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Thursday, 09 March 2017

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I'm 46 and been veggie (mostly vegan) for 31 years. I love wholefoods, but I love a little junk too. The way I see it, if I eat healthily 85% of the time that leaves me free to indulge in a little junk, and beer, without any guilt :) It's all about the balance, right?

I do agree though, it's tough to swim in an ocean of s***!

Just drink your coffee black. Exploit all that fancy grinding/brewing that you do.

Ah, just alternative facts. Not real. Its a conspiracy by a bunch of left wingers who want to live forever. Just ignore all that, burn lots of petrochemicals, eat junk, and leave a young corpse in the casket.

Now, seriously, it seems the light of good health has come on above your head. Go into that light and you might live longer and certainly healthier than many who prefer the "food" advertised and pushed by those who make money on the junk they sell. It takes effort and time to eat healthier but its worth it- you deserve it.

Lewis Black says they call it "soy milk" because if you say "soy juice" you'll start gagging before you can get the words out.

Reaching for a bag of Doritos...

That movie is also on Netflix

One year, for my birthday, my wife sent me to a knife-skills class. It was a lot of fun, and I've been able to safely and quickly chop vegetables ever since. Mike, I think you'd benefit from taking such a class yourself.

Yeah, vegan, or mostly vegan seems to work for me too, health wise. We try to eat vegan at home, and meat in social settings if that's what is there. Cooking good recipes is indeed very diffficult, and I'm a long time foodie who used to cook for a living. It would be extra hard for a single person. You are on the right track with the slow cooker. I've had good luck with an Indian book called Five Spices, Fifty Dishes (switch butter to olive oil and leave out the hot peppers if you want). I've also had success with some of the recipes on food52.com as well.

For your mirepoix, soffritto or whatever base you fancy for sauces stews and soups I confess I grate the vegetables with a good vegetable grater, or even blitz them in a food processor. Saves time but depends on the consistency you want/need.

Hi Mike
A sensible post ar last! To a very important theme better said. No hidden GAS advocacy with occasional, not very honest exclamations such as 'it is the photographer who matters, not the camera'! I have tried a couple of diets already. Always with good success. But the trouble is, you do not want or can live like that forever. Whar you can, however, is to eat everything as up to now, you can eat at dinners or at friends. You can stay social. You do not need to look for specialties to buy (they are not better than the regular ware, just more expensive). You just have to eat less. No, not half dealings or such, but let one meal out, every day and forever. Or eat only in a time window of e.g. eight hours. Between these windows you are not allowed to eat for 20-24 hours. Just google autophagy. To me, this is the way to go. Since last decembre I lost 6kg (from 91 to 85) and I am contect and happy to go further. One feels better, lighter and more cheerful. Ok, I got an old Mamiya Universal and Nikon 1 V3 very cheaply too, but that is another story. PS make friends with Mr. Ctein again. Take care.

.. and although it may be time consuming, ofod preparation, like walking, can be good reflection time, or listen to the radio, or music.

For this, my favourite is making risotto - very nice down time...

If you don't already have one, try a food processor. KitchenAid KFP750 is pretty good. Not a panacea, though. Some things require developing a close relationship with a good knife and a cutting board. I spent a few hours yesterday shredding cabbage for saurkraut. You still need to trim, core, and quarter each head, before feeding it into the processor for its 2-5 seconds of shredding. (Making your own kraut has its unique satisfactions ... like pounding the beejesus out of the cabbage, then pounding it some more in the crock. )

I watched that movie a while ago at the suggestion of a friend of mine. This is what I wrote him in an email after I watched it and did some more research:

"... one thing that popped up is the original Indian rat study, where cancer went down as the particular type of protein went down. What’s not mentioned in the movie, but what is actually shown in the study, is that the lower-protein rats died at greater numbers, just not from cancer.

As for the Norwegian thing, I don’t think those numbers are weighted. They were presented as pure ‘cause of death per 10,000’ numbers. Also the movie completely overlooked all the other changes Norwegians might have been faced with in their diet and lifestyle during the war.

I can’t go head-to-head against the science, but I can easily see where the movie cut corners to make a stronger case instead of a balanced argument.

As for the standard American diet, that’s a scary notion to begin with and you won’t find me arguing in favor of it. The French drank wine like crazy and ate butter by the pound and yet stayed slim and healthy. The Japanese are slim and healthy, but stuff themselves with fish. For starters, their portions are much smaller than US portions. Look at me, my cholesterol was always high (a genetic thing) even when I was bone-thin, but it’s only after I moved here, stopped moving as much and started eating American portions and drinking too much alcohol that I got my belly. Would I feel better if I ate only plant-based whole foods and consumed no alcohol? Probably. But I also think I would feel better if I just ate much less, exercised more and consumed a bit of alcohol.

