The Plant Rx

Your resource for a plant-based diet

Posts Tagged ‘Weight loss’

Marc lost 55lbs in only 3 months! See how you can too… His amazing story!

Posted by Jenn on February 24, 2013


I’m happy to share another success story!  Meet Marc.  He’s a busy husband and dad who has lost over 50lbs in only 3 months and he’s only just begun.

Marc’s Story:

The Cardiologist came into the waiting room exhausted with his head buried in a cup of coffee. I could tell his performance in the operating room was laborious. He explained to me and my family that my Dad had a couple of close calls during the 5-hour quadruple bypass surgery, but that he was in a cardiac intensive care room with all indicators pointing to a successful recovery. Then the surgeon did something peculiar: he pointed to me and said “I know just by looking at you that I will see you on the operating table before you are

Marc's success after only 3 months!

Marc’s success after only 3 months!

40”.

I was 31 when my Dad, a retired physician, had bypass surgery. He had just turned 60 years old. While heart disease runs in our family, the conditions that brought us to the hospital for my Dad’s mega-heart alteration seemed too severe and too early to be written off as mere genetics. And the Cardiologist’s caution to me was offensive, which was just what I needed. At that point I was the father of a 7 month-old son, an active member of my community, the founding director of a successful leadership development organization for diverse and disengaged young adults in Indianapolis and I was very sick. I had so much to lose, but my health was taking it all away. Being young, morbidly obese, pre-diabetic and pre-hypertensive were all working against me: I was finally scared.

Over the next few years I set out to learn more about myself and about health. I read books and journals, had conversations with experts in health and behavior modification, searched my soul and experimented with different approaches to living. Having been overweight most of my life, I was very familiar with diet fads and ‘dieting’. I knew I didn’t want another top secret for losing weight or the next “10 steps for slimming my waistline”. I was looking for a new way of living. With the work of Dr. Dean Ornish, the Esselstyns, the China Study and others dancing around in my head, I went to bed one evening in February 2011 with grave physical and emotional pain caused by my food and lifestyle and I promised myself that the next day I would try a vegan diet. I stuck with it. Within days I felt better. I had more energy and less pain. I started losing weight and it felt good.

After a month or two of eating a vegan diet, I found ways around its healthy attributes. Oreo cookies, French fries, mad amounts of bread all became staples of my vegan menu. My weight crept up to a new high for me, 305 pounds, and my blood pressure and triglycerides were through the roof…again! I learned the hard way about the giant difference between a vegan diet and a plant-based diet. In December 2012, I changed everything. I started eating a plant-based diet consisting of mostly vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains and very little refined and processed carbohydrates. I started routinely going to a gym, the Chase Legacy Center in Indianapolis, which is a nonprofit organization that is run by encouraging and supportive members of my community – everyone should have a fitness community like this. I started the transformation.

With only three months of sticking to a plant-based diet and regular exercise, I have lost over 50 pounds, regularly have a normal blood pressure and have gone from a size 50 waist to a size 38 waist. The best part: I am not dieting! Rather, I have introduced new foods, recipes and flavors to my diet. Diet is no longer a verb, it is a noun – a thing. By eating a plant-based diet, I am not restricting myself but I am focusing on the assets that foods bring to me. I build my culinary life around those assets. This, coupled with a supportive community at my gym, family and neighborhood, has launched a life-long chapter of wellness and whole living. While the Cardiologist did save my Dad’s life through invasive and extreme surgery, I know now that he was wrong: I will not be on his operating table by the time I am 40 or anytime soon, for that matter.

Note:  Marc will be updating us on his progress every 3 months moving forward, so sign up for our email alerts of his progress and more!

Read More Success Stories Here!

