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Track your weight loss and encourage others!

  1. What's new in this club
  2. Hapless Bills Fan

    My update

    So I'm happy to report that since 1/31/2019 I have met my initial goal of losing the weight I gained last spring after being involved in an automobile accident and suffering a head injury. Just in time for St Paddy's Day I have lost 17 lbs to date in about 5 1/2 weeks. Just gave away 2 pairs of jeans and am back in the pants I was wearing last year. I kept it up through a planned surgery for my elderly mom and through her emergency surgery 4 days later. The hospital cafeteria actually made it easy with placards posting nutrition information by every dish. This past weekend also concludes a month of "(minimal) added sugar" for me, the exception being a couple servings of homemade crustless pumpkin pie and a small quantity of sugar added to homemade viniagrette dressings. Other than that just fruit in moderation. While we've cut way down on restaurant meals, we have eaten at restaurants 3x and twice at a friend's house and was able to do pretty well there too. Anyone got any questions, ask.
  3. Some good points here that defining "successful diet" as "lost 5% of original body weight for a year" would not "cut the mustard" for other health issues - imagine a paper about successful smoking cessation program "our smokers reduced their cigarette consumption by 10% for a year, this shows the promise of this technique if we can only improve it", erm, No. And yet, people do lose weight, and maintain the loss for years. Maybe this makes me a "confirmation bias" seeker, but I do find these "weight loss is impossible" articles equally and oppositely depressing to the "you too can lose weight if you only had willpower and self-control" crowd. https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2018-40989-001.pdf
  4. Traci Mann is a professor of psychology at U of Minn. From her blurb: "She is a widely cited expert, but she does not run a diet clinic or test diets, and she has never taken a penny from commercial diet companies, sat on their boards of directors, or endorsed one of their products. Because of this, her livelihood, research funding, and reputation are not dependent on her reporting that diets work or that obesity is unhealthy. This sets her apart from nearly all diet and obesity researchers and allows her to speak the truth about these topics, which she does with abandon." Her book, "Secrets from the Eating Lab", is an eclectic mix of the fascinating and the mundane. Her lab specializes in conducting research around what influences eating behavior and how. Example: put out food items (a bag of chips vs an apple) for people registering for a conference, and looked at how many registrants took the apple when it was labeled "healthy" vs when it had a healthy heart symbol vs when it was just labeled about its origin (this delicious apple was developed at the University of Minnesota's experimental farm). Conclusion: don't label an apple "healthy" if you want people to eat it, but attractive symbols may work. TL;DR: she summarizes a buttload of evidence that conventional calorie-reduction-and-exercise diets simply don't work to produce lasting weight loss and in fact create psychological and physiological changes that make subsequent weight control more challenging; that exercise by itself produces many of the positive health effects attributed to weight loss whether or not someone loses weight (lower blood pressure, improved glucose control, etc); and that the best health strategy may be to change behaviors to exercise regularly, minimize temptations and maximize intake of healthy food to live on the "low end" of one's intrinsic set point weight. Some of her behavior change strategies are novel to me and I'll try 'em. Example of the fascinating: an experiment where they asked volunteers to come into the lab 2x and allow an IV to be placed to draw blood samples during a tests (of course the order of the tests was randomized and all that good experimental stuff). For one test, they were given a milkshake described as "decadent, indulgent, 640 calories". For another, the shake was described as "nonfat, guilt-free, 140 calories". Levels of the hormone ghrelin (which signals hunger) were measured before, during, and after the shake consumption. The level of ghrelin declined sharply after participants consumed their indulgent shake but remained the same after the guilt-free shake consumption. Here's the thing: unbeknownst to the participants, they were given the exact same milkshake each time. Only the description changed. I've never seen a clearer demonstration of the power of our thoughts over our biology with regard to food consumption. Ultimately, though, Mann's book leaves my scientific ghrelin levels unchanged. She references a biological "set point" constituting a range of (say) 20-30 lbs beyond which it is difficult to either gain or lose weight and she summarizes some evidence supporting this concept (studies of identical twins separated at birth show weight correlates to each other and to birth parents, but not to the families that raised them). However, her book does not discuss at all: if a "set point" exists - what is the evidence of what sets it or changes it beyond genetics? Because clearly, some people do manage to lose weight beyond that limited 20-30 lb range and maintain that weight loss for years; while other people who have been stable at a reasonable weight for years will,at some point, gain weight beyond that 20-30 lb range for one or another reason and then struggle to lose it. So if set points exist, there seems to be significant evidence that they are influenced by factors beyond genetics, and can be changed, raising the question is "what are those factors? how are they triggered?" She doesn't go into that at all, leaving me hungry for answers. A subsidiary question: Mann delineates the hormonal and psychological changes caused by dieting (increased cortisol or "stress hormone"; changed responses to availability of tasty food). She cites the famed Keyes "Minnesota Starvation Experiment" of WWII in which 36 CO volunteers spent 6 months on a "starvation" diet of 1500 calories a day and lost 25% of their body weight so that different "refeeding strategies" applicable to WWII refugees could be tested. In that experiment, the volunteers were fed horrible meals of potatoes, bread, rutabagas, turnips, and cabbage and suffered debilitating psychological effects - lethargy, fixation on food, loss of interest in regular activities or studies. But given the results of the "Milkshake Experiment" showing a physiological effect of perceived food quality - one can't help asking, if the same experiment had been performed but using food perceived and described as "gourmet" and "luscious" (and also varied, and including more 'normal' foods) vs "starvation" - would the mental effects of the diet have differed? Would it have been less mentally and socially debilitating?
  5. BillsFanNC