I will keep an open mind, but I’m afraid that much of what goes against the current food culture and pushes another type of food culture will have me doubt the single-mindedness of the person doing the pushing. I say that while fully agreeing that the food industry is an evil force, by and large. At the same time, choosing to eat at McDonalds on a regular basis is as much a person’s own fault as is lighting a cigarette."

Good luck with your diet...

P.S. Any ideas what to do with fifty kilos of zuchini/courgette apart from cooking and freezing lots of soup?

Mall Nutrician

Easy solution to the coffee. Drink it black.

Coffee doesn't need any stinkin' accessories!

I understand your dilemma, but fortunately have a wife who is a whiz at the chopping and other prep and actually enjoys it. We've been vegetarians (who unfortunately still indulge in cheese & eggs) for 14 years.

I'm the sous-chef (i.e., gofer & veggie washer). I also fetch stuff the chef needs. Not a bad job given the tasty meals I get to eat.

Good luck with the chopping. Maybe a food processor would speed the chopping and save your fingers.

Cheers

I probably didn't need to read this post. I've been on a high fat low carb diet for two months now. Physical last week, blood work done this morning. Very curious to see how the cholesterol numbers look.

The research showing the benefits of an HFLC diet on most of the major health concerns you list above are compelling. But of course I remain conflicted.

And I feel your pain. A year ago I really upped the vegetarian portion of our diet. It was an awful lot of work. Incredibly hard to manage eating out or at someone's house and, for me, I could easily see being a full time vegetarian unsatisfying.

The shopping problem has been/will be solved (where you live it might take a decade or two) by Amazon Fresh. Order what you need and it magically appears on your door step. I know a family (four or five kids, they don't stop moving so it's difficult to get an accurate count) that gets a delivery almost every day.

And they have solved the cooking right part. Just search (this is Amazon) for "healthy meals."

They get rich pumping us with food that gets us sick, then get rich again pumping us with outrageously expensive and ineffective drugs- the circle of life...

There's one "food group" almost no one talks about unless it becomes a drug dependency; I'm talking about alcohol. It can be consumed discreetly in "excess moderation" where no one thinks you have drug problem, yet it can add many calories to one's daily count. Lose the booze, and many Americans would be well on there way to a trimmer waistline and healthier lifestyle without making any other changes to their diet.

"whole aisles of the supermarket devoted to things humans should really never eat."

Mike, that was the detergent isle!

Simple rule: do not eat anything that your Grandma would not recognize as food. Does it take a bit of work? Yes. Is it good for your soul as well as for your body? Yes.
Keep at it, Mike...

As far as heart health goes, a while ago Science Daily reported a study that concluded saturated fats in dairy products are different from saturated fats in meat, and better for you. So if saturated fat is your concern, it's okay to put real milk in your coffee -- skim milk if you're concerned about calories.

Everyone agrees that fresh foods are good and processed foods are bad. But an all plant diet is also a very high carb diet. Right now there is a huge fight going on in nutrition circles about fats and carbs and which are good or bad. Most people's diets are so bad that any change will help for a few months. After that you can see if this continues to work for you or if you start gaining weight and your blood sugar, triglycerides, and HDL start to get worse. If that happens then you will know that carbs are not your friend.

[No, that's not "right now." That had its high point in the 1980s, with the Scarsdale and Atkins diets on one side and the Pritikin diet and Jane Brody on the other. It hardly characterizes current thinking even among popular fads. --Mike]

Why do you think that this particular essentially religious and political set of beliefs about diet and health is any more accurate than the endless stream of dietary input and health ideas of the past? That it won't be superseded by something else in the near future?

One of an also endless number of "failures". The anti- animal fat people actually managed to get McD's to change the fat they used to make their fries. Then had to try to change that again, when the new revelations revealed that the change had been for the worse. "Back to Lard!"

I've known since I was a kid, mixing the coloring into blobs of oleo, to make it colored like butter, rather than lard, that it wasn't good for me. Sometime recently, I noticed someone finally discovered that better IS apparently better for me than oleo. But that will likely change again.

There is also some pretty convincing evidence in our metabolisms that the big initial change as we separated from our closest 'cousins', the chimps, was that they remained vegetarians, while we became carnivores that supplement our dietary needs with vegetable matter.