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Think eating a plant-based diet is crazy? How about this…

Posted by Jenn on January 24, 2013


Ian Before: 235lbs / 262 cholesterol / 145:110 blood pressure

Ian Before: 235 lbs / 262 cholesterol / 145:110 blood pressure

People have often described my diet as radical, drastic and extreme. Eating a plant-based diet to them, even if they agree it is the most healthy thing for you, is akin to asking them to undergo torture.  They have a myriad of responses to me, most of them echoing something to the effect of ” If I can’t enjoy my life then why bother”.   It’s unimaginable to me that they perceive my diet as so radical, drastic and extreme yet they don’t think that cracking open your chest while simultaneously slicing open your legs to take out vessels from your legs to graft to your heart isn’t? I’m beginning to think everyone should watch what is really involved in one of the surgeries, maybe then, they will understand the true meaning of the words radical, drastic and extreme. It is truly very hard for me to understand how anyone would choose bypass surgery over eating plants.  Then again, maybe they think it just won’t happen to them…

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Those thoughts bring us to our first success story of the year, Ian Welch from Florida.  Ian can tell you first hand the difference between the two options I described above. Ian’s story is becoming the norm rather than the exception these days due to the overwhelming consumption of the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Fortunately, Ian is alive and well and is able to share his journey with us. When I asked why him why he wants to share it, he says it’s because he wish someone had shared this knowledge with him.

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Ian tells his story:

Two years ago I could not have imagined my life today.  At the ripe old age of 40, I was diagnosed with heart disease, four major blockages that if left alone would end my life quickly.

On March 23, 2011 I had Quadruple Bypass Surgery.  I had my chest sawed open.  It was singularly the most influential event in my life and in hindsight I would not change a thing.

Ian after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery at 40 only years old.

Ian after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery at 40 only years old.

The first week out of the hospital my wife, Alicia, started us on a plant-based diet.  By December, I had lost 37 pounds and my cholesterol dropped 109 points.  Since then I have learned that eating a plant-based diet and avoiding oil can drastically improve your health.  My last carotid artery sonogram showed substantial reduction in plaque; essentially reversing 40 years of buildup in a very short period of time.  Not to mention the 20-25% weight loss.

The lightning bolt moments are as rare as a strike of electricity to the head.  They either kill you or offer you the opportunity to walk away; a second chance.  It is precisely these moments that need to be deconstructed because they happen in an instant.  These moments exist a lifetime as either regret or epiphanies.

The reality is; we have no way of knowing how we will exit this world.  For some of us, we will lead long full lives and gently succumb in our sleep at a ripe old age.  For others it will be a tragic exit, leaving loved ones to question how this could have happened.

However, the majority of us will face the challenge of fighting for our years and it comes down to a simple question.  Do you want to spend your last years in a gradual state of decline; mentally and physically?  Or do you want to challenge the odds and finish up on your feet? Your physical body has very simple needs.  It is a fact of biology.  Run your body on the core ingredients it needs, run it clean.  Don’t let your mind dictate what the body wants.  A foundation built on this simple approach will drastically move the odds of avoiding disease in your favor.

I had no plan and it ended in a hospital.  I do not want to go back to that hospital.  I share my experiences for the simple reason; I wish someone had told me sooner.  It took a life-threatening situation to become the person I am today and I like this new and improved Ian.

momdadoregon

Ian in Dec. 2011 after adopting a plant-based diet. 198 lbs / 153 Cholesterol / 105:75 blood pressure

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Ian Welch: In 2011, at the age of 40, Ian underwent quadruple bypass surgery. Ian completely transformed his life, adopting a plant-based approach to wellness. Ian is currently writing his book; “Heart Disease Saved My Life: Harness the Power of a Chronic Disease Diagnosis.” His goal is to provide others with a plan of action when faced with difficult circumstances. Ian lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with his wife. He is an avid long distance runner & Bikram Yoga practitioner.  He maintains a blog at www.WholeFed.org.

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From Skinny Bitch to Bill Clinton: The Rise of Veganism | Psychology Today

Posted by Jenn on January 13, 2013


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Health is trending…

Check out this great article at Psychology today on how being healthy is catching on:

From Skinny Bitch to Bill Clinton: The Rise of Veganism | Psychology Today.

