "walking time bomb" with heart disease, kidney disease, Diabetes or even a stroke in my future.  I love my family and hated knowing that they worried about my health, even though I thought I felt fine.  I made the decision to be proactive about my health rather than wait for something to go wrong and be reactive."

My Doctor then shared with me that he became a Vegan 5 years ago.  We talked about some food ideas and stories about weight loss, reversal of heart disease and various studies all supporting a plant based diet.  He talked about President Clinton's choice to become a Vegan and how much he had improved his heart health after living through his heart surgery.  Now, whatever your politics, I hope you will agree that President Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, is a very intelligent man.  Yet, he made the choice to be reactive rather than proactive.  Better late than never!

Many things are beyond our control. But what you choose to eat is not among those things. Make good health choices now, rather than wait for a future where you regret the choices you made and you have no choices left. It really is up to you!

Generally, I'm about as bad a procrastinator as any one of you.  Probably a lot worse than most of you.  I wait for things to go wrong and then react to them.  After reading a little bit about the obvious health benefits of a plant based diet, I made a proactive choice, a New Year's Resolution (1/1/2014) and jumped on the Vegan band wagon. I have nothing but positive things to say about how quickly and easily I lost the initial 30 lbs, how my back and knee pain have disappeared and how my blood pressure has stabilized at a healthy 112/72, all within my first 90 days.
 

Dr. Kalmus - June 2nd, 2015 - Same shirt

Dr. Kalmus - June 2nd, 2015 - Same shirt

I'm almost 60 years old now. Its been 17 months and I've lost 85 lbs. No more cholesterol medicine. When last checked my total cholesterol was 141 with no medications. I have no intention of going back to my old ways and am looking forward to the impending improvement in the weather so I can get out with my wife to walk the dog, to ride my bicycle again, jog a little and even play golf without pain. Yes, exercise. ME!

So, realistically, we all have to look forward to a day when are going to have to face our own fate. As my friend, Joel Kahn, M.D. writes in his book, Dead Execs Don't Get Bonuses, "None of us are getting out of here alive." The big variable is how far in the future is that going to be and how will the choices we make right now, today, this hour, this minute, affect what that fate will be.  Many things are beyond our control.  But what you choose to eat is not among those things.  Make good health choices now, rather than wait for a future where you regret the choices you made and you have no choices left.  It really is up to you!

What's it going to be:  Proactive or Reactive?

 

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Finding my voice...

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Finding my voice...

Above is a before picture as a Carnivore and my after picture as a Vegivore.  My great niece got bigger and I got smaller. It's dramatic to see the difference! I feel really good! After looking at my pictures, my wife and daughter had curiously-similar answers...

You used to eat all the time.
— My daughter
You still eat all the time.
— My wife

The amount of food I eat has gone up, not down.  I just don't eat meat of any kind and very little oil. 

Drs Kahn and Kalmus

I recently was asked by Paul to volunteer and share my story with a wider audience.  I get to write articles about weight management, contribute recipes, and speak to his ever-growing group of plant-based members. The last time I spoke in public was 1972. Up until now, I didn't really have anything to say! I still don't think I have much to say, but I am so grateful to my old friend, Dr. Joel Kahn, and to Paul for his encouragement that I've agreed to share my story.  I was convinced that changing to a Vegan lifestyle was the smart thing to do BEFORE developing any severe health problems.  Listening to a group of very smart people helped convince me.  I'm hoping by example I can get a few more people to see the difference plant-based eating can make for them and look forward to answering any questions regarding plant-based weight loss along the way.

You can do this!

You can do this!

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What's your motivation?

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What's your motivation?

Staying healthy for my family. How about you?

Staying healthy for my family. How about you?

If you are like me, this isn't the first time you are looking for help controlling your weight.  I'm 59 and have been yo-yo dieting most of my life. There are so many programs from which to choose. Most of them are based on some type of research (read Whole to discover the limitations of current nutritional research), some of them are a quick fix, and others are based on questionable science that may even be harmful. Before you choose, I highly recommend you see your doctor and have a physical. Not only will this give you a solid baseline documenting your current weight, blood sugar level, cholesterol numbers, kidney, thyroid and liver function, but it will help you target the area or areas on which you need to focus. Your doctor also may pick up on a number of other things needing immediate attention so get your physical before you move forward.

