Have a Spooktacular Sunday..or Pumpkins for Peace

Halloween has always been a favorite holiday in our family.  From the days of watching our kids parade in school, to hosting scavenger hunts and haunted houses with all the neighborhood kids, to the boys going out on their own with painted faces, “bloody” garb and lots of spirit while we would eat pizza on the driveway with Pam and Dave as we gave out candy to the little ones, to now, when Mitch and I blast scary “music” out the window and still sit on the driveway, usually in some sort of costume, awaiting each and every little ghost and goblin with excitement.  Sure, the holiday can be a little dangerous (hands on parenting can usually eliminate the danger) and the candy is far from healthy for the kids (and the grown-ups) but to me, the benefits of a holiday that is just meant for good old youthful fun, can’t be bad.  I was glad to see Kyle dressed up for work as Batman on Friday and am sure he and Nicole are having a fun weekend in Tampa.  Here on the east coast, I am sure Derek, Mishell and the rest of the rat pack are enjoying the weekend as well.  The Halloween spirit continues to thrive in this family.

One thing I do every year is get rid of the left over candy the next day.  Mitch will take whatever we may still have tonight to his office tomorrow.  While I would be lying to say I haven’t had a tootsie roll, or a peanut butter cup or two in the past couple of weeks, since none of the candy we have in the house is vegan, I have managed to stay away from it for the most part.  It’s interesting how I don’t really have cravings much anymore.  It is almost 8 months since I went to an (almost) entirely plant-based diet and the benefits keep showing themselves in both obvious and subtle ways.

When tonight is over and today turns to tomorrow, we will flip the calendars and find ourselves in November.  Often I talk about how much I DON’T like the “ber” months…Septem-ber through Decem-ber.  Anyone who knows me even a little, or reads my blog, knows that I am all about summer and sunshine, tank-tops and flip-flops.  This year, however, fall has been great.  With so much to be thankful for, I am going to embrace November for the “giving thanks” month that it is.

But first, we have this trick-or-treat day ahead of us.  As I sip from my Sunday morning coffee cup, I look forward to my last swim of October,  a Dolphin game this afternoon,  cooking up lots of veggies and making a huge Sunday salad and then, at the very last minute, deciding what I will wear to give out candy to the little princesses and monsters.  Life is great.  Wishing you a Halloween filled with treats and even a little peace.  Have a spooktacular Sunday.

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:hdhcAHBeIkWKwM:http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n293/hummingbird_13/HalloweenPeace.jpg&t=1

Get Up and Get Moving!!

A man’s health can be judged by which he takes to at a time;

pills, or stairs”

Joan Welsh

GET UP AND GET MOVING!  You have control of your own destiny.  Whether you are climbing stairs, lifting weights, running, jumping, dancing, boxing, hooping, walking, lunging, or twisting yourself into a pretzel, your day, your health, your life, your happiness, will all be made better by MOVING.  Like Nike says so simply yet so profoundly, “JUST DO IT.”

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSJMEJCwWIxcAqRXRF6YwRc9wsLQTfTp0cPfJnq__3h79C7yFg&t=1&usg=__ps6RDdAInE5-TJN62HfybaGicMY=

Fearless Friday

I am so lucky to live in a warm weather climate.  Swimming laps, yesterday, thinking about how October will soon turn to November.  This swimming thing, really got me this year.   I love how it feels to glide through the water, not sweating, not pounding,  and still getting in some great work for the entire body.  Keeping my fingers crossed to keep swimming at least through the fall.

Great fun last night at dinner.  Thanks to Derek,  Mishell, Pete, James, Sara and mystery guest, Chippy, for bringing their appetites and their wonderful energy to our dinner table.  How nice of Chippy to come in with dessert.  Ironically, I sort of forgot all about dessert last night.  Though I spent way too much time in the kitchen yesterday, there is nothing like a good breakfast, for dinner.   Tofu scrambles (I used 2 blocks) go a long way and filled with fresh veggies, it’s a very healthful meal.  I still refuse to consider potatoes a bad carb and cooked on the grill with fresh herbs and not too much olive oil, they are neither high in calories or anything else bad for us!  Bagels and muffins put this meal over the top in too many carbs, but the kids can afford them and I was able to limit myself to 1/2 a grain bagel and no muffins or cornbread.  Leftovers went home with the kids and everyone was happy.

