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23 Pounds lost so far

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by Reverend Conehead, May 25, 2014.

  1. Reverend Conehead

    Reverend Conehead Active Member

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    Some months back I got some very bad news. My cholesterol was way too high, which is extremely bad news for me because I have an atrocious family history of heart attack and stroke. I've therefore done something about it. I'm doing the Dr. Ornish anti-heart disease diet. It can be done vegan or near-vegan. I'm doing it vegan, where you eat 100-percent plant-based food and use no cooking oils, no white sugar or white flour. It might seem extreme, but to me it's way less extreme than eventually having to have a doctor cut open my chest and graft a vein from my leg into my heart or of suffering a stroke and ending up unable to speak well or in a nursing home. The latter is what happened to my uncle. He was a great guy, successful, handsome, witty. After his stroke, he could no longer live at home, but had to be in an assisted-living facility. When he talked, it came out garbled and only people who got used to his speech could understand him. He couldn't even bathe or dress himself. It just plain sucked. It wasn't just him. Numerous members of my dad's side of the family have died of heart disease or stroke. There could be some hope that I got some genes from my mom's side that counter-balance this, but on her side a lot of people have died of cancer. My maternal grandfather also died of a heart attack, though he did smoke a lot and eat lots of fat.

    You hear of some people eating bacon and eggs every morning for breakfast, ham for lunch, and steak for dinner -- and similar foods every day -- and living to be a hundred. That's because they've got the DNA for that. Obviously, I don't. If I ate like that, I would die young. Therefore, there are foods that I like that I'm willing to give up. Swiss cheese is tough to give up because it's my heritage. My paternal grandparents were Swiss immigrants and I have tons of relatives back in Switzerland. Some of them own cheese-making companies that supply the world with its finest cheese. So to give up Swiss cheese is tough for me. Pizza with real cheese is difficult too. However, it's replaced with other food that's really good. Mexican food can be made really tasty vegan, as can Chinese, and Japanese. Lots of stuff works really well and satisfies me.
    I'm also exercising every other day. I have back and knee problems from old sports injuries going way back, so I'm limited as to what I can do. I would like to work out with weights, but that would cause me too much pain. Instead therefore, I'm doing yoga and then cardiovascular training on machines like exercise bikes, ski-mimicking machines, treadmills, etc. It's helping me to feel a lot better. As the yoga loosens me up, I might get my pain issues under control well enough to be able to train with weights. That would be awesome. My sister is actually a championship women's body builder.
    So far I've gone down from 229 to 206 and am feeling A LOT better. I also feel more mentally alert. I like to exercise my mind also. I've been busy learning French for the past year and a half. I find myself remembering new words better than before.

    When I was growing up in rural Texas, I never ever thought that one day I would be an ultra-strict vegetarian, giving up steak, burgers, and even all dairy and eggs. I never thought I would do supposedly "girly" exercise like yoga. However, this is what's working for me. The yoga is way more challenging than I expected. It doesn't just build flexibility. It builds strength. I'm never going to be able to become an world-class athlete and play for the Dallas Cowboys or by in the Olympics, but I can make myself way healthier than before and enjoy life to the fullest. I've also vowed never to be a prick about my lifestyle choices, hollering at people for eating steak, throwing paint on fur coats, and generally laying guilt trips on people who eat like I used to. That kind of crap is just plain rude and counterproductive. I'm just glad this stuff is improving my life. I've gotten help from a local vegan club here in the Boise area. I was delighted to meet others. I've been glad that they've turned out to be people who are easy going about it and don't go around trying to guilt anyone about their choices. The woman who set up the organization works at the Department of Fish and Wildlife service. Many of her coworkers, as you would expect, are big-time hunters, fishermen, etc. who love their outdoor grilling. She doesn't lecture them or try to tell them they're being evil. She just says they can do their thing and she'll do hers.

    I've still got a ways to go. I'm at 206 down from 229, but I want to get back to my college weight of 180. My cholesterol was 243. I want to get it down under 200, preferably about 160. It will take some time. I'm really hoping my old sports injury starts doing a lot better so that I can work out with weights. I used to do that in college and get all buff.
    Corso, Smith22, cowboyschmps3 and 7 others like this.
  2. Teren_Kanan

    Teren_Kanan Well-Known Member

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    Improving health can be a long road, best of luck to you.
    cowboyschmps3 likes this.
  3. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Congrats! Awesome and inspiring story. Continued success and keep us updated.

    I chickened out and got Lipitor for my high cholesterol.
  4. vlad

    vlad Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    That's awesome - good for you. I think that lifestyle will pay big dividends not only in your weight and cholesterol but also how you look and feel.

    Mind sharing some of the stuff you are eating?
  5. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Great story and attitude!

    On a lighter note, if you're single, I here being vegan can help with meeting chicks.
    Niche market.;)
  6. Dash28

    Dash28 Felis silvestris catus

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    That's good to hear. Best of luck to you.
  7. diehard2294

    diehard2294 America's Team

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    Congrats..stay focused on continuing a healthy lifestyle and make sure you can stick with it. There are way to any distractions to get you off track.
  8. Reverend Conehead

    Reverend Conehead Active Member

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    Sure. Here's one of them:

    Mixed Vegetable Zosui
    [IMG]