Remember that “Genetics load the gun but lifestyle pulls the trigger.”
— Philip J. Goscienski, M.D

 
Have you been diagnosed with a medical problem such as Diabetes or does Heart Disease run in your family? Have you become complacent, accepting the fate of your parent's as your own?  Do you look in the mirror or get on the scale and not like what you see?  Have you recently lost a loved one or a friend to what could be considered a diet-related illness? Are you taking a number of different medications and looking for a way to reduce the amount? Remember that "Genetics load the gun but lifestyle pulls the trigger." You would probably not be reading this if your current eating and activity habits were healthy. This is a chance to change direction and learn to take care of yourself. If you are already suffering from a food-related problem or if you have just decided that it's time to start taking better care of yourself to avoid future illness, this may be the answer.

More moments

More moments

Now that you are ready, think about how and why you are motivated to do this. Are you motivated to do the research on your own? If so, this website and all the people associated with it will be a valuable resource providing you with real science, recipes, and plenty to read. If you have a question during your research, we will help you as little or as much as you want. Our volunteers and Directors include doctors, personal trainers, chefs, dietitians, and experienced plant-based eaters -all are eager to help if you need it. Your questions will be directed to the person or persons best suited to give you accurate, constructive answers. We are also tied into an international network of plant-based professionals. If we don't have the answer immediately, we can find it. 


For those people who prefer social interaction to provide motivation, we have resources for you as well. We have Small Groups where you can interact with others at different stages of Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) transiton - the plant-skeptics, plant-curious, and plant-strong. The meetings are casual, insightful, and provide a non-threatening environment within which to ask any question and sample some fantastic plant-based food! There are market tours to teach you what to buy, what to avoid, and how to read food labels. We make arrangements at plant-based compliant restaurants for dinner meetings open to everyone interested in trying some delicious food. There are group meetings with local speakers and cooking demonstrations. Then we have our large monthly meetings featuring speakers that, just this year, have included Dr. Joel Kahn (our local super star!), Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn from the Cleveland Clinic and the movie Forks Over Knives, and Dr. Neal Barnard, a prolific author and founder of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. A small $5.00 fee or donation of your choosing may be collected at the door of the monthly meetings to help offset the expense of the venue. 

Personally, I’ve lost 85 lbs in 16 months without exercise.
— Dr. Allan Kalmus


We are the largest Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group in the United States. How you found us doesn't really matter. It's free to join and you can be as active or as passive as you like. We are always looking for volunteers. We all have our own stories and motivating factors. Some of the stories are truly inspirational.

Me in 2014

Me in 2014

Personally, I've lost 85 lbs in 16 months without exercise. I've been keeping a record of my recipes and progress in a blog. My cholesterol level went from 234 to 141 without medication. I didn't have a personal medical scare. My best friend and my cousin both died from heart disease within a year of each other. At the age of 58, it was just time for me to make a change. I listened to some very smart people and they helped guide me, answering my sometimes silly questions along the way. I've made lots of mistakes, but I do the best I can to stick to the basics. Nobody has judged me. The benefits have been truly remarkable and I feel as good as I've ever felt in my life.

Me today...you can do it!

Me today...you can do it!


So get started. Find the movie Forks Over Knives, available on Netflix, and see if you learn a few things. If you are not happy with your weight and you just make a few healthy changes, it’s still better than continuing with the habits that got you to this point. I was surprised at how easy it is to take control of what goes in my mouth. Who chooses what YOU eat?


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How I Eat To Lose Weight.

   I've been a Vegan for over 15 months and every day I learn something new.  I've lost 80 lbs. so far just by adapting my lifestyle to plant based. The question of my daily menu frequently comes up. Since I cook for myself, I'm the only one who puts any limits on what I eat. Most days, I'm eating "Plant Perfect"  leaving out all animal products, oils, processed sugar and even nuts. Dr. Esselstyn and Ann Esselstyn associated with the Cleveland Clinic have written extensively on the subject. Please click on the above links for information presented with clarity.