    Nearly a year into it

    Really? Before I changed my way of eating I'm pretty certain that I couldn't tell the difference since I never ate any of that type of stuff one way or the other. I'm sure both would have just tasted bland and uninteresting to me. The added fiber though very well could have given it away on the way out, but maybe not. I've seen estimates that >90% of americans are deficient in RDA for fiber so one dose of flax per day may not have been enough to get most folks to minimum desired levels. I get my daily flax either in a smoothie or breakfast grain bowl now, can't tell it's there.
  6. Hapless Bills Fan

    Nearly a year into it

    It's a fine study and I don't mean to diss it off, but I'm pretty certain I could tell the difference between a baked good containing flaxseed and one containing milled wheat. If I couldn't on the way in, I promise I could on the way out. TMI I'm sure. There are some good studies, sorry if I sounded as though I were doubting it. Just making the point that there isn't really a lot of gold standard work (randomized double blind placebo controlled) in the nutrition field for good reason. Now I think I go chomp down some celery.
  7. BillsFanNC

    Nearly a year into it

    It is indeed difficult if not impossible to perform a double blind placebo controlled trial for overall diet, but there are examples of these studies testing a particular dietary component in treatment of chronic diseases. In response to the celery test and for @Hapless Bills Fan here is an example of a double blind placebo controlled trial where they used flaxseed to treat hypertension. Their results are on par with anti-hypertensive drugs, without troubling side effects. The full text of this paper is free at the link below. I'll have to find it again but I also recall reading a randomized DBPC study showing showing improved markers in breast cancer patients when consuming daily flaxseed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24126178 Here is a rather striking study that showed what an intensive dietary intervention could do with patients with moderate to severe heart disease published in JAMA. What they hoped to show with the intervention group was a slowing of the disease progression vs patients under standard care protocols. What they ended up observing at one year and ultimately 5 years was a reversal of disease in the intervention group. No drugs or surgery, just intensive lifestyle changes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9863851
  8. fansince88

    Nearly a year into it

    Ok, about 1 week into the celery test. I actually have been eating 1/2 a stalk a day. Also eating a handful of dried cranberries and 1 slice of dried apricots a day. I stopped taking the supplements for this test (2 days prior). My blood pressure went up to 145/108 but has remained steady the last 3 days around 125/88ish. Huge improvements IMHO. Many benifits to Cholesterol and Triglycerides too so In June I will know if they help with them too. interesting read: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/health-benefits-of-celery#1
  9. Hapless Bills Fan