Posted in In the Media, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Pleasure Trap: You know what you should do, so why is it so hard to do it? – YumUniverse™ | YumUniverse™

Posted by Jenn on August 24, 2011


The Pleasure Trap: You know what you should do, so why is it so hard to do it? – YumUniverse™ | YumUniverse™.

GREAT article by Heather Crosby at YumUniverse.  Very powerful.  A must read in my opinion!

Posted in Food Addiction, Resources, Tips, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Plant-based Health Study: Vanessa’s Rockin’ Results!

Posted by Jenn on April 13, 2011


The Plant-based health study concluded on March 15th.  Since then we have been testing our participants and gathering the final results and we are just about ready to present them all to you.  In the meantime, we will have some special posts on the individual participant’s results and their thoughts on participating in the study now that it is over.

 

Today I am very excited to present to you  Vanessa’s study results!

 

Vanessa's Plant-based Health Study Results

Vanessa entered our study as a 30 year old Dental student (who btw, is now a licensed Dentist! Congrats, Vanessa!) who consumed a Standard American Diet (SAD).  She was thin with a very good BMI.  Her pre-study lab work showed that she had hyperlipidemia with a total blood cholesterol of 255 (anything over 200 is considered “high”) and an LDL cholesterol of 130 (anything above 130 is considered “high”).  Her HDL values were phenomenal, among the best I’ve ever seen, and her triglycerides were also very good as was her A1C value.

After 30 days on a plant-based diet, Vanessa’s total cholesterol dropped from 255 to 206.  A 49 point drop! Her LDL cholesterol dropped from 130 to 86.  A 44 point drop!  These reductions almost brought her into acceptable blood cholesterol ranges.  Her LDL was now considered well within normal ranges and her Total Cholesterol was now only 6 points above what is considered to be the “normal” range.  All other values remained fairly constant including her weight and BMI.

After another 30 days (at the 60 day conclusion of our study), the results were even MORE impressive! Vanessa’s Total Cholesterol dropped another 28 points to 178! Further, her LDL cholesterol dropped an additional 28 points to 58! Talk about impressive!  In 60 days, Vanessa’s Total Cholesterol went from 255 to 178, a 77 point decrease! Her LDL Cholesterol went from 130 to 58, a 72 point decrease!  Thus, not only does Vanessa NO LONGER HAVE HYPERLIPIDEMIA, but she cut her LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) more than in half!

As if that weren’t enough, her LDL values are now below what even Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn would consider safe and cardio-protective from the likes of heart disease and its co-morbidities!  Great job, Vanessa!

To read about Vanessa’s journey visit Vanessa’s Page under the Plant-based Health Study tab. Her final labs will also be posted on the main Plant-based Health Study page by weeks end in the interest of transparency.  Additionally, her final post and thoughts on her experience after getting her final results have been pasted below for you to read.

Please join me in thanking Vanessa for participating in our study as well as congratulating her on her amazing results!

Vanessa’s Final Post

(March 29, 2010)

The plant-based diet study has been over now for a few weeks.  I wish I could say that I have been keeping a strict plant-based diet since then, but that is not the case.  However, I am still keeping a diet which is predominantly plant-based.   I would say that over the course of two days, I might have one meal that includes some form of dairy.  Meat is a different story – I’ve never been a big meat-eater, so I don’t have as strong of a desire to include it back into my diet.

However, today may have been a game changer!

I just received the results from my final blood work and I am SHOCKED at the results.  I was pretty happy at the midpoint blood work when my LDL went down so significantly.  However, I had blood work done back in September that produced similar results.  I was happy that my cholesterol improved, but I honestly thought that things would probably plateau around these levels. Totally wrong! My LDL levels continued to plummet during the last 30 days.   My LDL levels went from 130 at the beginning of the study to 58! So now I feel like I need to rethink things…  I had originally decided that I didn’t want to completely eliminate all traces of dairy from my diet – a minimal amount would certainly make keeping this lifestyle a little easier without having a large impact on my physical health.  I think I still believe this, but I will definitely give pause before I opt to eat foods outside of a plant-based diet. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Plant-based Health Study, Success Stories, Tips, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Cheese as an opioid? and, what the heck are “casomorphins”?