I do agree that fresh and freshly prepared are excellent - and fairly likely to be good for us. I buy and prepare the vast majority of the food we eat. I have, in fact, never eaten McD's food, for example.

You might find the section in Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari, about the effects, including health, of the agricultural revolution at least a partial antidote to this film you mention.

More obscure is the first 2/3 or so of Sex, Time, and Power, by Leonard Shlain. In the process of finding his own, open to question, answer to the mystery of human menstruation, he provides a wonderful summary, in layman terms, of our metabolisms.

That the the reasons for human menstruation, and chronic anemia among all menstrual women, fron NYC Co-ops to tribal huts, which is completely unlike the way any other mammals work, are unknown, might be reason enough to doubt the pronouncements of the latest prophets of diet. There's a whole lot about how, and why, our bodies work that we just don't know.

Another little tidbit about beliefs, as opposed to facts, even by doctors. There has been one major study of thousands of cholesterol and death rates, just that. Statistically, lower cholesterol is associated with higher rates of death among all sex and age cohorts but middle aged men.

So, as you turn sixty, playing the odds would mean raising your cholesterol, to increase your statistical likelihood of living longer. But, the study didn't have data to even speculate on why it's results might be so. And they fly in the face of a strong cultural meme* that has made cholesterol a demon.

The parallel between rituals, treatments by experts and special dietary rules around cholesterol and the rituals, priests/etc. and dietary rules of religions around pleasing, or at least not angering, God(s) is a strong one.

Many years ago, I read an article by an RN who had spent her career in nutrition. She held that we will never really know, because we can't do controlled tests on people.

Perhaps that will change in the future, but that future isn't now. For now, the latest, always incomplete, findings about our metabolic systems will continue to generate wonderful new health benefits from dietary changes, that mostly don't work in any verifiable way beyond anecdotal stories.


* In the original usage for which the word was coined, not the degraded web usage.

[Dude, don't discourage me. --Mike]

There three different types of diabtes one of which -- Type 1 -- is not curable or reversible or treatable by ANY diet.

http://www.jdrf.org/about/fact-sheets/type-1-diabetes-facts/

So when you write sentences like this one:

The emerging consensus is pretty clear: the road to normal health is to eat a "whole food, plant-based" (WFPB) or "Nutritarian" diet. It will pretty much inevitably solve any weight, sleep, energy-related or sense-of-wellbeing issues you might have, as well as protect you from or even reverse a wide range of serious illnesses, starting with heart diease, diabetes, hypertension, and, most probably, cancer.

you are helping perpetuate misinformation about diabetes which has an impact on how people perceive people

like me.

[Sorry if what I wrote wasn't clear. And very sorry if you're dealing with Type 1—my sympathies, Khürt, and I wish you the very best in dealing with the challenges. --Mike]

MIke, I suggest you read https://deniseminger.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique/

Eric Onore

Mike

I make chopping veggie work easy by using a hand blender. This fits most wide mouth containers. Drink my raw veggies and fruits. Keep the balance in the fridge. Shake and drink ad lib.

My favorite combo is mixing around with Celery, Blueberries, Red Capsicums, Kiwifruit, Kai Lan, Watercress, Mint.

Getting dangerously close to Instagramming your lunch there...

I know quite a few people with egg and/or milk allergic children who are very grateful for vegan versions of standard foods - it makes it easier to give the wee mites the 'same thing' as all their friends. Quite a few can eat meat, or share a family table with those who do.

Are you avoiding bread? Even real bread with umpteen different grains and enough roughage to smoothly launch a battleship? A shame if so: leftover sandwiches are a great way to cut down on effort.

What always amazes me when I am in the US is the HUGE portions you are served in restaurants. The same goes for most meals I have been served in peoples homes. When they figure a guy might be too skinny at 200 lbs in Texas you gotta know people's perceptions are really messed up.

One of the complaints we hear in Canada when Americans are eating out is that they figure they are getting short changed on portion size in restaurants. What they don't realize is most of the world does not adhere to the super sized mentality predominate in the US.

I just got back from Guatemala. Most of our team lost weight while down there. Work was very physical and in addition the Guatemalans eat even less than we do. At no time did we feel hungry and once the sugar cravings passed we felt pretty darn good actually.

I have friends who are registered dietitians and their advice has always been it's not so much what you eat, but how much you eat. Naturally if you are eating junk food as your staple then you are doomed.

Eat your steaks and have a piece of pie with ice cream. Just dial the portion size back to normal size, not super size

I avoid all animal products because I'm opposed to cruelty against defenseless beings. That's fundamental to me. The health benefits are a fantastic side effect.