    Nearly a year into it

    Well, here is the crux of the problem: Unless you know something I don't, there are very very few true randomized double-blind placebo controlled studies of overall diet in human subjects. This is because they are extremely difficult to do. So actually to the extent you feel you have a bunch, I'd be all for pointers at them. Years ago, when I was an undergraduate, dinosaurs walked the earth and kids walked to school through the snow (uphill both directions), one of my $$-earning gigs was prep work in the "human metabolic research lab" at my school. They paid male students to sign a contract agreeing to eat only what was provided to them, and to give back all their output. The studies were mostly isocaloric and focused around things like the effect of varied fat content on trace mineral absorption, with the end goal of ensuring armed forces members deployed for months at a time didn't develop deficiencies. The food totes sucked - it was stuff like slabs of baloney and cookies made of cornstarch - but when you're a broke undergrad and someone offers to buy all your food for the semester and pay you besides, who cares? But even there, the double blinding was iffy. It was hard to completely conceal stuff like different levels of fat in the food. Compliance was pretty good - but once you get away from broke teenagers willing to live 15 weeks on cornstarch and baloney and into people living real lives eating real food, more bets are off and you really just can't double-blind or placebo control. Which is why so many nutritional studies are cohort studies based in part on food frequency questionnaires. Even studies in true omnivorous mammals are relatively rare. Watching a rabbit munch cecotropes suggests just perhaps these cute critters are not the best models for human digestion. So true! Words to live by. The bright picture is that for you, it sounds as though the diet puzzle is solved and you're doing great so...three cheers and keep up the good work!
  10. BillsFanNC

    Nearly a year into it

    Rather than get into citing intervention and randomized, double blind placebo controlled studies, I'll just focus on this part of your post otherwise we can go back and forth until the cows come home. No pun intended. You'll find that nearly all the plant based luminaries agree with this quote, Esselstyn, Campbell and Greger included. Anything people can do to move themselves towards this end of the spectrum and away from what most people on the standard western diet do: "Eat food. Mostly meat, dairy and processed foods. Overindulge." This is why I hate the term vegan and all the baggage that comes with it. It's called a whole food plant based diet on purpose to distinguish itself from some of the radical fervent vegans. WFPB is meant to encourage people to move towards a diet that has it's foundation in whole, plant foods. A very simple way for someone who is apprehensive and unwilling to give up meat like I was would be to just reverse your plate; keep eating meat and dairy if you wish, but make it 25% of your plate instead of the usual 75%. I still eat meat and fish, but I can count the times I did so over the past year on my fingers. It's what we eat day in and day out that matters. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Also @Hapless Bills FanI wasn't able to gain access to the full text of the Indian group studies, just the abstract on pubmed that you linked to, which is probably why I didn't read them in the first place when I was systematically reviewing things last year.
  11. Hapless Bills Fan

    Nearly a year into it

    Oh, Lordy! Have just spent several days doing what "deep dive" I can with my current limited journal access and I gotta say - while I agree with the bolded completely and applaud you (on one hand), on the other @BillsFanNC I'm sort of feeling cursed with the apocryphal Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times". 1) There is a lot of just plain Bad Science out there - people trying to draw conclusions that probably really can't be drawn from the data they're using. An example would be the August announcement that low-carb diets may be unhealthy in the long term. It has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, but from what is released, it's almost certainly based on a "Food Frequency Questionnaire" or FFQ, which means someone hands you a questionnaire and asks you "how often in the past 3 months/6 months/12 months have you eaten......how many times a week? how much?" 538 does a nice critique of this. It may be the best data we've got, but it's pretty flawed intrinsically. And people who want to follow a keto or Atkins diet will look at it and say 'but did you really sort out the effect of......" Example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3712342/ Just a glance, I saw that their quintiles for increased red-meat consumption were also ordered with increasing overall energy consumption, alcohol consumption, smoking, and dairy consumption, and inversely ordered for exercise and fish and poultry consumption. Now I've done statistical multivariable analyses like that, and when you see those kind of patterns in the raw data, trying to sort out the other factors to pull out one effect as statistically significant - well, it's troublesome, and sometimes troubling. 2) Even when there seems to be a pretty good study - for example, the Seventh Day Adventist diet study where they look at a sizeable population that's fairly uniform in lifestyle, weight etc and try to drill into the weeds of various dietary factors - confounding lifestyle factors such as nonsmoking and nondrinking can be pretty hard to sort before applying the conclusions to a population generally. Among the Adventists, the best longevity-promoting diet appears to be a pescetarian one, not a . Would that still be true if looking at a population of smokers, or people who drink alcohol several times a week? And then, in a study of British vegetarians, similar effects of lower all-cause mortality in vegetarians was not found - the authors suggest differences in the specifics of the vegetarian diets may be responsible. Ay, Karumba! Anyway, I've been a pescetarian for almost 2 decades at this point and was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for decades before that. I don't feel I eat a particularly healthy diet at all - we eat a lot of cheese and a fair bit of refined carbohydrates - love us some crusty white bread! I'd like to make some changes towards better health, but durn if I know what they ought to be. Other than everyone seems to agree "Eat food. Mostly (unprocessed) Plants. Not too much." is a good start.
  12. Hapless Bills Fan