Posted by Jenn on March 15, 2011


If you talk to anyone who has recently switched to a plant-based diet and you ask them what food(s) they miss most, 9 times out of

Bovine Beta-Casomorphin-7 courtesy of Wikipedia

10, they will say cheese! Nope, not chocolate cake or BBQ, it’s cheese.  The same thing is the case if you talk to a vegetarian about completely transitioning to a plant-based diet and omitting dairy from their diet.  The typical response is, ” I would, but I can’t give up cheese”.

So, why is this?  After all, cheese does kind-of smell like dirty socks!

The answer is: Casomorphins.

Ok, well, that’s great – but, 1. What exactly are casomorphins and 2. How do they explain our love obsession with cheese? And, 3. does it even matter?

  • 1.  What are “Casomorphins“?

Definition: Casomorphins are peptides, i.e., protein fragments, derived from the digestion of milk protein.

Casein, is the milk protein that makes up 80-86% of the protein content of cow’s milk.  Casein has been documented to break down in the stomach to produce the peptide, casomorphin, an opioid that acts as a histamine releaser. [1]  (Although, not the topic of this blog post, the fact that casomorphins are a direct histamine releaser in humans is why so many people are allergic to dairy products; An estimated 70% of the population worldwide.)

Thus, the distinguishing characteristic of casomorphins is that they have an opioid effect.

  • 2.  How do casomorphins explain our love obsession with cheese?Unknown

In his book Breaking the Food Seduction, Dr. Neal Barnard discusses the addictive qualities of casein. He uses the example of chocolate to explain how this works:

University of Michigan researchers showed that chocolate does not merely tickle your taste buds; it actually works inside your brain in much the same way opiate drugs do. The researchers gave 26 volunteers a drug called naloxone, an opiate-blocker used in emergency rooms to stop heroin, morphine, and other narcotics from affecting the brain. It turned out that naloxone blocked much of chocolate’s appeal. When they offered volunteers a tray filled with Snicker’s bars, M & M’s, chocolate chip cookies, and Oreos, chocolate was not much more exciting than a crust of dry bread.

In other words, chocolate’s attraction does not come simply from its creamy texture or deep brown color. It appears to stimulate the same part of the brain that morphine acts on. For all intents and purposes, it is a drug-not necessarily a bad one and not a terribly strong one, but strong enough nonetheless to keep us coming back for more.

As common as chocolate addiction may be, it is by no means the only potentially addictive food, nor is it the most dangerous. In PCRM‘s research studies, when we take people off meat, dairy products, and other unhealthy fare, we often find that the desire for cheese, in particular, lingers on much more strongly than for other foods. While they might like ice cream or yogurt, they describe their feelings for cheese as a deep-seated craving. Could cheese really be addictive?

Well, in 1981, Eli Hazum and his colleagues at Wellcome Research Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, N.C., reported a remarkable discovery. Analyzing samples of cow’s milk, they found traces of a chemical that looked very much like morphine. They put it to one chemical test after another. And, finally, they arrived at the conclusion that, in fact, it is morphine. There is not a lot of it and not every sample had detectable levels. But there is indeed some morphine in both cow’s milk and human milk.

Morphine, of course, is an opiate and is highly addictive. So how did it get into milk? At first, the researchers theorized that it must have come from the cows’ diets. After all, morphine used in hospitals comes from poppies and is also produced naturally by a few other plants that the cows might have been eating. But it turns out that cows actually produce it within their bodies, just as poppies do. Traces of morphine, along with codeine and other opiates, are apparently produced in cows’ livers and can end up in their milk.

But that was only the beginning, as other researchers soon found. Cow’s milk-or the milk of any other species, for that matter-contains a protein, called casein, that breaks apart during digestion to release a whole host of opiates, called casomorphins. A cup of cow’s milk contains about six grams of casein. Skim milk contains a bit more, and casein is concentrated in the production of cheese…

{It takes approximately 10lbs of milk to make 1lb of cheese.  As milk is turned into cheese, most of its water is removed leaving behind concentrated casein and fat.  Thus, concentrated dairy products, like cheese, have especially high levels of opiates}

…When you drink a glass of milk or eat a slice of cheese, stomach acid and intestinal bacteria snip the casein molecular chains into casomorphins of various lengths. One of them, a short string made up of just five amino acids, has about one-tenth the pain-killing potency of morphine”.