     We do go out to just about every restaurant that everyone else enjoys as well. Many restaurants have selections that are already plant based. Some are happy to let me order "off the menu" and others may have items that I can substitute. For example, at a local Italian restaurant, I can order chicken cacciatore, hold the chicken and substitute portabella mushrooms. I have also ordered a sliced chicken breast salad, hold the chicken and cheese, add a ripe avocado with raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  Just as delicious and really not a problem for the kitchen. They have the items in the kitchen and they're probably saving a few bucks. At those meals I'm "Plant Strong" as described by Rip Esselstyn in his book The Engine 2 Diet. There may be some olive oil involved, some nuts, avocado, etc. but its still all plant based with very, very little saturated fat. I can be just as social as I want, eat a plant based menu without requiring a "Vegan" venu.

     Food Log

If you are trying to lose weight, this is something I recommend you start to do too. There seems to have been a disconnect between my brain and my stomach most of my life. I would eat when bored, hungry, tired, social, lonely, happy, sad, to fall asleep, to stay awake until I couldn't eat any more. There was no accountability. When I started to keep a "Food Log" and could see in writing how much I was taking in, I was taking control and I was amazed! I could have fed a family. Remember to write down EVERYTHING. That means if you have a cup of coffee, write it down and include anything you added. If you make a sandwich include every slice of bread, condiment, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, etc. If you make a salad include each vegetable, spice, salt, pepper, dressing, fruit and garnish. If you have a drink, write it down whether its beer, wine, alcohol, water, soda, tea or juice. I found myself suddenly feeling full just by reading my log.

Here's my log for today:

7:15 a.m.  Smoothie - 10 oz. (blended strawberries, banana, sweetened vanilla almond milk, pure maple syrup and Chia seeds), one Bosc pear, one cup of black coffee.

9:30 a.m.  One cup of black coffee.

12:15 p.m. Steel Cut Oatmeal - 16 oz. (steel cut oats cooked the night before with sweetened vanilla almond milk, water, dried cherries, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg then topped with milled flax seed) and a glass of water.

2:30 p.m.  One cup of black coffee.

3:45 p.m.  One large Fuji apple.

4:00 p.m.  a glass of water.

6:30 p.m.  half an acorn squash (cooked with cinnamon, apple sauce and nutmeg topped with cooked farro, raisins, cinnamon and allspice) and a large salad (Romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, celery, red and yellow bell peppers and parsley) dressed with homemade raspberry ginger vinaigrette (Raspberries, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, raisins, sage, dried cilantro, tomato and red wine vinegar).

11:00 p.m. a glass of water.

     If I hadn't sat down to write this blog and kept myself from becoming bored, I would have had another piece of fruit, some unsalted raw sunflower seeds mixed with raisins or some air popped popcorn. There are always healthy options.

     There are lots of weight loss plans out there. This plant based approach works for me and can work for you too. It takes some reading and preparation to make a change like this. I did my reading and was all in as my New Year's Resolution for 2014. You may want to try a "Meatless Monday" or "The Vegan 21 Day Kickstart Meal Plan" as a place to start. You may want to take in the information a little at a time and follow a blog like mine or Dr. Joel Kahn and the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group blog based here in the greater Detroit area.  Once you get past the first 3 weeks or so, your tastes start to change. I started to look for nutritional value more and lost my taste for any kind of processed food with sugar and salt. I read all the labels. If I don't know what something is on the label I use my smartphone to look it up. If I still don't know what it is or its something not plant based or its processed I'm not going to eat it!

Here's a picture of my dinner:

                                                        Salad with Raspberry Ginger Vinaigrette 

                                                        Salad with Raspberry Ginger Vinaigrette 

                                        Acorn Squash with Applesauce, Cinnamon, Raisins and Farro

                                        Acorn Squash with Applesauce, Cinnamon, Raisins and Farro

 Its time for bed.  I'll be adding some recipes to the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group very soon. My blogs along with a large recipe section and lots of other contributors will be available there as well. Its free to join. Watch for the launch of the new website next month!