I have made cooking very easy by using robots:

1) A food processor does the chopping. Buy a bunch of different types and thicknesses of blades.

2) A Zojirushi (Japanese rice cooker) cooks the grains. Not just rice.

3) An Instant Pot electric pressure cooker makes the beans, lentils, legumes. It also doubles as a slow cooker.

Press some buttons, go do something else, come back and it's done. Buys some jars of sauces (Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Japanese, BBQ, Indian, Thai, etc.) and use sparingly (avoid the junk ones).

I highly recommend machine cooking.

I have been vegetarian for the almost the last 6 months. It was difficult at first but now it's easy. It helps that the cafeteria at the University I work at always has a couple of vegetarian options for lunch. For me it was less about health than not being able to stand the astonishingly cruel treatment of animals that goes on at feed lots, chicken processors, ect. Eating meat isn't necessarily wrong, but the way we do it now is unconscionable. I will admit having a soft spot for animals and have two dogs that I found dumped at State Parks here in Texas and am currently in the process of adopting (well he adopted me and the dogs) stray cat who is a total jerk. But we kind of like him. :-)

I forgot to add, that I am 60 years old and feel much better/healthier since I cut out the meat.

Hi Mike;

I was taught knife skills by a chef. I've never cut myself if following her instruction. Cut once by slippery cutting board. If you don't have an 8" chef's knife, get a good one. One that's comfortable in a wet hand. Vegetables when close to the blade should be held by finger nails. If working fast, knuckles may be close to the blade with fingers bent to the palm. Practice. I did a quick look on the web with sound off as I'm busy. This women is using her hands correctly.

One more thing, a wet/damp towel placed between your cutting board and the counter top will keep the board from slipping.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaMbMCHKcU8

Not for publication unless you want to..

I forgot.. be sure your knife is really sharp. Buy a stone if you don't have one. Straighten the blade with a "diamond steel", it cleans, sharpens the edge while straightening it. The steel is oval shaped, not round.

Try the Trader Joe's non-dairy creamer. It's the only non-dairy creamer I have ever had that does not taste of ass.

Was introduced to it by a local vegan place who made Thai iced-coffee that tasted divine.

Oval shape..is best, I think.. I know nothing of this brand, but it's the device.

https://www.dmtsharp.com/sharpeners/sharpening-steels/diamond-steel/

As a long term vegetarian I have followed with interest your food and nutrition posts over the past few years. I am happy with my fairly simple diet and pleased that it seems to fit what most researchers consider to be a good way to eat - mostly plant and unprocessed. One of my staple, quick dinners is stir fry. Buy yourself a cheap wok from an Asian supermarket, cook in peanut oil and just chop and add whatever vegetables take your fancy. Cooking time is about 5 minutes. If you get a rice cooker (Korean and Japanese brands are best) you can also start doing fried rice with the stir fry. Also very easy to clean up after cooking.

Found one..

https://www.amazon.com/Winco-Diamond-Sharpening-Steel-Metal/dp/B01EREG5E4/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1489106120&sr=1-3&keywords=oval+diamond+sharpening+steel

Oh gosh, I don't recommend that you start a discussion of nutrition. There are so many schools of thought, so much anecdotal evidence that people want to share, and so much conflicting epidemiological scientific evidence. But then maybe it's just me. Maybe I've overdosed on listening to foodies and dieters over the years. I'd rather read competing claims that lens X is sharper/creamier than lens Y.

Eat what you enjoy and enjoy what you eat. We are in the age of "The Job of Eating": Food "points", fasting, alternative foods (tofurkey?), paleo and on and on. I'm all for a bit of moderation, the rest of it is nonsense.

Get thee immediately to www.cookieandkate.com. She has some incredibly easy and tasty plant based recipes, many of which I've tried in the past year.

Just finished up one of her last offerings, Sweet Potato Burritos, which was just as good on the 3rd day.

One of her secrets is a book/encyclopedia on complementary tastes which she obviously spends a lot of time with.

And she will link you to her wider network of foodie bloggers when one of their ideas work.

And, with her first cookbook on the way!

More diet related healing stories can be found at: http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/

"And lot of important people in industries with influence and power don't want us to eat that way, either."

Ya think?

You might find this person's story of her 20 years of learning to eat interesting.

http://fabienne.us/2016/04/28/twenty-years-of-vegetables/

...though it's possible I've shared it previously, so apologies if so.