At this point you might be wondering what the evolutionary basis might be for these opiates to be in a mammal’s milk.  Dr. Barnard, goes on to explain that:

“It appears that the opiates from mother’s milk produce a calming effect on the infant and, in fact, may be responsible for a good measure of the mother-infant bond. No, it’s not all lullabies and cooing. Psychological bonds always have a physical underpinning. Like it or not, mother’s milk has a drug-like effect on the baby’s brain that ensures that the baby will bond with Mom and continue to nurse and get the nutrients all babies need. Like heroin or codeine, casomorphins slow intestinal movements and have a decided antidiarrheal effect. The opiate effect may be why adults often find that cheese can be constipating, just as opiate painkillers are”.

  • 3.  Does all of this matter?

Posted in Dairy, Food Addiction | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Lessons Learned: From the participants in the plant-based health study

Posted by Jenn on March 12, 2011


The Plant-based Health Study ends this upcoming week on Tuesday, March 15th.  It has been a great experience for myself and the participants.  As we await the final (60 day) results from the study I asked the participants what were the top thing(s) they learned from participating in the study: switching from either a SAD or a vegetarian diet to a plant-based one.  Here’s what they had to say!

Jax

I cannot expect most doctors, manufactures, and producers of any edible products to be looking out for my best interests as far as what i put into my mouth. And you know what, I shouldn’t. It is my responsibility.  To  blame anyone other than myself would be like blaming  the man  who just hit me because it stepped into the middle of traffic because I thought they would stop for me as they were going 50mph. It is truly our own obligation to ourselves to read labels and educate ourselves. If our doctors are not properly trained and educated in nutrition as part of their training how can we possibly expect them to educate us?

And finally, eating plant-based all the time is not easy. It does take commitment. Commitment to our very lives. But even with that being said I am learning that moderation is KEY. However in America we don’t have any concept of what that really means and to me it means just this, treat animal based products like I would, say an Ice Cream Sundae.. yummy every once in a while but not an every meal occurrence or even an everyday occurrence.  See Jax’s Page.

John

This study has shown me that the SAD way of eating is a slow and sure way of cutting years off of all of our lives.  All of America has been brought up to think that the simplest way to get something to eat is to pull up to a drive thru window and grab a bag of pure poison to add to the hormone fed dinner that will be added to their bodies later in the evening.  I am not by far the healthiest person on the earth but this study has opened my eyes to a better way of eating through a mostly Plant Based Diet.  I do not know if I will stick strictly to a Plant based Diet but I do know that my hormone fed SAD eating is a thing of the past.  See John’s Page.

Amber

I have learned so much about ingredients and how everything has an effect. the smallest things can make the biggest differences. This has opened a huge window for me, not only am i staying vegan, i also would like to be gluten-free. after the major differences in how i feel and look i want to further my healthy life style. i am truly inspired. thank you Jenna!!!  See Amber’s Page.

Vanessa

Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t actually have to be that drastically different.   Sure, eating hemp seeds and tempeh and wheatgrass are great, but it’s probably best to keep things simple and stick with what you know in the beginning.  There were plenty of foods that I was already eating that fit in perfectly with a plant-based diet.  Also, don’t forget about beans, lentils, nuts, sweet potatoes, etc!  These guys filled me up and kept me full for longer.  Loads of veggies are great, but I felt a lot better when they were combined with some heartier foods. See Vanessa’s Page.

Nikki

One of the things I learned from the study was that there are so may other sources of protein that you can eat besides meat or fish or eggs. I have found that beans, legumes and tofu fill me up just as much. Also my husband who has mostly been vegan on this journey with me has seen a huge improvement in his brittle nails. His fingernails are now soft and supple and they don’t break as easily. He attributes this to the change in diet. Although I still struggle with my weight my cholesterol has come done significantly and I have learned I can control it with a plant-based diet.  See Nikki’s Page.