So the news on Halloween candy is that if you want to eat the least calories, the least fat, you’ll snack on a few tootsie rolls.   I happen to like them a lot but the easy part for me, in keeping away from the candy, is that most of it is not vegan.  Not to say I haven’t or won’t eat a few…but just a few.  There are some good vegan options when trying to satisfy the sweet tooth.  Licorice, vegan.  Lots of the junk candy is…the ones that are JUST sugar.  Cocoa is vegan.  Ghiradelli makes awesome chocolate chips and they are vegan.  I buy those at the grocery store and use them for baking, but honestly, they are delicious right out of the bag.  Chocolate covered gel rings (like we eat at the Jewish holidays) vegan.  When looking at ingredients, milk is the obvious one as in milk chocolate.  It’s the much less obvious ingredients like “gelatin” which could be animal or vegetable based, but unless you are really extreme, an occasional animal product isn’t going to kill anyone.

On the sports fitness front, there is a really interesting article in this months Men’s Journal, regarding ACL injuries and new studies showing surgery isn’t always necessary.  Maybe physical therapy might be enough for some.  This was exactly what I contended when Blaze hurt his leg 2 years ago.  Though he is not perfect,  he also did not have formal therapy.  When you go to a surgeon, they often want to operate.  Think about it.  Sometimes, of course, there is no other alternative, but other times there is…how do you know?   I think anyone who rushes a person (or especially an animal) into surgery that is NOT an emergency, might want to do the surgery before you begin to see yourself healing without it.

The first of our tomato plants has a couple of tomatoes growing.  Lots of activity going on in the garden.  The herbs are doing really well and Mitch and I have expansion plans in the works.   I can’t wait till the day I need to bring a basket out there with me…

Off to walk Blaze and then go for a run.  Then it’s off to Whole Foods for a “field trip,” which I always look forward to!

Have a fabulous, fun, fearless Friday.  Much love

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTAebEuCMa5YJljVSsdz7eqDULOKlmTo_PMzxvTtwGG7VJ9GuE&t=1&usg=__9Tv5h_N-i3UoztF4NPhN7zyGnlM=

Food for Thought

Good morning and thanks for all your feedback.  Here it is Vegan Feast Thursday again.  They sure do roll around quickly!  While Derek asked to be surprised, I know Mitch already let him know that I was doing my favorite this week–breakfast for dinner.  A big pot of tofu scrambles (I am going to introduce more vegetables into the scrambles tonight) with bagels, chocolate soy milk and as much as I don’t think it’s very healthy, I will make a bunch of faux bacon because the “kids”  gobble it up.  The trick to making that bacon taste like anything is spraying it very lightly with olive oil before cooking it.  I find it comes out best on the BBQ!  The best part of tofu scrambles is that you do NOT have to drain the tofu before cooking, something you DO have to do for most tofu recipes.   I feel like I have posted the recipe before, so I won’t again, but you can easily google it and find a gazillion versions.

People ask me if it’s hard to eat out, and the answer is sometimes.  Yesterday I ate lunch and dinner out, no problem!  Big Bear Brewery was kind enough to call their home office to find out the contents of the bun that their veggie burger is served on.  They called and left a voicemail for me on my cell phone.  I thought that was extraordinarily kind and the bun has no animal products whatsoever.  Though they serve it with cheese, if you ask for it without, its a gorgeous vegan meal.  The burger looks so real, that ironically, while NBC TV was there shooting a story, they zoomed in on my burger…I hope I catch the spot to see if they mention that it is meatless?!?!  Anyone who sees this spot, and the quantity of yummy food on my plate, will quickly see that I do NOT survive on lettuce alone.  Lunch with “the gym girls” for Wendie’s birthday was not only filled with great food, and TV cameras, but most importantly filled with lots of love and laughter.

Coming home, Mitch shared some unexpected good news with me, and we decided to go out to dinner to celebrate.  Sushi is a great choice for a vegan meal.  I happen to opt in on miso soup which DOES have some fish product in the soup base.  The salad with ginger dressing is vegan.  I ordered the udon noodles, which are definitely fattening and salty, but I think they are vegan and I love them!  I often order the stir fried vegetables and they are always delicious.  Derek always orders the vegetable sushi boat which is gorgeous and delicious.  LOTS OF CHOICES!  By now, you know that I am a big fan of CHOICE.