The women in the video I linked uses her hands fairly well.. in order not to get cut. But she doesn't know how to "steel" the knife blade correctly. This guy does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTOqFJvgrVA

I steel my knife differently holding the steel vertically and working toward the guard at the bottom of the steel. I learned to do it that way from my father, who was a butcher. Either way works, as long as the steel is fixed and the knife is moved along it's length. Get good at this and it will reduce your prep time by more than 50%.

Try Soylent (I like the coffee flavored one)

You can eat a healthy diet without too much pain. I've lived with a "nutritional nazi" for 46 years and we eat healthy but well. Here's the March page from my annual calendar for friends:

Gravlax homemade from fresh wild salmon, omelets from our organic-fed chicken's eggs, a puffy pancake made with those eggs and organic flours and a unique dish of organic chicken crusted with organic potatoes.
Eat a varied diet. Eat organic. We eat tons of artisan organic bread - it's been the staple of human existence for millennia.
Mike- raise chickens - you'll never go back to store-bought eggs!
BTW, men need more protein than women it seems.

I started eating whole food plant based about 5 years ago. I wasn't trying to lose weight, but lost 20 pounds anyway. I was trying to lower my cholesterol and it went down 80 points.

The longer you eat this way, the better the food tastes. If I have a typical restaurant meal now, I generally feel kind of queasy and regret it later. I have found some restaurants that have things I can eat and feel good and try to stick to those restaurants on the rare times go out (maybe once a month). It has gotten to the point where I greatly prefer what I cook myself.

I never thought I'd be able to drink coffee black, but one day I just tried it. It wasn't too bad. Now, I can't imagine putting anything in my coffee. It does really help to only use good coffee beans!

One thing I've found to be key for eating this way is frozen veggies. I still eat fresh veggies too, but a freezer full means you never have to worry about running out or fresh ones going bad. Besides, they are all cut up already. Soup is especially easy with frozen veggies. I also use a lot of canned tomatoes and beans (though dried beans make much better soup).

Finally, make big batches and eat leftovers. I usually make enough soup on Sundays to eat all week for lunch. I also make enough brown rice for several days at a time. You don't have to cook every meal.

I think it is a great way to eat and I hope it works well for you.

And, if you're getting rid of all animal-based foods, don't forget your B12 supplements! Pills or foods that have had it added to them.

Hi Mike, The one thing I can add is; you said 3 times a day? Eating makes you hungry. Because I eat for the most part as you are recommending, I come from a food fanatic hippy background (as in macrobiotic), over the years I have looked for every way to make it easier. At this point I usually only eat once a day. I have coffee in the morning then around 3 I start making dinner. Slowly. Another trap is having to make meals "tasty". Natural simple food tastes good. It is a good idea to learn to like it. I like it when you talk about food and diets. I find it to be a fascinating subject.

Eat, drink, and be merry. Statistical inference cannot be applied to individual data points as predictors. Que sera sera (according to the Bhagavat Gita)!

As a European citizen I find your diet very strange. People around here consider fresh food a basic commodity.

I work fulltime and manage to shop once a week. My wife or I cook almost every day. No big deal.

Cooking doesnt need to last hours. 30 min on average. And it makes my wife very grateful 😊

Sorry, Mike, if you are using nut milk from Australia, can forget vegan. You just drank a huge dose of oil out of the ground. The same applies with things like Amazon's individual food deliveries. Get on your bike (or your feet) and go shopping locally!

You need to source local produce and get into the preserving business just like grandma used to do so you have good food available year round.

Chopping? For heaven's sake, man, chop by hand and use the time to think, relax, cogitate, enjoy. Wash the dishes by hand afterwards too, going through the familiar motions and reflecting on life and how everything adds up to 42.

You are going to chuck stuff into a food processor? Or the dishes into the dishwasher machine? And exactly what are you going to do with the time you have "saved"? Yeah -- you can't "save" time, really. You can't put it in a bank and get it out when you need it.

As for the Type II diabetes, known locally here in the Islands as "suga" -- a helluva lot depends on your genes. It is in epidemic proportions here despite the fact that most people eat what by 1st world standards is a pretty good diet. The Tolais, amongst whom I live, generally eat a diet strong in root veges, bananas (cooking), leaves (they LOVE their greens) and low meat. More and more white rice is eaten though. Lots of fruit. Nearly all fresh food which grows here all year round. But people are having bits chopped off them all the time.

I can't help wondering whether the industrial revolution made us Europeans pretty resistant to diabetes type II -- our ancestors were shifted in very short order from a well rounded, rural diet to a diet of flour and sugar, pretty much by the libertarian capitalist elite who didn't care a damn for the human cattle they used to make their fortunes. I wonder whether that took care of most of the Type II susceptible people in a couple of generations, sacrificed to the current white population of the world generally a resistance to Type II despite flagrantly inviting it with the lousiest diet imaginable?

