See, this is where you need a really big, really fat family, so that you can say, “We’ve Lost 500 Pounds!” and land on the cover of the National Enquirer. Unfortunately, only two of the three of us are even participating, and even though we do have plenty to lose, if we lost 500 pounds, we’d be dead. We are happy with what we’ve accomplished, though, and I’d be glad to share what we’re doing with you because I know how thrilling it is to hear about other people’s diets. Zzzzz.
It’s the treadmill! Yes, this is also part one of the Treadmill Chronicles. David and I have both successfully figured out how to use a treadmill without flying off the end screaming (which actually happened to a toddler at our house in Kentucky). If we did fly off the end of this one, we’d hit a dormer window, which would be very uncomfortable. Long ago, my doctor said that 20 minutes per day is the minimum needed to affect blood pressure, so I walk one mile per day—about 25-27 minutes, depending on how fast I go. I have found that increasing the incline as time goes on is very effective. I’ve gotten up to a 5% incline at the peak of the workout. David really enjoys punching in random preprogrammed workouts, all of which last for 30 minutes. He likes not knowing where he’s going or what will happen. You can hear him calling out, “Oh, yeah! Up that hill!” I, on the other hand, enjoy a very preplanned life. No surprises, thank you. Just having a daily exercise time is a new habit that we are both trying to build.
Other than that, we haven’t changed what we eat—since we already ate a low-carb diet—but we do pay attention to when and how much. We eat smaller portions and never eat after dinner. That’s it! David has lost 14 pounds and I’ve lost 12. Yay!
Of course, nothing happens in my life without reading material, and January is always filled with new books about diet, exercise, and resolutions. I’ve found several that I’m working through, and I’ll tell you about a few of them here. I still have some to go, so expect to see reviews in the future!
The first one I read was The End of Diabetes, by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of Eat to Live. Here’s the gist: Dr. Fuhrman wants you to be a vegan. Wait! Don’t stop reading! There’s more! Since nearly 12% of American adults have diabetes now, and another 35% are pre-diabetic, researchers predict that more than 33% of American adults will have diabetes by 2050. (Page 1!) It is very heartening to me to see that the truly responsible and scientific (i.e., NOT sponsored by the American Diabetes Association) writers these days are saying that diabetes can be reversed, not just managed. All of them agree that reducing carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates, is the first key. Dr. Fuhrman further argues that lowering fat and calories is essential. He wants you to cut out meat entirely, except perhaps fish once or twice a week, and makes the mistake of conflating all low-carbohydrate diets with the Atkins Diet. He consistently says “low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets.” I remember the first time I went on a low-carb diet. My doctor in Kentucky ranted on and on about high-protein diets. I had no idea what he was talking about. I don’t think that most low-carbers are consciously adding protein to their lives, although it is true that when you take out junk food, good protein does make up a larger proportion of your calories.
Surprisingly, Fuhrman has some strong criticism for vegetarians and vegans who fill in all of their non-meat calories with junk carbohydrates, which is why one sees all of those pale, prematurely-aged vegans in health food stores. Personally, I am going to put my canine teeth to good use, but Dr. Fuhrman had some very interesting research and information that made the book worthwhile. First of all, he is right that we should be getting more of our calories from fresh vegetables. That is what is not getting across to most new low-carbers, who are busy looking for substitutes for their old favorites. Michael Pollan had some great advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” That is his advice for good health, and it works. Dr. Fuhrman has some fascinating research into particular foods, such as nuts and seeds preventing heart disease in chapter seven, and cruciferous vegetables and greens fighting cancer in chapter eight. Good reading.
Just as I was reading Fuhrman’s revolutionary advice on timing meals in this book, I saw David Zinczenko on a talk show giving the same advice from his new book, The 8-Hour Diet. I have not read this book, but when it arrived at the library, we all laughed and said that staying on a diet for eight hours was a truly achievable goal. Of course, that’s not what he’s saying. Both Fuhrman and Zinczenko believe that you should have a long space between meals. Fuhrman just says not to snack and not to eat after dinner, but Zinczenko recommends eating all of your food within eight hours each day, and then not eating for sixteen hours. This is the exact opposite of what most doctors— and certainly the ADA— say to diabetics. They teach patients to eat many small meals all day and not to leave too much time between snacks, hoping to even out your blood sugar. However, if you are not eating foods that raise your blood sugar, you won’t have terrible hypoglycemic crashes if you go for a long time without eating. That has been one of the best results of staying low-carb for me. Zinczenko says that your digestive tract needs to rest and have time to detoxify, and Dr. Fuhrman takes it further by saying that diabetics need to rest the pancreas, allowing Type 2 diabetics to safeguard the few beta cells that they have left. They and many other scientists today cite the recent sleep research that shows that the last two hours of sleep are when your body loses weight by clearing out toxins from the body. If our recent experience of not eating after dinner is any indication, long periods of time without eating is certainly the better idea.
The next book I read was The Wheat Belly Cookbook, by William Davis, M.D. If, like me, you did not make it through all of the scientific research in Wheat Belly, you will be happy to know that the first 90 pages of this book are like a Reader’s Digest Condensed version of the earlier work. Davis is on a tear here. He is so angry at the American Diabetes Association and the entire government-sponsored Standard American Diet that is killing so many people. To which I say, “Finally! Preach it!” He makes no bones about pointing out that the biggest sponsor of the ADA is Cadbury Schweppes. Seriously. The other sponsors are diabetes medication manufacturers. Now, what motivation could these sponsors possibly have for preventing or reversing diabetes, when their bottom line is improved by keeping people a little bit sick and increasingly medicated? Reading widely is more essential than ever when the federal government will now have greater control over our health care, and we can see how they’ve been doing so far. Imagine if you had no other information about your health conditions and were forced to abide by the government recommendations or your care would be rationed. Read.
Oh, yes, this is a cookbook. There are 150 recipes that look absolutely fabulous. We’re talking real food and low carbohydrates. I made the Wheat-Free Pancakes this morning for breakfast, and we loved them. The recipe makes a ton of them, and they are really filling, so I think I’ll make a (natural) peanut butter and (fruit-only) jelly sandwich with two of them for lunch tomorrow. Here is our breakfast this morning, including Wright’s bacon (once a week and we still lose weight) and Maple Grove Farms sugar-free syrup. We put the syrup in my cute, little German pitcher (a gift from a friend) and heat it in the microwave for a bit. I have found that the trick to almond flour pancakes is a nonstick griddle. Don’t try this in a regular skillet, as the pancakes are delicate and will tear apart easily.
My next group of books is about building good habits (also very Januaryish), and I’ll let you know about them soon. Right now, I’m reading The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal, and then I’ll start the big-buzz new book Making Habits, Breaking Habits, by Jeremy Dean. I also picked up The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise: And Other Incendiary Acts, by Hanne Blank, which should be experienced just for the extremely motivational cover. Pics to come. Stay tuned!