    Nearly a year into it

    We completely agree on that. But honestly, I'm pretty gobsmacked by how misleading the data quoted in that film actually are relative to the actual studies, or to readily available information. They do NOT reasonably support the conclusion that animal protein = bad or that high protein = bad at all. Here's a pdf of a paper on Norwegian diet during WWII. When I look at Table I, I think the preponderance of the evidence suggests that a +200 change in fish consumption and a -110 (combined) consumption of fruit and sugar must be given at least equal consideration as a -60 change in consumption of meat and a -40 change in consumption of dairy. One simply can not look at the data and conclude decreased consumption of animal products is the causal factor for a 6 death per 10,000 population decrease in cardiovascular deaths, which is the conclusion he draws in the film. The Indian group's papers, it's a set of two. Read both. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14326435 It all makes perfect biochemical sense - a low-protein diet inhibits the enzyme that detoxifies aflotoxin results in fewer tumors, but the un-modified aflotoxin is then toxic to the liver.
  13. BillsFanNC

    Nearly a year into it

    I'd argue that relying on a nutrition news story or article that starts with "a new study says..." very often is more problematic in relation to the highlighted. I have read some of Campbell's papers on casein/aflatoxin but I admit I've never read the original paper from the Indian group. I'll find it and go back and read it. One thing I've learned in diving into nutrition research over the past year or so is that nearly all of nutrition bloggers / journalists , no matter what camp they may lie in, are on some level scientifically and intellectually dishonest. They all have an axe to grind. Still they are journalists and some of it is to be expected I suppose, however some of the worst examples of scientific dishonesty are in the literature in the form of industry sponsored studies that are often purposely designed to obfuscate and confuse the general public. Despite some potentially valid criticisms about how they represented or left out data from individual studies in the film, they are still standing on the shoulders of an overwhelming body of peer reviewed research to bolster their claims. I haven't read all the papers cited in the film, but I'm now going to go back and read the Indian study, and that's what everyone should do to the extent that they can. Nobody should outsource their health to a film, a journalist or self appointed expert, go read the actual studies on your own and make up your own mind based on your own understanding of the data.
  14. Hapless Bills Fan

    Nearly a year into it

    Fair enough. But BillsFan, if you look at the two reviews I link, THESE GUYS COMPLETELY MISREPRESENTED THE DATA THEY CITE. That's just not OK, even in a film aimed at a popular audience. Read the reviews I linked. Here, I'll link the more important, more technical one again. Some Specific points: 1) they misrepresent the Indian aflotoxin study as showing a health benefit to a low-casein diet. But in fact, the major conclusion of that study was to show that a low protein diet exacerbated the mortality from aflatoxin! It's right there in the excerpt shown in the film - but they don't mention it. That's not "the weeds of the data", that's misrepresentation of the seminal point: " 10 low-protein rats died prematurely while all the high-protein rats stayed alive.(....) the overall survival rate for the 20% casein group was much better than for the 5% casein group, despite the fact they had liver tumors. The low-protein rats were dying rapidly—just not from liver cancer. (....), the reason the non-dead, low-protein rats didn’t get tumors was partly because their liver cells were committing mass suicide. Who would look at such a disparity in death rate and conclude unreservedly Wooo wooo low protein good? No one who isn't pushing an agenda themselves. 2) Norwegian heart disease data: Here's a table showing dietary changes in Norway during the war. Note that fish consumption increased 200% and both fruit and sugar consumption dropped. One simply can not look at that data and conclude that turning to a vegan (excuse me, plant based) diet was the cause of a drop in cardiac mortality, even if one grants the point that it's valid to look at specific-cause mortality during wartime and compare to peacetime data - because the Norweigans didn't. They weren't turning vegan, they ate 200% more fish! Moreover, the reviewer quotes from an article "Food Conditions In Norway During the War" pointing out that " During the first year [starting in spring of 1940] the rationing included all imported foods, bread, fats, sugar, coffee, cocoa, syrup, and coffee substitute. In the second year [starting in late 1941] all kinds of meat and pork, eggs, milk and dairy products were rationed… ". One simply can not attribute the drop shown in the graph to take place in 1941 to reduction in meat consumption. Bluntly put and risking offense by condemning something you clearly find worthwhile, the Forks Over Knives film, in its zeal to make points about the impact of diet that are well worth making, turns scientifically and intellectually dishonest. And in my opinion, that is neither acceptable nor justifiable in a film aimed at a mass-market audience. That is simply a way to train people to either become fact-dismissive partisans or to more broadly reject science.
  15. BillsFanNC

