Saturday, February 20, 2016

10 Days Off Sugar

Ten days off sugar and the cravings are calming down.  I am no longer unable to sit still while thinking about cookies or cupcakes.  I was never moody, but was clearly going through some withdrawals over the lack of sweets and white flour carbs in my diet.

I have lost 6 pounds, and I am not hungry all the time (usually I am always wanting to snack).  The weight has clearly just gone away mainly from my middle.  My pants are loser, but mainly I can tell in my profile that my gut is not sticking out quite as much.

While not much of an athlete, I have decided to take up running, and went for a mile run with a 2 mile walk, and at end was not starving and seemed to have more energy when out for the exercise.  My attention to detail seems higher, however  that might just be psychological as I seek for evidence that giving up sugar was the right call.

There might be something to this "sugar is evil" thing.  I am not "fat" but clearly have carried 15+ extra pounds around for some time.  It is interesting that I may hit idea weight simply from this Lent exercise.

My wife is being great about serving double vegetables instead of starch at meals, and as we seek places to eat out we are making sure there are good options for me with lots of protein and veggies.

I am wondering if this has to go far beyond Lent.  Maybe I have to make these types of eating decisions for the rest of my life.  This makes me happy and sad, as I like the idea of being healthier, but I love me some desserts and wonderful breads.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Withdrawal from Sugar. My symptoms from quitting sugar

So Far I am eight Days off sugar, pasta and bread and I am feeling a combination of both good and crappy.  All at the same time my Lent commitment is bringing me better health and making me wither in hunger for sugary foods.

I am having wild cravings.  Everything I see looks like a giant cupcake.  I want to scarf a whole loaf of French Bread.  I want spaghetti.  Waffles? Did I mention how good a waffle with tons of syrup would taste right now?  And cookies... oh yes, I cannot stop thinking about cookies.

The weight is coming off my midsection, as my pants are lose.  I have not stepped on a scale, but I would bet I have lost three or four pounds.  I am eating a lot all day, but it is healthy and has no sugar or white flour.  Also minimizing things that are considered healthy but are known to have lots of sugar in the mix.

My energy is seems high, except when the food cravings take over.  At that point I just want to go and hide.  I am clearly in some sort of withdrawal.

This is a more difficult Lent experiencet than past years.  Even harder than going vegan.  I have cut out all the things that have sugar or useless carbs that convert to sugar.  I am not being as strict as in past years of going vegan, giving up caffeine, bread, etc... but there is nothing really satisfying to cheat with when I am craving food.  A bowl of berries, while delicious, is not the same a piece of cake. This time by making a lifestyle choice to not eat crap, and to decide on what I consume like a committed athlete would choose, I am stuck with nothing bad for me on my approved food list.

I feel like I am going a little crazy over the sugar and white flour foods being eliminated from my diet.  I have been reading a lot of information online and the key is to get through the first two weeks.  I am half the distance.  My body can tell this is good for me... but at the same time it wants to eat all the old stuff that is bad for me.

Going to they gym might be a good idea, I am going to add a hard workout today and see what happens.

Anyone else ever do this?  How did you feel?  It is awkward.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Giving Up Sugar For Lent

Five years ago for Lent I went Vegan.  It was a long and hard journey that turned out to be a great experience.  After lent I remained "Vegan Leaning" for the rest of 2011 (enjoying vegan meals Mon-Friday, and meat and dairy on the weekends).  

I fell off the vegan wagon completely by 2012, but each Lent I continue to choose something that takes a lot of self-control and effort.

This year I have decided to make Lent about positive choices.  My goal is to "make food decisions like a high performance athlete".  While vague, it basically means cutting out most sugar, booze and white flour, and processed foods.  

The plan leaves lots of room for interpretation, and even high performance athletes have a few cheats now and then.  But one week into Lent, the key has been no sugar (mostly), no alcohol, and no breads/pastas.  I try to make what I do eat as natural and healthy as I can based on the circumstances.