Megan

I can still make all of the dishes I love and make them vegan. Once they make a great vegan cheese, it will be perfect! But, it takes more time and can be expensive. One doesn’t find too many vegan options at the 99 cent store 🙂  I can still be satisfied and don’t feel ” cheated” by eating vegan. I had to get creative, and thank goodness for Mothers and Whole Foods! See Megan’s Page.

Stephanie

I learned that planning on a plant-based diet is absolutely essential.  I can pretty much “veganize” any recipe that I like.  That isn’t the hard part.  The more difficult part is when you are out to eat or tired and don’t feel like cooking, etc. It you plan ahead you can be prepared for those times and this makes eating this way a lot easier.  It takes time to get used to but you do get used to it and it isn’t as hard as you might think.  I do like the food.  I don’t miss meat at all, but I do still have cheese cravings.  Yes, Jenna, I know it’s the casomorphins! 🙂 I am planning on remaining plant-based for life as my health has improved substantially as a result. Now if that cheese craving would just go away… 🙂 See Stephanie’s Page.

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Top 5 things our plant-based health study taught this M.D.

Posted by Jenn on March 7, 2011


One truly amazing thing about life is that we have the opportunity to continuously learn new things. Learning new things rocks!  And, while we were pretty sure what the outcomes would be, this was no exception.

We are still 9 days away from the official end of the plant-based health study and approximately 12-14 days from having the final results available to us and published.  That being said, while contemplating the parameters for our next study and reviewing reader submitted ideas on things they would like to see us measure in the future, I got to thinking about all the amazing things that I’ve learned so far in this one.

Here are the top 5!


1. Psoriasis

There are a lot of  anecdotal stories out there on how a plant-based diet can be beneficial in the treatment of medical conditions and disease other than heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and certain cancers.  There is also some scientific research to back up those ascertations but much more needs to be done before it can be said with a great degree of certainty that this is indeed the case.

That being said, I have never seen it first hand.  Until now! Amber, one of the study participants, has struggled with psoriasis for quite some time – experiencing a number of patches on both her arms and legs.  She has tried a number of different things to keep this chronic autoimmune condition at bay, but while some treatments have helped, none have been close to a cure.

After 30 days on a diet completely free of meat and dairy products, Amber has experienced almost 100% resolution of her patches! I’ve seen it first hand and I couldn’t be more happy for her.  It’s one thing to read or hear about these types of things but it’s quite another to see it first-hand.

2. Probiotics

It’s important not to make blanket statements about medicines/treatments especially when there isn’t any substantial clinical evidence or experience to back it up.  When it comes to probiotics there is data out there but none directly pertaining to any benefits they may or may not have when someone is transitioning to  plant-based diet.

As in the situation above, I have heard anecdotal accounts of probiotics being helpful but not much otherwise.  During the course of our study several of the participants had some gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort as a result of moving to a plant-based diet.

Note:  This is common and it is apart of the natural detoxification process.

The participants who experienced the GI upset took probiotics to help with these symptoms.  Everyone who used them said they helped.  The degree to which they helped varied from substantial to adequate.  Thus, I would say I now know that probiotics can be a useful consideration in those experiencing GI issues as the result of a switch from a Standard American Diet (SAD) to a plant-based one.

3. Oil, oil, oil…

While everyone in the plant-based community agrees on the exclusion of meat and dairy products from our diet for prevention and reversal of disease, not everyone agrees on whether or not oils and highly saturated fat laden foods (i.e. nuts & avocados) should be omitted as well.

In fact, two of the foremost thought leaders seem to diverge on this as well: Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish. Esselstyn’s mantra  is “moderation kills” and he advocates a plant-based diet that excludes oils, nuts, etc even if they are technically “plant-based”.