    Nearly a year into it

    The correlation is not causation mantra is brought up a lot in response to this film, but you have to remember that it's a film aimed at mostly people with non-scientific backgrounds, not something to be presented at a scientific conference. They can't get into the weeds of the data in a 90 minute documentary, and even if they tried the message would almost certainly be lost. Of course Campbell and Esselstyn know that correlation does not equal causation. I went back and watched the clip of Esselstyn that you highlighted and it was the narrator that suggested causal link, not Esselstyn. Also, if you google for it you can find Campbell's response to many of his critics on this point. The best we can do with science as it moves forward is go with whatever the preponderance of the data supports. This is especially true in nutrition research since you can find published papers to support pretty much any diet out there. The key for me was always to go with whatever the literature pointed to on balance as the healthiest. Like I said before, I wish that eating a paleo diet was what the preponderance of the data pointed to so I could keep eating more BBQ while still finding improved health! My advice to friends and family is always in lieu of taking the time and effort to use pubmed over google to research all of this on their own, instead perform the very unscientific n=1 experiment on themselves for two weeks and see what happens.
  16. Hapless Bills Fan

    Nearly a year into it

    OK, I watched this last night with my spouse, who is an engineer. So a fair amount of scientific education was sitting in the audience. We kept pausing the film and pointing out the problems with the conclusions to each other. Let me say up front that I think any diet which encourages people to avoid sugar and processed foods is 10 thumbs up. Having spent 3 years reading labels in the attempt to help my mom follow a restricted-sodium diet, I know almost all processed foods have totally ridiculous amounts of salt. Even a can of soup labeled "healthy choice" or "reduced sodium" turns out to mean it has ridiculous amounts of salt vs totally ridiculous amounts of salt. Then there's the sweeteners: since food labels are required to list ingredients in the order of quantity in the food, food companies (including companies marketing their products as "healthy" or "natural") have the strategy to add sugar by different names. If the product contains sugar as the 4th ingredient followed by brown rice syrup and organic evaporated cane juice, it 1) probably has enough sugar that it ought to be the 1st or 2nd ingredient 2) is trying very hard to fake you into thinking it's a healthier food than it is. Whether one loses weight or reverses heart disease, I can testify to the health bennies of a couple changes like decrease salt and sugar consumption. OK, what's my review on the film? The diet it recommends is fundamentally the same ultra-low-fat, plant-based diet recommended by a number of people (good summary here). Many people eat vegan or primarily vegan diets for years and find health benefits. So far so good. I thought the film was crap. Propaganda. Over and over and over again they had the scientists/physicians citing data, then drawing a conclusion one simply could not draw from the presented data. Correlation is NOT causation, and Esselstyn and Campbell ought to know that, it's a fundamental principle of science education. Example: they cite data from Norway during WWII showing that deaths from heart attacks and strokes plummeted. This is attributed to German seizure of all animals. The claim is that "the native population subsisted on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit" and the conclusion is made that this data shows eating animal products = bad. Wait 2 minutes here - taking that conclusion about what Norweigians ate 1939-1945 at face value, the change wasn't just removing animal products, it was removing sugars and refined carbohydrates from the diet as well. So which was it? You can't look at multiple changes and attribute to a single cause. Second, a lot of other stuff goes on during war. People are killed by occupying forces. They die of starvation. They are deported to foreign internment camps. They die from pneumonia or other untreated diseases. Maybe Norwegians who would have died from stroke or heart disease were dying first from other causes. Freezing the frame and looking at the death rate shows a decrease of 6 deaths per 10,000 population. A quick "Google" turns up an estimate of 8,200 "civilian deaths due to wartime