It is hard. I did have a drink on Valentine's day.  But now I am starting to see the withdrawal symptoms of the huge abandonment of sugar and carbs.  While not at zero, I regularly eat a lot of bread and my sweet tooth is epic, so cutting way back is leaving my body questioning what is happening.

I wish I could say I feel great.  I do mostly, but I also feel weird.  Something is happening and the overall assumption is that it is all good.  My body does not need the sugar levels I consume most of the time, but it is a craving sugar fix.

Caffeine was not included in what I gave up, but going to black coffee after a lifetime of adding sugar or syrup is a big switch, too.

I am hoping to feel more energetic soon.  I have read that after a week or two of eliminating sugar the body and mind re-tool and you get a boost.   It seems I am thinking more clearly, but that could just be wishful thinking.

The commitment to Lent is always something positive for me, and this time I think it is a good idea to cut back on the crap I usually eat.  I have no idea how the next 5+ weeks will go, but I am hoping it creates a permanent change in what I consume and how I snack.

It is funny to look back on this old blog on how I chronicled the vegan experiment in 2011.  I am starting to realize that no snacking on chips, breads, processed foods, cookies, etc... may just be the hardest think I have ever done.

Ate an apple as I typed this.  It was good, but it is not as good as a chocolate brownie.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Vegan 1 Day Project 2012

August 31, 2012 is the "Vegan 1 Day Project".  This is an international movement to promote the benefits of a plant based diet.

Our food choices play a significant role, helping to solve some of our societies most urgent problems, like marine ecosystem collapse, climate change, poor human health and global violence.

Eating animal foods is the elephant in our living room that we all pretend not to see when discussing how we can change the world for the better.

On August 31st, 2012, a group of extreme SUP paddlers will circumnavigate 72 miles of Lake Tahoe in one day—paddling all day and all night—to promote the Vegan 1 Day Project. They hope to garner international attention from this challenge to encourage everyone to adopt a vegan diet for at least one day out of the year.

Will you join us by pledging to eat vegan for just one day, 31 August 2012?  Can you help spread the word in your community?

About the Vegan 1 Day founder:  

John Merryfield lives in Lake Tahoe, Ca. and Los Barriles, Baja, Mexico with his wife Carol and works as a painting contractor.  He is the founder of Vegan 1 Day - An international challenge for everyone to adopt a vegan diet for at least one day of the the year (August 31). He is an avid surfer, kite surfer, stand up paddler, paraglider pilot and a published haiku poet.  (Author's note... I also have known John since our days in Ms. O'Brien's kindergarten class.  No, he was not vegan or did he write haiku at that point in time!)

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Blog Post by Jillian McKee

This blog continues to get a lot of search engine hits for vegan related topics, even though I am no longer eating a plant based diet (I do continue to make much more healthy choices compared to the time before my 2011 Vegan Lent experience).

I was approached by guest blogger Jillian McKee, and am posting her new article here, as her message about nutrition for those facing disease is important.

Jillian is a blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.  Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Read more:

The Importance of Nutrition For Cancer Treatment & Care

Whether you have just been diagnosed, undergoing treatment or are in remission, nutrition plays an important role in the care, treatment and recovery of cancer patients. Having a nutritious diet may help to prevent slow and poor recovery and healing after surgery.

The Relationship between Nutrition and Cancer

With all the emotional, mental and physical stress and challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis, eating a nutritious diet along with healthy eating habits is essential for healing and recovery. For pre and post treatment and care, patients who have healthy weights, energy and a strong nutritious body may better resist infections and have quicker recovery. In some cases, the care and treatment of cancer patients may lead to side effects such as loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea and vomiting that may affect nutrition and eating habits in many ways.

Patients who undergo cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy need to have energy to help with recovery. Some of these therapies involve the neck, throat and head, which may affect the taste buds, smelling, chewing as well as swallowing and making saliva. Digestion and the ability to absorb nutrients may also result from stomach and intestinal cancers and surgeries.