Because I know some of my students, friends and readers are leaning into less animal products and more plant-based foods,  I would like to offer up some suggestions on some of my favorite things…I think it helps to compile a list of foods (maybe just mentally) that are vegan and make choices from that list.  As with all things, the more you know, the easier it is!  Obviously all fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds are vegan.  Yesterday at lunch, my friend Bonnie ordered the house salad and had them add whatever nuts and seeds they could.  Without the cheese, that is entirely plant-based,  gorgeous and filled with nutrition.  Those La Tortilla Factory wraps (thanks, Carol!) are a staple in my house.  They come in 2 sizes and are low in calories, high in fiber and vegan.  A wrap filled with hummus, avocado and salad is a very favorite lunch of mine.  Sometimes its a favorite breakfast, too!  I always have Larabars in my pantry and my gym bag.  They are so clean, usually with just 3 ingredients; nuts, fruit and salt.  At 230 calories they make a great mid day snack and sometimes can be breakfast on the run.  If I find myself somewhere where I can’t get a decent meal, they will hold me over for a good amount of time.  I never leave home without one.  There are also some Cliff Bars that are vegan, you just have to read the labels.  Publix (or your grocery store) should be able to tell you the ingredients in any of their breads.  For the most part they use eggs to make the bread shiny.  I don’t buy those.  Others use lard, so those are out, too.  They make a fresh 5 grain sub type bread that is delicious and I buy them every week for VFT.  Many breads that are sold from the shelf, happen to be vegan.  I generally try to buy fresh breads, though.  Last weekend I bought some really wholesome granola in the bakery made by Big Sky Bread, another great snack.

I go to Whole Foods once a week.  Most of their items are pricier than the grocery store, but NOT so for the vegan items that are a specialty at Publix.  I buy my tofu, vegan cheese, vegan bacon, vegan “cold-cuts,” soy dogs and a few other items at Whole Foods.  They make their own organic tofu which is definitely cheaper than buying at Publix.   They also have a HUGE selection of  non-dairy ice cream choices.  Though I don’t keep that in the house, I do buy it occasionally for Thursday nights.  Purely Decadent makes so many flavors it’s crazy.

I will continue to offer more of my fav’s in future blogs.  For now I have used up all my blogging time (and then some!)  As I know some of you are reading The China Study, I know.  It’s mind blowing.  If you only read the introduction you will begin to question everything you have been brought up believing.  Awareness is the first step to change.  Imagine if the cure for cancer (and some of the other biggies) really is in breakfast, lunch and dinner.   The possibility IS enough to leave anyone speechless.

Something that seems so ironic to me is that our society is pushing grass-fed meat.  I think it’s a step in the right direction.  It’s nice to know the animals can graze on grass and sure sounds like it makes them healthier…wouldn’t it make sense that we are grass fed, too, then???  Just saying…think about it.

Have a great day and I hope you will consider eliminating animal products from YOUR breakfast, lunch and dinner, at least for this day.  Always remember, what’s good for the planet and the animals, is also good for YOU.

The 10 Second Advantage

Biggest Loser opened up with an interesting twist; only one person from each team would decide the weigh in, and the opposing team gets to pick who that person is.  Interesting, yes–but immediately some people pretty much know they wont be picked.  The big guys.  This once again put the “girls” at a disadvantage, in my opinion.  But first, the pop cooking challenge.  Curtis Stone is not only a regular guest on this show, but he seems to do the reality TV show circuit.  Ok, he is easy on the eyes and ears!  Along with him, Chef Lorna Garcia.  3 people from each team, assisted by their celebrity chef (who is NOT allowed to even touch the food) will cook and 3 will judge.  They wont know who’s food they are judging but in the end, they will decide who had the tastier dishes.  Of course we are witness to Frado’s game play.  I have NO problem with game play, now that my mantra is “it’s a game.”  To add to the play, it ends up a tie.

