Thursday, September 28, 2006


It seems that I have hit a bit of a plateau, health-wise. Although I am grateful that I am not getting any worse anymore, I am not feeling better as consistently as I used to. I have been very congested lately and my digestion is just kind of so-so. I think I'm doing pretty well about not eating much bad stuff but I'm certain that I'm still not eating enough food. Perhaps the change in weather is what's triggering my congestion. It may be the corn chips that I have with my guacamole too. If anyone has other ideas for what to eat guacamole with, I'm open to suggestions. I tried it on veggies (broccoli and cauliflower) and it wasn't very good. It wasn't very bad either, just kind of weird.

On the other hand, lifting is going well. I did increase in weight on the bench and did pretty well with the extra weight. I'll increase curls next time. My workout program is that if I make it through all my sets with no spotting help, I increase in weight on the next workout.

Regarding the food, I think I need to shift some of my food earlier in the day. I'm usually pretty hungry by lunch and very hungry when I get home from work. I should add a bit to breakfast and lunch and be a bit more diligent about eating high-nutrient snacks.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tomato Oatmeal?! Yep - It's Good.

My oatmeal of the week this week will sound foreign to most people. It contains sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and Italian herbs. I'll admit that the tomato idea is not my own but I expanded on it and created a delectable dining experience. It's a very interesting diversion from the standard sweet oatmeal. I'll be the first to admit that I don't take my oatmeal terribly sweet anyway - no sweeteners are necessary except the sugar in the raisins or fruit. But savory oatmeal is really quite tasty and I can heartily recommend it.

The Healthy Lifestyle Expo on Saturday was pretty interesting. My only complaint is that it was really kind of a "preaching-to-the-choir" type of event. Most in attendance were vegan or vegetarian and already know about the health benefits of eating in such a manner. I would have liked a bit more practical info such as recipe ideas, tips to keep your raspberries from molding, and the like. That said, the speakers were very informative about specific health benefits and the radical changes in health that can come about from switching lifestyles. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, and a myriad of other "normal" aging diseases can be completely avoided by simply eating properly. The reduced impact of a vegan diet upon the environment was also presented.

I don't think that I'll ever go completely vegan. I do believe animals are here for us to eat. However, the planet has the capacity to host lots more plants than animals; furthermore, plants are self-sustaining and produce oxygen rather than consume it. I will be conscious about buying organic, free-range livestock products and doing so seldomly.

Weightlifting continues to go well. I am increasing in weight on the bench next time after only three workouts and I think that curls will come soon. I haven't weighed in lately so I'm not sure if I've gained any weight.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Consultation #2

Yesterday afternoon, I had my second phone consultation with Dr. Fuhrman. It has now been almost 3 months since my first discussion with him. His conclusion (from reading my diet blog) was that I am not eating enough - my caloric intake is too low. I agree with him - I do notice that I am usually pretty hungry by dinner even though it seems like I spend quite a bit of time eating each day. He suggested I add an egg per day, more nuts and seeds, and some high-nutrient starchy food (like butternut squash). He was concerned that with as low body fat as I have, I don't have enough fat on the brain. This can lead to irritability (which I can attest to).

I have therefore come up with a new diet plan:
  • breakfast:
    • vegetable juice
    • oatmeal with nuts and raisins
    • fresh fruit
  • morning snack:
    • larabar
    • dried fruit
  • lunch:
    • steamed /cooked vegetable
    • guacamole
    • cruciferous soup
    • fresh fruit
  • afternoon snack:
    • larabar
    • dried fruit
  • dinner:
    • vegetable juice
    • blended salad with nuts/seeds and fruit
    • one egg
    • cruciferous soup
    • starchy cooked food
  • evening snack:
    • fresh veggies with hummus or nut butter
    • fruit smoothie
It really is hard to get a lot of calories on a near-vegan diet. Dr. Fuhrman said that eggs are not a concern since I am so thin. Interestingly, he said that eggs do not give you high cholesterol. High cholesterol comes from eating foods high in saturated fat, not from foods high in cholesterol.

I believe that I am now diligent enough to follow this plan and am hoping that between an increased caloric intake and a goodly amount of weightlifting, I will begin gaining weight and continue to see an improvement in my health.