All that said, I need to lose 10kg and lose it NOW. Slow, bulky foods eaten slowly is one of the answers -- I know that.

Cheers, Geoff

I have been vegetarian for thirty years and am currently heading towards vegan, though I doubt I will ever be fully vegan.
I gave up cows' milk many years ago and a lifetime of sinus problems and having a blocked nose disappeared instantly. For the first time ever, I could breathe through my nose. The casein protein in milk is the most indigestible product humans consume.
Cows' milk is intended to turn small calves into huge cows in a short space of time. We should not be drinking the milk intended for the young of another species. We don't even drink the milk of our own species past about a year old.

Hi Mike,

the first thing I thought when I saw the photo of the blog post is "what the heck is that?" --- then I realized. Maybe it's cultural (I am an Italian, with Italian eating style, living in Spain) but I think my family of three can't buy that thing *ever*... it will spoil. We buy a 150gr (5 oz) mayonnaise can every couple of month; and that bit is the true one, with eggs and extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil alone is wonderful in salads and on vegetables...

Eating for us is a kind of meeting time, play time, and try to be as varied as we can. We more or less, naturally, follow the food pyramids of Mediterranean diet (fruit and vegetables almost always, pasta and rice often, less frequently white meat and fish, once a week or less read meat, little if any sweets --- typically ice-cream). We eat together, either at home or in the workplace, at fixed hours, chatting and taking our time, TV or Internet forbidden (I am talking around 40 minutes per lunch here... don't think more). And the only diet I ever followed once, during a couple of months (and that worked great) is the Arguiñano's famous "EHE": eat half of everything.

I really think that the fun (both in eating and preparing the food!), and the social part of eating, is something most of US people has lost. And I think that is the main problem, and all this "scientifically-correct-now-utterly-wrong-tomorrow" bunch of diets I see flying by is an effect of this.

Take care and find the fun in everything. My granny, died at 101, told me that that was her trick.

Feeling awfully nosey but I wonder how your weight loss diet is going as it is been a while since the last update (the seven minute workout I think)

For milk alternatives, my favourite is oat milk.

[As I said, "I'll keep you posted. In case I ever actually make any progress." I have an inordinate fondness for ice cream and pizza, which has not been being kind to me lately. --Mike]

I don't really diet or eat excessively healthy foods. But 3 years ago I had a wake up call. I was almost 90kg (actually 89.5) and cholest. and uric acid up.

So I cut out a lot of fats and the little sugar I ate and no eating between meals and 18 months later was just under 70kg; another 18 months later still just under 70kg. I am just slightly careful about food, but not obsessive - keep purin intake down but still enjoy some fish and beer, and have my treats (dark chocolate) and do a fair amount of exercise.

Most pleased when last summer had a blood test and looking at the 40 or so results only one was outside parameters and that by only one point.

Eating healthy is really not that difficult. You just have to change your habits. Nowadays I buy my fruit and veggies from a local small supermarket, not from a hypermarket. They still have non-EU-normalized fruit, which comes from small farming industries, and sometimes even has the odd caterpillar! Just like my grand dads apples 40 years ago! If the bug likes it, I must be good:)

Meat, I eat perhaps one a week, and from certified bio-producers. Same with eggs, only from non-mass fed chickens.

As for fish and milk, living in Portugal, I am fortunate to be able to access fresh fish, and milk from the Azores, where cows graze happily all year round in green pastures.

Choices are available, just change the habits.

I prep vegetables in mass quantities. I have a chest freezer in the basement and a couple sheet pans (with matching Silpats), and will chop enough celery or onions to make a layer across the entire sheet-pan (or two) beyond what I need at the moment and freeze them. Once the diced veggies are blanched, chilled, and frozen (and still in separate pieces, as opposed to one big frozen glob), they go into dated gallon zip-top bags, and I can pull out whatever amount I need later, always pulling from the oldest bag so I'm rotating my stock.

Here in MN, we have winter markets which usually have root vegetables for sale. I'll go at least once a year and buy enough parsnips, turnips, and carrots to make a few gallon bags full of mixed root veg. It's a nice Saturday in the kitchen some time in the middle of winter. Ditto for onions and leeks.

Mike, If it's working for you, tastes good, gives you energy, and is getting easier with each meal, keep doing it. As you mentioned in an earlier dietary post, the science of nutrition is slowly discovering that each individual reacts to food differently. You seem to have found a (sugarless) sweet spot. Stay there!