It becomes increasingly obvious that the “stacked” black team is a mess and they just can’t seem to work as a team, while the blue team is cohesive and calm.  As a tie breaker, the team mates who judged the food, must now decide the calories in their own team’s dessert.  Right here I must say that it is incredibly obvious how much the challenges have changed this season.  While they used to do daring challenges most every week, I have yet to see one yet, this season.  I ALWAYS thought the challenges were way to daring and I am sure that there was some sort of problem…Guessing calories is just nothing like treading backwards while suspended way up above a pool of water, no?  Back to last night, blue team comes the closest and wins a 10 second advantage in the regular weekly challenge, whatever that might be.

Turns out I really liked this challenge.  Dragon boat racing.  500 meters each way and a big turn!  While it was touch and go, the blue team’s 10 second advantage did pay off nicely as they won by about 5 seconds.  They won the chance to block the black teams first pick of who should represent their blue team at the weigh in.  Both teams are pretty convinced they know who will be picked from their own teams.  Everyone supposes it will be Elizabeth representing black and Jessica representing blue.  Again, the poor girls can’t catch a break!

There was A LOT of drama during the show.  Frado and Elizabeth are clearly the king and the queen of the drama show.  I still like Frado and I don’t understand why he HAD to fall off the treadmill.  It feels like someone always has to fall off the treadmill and I HATE THAT!!!!  It’s gotta hurt way more than they depict.  Don’t try it!  Elizabeth’s drama has gotten to me every week.  I wonder about the quiet guys like Mark.  I really like his looks.  Why don’t we know ANYTHING about him???  Have you noticed this?  We see so much of some of the contestants and nothing of him!  Funny, because he quietly dropped 16 pounds and had the highest percentage of weight loss last night.  GO MARK.

As predicted,  blue team picks Elizabeth to represent black and black team picks Jessica to represent blue.  Being the cohesive team they are, blue decides NOT to use their blocking power that they won in the challenge.  Turns out to be a very, very bad move for blue as their entire team see huge losses on the scale…except Jessica, who only loses 4 pounds.  This was NOT enough to beat Elizabeth, who lost 5 pounds.  Blue team loses the weigh in and one member is up for elimination.  Mark is safe, so that leaves just 5 contestants.  After they vote it is a tie between Adam and Jessica.  Now the black team will be called in to decide who gets sent packing.  They are allowed to pick any of the blue team members except Mark.  Under the pretense that they felt it was only fair to pick one of the two that tied to go home, they picked Adam.  Ouch, Adam, this is clearly where your unused, growing each week, (4 pounds next week) advantage bit you right in the ass.  I can’t believe they brought back the refrigerator light going out!   I DID NOT MISS THAT.

Adam arrived at the ranch weighing a whopping 402 pounds, left at 322 and is currently 264.  How huge a loss is that?  He looked great and is paying it forward by volunteering at the local YMCA.  Did anyone else get a look at that football playing brother of his.  WOW!  What a great looking guy.  I just had to say that…

Next week should be awesome as they train with the United States Marines!!! THAT should be challenging and a blast to watch.  Each and every week Biggest Loser inspires me to be and do more.  I can only hope it also inspires those that need it most!

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSYiX0JQaTHnuSXpE6qJa_xsLoYNxWIWQKoqn1Yi-WnJrAtmSg&t=1&usg=__rmHtP4atUwqsAlNgkSXRlkLD1Rg=

The “Present”

It kills me to wake up to news like this :  “obese children showing signs of stiff arteries….maybe diet and exercise can reverse it?”…maybe?  Come on, we know that it DEFINITELY can… or “middle- aged cigarette smokers have increased risk for dementia.”  I really don’t consider myself all that smart at all, but is this really news?  If we simply examine the overall effects of obesity and cigarette smoking, none of this should be news.  Maybe this is another reason I love Biggest Loser so much.  Because every week they get on that TV set for 2 hours and SHOW the world how to get healthy through diet and exercise.  For me, personally, it’s not JUST about the game.  Any venue that can reach so many people and spread the word, is all good!