    □ 3 cups rice
    □ 4 to 5 cups Shiitake stock (see below on how to make)
    □ 2 tablespoons Saki
    □ 1 teaspoon sea salt
    □ 2 to 3 cups vegetables of choice, sliced or finely diced, for example:
    Broccoli
    Asparagus
    Green beans
    Snap peas
    Snow peas
    Squash
    Lotus root
    Leeks
    Carrots
    Mushrooms
    (Don't use tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, or beets)
    □ 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    □ ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
    □ diced tofu (optional)
    Cook rice. Combine it with the Shiitake stock, Saki, sea salt, and your chosen and diced vegetables in a pot, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Add vegetables in order of their hardness with the delicate ones like snow peas or asparagus towards the end, stirring occasionally. Put in the soy sauce and simmer for 4 more minutes. Put the thinly sliced green onions in last and take away from the heat. Ready to serve.
    Now here's how to make Shiitake stock.
    Shiitake stock
    Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in filtered water overnight. Strain the mushrooms out of the water and throw them out. You now have your stock.
    I use filtered water because the tap water is so bad where I live. If you have good quality tap water in your location, you might be okay with plain tap water.
    Ren likes this.
  9. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Active Member

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    Think I found it. You can have it back. (Congrats)
  10. Ntegrase96

    Ntegrase96 Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff man. Keep up the work! Losing 20 pounds is quite an accomplishment.

    Yoga is no joke. It's tough, but it helps with all kinds of aches and pains. I have a shoulder impingement that it really helped with and was able to once again do over head presses because of it. So keep with it, may do the same for you.

    Also if you do some yoga right before bed it helps with being able to get comfortable, relax muscle and fall asleep easier. Less aches and pains in the morning.
    Reverend Conehead likes this.
  11. Ntegrase96

    Ntegrase96 Well-Known Member

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    Also good mind exercise is lumosity.com
  12. vlad

    vlad Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Sounds good man , thanks! Keep up the good work!
  13. Route 66

    Route 66 Active Member

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    Congrats on your journey. I too had high cholesterol around 250-260ish and went on a diet for two months and got my levels down to 160 within that time frame. It won't take you long to lower your levels.
  14. Eric_Boyer

    Eric_Boyer Well-Known Member

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    IMO, cutting out the refined sugars and flour is all you need. the bacon and eggs is what makes life worth living
  15. AmberBeer

    AmberBeer Benched

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    White rice is a simple carb, i.e. it basically is converted into sugar. Substitute with brown rice which is a whole grain.
  16. REDVOLUTION

    REDVOLUTION Return to Dominance

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    Listen to me. And I say this because weight loss and control are things you, me and manny others struggle with.

    Food is a drug. Think of it that way. If you don't then you will relapse often.

    Allow cheat meal here and there (small drug fixes) but don't go nuts on cheats and don't go consecutive meals. Replace a dinner once in a while with a shake.
  17. Reverend Conehead

    Reverend Conehead Active Member

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    Yes, I intend to allow for cheat meals for special occasions like Christmas or my birthday in which I eat pizza with real cheese.

    Not for me. Bacon is one of the foods I've always really, really hated, that and liver, coffee, and spam. Yuck. I didn't have to give it up since I didn't eat it anyway. Eggs were more like meh, take them or leave them. The tough one for me is pizza with real cheese and Mexican food with real cheese. I might still eat them twice a year.

    Definitely, that recipe might say white rice in it, but I'm doing brown rice for everything. Same with bread, and I usually make the bread myself so I know what I put into it, but I'm still not eating bread that often.
  18. JoeyBoy718

    JoeyBoy718 Well-Known Member

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    But don't go on any week long benders and offer sexual favors to all your neighbors.
    TheCowboy likes this.
  19. REDVOLUTION

    REDVOLUTION Return to Dominance

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    I would suggest more cheat meals. Once a week or at least once every 2 weeks.

    Think about 3 meals per day = 21 meals per week. One cheat meal is Ok.
  20. Doc50

    Doc50 Original Fan Zone Supporter

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    Diet will not be the answer to atherosclerosis in some folks, because their liver simply manufactures lipids at the unsafe levels.

    It's always the first place to start, and the additional cardiovascular improvement gained through weight loss and aerobic conditioning will certainly lower risk factors as well. After any change in diet/exercise, it takes 3 months for lipids to reach a new equilibrium, so levels should be checked at that interval.
    It is worthless to check total cholesterol; the good (HDL) and bad (LDL and triglycerides) components are what's important, and their ratios are what determines the relative risk. You could have a total cholesterol of 160, and have an HDL of 20 and an LDL of 140 and be in the very high risk range, essentially developing plaques on a daily basis. You can therefore see how inheriting low HDL is a risk factor all by itself.

    I frequently reference Jim Fixx, who was an absolute avid runner and health aficionado in the sixties, who wrote "The Complete Book of Running".
    This was a great resource and he had a lot of expertise. However, he thought his tremendous level of fitness and strict diet would offset any problems that his blood fats might produce and his ominous family history might predict. He was wrong -- he died of a massive MI one day after his usual run.

    I have many patients who are in the category of genetic dyslipidemia; the national prevalence is greater than 50% of all lipid patients.
    So everyone should find out where their levels are, initiate strict diet and exercise as appropriate, and recheck. If numbers do not fall into the low risk range, then a statin may be needed. This med not only stops the process of atherosclerosis, but it thickens the crust on the surface of plaques, essentially stabilizing them and reducing the likelihood of rupture, whereupon a balloon clot causes obstruction and damage (possibly death). this is the process by which most serious strokes and MI's occur. And aggressive therapy will even cause plaque regression over time in some patients.

    So I encourage all to see your physician for management of this disorder.

    Why are folks living so much longer over the past 20 years? The leading reason is statin therapy.

    (I post for public service and to to aid in general health. Doctors do not derive any revenue from prescription drugs.
    No animals were harmed in the writing of this post)

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