I have been a vegetarian most of my life and only drink my coffee black. The reasons I choose this way of eating is my preference for fresh veggies and fruit, and my dislike for the taste and texture of meat. I drink black coffee so I do not have to bother with sugar substitutes and milk. I buy a lot of frozen meals (Trader Joes is a good source for the better meals) and use a Hot Logic Mini to heat them up.

I do not have a lot of time for food prep and honestly do not enjoy cooking. I would rather pay someone to do it for me. When I go to friends for lunch or dinner, it is never a problem. They have learned she'll enjoy it all, just will not eat any meat. My boyfriend admires how I eat and appreciates it is not a political message about my love for animals, etc. But, I do need to change up the exercise to shed some pounds.

Every year for the past five or so years, my doctor makes a big deal about my blood work results. He says it has to be because of my diet my numbers are always so good. I am happy that at age 58 I have never had to take medications except for sinus infections or pain pills when I broke a leg two years ago (the broken leg has slowed me down some), I just need to use that very expensive exercise machine that collects dust in my bedroom.

I remember reading an interview with the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Kuwait, who was still going into the office five days a week—at age 105. The interviewer (I think it was in Forbes magazine) asked him what his secret was.

"I get up from every meal very slightly hungry", he confided.

It is amazing to me the number of "learned" folk out there who, without trying to learn about healthy eating via a plant-based diet, pontificate about things they know not.

For example, saying that plant-based eating is pure high carbs and bad is wrong. There are many veggies that are high in the good kinds of fat, e.g., legumes, nuts and avocados.

Also there is no shortage of protein, which is the first thing most flesh eaters ask about. As if animal flesh is the only source of protein.

I've learned to just smile and nod to these folk. They don't want to know.

And by the way, the dead-flesh industries create more greenhouse gas than most others. Ever smell a hog operation or a dairy farm sewage lagoon?

Second the knife skills class suggestion. And keep your knives super sharp, it helps everything go smoother. I use a set of Wusthof knives I got for my wedding 10 years ago, and they are sharper now than when I got them. I use a Spyderco Tri-Angle sharpener every few weeks.

I don't like using food processors/mini prep tools, they don't have the same sensibility as a man and his knife.

Do you grill? You can make some fantastic veggies/fruits on the grill also. The char and hint of smoke make everything awesome.

So much of the dietary chatter is noise. The best thing most people coild do to improve their health and lives is to lose weight. A lot of weight. And keep it off. Stop pushing so much crap into your face, whether its vegan crap or caveman crap. And move much, much more. Really move, not just to and from your car and not just on vacation.

Long life and health? - Choose your parents carefully!

[Everybody says that, but my grandmother had two sisters, and one lived to 24 and the other to 101. And they all had the same parents. As I'm always sayin', just sayin'. --Mike]

Hi Mike,

Spot on post, I'm (we're) on year four of this journey, prompted by an event/scare and are the healthier and happier for it.

You may find some interest and good/good for you recipes on this site on which I do the bulk of the photography and of which I am mostly the subject https://www.fixitplan.com

Also I just came across this free offering to help us with the chopping, haven't watched it yet, but it sure looks like the cat's PJ's https://www.craftsy.com/cooking/classes/complete-knife-skills/35338

While "forks over knives" may appeal and work for some, perhaps many, animal avoidance isn't supported by science or my experience. There are many healthy ways for us to eat. I encourage you to explore until you find what works best for you.

I once worked at a restaurant where the sous chef patiently explained to me the proper way to peel a carrot. Use a horizontal style peeler, start at the small end of the carrot, let the peeler do the work. It was faster and you waste less carrot.

We also had one of these to speed up prep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf9WEyKv7Ys It's faster than humans, and makes much more precise small dice. It is $6000, however.

A couple more things I thought of: (and I realize, you are receiving MANY suggestions - I just read them all)

1. Knives need not break the bank. I have, for years, used the Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife, after reading a good review of it in Cooks Illustrated magazine. Under $50 on Amazon. While you're at it, also get the AccuSharp 001 Knife Sharpener, under 10 bucks ... and avoid the frustration of using a sharpening steel "the right way." (I've got to look up that "knife-skills" class one earlier post mentioned. There's tools, and then there's knowing how to use them. Like cameras, for instance.)

2. Speaking of Cooks Illustrated, try a subscription for a year. It's cooking for geeks, plus some hint of Consumer Reports. They experiment with recipes, describe their process, explain the science behind it, then finally give you a recipe with clear instructions. (I like to do "deep dives" into new things, and this publication sure helped.)