I am hearing my students asking for more strength training in morning classes.  The answer is absolutely, YES!  Strong muscles not only make way for strong bones, but also increase our metabolism.  I do always try to structure my classes to be well-rounded, getting in some cardio, some weights and some stretching as those are the 3 elements that make us physically fit.  For some reason Wednesday mornings have become all cardio and stretching, but effective immediately, I will be adding strength training to that class, too.  Thanks for asking!

Have you bought your Halloween candy yet?  What will you do with your leftovers?  Somehow, Mitch managed to convince me that the buy one get one free deals were worth jumping on–2 weeks ago—NOT A GOOD IDEA!  While it’s much easier for me to stay away from most candy now, since milk chocolate has dairy in it, but I am human and I get weak, too!  It has taken a lot of willpower to not hit that bag of peanut butter cups, as they are right up there in my top 3 favorites.  Sure, I had a night or two of weakness and had to have one before bed, but I really, really don’t want to eat that stuff and I think I have won the battle.  Just like most everything else, once we get “it” out of our system, literally, we hardly crave whatever “it” was.  I can honestly say, I hardly crave sweets anymore!  Whatever candy is not given out Sunday will definitely go to work with Mitch on Monday!  What I have been indulging in at night is a spoon or two of peanut butter.  It seems to satisfy my need for something and at least it has nutritious value, as well.

Tonight’s 7 pm class will continue to emphasize the principles of  Pilates, while we will probably begin throwing some yoga back into the mix.  It was a pleasure to see how focused everyone was last week!  As an instructor it is very rewarding to SEE the verbal cues we give actually happening in your bodies.  I always look forward to Tuesday nights for classes and of course, coming home and watching BL.

Happy Birthday wishes to my niece, Jodi, in New York and my wonderful friend, Wendie.  All good things for you both today and in the year to come.  I wish you love, light, health, peace but most of all, I wish you “enough.”

As the sun begins to rise and the sky begins to lighten, it’s my cue to get moving!  My personal fitness goals of the day are to get in some running, hopefully with Jane, this morning and to get in the pool to do laps.  With November coming next week, I AM managing to push my swimming further into the season than I expected.  For that and so much more, I am grateful.  Wishing you much to be grateful for this morning and every day.  Make the most of your day as you keep in mind that the “present” is truly just that- a present!

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1698909/ihaochi/files/todays-wisdom-present.jpg

It’s all Simply Work in Progress

Yesterday, still (and forever) inspired by Dolores and Ted’s garden and kitchen, I threw together a stir-fry using red cabbage as the main ingredient.  In a little bit of oil in the wok and some fresh garlic for flavor, I added sliced sweet onion, bell pepper and carrots, about half of a red cabbage.  Once the cabbage looked wilted and soft, I added just a drop of fresh grated ginger and soy sauce.  I also made a dish of some deconstructed guacamole (chopped avocado, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and lime juice and salt).  With some homemade hummus leftover from the day before, I brought it all out to the table, with some La Tortilla Factory small wraps,  just in time for 1pm Dolphin vs. Steelers kick-off.  Mitch added some turkey breast to the mix and not only was lunch delicious but in the first 7 seconds of the game, the Dolphins were already making their impression on those Steelers.  If you have never had stir-fried red cabbage, give it a try!  It completely changes texture and taste as it sweetens when it cooks.  I will definitely be adding on to that recipe and building a dinner around it for the “kids” one Thursday night, soon.

The football game was great, but in the end they were basically robbed.  Obviously it was the guys in green who had recovered that very late in the game, fumble, but not securely enough and the Steelers got us by one point.  In the give and take of life, and relationships, I am thrilled to say (on this, our 29th wedding anniversary) that I am honestly enjoying watching Dolphin football with Mitch, this year.  I believe he is honestly enjoying our Monday walk/run, together (as much as one can say they “enjoy” the brutality of running!)  as well as the bounty of colorful dishes I have been preparing this past year.

Though we clearly don’t have all the answers, and any relationship, especially the long-term ones, have many ups and downs, I think one of the keys to keeping things together is allowing space to grow independently, but somehow continuing to grow together, as well.  With both boys now on their own, I am glad we have the house, the animals, our physical and mental health, billiards (of course), the beach, red wine and our garden to enjoy together!  Just this weekend we added a Meyer lemon tree to our yard.  I use at least one lemon every single day so we thought that would be a good tree to have.  Vesting time and energy in our shared pleasures is a great way to bring peaceandfitness into our marriage.  Let’s face it, without peace in a marriage or relationship, there is NO peace at all.  Happy 29th, baby–and yes, here’s to 29 more!