activity or crimes against humanity" in a Norwegian population of 2.9M during WWII. That comes out to ~6 deaths per 10,000 population per year. Huh. Maybe we can't compare death rates for a specific disease during wartime, with death rates during peace? OK, here and here are a couple of reviews I found that call them on similar hinkey doings. One of my favorite excerpts from the second reviewer: "some of the anecdotes used to support a plant-based diet (such as Norway’s war-time cuisine and the traditional Japanese diet) actually point to marine foods being a great addition to your menu. For some reason, no one in the movie says a gosh darn thing about fish. Are they lumping fish into the same “meat” category as Oscar Mayer Weiners? Have they forgotten that fish exists in the food supply? Are they ignoring the health benefits of marine foods that nearly everyone—even the folks who swear on their momma’s grave that red meat will kill you—agrees on? What’s going on here? I sure don’t know, but it seems awfully… fishy." hrrrr hrrrr hrrrrr. And that is fundamentally my problem with the film. Food consumption since WWII has seen not only fat, but sugar consumption balloon and overall calories increase dramatically. And some of the foods promoted as healthier, such as trans-fat loaded margarine and vegetable oils, are now known to be worse for you. The film recommends an alternative diet on the opposite extreme: very low fat whole-foods diet excluding not just dairy and meat (which they present data against) but also fish and poultry. That this extreme has risks or known problems is conveniently not mentioned (B12 and overall B vitamin deficiency, for example; the evidence that polyunsaturated fats called omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and the omega-6 fats called arachidonic acid have health benefits; a link between low cholesterol diets and depression. The published study showing reversal of heart disease turns out to involve very small numbers - 11 people - of whom 4 showed reversal of coronary disease. While promising, no pharmaceutical company could license a therapeutic treatment based on such small numbers. There are similar small number studies showing benefits from different dietary advice (eg high fat/low carb) on diabetes etc. I have two major factual problems with the film. One is their statement " But when we consume dietary cholesterol, which is only found in animal foods like meat, eggs, and dairy products, it tends to stay in the bloodstream. This so-called plaque is what collects on the inside of our blood vessels and is the major cause of coronary artery disease." Almost every part of that statement has been refuted by a pretty overwhelming body of evidence. It turns out that in most people, dietary cholesterol has a minimal effect upon human serum cholesterol levels and that for animals evolved to eat meat, there is no significant difference in how dietary vs human-synthesized cholesterol is processed. When serum cholesterol does rise, the ratio of HDL to LDL remains the same. Other factors such as serum triglyceride levels and inflammatory processes are now believed to be more causative for CAD than consumption of dietary cholesterol. The other is promotion of a vegan diet without any caution about Vitamin B12 deficiency. This problem has been observed in studies of vegans and has a association with increased risk of heart disease and stroke - the very problems they are promoting their diet to prevent! That's not to say one can not supplement and obtain adequate B12, but to not mention this as a watch-out and need seems irresponsible. Overall, I've learned to be suspicious of dietary advice which demonizes entire food groups. Historically it's been counter-productive as people and food manufacturers produce "work arounds", leading to aisles full of "fat free" cookies and cakes or sweet-tasting "Atkins" bars and "keto" cheesecakes. As one reviewer quipped, " According to this movie, “plant-based diet” and “Standard American diet” are the only two ways you can possibly eat, and an egg is exactly the same as a bag of Cheetos." I believe I need to change my diet. While vegetarian for years now pescetarian, over the years for convenience (and taste!) our diet has become high in refined and calorically dense foods such as white rice, white flour, cheese, sweets, and nuts. My go-to football watching food is mozzarella cheese sticks. I love a good lasagna and a good cheesecake. But I think I'll start with Pollan's advice from "In Defense of Food": "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
  17. BillsFanNC