Dr. Fuhrman did say that for someone in my condition, it is encouraging to see any progress and gave me a weight-gain goal of 5 lbs. in the next month.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Healthy Lifestyle Expo

This weekend, I will be attending the Healthy Lifestyle Expo at the Burbank Hilton Convention Center. This is the event that my parents attended last fall that triggered my initial foray into veganism. Dr. Fuhrman will be one of the speakers here, so it will be cool to hear him and get to meet him. I am hoping I can set up my second consultation with him over this weekend.

I have been feeling just a little bit nasty the last couple days. I'm not sure what's up - I'm being careful about what I eat. I have had lots of lung congestion, especially this morning. It may just be the change in weather and not quite enough sleep.

Lifting is going very well. I was pretty sore yesterday but it's really a good feeling. We'll do another upper body tonight and start legs tomorrow. That should give me time to recover over the weekend (since I ride a motorcycle, maintaining what leg strength I have is pretty important).

Finally accepting the fact that I can't bring myself to drink coffee without cream, I switched to tea. I don't think I really need the caffeine - I just like drinking a hot beverage in the morning. I'll look around for some low-caffeine teas but I won't sacrifice taste.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ripped Fuel

Stevo and I finally got the garage cleaned and the weight bench moved to a suitable spot. Last Wednesday we did a light workout (bench only) and yesterday we did full upper body. I'm not nearly as strong as when I was lifting in college but I think I'm doing OK considering my weight and skinnyness. One of the reasons I like free weights much better than machines is that it gets all the wee muscles worked over too - so that they can stabilize. Our plan is to do upper body on Saturday and Wednesday and to do legs, abs and lower back on Sunday and Thursday.

My food situation went much better last week too. I was pretty diligent about juicing and did it twice most days. I only ate out once - at Rudy's on Friday morning. I had a couple pieces of pie on Saturday night. The pie was good but I felt the need to detoxify afterward, so I had a large bowl of cucumber salad and a blended salad.

General health is still improving little bits at a time. I rarely have dry coughing fits anymore unless I eat something with too much sugar. My sense of smell has returned - I guess my sinuses are finally clearing up. I have plenty of energy, once again provided I eat properly.

On a different note - last time I had my infusion (a week and a half ago) the nurse missed the vein. Actually, she hit the vein and went through the other side. I told her so, and she tried to shoot saline solution in anyway (which of course went into the tissue rather than the vein). My arm is still bruised from this experience. This is the second time in a row she has missed (the time before she did the same thing 2 or 3 times) and she hasn't been terribly apologetic about it. In fact, she seemed a bit perturbed when I told her she went through the other side. I'm going to request a different nurse for next time. It's not her arm that's still bruised.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Reflections on Eating Out

Well, I survived College Briefing. Rather than taking the juicer with me, I juiced ahead of time and took enough for the weekend. This worked out well. I'm not sure how much nutritional value this lost, but I felt pretty good all weekend. The camp usually had a good salad bar in the evening and I had lots of guacamole at my disposal.

The last week has been a little rugged though. I got away from juicing every day (I'm supposed to do so twice a day) and have been eating out too much. I think a good deal of that is my own inability to tell people "no thanks" when it comes to going out. I have found that most restaurants use a copious amount of salt and oil, which is not only bad for me, it is also unappetizing. Three examples from the last several days come to mind: I had cashew chicken at Elephant Bar which was overly oily. I had fried rice at Koraku which was also overly oily (but not as salty as I would have expected). I had an avocado omelette and refried beans at La Capilla that was oily and salty despite getting it without cheese. I felt kind of lousy for most of the afternoon after that meal. I have also been drinking way too much coffee. I had a headache for most of Friday afternoon and was tired all day Saturday (I took two naps). I think both of these occurences were caffeine withdrawal. So, I had one cup this morning which will be my last coffee for a while.

On the other hand, I think I have retrained my body to desire proper foods. When I eat a lot of junk, I really feel like having fresh fruit. Yesterday I had a strong desire to have vegetable juice (which would revolt a lot of people). A big bowl of cucumber salad excites me more than a big bowl of macaroni and cheese would. The cruciferous soups are really tasty now that I have rid my taste buds of their salt insensitivity.

This week I am going to get the weight bench in a spot where I can use it. I would really like to see how weight training will increase my appetite (which has now improved to nearly what it was in high school) and help me bulk up a bit.