Ornish, on the other hand, is much less strict on this issue and allows for their inclusion, although he still emphasizes a diet as low in saturated fat as possible (less than 10% of daily caloric intake).  That doesn’t exactly allow for much oil anyway being that olive oil for example has approximately 120 calories per tablespoon with 2 grams (or 14%) coming from saturated fat, 78% from monounsaturated fat and 8% for polyunsaturated fat. No matter how you looks at it, olive oil is 120 calories of pure fat per tablespoon.

Without delving into the argument of good fats vs. bad fats, etc. and the reason behind why Esselstyn has adopted this stringent mantra and Ornish has not, I wasn’t 100% sure of where I stood on the whole debate other than the obvious observation that less fat is better.

I now can say that this study (in addition to a few other poignant reasons I’ll discuss in an upcoming post) has resulted in me landing on Esselstyn’s side of the fence. The reason is due to the increased triglyceride levels in some of the participants despite the reductions in their total and LDL cholesterol.  I think it is likely that these triglyceride increases seen in some of the participants are the result of increased consumption of oils, nuts and other highly saturated fat laden foods.

Additionally, when first adjusting to the switch to a plant-based diet many opt for pre-packaged processed vegan foods such as vegan cheese, veganaise, and prepared vegan meals which are extremely high in saturated fat.  Further, when eating out at mainstream restaurants the vegetarian and vegan options (which tend to be few) are often cooked in lots of oil to enhance taste. This is done to ensure that these menu items are just as tasty as there SAD counterparts.

It is my expectation that once acclimated more fully to plant-based nutrition people will end up cooking more at home and becoming more astute regarding their choices and their triglyceride levels will eventually decrease as well.

How about this for a visual: Animal fat is a solid at room temperature whereas plant is liquid.  Imagine how well that solid stuff fares in your GI tract.

4. Sugar, sugar, sugar.  Pre-diabetes, and Hemoglobin A1Cs

I love sweet things!  Who doesn’t?  We all know we should do our best to limit our consumption of these items and some of us do better than others.  If you are vegan, most likely you already limit if not exclude the consumption of sugar because the majority of it is processed with animal bone char (charcoal made from animal bones). – –actually the explanation is much more convoluted than this, but this works for our purpose here.

The participants in our study were not restricted with regard to sugar consumption.  The aim of this study was to look at the benefits of a plant-based diet on a macro level and not get lost in the details.  Please note I am not discounting the importance of these details, we simply chose not to focus on these for the sake of study compliance.

The reason this is important is because of the increasing prevalence of  “pre-diabetes” here in the U.S. and the obvious role that large amounts of sugar found in the SAD contribute to this trend. Prior to our study beginning, 4 of the 7 participants had Hemoglobin A1C values that would classify them as pre-diabetic (>5.7).  After only 30 days all 4 of the participants lowered this value by .4!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cholesterol, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Plant-based Health Study | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Success story of the week: Lindsay!

Posted by Jenn on March 4, 2011


(This week’s success story is a little early, but better than late!)

Meet Lindsay:

Lindsay

 

 

Lindsay Wolf is a Los Angeles-based animal advocate, actress, and founder of Kiss Me, I’m Vegan!, “a blog for the happy vegan in all of us.” KMIV blends Lindsay’s personal vegan journey with the journeys of other vegan superheroes who endlessly inspire her, including interviews with authors Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks, THE Skinny Bitch herself, Rory Freedman and Veganomicon‘s Isa Chandra Moskowitz, as well as Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary, Jenny Brown of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and Animal Rights Hall of Fame recipient Zoe Weil. Lindsay has also guest blogged on The Kind Life, Your Daily Vegan, Vegan At Heart, and LeaveItBetter.com, and she’s a regular visitor and fan of Animal Acres Sanctuary in Acton, CA. Check more out at www.kissmeimvegan.com.

The Plant Rx’s Interview with Lindsay!

 


  • What your diet was like before adopting a plant-based diet?