    Nearly a year into it

    I have a few cookbooks that I take from, but mostly I look on google or youtube for videos around whole food plant based recipes. Some cookbooks I'd recommend.. How Not To Die Cookbook Thug Kitchen : Eat Like you Give a F&*k The Instant Pot is awesome. I have this cookbook.. Vegan Under Pressure If you're on Facebook the Forks over Knives and Dr. Michael Greger Fans (How Not To Die) groups have a lot of people posting and sharing great recipes. For anyone with Netflix I'd highly recommend watching the Forks Over Knives documentary. I didn't watch it until after I had already started down this path, but many people claim that they cleaned out their refrigerators and pantries immediately after watching it. Powerful stuff.
  18. BillsFanNC

    Nearly a year into it

    Ground flaxseed daily has been shown to markedly reduce blood pressure. This video covers that and some other foods that help, along with showing how the DASH diet came about and was modified, even in the face of the best available data, to include foods known to increase blood pressure.
  19. Hapless Bills Fan

    Nearly a year into it

    I spent a decade working in process development at Big Pharma and you're damn straight, if they had a pill that would do that (or even 2-3) it would be a blockbuster. I wondered if you have any particular recipe collections that were helpful to you? I have changed to cooking almost entirely without added salt because my mother has CHF and is prescribed a reduced-sodium diet and I'm trying to help her adjust, but I admit I often find the food lacking in flavor. Also while we primarily eat vegetarian, a lot of what we eat is still dairy/egg or refined (white flour, white rice). One of my food goals for the New Year is to change that. We got an Instant Pot for Christmas which I am hoping will help with adding more beans/veg.
  20. Hapless Bills Fan

    Nearly a year into it

    There's some evidence that increasing potassium in the diet, or possibly the ratio of potassium/sodium in the diet, may lower blood pressure and improve health in a number of ways. For example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2104250 https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Potassium_and_sodium_out_of_balance I worked for a guy who meticulously tracked and ate foods high in potassium like apricots and almonds, but truth is, almost any veg or fruit that is not processed with sodium added will have a proper ratio of potassium to sodium - something on the order of 6:1 vs 20:1. Not trying to dis off the celery notion, but I would find it difficult to eat 4 stalks of celery a day vs. switching from canned to frozen or no-salt-added veg, and eating more fresh fruits and veg generally/eliminating processed foods that are sky-high in sodium. Biochemically, there is a lot of evidence that the ratio of potassium/sodium in the diet is important. The natural ratio in un-salted plants is what the human body evolved to handle. Especially if one covers the celery with cheese spread or other stuff people often use to make the celery more palatable. 😁
  21. BillsFanNC

    Anybody Else Have Gout?

    To follow up on my post in the other thread. Here's some data summarized from the nutrition literature on how to treat gout with diet.
  22. BillsFanNC