Nutritional Benefits for Cancer Treatment and Care

Patients and survivors who eat nutritional meals while coping with cancer treatment and remission stand to gain from improved health and overall wellbeing. Some advantages of a healthy diet during cancer are as follows:

-Improved prognosis and helping with faster healing
-Lowered risk of infections and malnutrition
-Increased strength and energy
-More tolerance of treatment-related side effects
-Better managed and maintenance of a healthy weight
-Prevention of bone and muscle loss
-Enhanced general health and quality of life

Nutritional Tips for Cancer Patients

The type of nutrition for mesothelioma patients and those with other forms of cancer will vary from person to person. This will depend on special dietary plans, the treatment methods and side effects that the patient is experiencing. In some cases, eating a balanced diet may not be possible right away. Nutritional tips that may be considered for pre and post cancer treatment include:

-Following dietary plans designed by dietitian and care team
-Drinking nutritional supplements especially if you have problems swallowing or chewing
-Eating foods that are high in protein and calories such as peanut butter, cheese, eggs, fish and whole milk to help improve energy and speed up healing
-Increasing fiber rich foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables
-Eating smaller meals and drinking adequate amounts of water

The importance of nutrition for cancer patients and survivors cannot be underscored. Good nutrition can be the difference between a weak recovery and a healthy and speedy one or having infections and preventing diseases. Maintaining a nutritious diet along with healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and managing stress are also important factors for successfully coping with cancer. For more information on nutrition and its impact on cancer, visit the website of the National Cancer Institute.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Last Day of Lent - Two Cents Plain

This year I gave up alcohol for Lent.  It was much easier to go without booze than it was last year to live Vegan for the whole 40+ day period (as I did in 2011).  I undertook both of these Lent efforts to see if I had the disciplined fortitude to make a commitment on this level.  In both cases it was about making healthy choices, but the Vegan living was a much harder on a day to day basis.

I had not taken into effect the social events that one attends where everyone is having a drink.  At first it seemed odd to not partake, but really it was no big deal.  There were all the parties during South by Southwest, St Patrick's Day, my 20th wedding anniversary and countless other dinner gatherings.  My drink of choice became Club Soda with a squeeze of lime.

The other day someone called my beverage a "Two Cents Plain" (although, it was not plain, it had lime).  I was not familiar with the term, but he sent me a link to a below song by artist Joel Mabus.  I found this YouTube Video of the song.  Apparently the term goes back to the depression where Seltzer Water was free (or maybe 2 cents)

<object width="420" height="315"><param name="movie" value=";hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src=";hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="420" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

(Can't see video?  Here is the link

I did find it interesting in local bars.  Most did not charge me for the drink, but one bar charged me $3 for the Club Soda.... which I think was the biggest rip-off of all time!

Today is the last day of Lent.  Tomorrow I will enjoy a glass of wine, but today I will pound down a few "Two Cents Plain".... with lime!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent 2012 - No Drinking Until Easter

I started this blog a year ago when I went "Vegan for Lent". While I had always given something up for Lent, last year was the first time that it had a real impact on my life.

Lent 2011 was a real test in sacrifice and dedication.  I was successful in my food choices and commitment to the process.... and felt fantastic.  I lost a little weight, and my mind was clear and focused.  After Lent ended my diet was forever changed.

While I did not remain a vegan, I did modify my eating habits.  I spent most of the year being "Vegan Leaning" - which meant Monday - Friday I kept vegan (mostly), and on the weekends I ate "Free-Style".  I found I could not over eat the meat and dairy on the weekends or I would not feel right.

My efforts Monday - Friday got derailed over the holidays, but I still avoid meat and dairy on most occasions.  I would estimate I am eating about 70% less meat and dairy than I did before my Lent experience of a year ago.

Tomorrow Lent begins again.  This year I am going to give up drinking any alcohol.  While I am not a lush, I do like wine, and I attend many events where it is common to have a drink.  I do not expect the level of sacrifice and commitment to the cause to be nearly as big of a deal as 2011.... but it will still take effort and making the right choices.

However... it is true that St. Patrick's Day, my wedding anniversary, and SXSW all happen during Lent!!!

No new blog this time (I figured 40 Days Dry was not as interesting as 40 Days Vegan!!!).

Have A Great Day.

thom singer