Before I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, my diet consisted of occasional trips to McDonald’s for midnight double whopper runs. That alone should tell you that I was not at all connected to the food I ate or my health! I definitely didn’t eat whole foods, but rather consumed a lot of processed, “low fat” junk food and animal products – cheese, steak, and ice cream being huge go-to choices, for example. I was completely disconnected from consuming wholesome, healthy food, but rather ate to get to a certain weight or ate from being stressed – not a good way to live, if you ask me. It wasn’t until I went vegan that I ever began to listen to my body to discover what foods I really need on a daily basis – and those foods are a far cry from the double whoppers of the past!

  • Why did you choose to adopt a plant-based diet? (health, animal ethics, environment, etc)

I am doing this 100% for the animals. After witnessing documented animal cruelty back in 2007, I could not in good conscience support a system where, in order to make me a delicious meal, an animal had to suffer, be confined, and die a painful death (you can learn more about my journey into veganism here: http://kissmyvegan.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html). What cemented my decision was the experience of learning that we don’t need animal products to live healthily, which made eating an ice cream sundae just because I liked ice cream not so enjoyable anymore. That’s not to say I don’t eat ice cream – I do now, and plenty of it! I just eat coconut milk-based or soy-based alternatives to my favorite ice cream dishes of the past. They are just as delicious, and no mommy or baby cows had to suffer for my dessert!

  • Was it hard/easy/as you expected?

The first few months were only difficult because I didn’t know how to cook or bake for myself. I had to basically re-teach myself how to make food! Besides that, it was super easy. Since I was choosing to take into account the well being of animals at every meal, I didn’t think twice about turning down a slice of cake when out with friends or butter-topped popcorn at the movies. It was the least I could do to help the world a little each and every day. Over time, I learned how to make my own delicious versions of the foods I used to love, and it got easier and easier with each bite. Now, the thought of ever going back to eating animal products just seems silly to me – I will be a vegan for my entire life, happily and healthily!

  • What changes have you seen as a result of switching; has it changed your life? If so how?

Well, for starters, I have more energy, I’m in better general health, and I actually care about the food I put into my body! Read the rest of this entry »

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Success story of the week: JL

Posted by Jenn on February 28, 2011


A Success story interview with JL!
  • What your diet was like before adopting a plant-based/ vegan diet?

I was on an eight year vegetarian journey before going vegan. I ate most vegetarian (still at fish) for four years and then for four years I ate completely vegetarian.  I ate mostly whole grains, “good fats,” veggies and lots (lots!) of cheese, milk, eggs, milk and tofu.  During these eight years I took up running and triathlon.

  • Why did you chose  to transition/switch (health, animal ethics, environmental reasons)?

I went vegan for dietary reasons.  I wasn’t feeling good (digestion) and had some recurring skin issues.  I went to a nutrition counselor to try a seasonal cleanse. By the end of the cleanse, which omitted whole wheat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, I realized I was an egg away from being vegan. I decided to try a vegan diet.  Several months after going vegan I noticed a shift in my thinking. I say that I became vegan for dietary reasons. I remain vegan for ethical reasons.

  • Was it hard/easy/as you expected, etc to transition?

It was surprisingly easy to begin and maintain a vegan diet!  But it’s because I surround myself with support.  I read vegan blogs religiously. I bought cookbooks.  I follow hundreds of vegans on Twitter.  I’ve never had an unanswered question and I think that it was has been key.

  • What changes have you seen as a result of switching to a plant-based diet? has it changed anything in your life? If so how? Motivated you to do things you hadn’t done in the past? Try new things?
Physically, I feel better than ever.  In addition to eating vegan, I have increased raw foods into my diet. I’m sleeping well, my energy is high and finally some of those nagging skins issues (eczema and candida-ish skin reactions) are subsiding.
But most importantly, I have fallen in love with food. I love preparing healthy, delicious vegan food.  My relationship to food has changed drastically. So much so that this January, when I would normally start my “annual” diet, I decided to simply embrace those 10 pounds that always found me by January 1. I realized that perhaps those 10 pounds were part of me and shouldn’t be banished.  I bought bigger clothes and quit weighing myself on a daily basis.  At 45, I feel free!
  • How do you feel now?

Never better. Seriously.

To read more about JL’s journey, check out her blog:  JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a side of Kale

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