3. A number of years ago, my late daughter-in-law, a restaurant chef, familiar with my (sometimes feeble) attempts at Sunday dinners, gave me as a Christmas present Tom Collichio's "Think Like a Chef." Honestly, it turned things around for me.After reading it, over time, I went from painstakingly following recipes, to taking recipes as sort of a guide, and sometimes improving, or even improvising.

Here's something that just occurred to me: I am starting to mess around with alternative print making, like cyanotype and Vandyke brown, and carbon transfer. One thing in common with preparing food: Recipes!

I've eaten nearly exclusively a 'whole food' diet most of my life. Pulses, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, moderate amount of meat. For the last year I've averaged well under 1500 calories per day. Still overweight.

Also check out the "nutrition facts" website and/or youtube channel, if you haven't already.

Moderation in everything, including moderation.

Also check out the documentary Genetic Roulette. A mostly plant based diet is good but not if it's mostly GM crops. There's a reason why most GM crops are banned in most European countries and many other parts of the world.

Two things help with food preparation:
A sharp Chefs knife (the 8" type)
Mandolin

A vacuum sealer helps with keeping food fresh for longer - either before or after cooking.

I am not a vegetarian but have decided to eat in the same style as we ate when I was a child: vegetables and lentils are the majority of the food with chicken and lamb being there as after thoughts. Breads were wholemeal and flat (chappatti and roti) and rice was made for lamb curry or red kidney bean curry.

Mike no commenter has addressed the social problem of going vegetarian: GAS. Not photo gear GAS, but human digestive reaction to beans, green peppers, broccoli, etc. The few times I've tried going to a PBD I've lost friends, jobs, respect from family, and the Presidency of the United States. Advice most welcome.

ANONYMOUS

Diet. Yawn. This is rapidly becoming another topic which should be avoided in polite company. Used to be it was just religion and politics. Now, this too?

You and I go to a restaurant. We look at the menu and each order according to our whatever (desire/taste/restriction/philosophy/etc...). Our food arrives. We eat. Hopefully, we enjoy. Neither judges the other based on their order. We pay for our meal. Leave. Agree to meet again in the near future. Life goes on.

My POV: order what you like. Eat what you like. Define "like" as you like. And allow others to do the same. Move on.

[The issue is not telling other people what to do. The issue is trying to figure out what to do for ourselves in the face of a health crisis generally and the deleterious health effects the food supply might be having on ourselves. This week I have heard from people who have had heart attacks, who have had stomach-reduction surgery to deal with extreme obesity, who have diabetes, and who have relatives who have died of diet-related health problems.

If you don't have problems yourself, that's great for you. In any event, it's a blog--if you don't like the topic, wait 24 hours. It will change. :-) --Mike]

Hello,
I am a forced vegan [liver things too complicated to explain], but thing is:
-Beware of just eating plants. No matter what, we still need some animal based fat and animal based protein [very recommended "free range eggs"]. With eggs and or fish will suffice.
Do not trust the vegan things, there is a heavy lack of certain elements [iron and some other metals] and some protein elements [and yes, protein has its quality even if the protein is the same: long story short, for a variety of reasons the chemical linkage of protein molecules is stronger and suffers less degradation when animal sourced, if the protein were to be the same].
-It is a thing of habits. You have the habit to have confort food. Reality is, you can make your own confort food.
-Microwave ovens and convection ovens are your best friends e-v-e-r. Can stress this enough. They are one of the most advanced and sophisticated machineries you can have, and most importantly, can do the work for you for a set amount of time. And, if you want to be environmentally conscious, remenber that you can cook several things together on the oven, with several techniques at the same time [heyyyy, double boler!]
-Again, a matter of habits.
-An unknown truth: your food will taste much, much better just before getting rotten. Reason: the natural levels of sugars will increasy, and the fat of the food will settle. It is a trick heavily used, and quite contrary to believe, food tastes better when NOT fresh. So start stewing and having that set for a couple of days on your fridge.

-Did I mention habits?

Mike,

Try this App. It makes things simple.

https://www.forksoverknives.com/app/

Rick

Cleveland Clinic and Mayo both promote the Mediterranean Diet and Cleveland has compelling reasons why in their Blogs. They have studied every diet out there scientifically and endorse the Mediterranean because it nourishes the entire body, especially the cardiovascular system, while limiting foods that are harmful. The best part is you eat a wide range of easily prepared real foods.

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