    Nearly a year into it

    I'm going to dive in by telling you where I was about a year ago and where I am now. Then I'll tell you how I did it. Where I was... In December of 2017 I went to the doctor and got my labs back. The news wasn't good. After coasting along for years as a pre-diabetic I was in full blown diabetes along with the accompanying high cholesterol and blood pressure. So my doc pulled out his pad, upped my oral diabetes meds, prescribed a statin and told me to lose weight. The same damn story told to millions upon millions of Americans each and every day unfortunately. Where I am today.... I'm 45 lbs down. I reversed the diabetes...as in I'm no longer a diabetic (A1C from 10 to 5.5) . My cholesterol is around 120-130 (down from 210) and my blood pressure is typically 115/70 (140/90 previously). I accomplished all of this by taking zero medications. That's right... I haven't taken meds for diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure in about 10 months. How I did it... Coming home from the doctor that day I vowed that I wasn't going to go back to any of the diets I had tried over the years that ultimately didn't work, and I certainly wasn't going to use Dr. Google and decide to start on yet another one based on someones popular blog or a news story. Instead I decided I was going straight to the hard science in the peer reviewed literature and to make up my mind based on that. I'm a biochemist so I have access to and read scientific papers every day, surely if there isn't an all out consensus, the preponderance of the published nutrition research data must point in one direction as to what is the optimal diet for humans for weight loss and long term health, right? As it turns out there is indeed a diet that the overwhelming body of nutrition data supports for weight loss and long term health, but it definitely wasn't the answer that I wanted to hear. First let me say that I am, or I should say I was, a backyard bbq enthusiast and nerd. Ribs, briskets, butts, wings, you name it and I cooked them all and geeked out with all the fancy grills, smokers and gadgets. I'd cook for my family, and often would have friends ask me to cook for their parties and gatherings. I was affectionately known as the "meat man" by my neighbors. I loved everything about it ....all while it was slowly killing me. It turns out that the healthiest way to eat is a way we all really know deep down. Most of our mothers always told us to eat our veggies growing up, it's just that most of us consider getting our veggies as maybe a small portion of green beans slathered in butter next to our main course of processed food and/or hunk of meat loaded with saturated fat. Or maybe we get our veggies as a small salad that we then proceed to douse in a fat laden dressing. The healthiest diet for weight loss AND long term health is a whole food plant based diet. I'm here to tell you that the data is clear and it's not even close. Like I said, this is definitely not the answer I was looking for as there was no way I could give up all the bbq...it just was not going to happen. Yet I kept reading and found story after story of people who had done this and reversed chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. A common mantra was to just give it two weeks...your taste buds will adjust and you'll feel so much better that you'll want to continue. I thought to myself that I can do pretty much anything for two weeks, even something so drastic as this. So two weeks is what I decided to give it and I did it hard core...no meat, cheese, eggs, dairy or processed foods. I replaced those with lots of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and nuts. I didn't obsess over protein, carbs or fat. I just ate until I was full. I'm 47 and after eating this way for just two weeks I already felt like I was in my 20's, with just way more energy and a lot of chronic back and joint pain had subsided. In just two weeks I could now go for a run or get on the elliptical and go twice as long before getting winded. So I decided to keep going for two more weeks until I had my follow up with my doctor. I was astounded by my labs at the follow up, in just one month of radically changing my diet and exercising my fasting blood sugar went from dangerously high 170 to 115, my cholesterol from 210 to 110 (LDL bad cholesterol down to 40) and my blood pressure was down to 125/80. If big pharma could invent a pill that yielded those results, calling it a blockbuster drug wouldn't even come close to describing it. So here I am nearly 13 months later and I'd say I eat whole food plant based 90-95% of the time. I'm not a vegan like some friends and family like to say to me. First I hate the term vegan because you can be a vegan and still eat a bunch of junk processed foods and I don't eat any of that ***** anymore. Secondly I'm not a vegan because I still eat meat! It's just drastically reduced from where I was before eating meat, dairy or eggs at pretty much every meal my entire life compared to maybe the 10 times I ate meat over this past year. I can honestly say that I don't miss it. Nothing tastes as good as you feel, it's really that simple. I've rambled on too long, but I'm going to end with two short videos. Not long after I dove deep into reading the nutrition research I came across this website that essentially does what I was trying to do on my own. Nutritionfacts.org distills down the latest in evidence based nutrition research into short videos that show you the data. All sources are cited so that you can go and read the actual studies for yourself and look at the study design, methodology etc. This is an invaluable resource and I highly recommend watching these two short intro videos and considering giving this way of eating a shot, even if for just two weeks. If I can do it then anyone can.
  23. The Real Buffalo Joe

    Anybody Else Have Gout?

    Looking for a gout friendly diet option to lose weight.
  24. SDS

    Nearly a year into it

    Made three measurements when I got home. 130/89, 121/86, 121/87 ive been eating better for almost a month and although I’m not avoiding salt on purpose, I’m definitely eating less as a by-product. Ate about 6 pieces of celery tonight.
  25. Augie

    Nearly a year into it

    I actually eat a surprisingly healthy diet. Most often fish and vegetables. (What I drink might be less ideal.) I have done supplements at times. My wife has one of those enormous pill organizers like your parents/grandparents. Daily AM and PM. I’d be full just on the pills she consumes! I have promised myself once spring arrives I’ll get better weather and exercise more I’ll get in for a new doctor. I’ve chosen a guy I like, and confirmed he’s on our plan. Progress. I feel great, but I need to get a long term healthcare plan. I don’t dare leave my wife without coverage in case of anything long term and catastrophic. You could bankrupt anyone with the way those costs pile up. I’d rather just die. As for the banana and skim milk, it doesn’t hurt as part of my regular diet, and it’s actually become part of my little morning routine I look forward to.
  26. fansince88

    Nearly a year into it

    If you do let me know. I will do the same. My BP was nuts when I did a blood screening at work. All the men in my family have bypass surgery by 50yo. Im doing all I can to regulate all my numbers naturally. I too will report my findings on the celery
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