Worldview: Food: Changing diet

I’ve found myself gravitating toward a far more plant-based diet over the past several months than I ever thought I would. Some of that change is out of necessity because of my ever-present health concerns, but more of it is because I feel better when I’m eating less meat.

That has translated into a strange phenomenon for me. The more vegetables and fruits I eat, the less palatable meat becomes to me. I find I have to eat smaller portions of meat less frequently to avoid digestive problems.

All of that said, it’s also been a hard transition. I’ve been a meat-eater my entire life, so cutting back has had a steep learning curve for me. I also find I have no creativity when it comes to preparing plant-based meals and that adds to the struggle.

Fortunately, I’m slowly realizing the way through. We recently started purchasing plant-based, prepared means from Sprinly, and that reduces some of the creativity problem. Further, I’ve discovered that I naturally gravitate toward Mediterranian, Near Eastern, and Far Eastern plant-based dishes, so I at least have a place to look for ideas when I need them.

Are you experiencing your own changes in diet? Share your experience in the comments.

DLH

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: Documenting Progress

I had a medical appointment yesterday, which in itself is not remarkable, but that revealed a very good result.

I should back up a step and explain that, since about June of last year, I have altered my approach to managing my physical maladies, adopting a very low-carb diet(1) and following an intermittent fasting schedule(2) along with ramping up my physical activity. These changes flowed into the fact that I also started taking a pair of antidepressants in October that helped clear my head so I could focus better on what I am trying to do. Finally, in December I started taking Trulicity in addition to insulin and metformin

When I got out of the hospital a couple of years ago, my A1C was 8.5 and my blood glucose was running in the 450s mg/dL (yes, I am aware of how dangerously high that all is). At my last appointment, my A1C was 7.1 and my blood glucose average was around 180 mg/dL.

Fast forward to yesterday, and after about 9 months of focused effort, my A1C has dropped to 6.6 and my blood glucose average sits at around 161 mg/dL.

The moral of the story is that, if you are suffering from similar issues to mine, there are methods to overcome the obstacles those issues present. The right combination of medications, diet, and exercise can pay huge dividends in a short period of time and offer the promise of remission if not recovery.

DLH

(1) I try to keep my daily intake of all carbohydrates between 20 and 40 mg a day and do so by avoiding all sugars, modern grains (basically, anything containing wheat or rice), and manufactured foods. In general, I also try to keep the foods I consume in the low Glycemic Index range (below 55). Foods called Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and the like) are great for this.

Understand this kind of diet can be a huge adjustment, and if you decide to try it, there may be a period of transition where you experience symptoms similar to coming down with the flu. Also, if you have other health issues, be careful not to make them worse by following this diet. Be sure to consult your health care provider as you move forward.

(2) There are as many opinions on intermittent fasting as there are people who try it, and I don’t have a specific recommendation of where to start, but in general, the idea is to limit your calorie consumption to a narrow window once or twice a day. For me, this means usually eating one big meal between 2 and 4 and another smaller meal about an hour before bed (this helps level out overnight blood sugar spikes). These meals can vary somewhat based on my daily schedule, but in general results in there being at least 12 hours and as many as 16 hours between caloric intakes.

This method of eating helps encourage your body to take advantage of its already extant biological pathways that are part of the “feast and famine” experienced by our ancestors. Doing so helps our bodies use calories more effectively and, once you get into the habit, often results in eating less.

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: 2018 goes out a lot better than it came in

With the year drawing to a close, I would be remiss if I did not revisit where I find myself now after the past couple–and really the past few–years of illness and struggle.

One of the most important health changes I have ever experienced happened in the form of starting a mild anti-depressant at the end of September. The changed I experienced upon beginning that medication is real and enduring and has enabled nearly everything else that has happened since then.

The biggest subsequent change has been to dedicate myself to a series of dietary and exercise changes in the hope of wrestling my life back from my health. I have virtually given up process sugars, modern grains, and processed foods. I have begun an intermittent fasting regimen. I have starting moving more than I have in years.

Specifically, I am walking and using a bike trainer, and plan to start running and attending a yoga class after the first of the year. If those efforts go well, I plan to start trail hiking and purchase an e-bike for longer-distance rides sometime in the next year.

I have begun using light therapy as part of a daily program that involves waking up using light instead of sound and also using a therapy panel as part of my daily routine. The effect this has had on my mood and energy level cannot be understated.

Perhaps most importantly, I am confident that I can do the things I plan for the first time in a really long time. I am hopeful for the new year, and those are strange words coming out of my mouth.

More will follow.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: The Rambling Road: 2018 goes out a lot better than it came in

With the year drawing to a close, I would be remiss if I did not revisit where I find myself now after the past couple–and really the past few–years of illness and struggle.

One of the most important health changes I have ever experienced happened in the form of starting a mild anti-depressant at the end of September. The changed I experienced upon beginning that medication is real and enduring and has enabled nearly everything else that has happened since then.

The biggest subsequent change has been to dedicate myself to a series of dietary and exercise changes in the hope of wrestling my life back from my health. I have virtually given up process sugars, modern grains, and processed foods. I have begun an intermittent fasting regimen. I have starting moving more than I have in years.

Specifically, I am walking and using a bike trainer, and plan to start running and attending a yoga class after the first of the year. If those efforts go well, I plan to start trail hiking and purchase an e-bike for longer-distance rides sometime in the next year.

I have begun using light therapy as part of a daily program that involves waking up using light instead of sound and also using a therapy panel as part of my daily routine. The effect this has had on my mood and energy level cannot be understated.

Perhaps most importantly, I am confident that I can do the things I plan for the first time in a really long time. I am hopeful for the new year, and those are strange words coming out of my mouth.

More will follow.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: Seven Stone: The food that was trying to kill me

For reasons even science is struggling to understand, we are awash in an era of food allergies from the very real and sometimes deadly to the faddish and imagined. However, the idea that our food is making us sick is well documented enough that it should give all of us struggling with health issues pause.

I’ve been pretty sure that something I was eating was having an adverse effect on me for years, but the fact was that doctors just could not figure it out. As a result, about two years ago, I started trying to figure it out on my own, and this is what I found:

Soybean proteins were trying to kill me.

For a long time, I wondered if it was corn or wheat gluten, but three events and a whole bunch of research have convinced me that soybeans as they are presented in the American processed food diet are the devil.

First was an episode from years ago: on the recommendation of a doctor, I was using Slim Fast to try to lose weight. My local grocery ran out of the milk-based version available at the time, so I tried one of the soy-based ones. I was sick for a week and never drank one again, but never made the connection.

Second was a food log where I kept track of what I was eating and what was in it. Sure enough, every time I ate something containing soy proteins of any kind, two or three days later I would go through a few days of feeling ill. I still wasn’t quite convinced.

Third was that I eliminated any kind of soy from my diet for almost three months. I say almost, because the moment that proved to me that soy was the culprit was accidentally eating some saltine crackers containing soy meal toward the end of the third month. As the result of not having consumed soy for so long, I suspect my body was super sensitive because I was sick for a week.

I am not presenting this information in any way to suggest that people should eliminate soy from their own diets just because I did, but rather because I want people to pay attention to what they are eating. If you are struggling with your weight and feeling sick all the time, it is entirely likely because of something you are eating. Figure out what it is and eliminate it. You’ll be glad you did. I am.

DLH

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