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Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Now that you’ve decided to manage your weight by eating a plant based diet, your friends are going to start asking you questions. The first one is usually about protein. It occurred to me last night, that the reason the “Where do you get your protein?" question keeps coming up boils down to the fact that the average person has no understanding of protein! Fortunately for you, I took a lot of Biochemistry in college and I'm here to help.

The general misconception is that only animal sources will give you enough protein. News Flash! Ever ask a cow, horse, elephant or hippo about their diet? How about a gorilla? They don't eat any meat. Where do they get their protein? When you eat protein from an animal source, your body breaks it down the same way it does the protein from a plant source. Your muscles, tendons, hair, skin, connective tissues and organs do not look like a cow, chicken, fish or pig's because the protein is broken down by your body's digestive system and then re-assembled by your cells to form human protein! In other words:

YOU MAKE YOUR OWN PROTEIN!

The ONLY thing you really need to take as a supplement if you eat no meat is Vitamin B12. Animals tend to eat dirt with their food and Vitamin B12 is in the dirt. Hopefully, you wash your veggies so you need to take a B12 supplement.

The building blocks of protein are called Amino Acids. There are 9 essential amino acids, meaning that your body needs them in your diet to make protein. Plants provide exactly the same amino acids as animals, but without the saturated fat. This means that any combination of vegetables and fruits that you already eat such as lettuce, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, nuts, beans, peas, potatoes, seeds, grains, apples, pears, grapes, spices and citrus fruits will give you exactly the same building blocks for your human protein that you would get from animals. The plants just don't give you the stuff that clogs up most people's arteries leading to heart disease, stroke, circulation issues and erectile dysfunction. Plants are full of fiber which keeps you regular and helps reduce your chances of getting colon cancer. You can eat all the plants that you want all day long, never feel hungry and still lose weight! I also minimize my oil intake. In fact, when I cook for myself, which is daily, I don’t use any oil at all anymore.

In a little over one year my cholesterol went from 234 to 141 with no medication and I’ve lost 82 lbs. I’ve just started to exercise because I feel so good! I didn’t lose weight by exercising. You can’t out exercise a bad diet. The reality is that 15 potato chips or 1 oz. equal 160 calories. The size of an individual bag is 1.5 oz. or 240 calories per bag. Most of the calories are from the fat content. So, if you’re like me, I would eat the whole bag and be looking for more. You burn roughly 100 calories per mile when you walk or 130 calories when you run. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So you could walk 5 miles per day every day for a week to lose one pound of fat or you could eliminate fat from your diet by eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes instead of animal products. The choice of what I eat is totally up to me. I encourage you to take advantage of our Plant Based Nutritional Support Group. We’re here to help you change your life for the better!

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Vegan Pizza!!!

What?  Pizza again?  Absolutely!  I ate 2 slices. My friend, Paul (you may have heard 'About' him) ate the rest by himself.

So what's a pizza doing under the heading of "Weight Management"?

The thing to remember here is that this is not a diet.  It's a lifestyle.  

As long as you stick to the guidelines of eating plant-based, whole foods, you can still eat deliciously, feel satisfied, take in all the nutrition you need and lose weight.

You don't have to eat bland food and you certainly need not go hungry. When your calories are coming from whole grains, fruits and vegetables instead of oil, saturated fat and processed sugar you will feel fuller longer. You won't experience the sudden peaks and troughs in your blood sugar that make you feel like you're starving.  You will be less likely to over eat.

As long as you stick to the guidelines of eating plant-based, whole foods, you can still eat deliciously, feel satisfied, take in all the nutrition you need and lose weight.
— Dr. Allan Kalmus

Just 2 slices of the pizza pictured above contain 2 servings of fruit, 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of whole grains.  It contains no oil, no meat, no processed sugar and no refined flour.

From the information on a website of a popular pizza chain, 1 slice of pepperoni cheese pizza contains 280 calories and 11 grams of fat.

TWO slices of the pizza in the above photo contain about 300 calories total and ZERO fat.

I choose to eat more, weigh less, watch my cholesterol numbers go down, take less medicine and never feel hungry.  Medicine treats illness, whole foods provide wellness.
Who chooses what goes in YOUR mouth?

Check out my blog for more stories and recipes.

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