I can’t believe I am going to say this, but I am re-reading The China Study, again!  I know that some of you are just starting it, and I know for me, I jumped around a bit my first time through it.  I am starting right from the beginning again because there is no way I can retain all the incredible information I got out of it the first (and second) time around.  Now that I am no longer conflicted about my eating, I cannot believe how much I enjoy my time in the kitchen.  Last night I made a huge salad sprinkled with some field greens and herbs from the garden.  I sauteed up some kale and a blend of gourmet mushrooms.  Kale needs to sit longer than spinach and you MUST remove the long, tough stems before cooking.  I add some water to it after it is all wilted and let it sit on a low fire for a while as the softer it gets, the better it tastes. With a couple of Gardein chicken cutlets on the side it was a very satisfying, well rounded meal.  If you haven’t tried the Gardein products yet, they are a GREAT alternative to meat or poultry.  Some of their items are found in the freezer — I buy the “chicken” wings for Tuesday night, to eat while watching Biggest Loser.  I love spice, but the sauce is SO spicey, I add a little Earth Balance butter to mellow it out.  You can eat the whole box of wings for just a few hundred calories and they only take a few minutes to cook.  There are also other “chicken” dishes and some cubed “meat” that is also pretty good!  The cutlets I had last night are found in the produce department, next to the tofu and soy products.  They come 4 in a package, and I generally eat 2 at a time.  I believe 2 of them have a total of 120 calories.  They, too, cook up in no time, but are best on the grill or sauteed, though they can be nuked if in a rush, just don’t OVERCOOK them or they will get tough.  I am forever grateful to chef Tal Ronnen (and Oprah) for introducing me these products!

After TFC this morning, I will be coming home to meet Mitch to get in a 1.5 mile run around the “loop” in our neighborhood, before I head to Bally for back to back SilverSneaker classes.  Then, it’s off to an anniversary lunch at my favorite local place, Falafael Bistro.  That is the ONE and ONLY place around that I KNOW I can get a healthy, clean, meal.  There soup is always to die for.  Because I am eating TOO many lunches out this week, I am awfully glad 2 of them are at the Bistro.  The 3rd is a birthday lunch for Wendie at Big Bear Brewery where I actually also have several choices.  They make a great veggie burger, a beautiful house salad and a delicious and very satisfying grilled veggie platter, served with rice and beans.  Carol, we need to make a plan, too–but NOT for lunch.  Let’s do something that doesn’t involve sitting and eating, ok?  Expect an email 🙂

I am out for now.  I hope I have wet your appetite for some colorful foods, inspired you to move yourself just a little more, and most importantly to work towards inner peace and peace in your relationships.  Remember we are all simply:

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTyXO938q4KTXIQWV2xuX3NcCrdxvFLmbyniLHmEp8tFqn21sU&t=1&usg=__sELcNfp9gI0JsG91XrJQ6ykSw_E=

The Diabetes Dilemma

The beach was beautiful and Mitch and I had a great vacation day.  Blaze is doing well and life is good!  But…but…there is something I need help understanding.  When I was growing up, I remember knowing a few kids that had Type 1 diabetes  and everyone’s heart broke for them.  While it wasn’t the end of the world, they would have to take injections and alter their eating, activities and so much more for the rest of their lives.  They were at risk for all kinds of premature illnesses as a result of their disease.  How my heart ached in adulthood for a friend (who happens to share my first name) who’s brilliant child would be cursed with this burden of juggling his day to life with this illness.

But a day cannot go by without hearing about how Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in disproportionate rates!  Just yesterday I read that by 2050 one 1 out of ever 3 people will be diagnosed with the disease.  WHY IS THIS OK?  Why, as a society, are we sitting back and gorging ourselves on the wrong foods and shunning exercise only to risk the same life complications as those born with the disease?  Is it that we feel once we reach adulthood we are “supposed” to come down with certain illnesses?  Age, in and of itself is NOT a reason for illness!

While I do think many of us become complacent as we get older, I think, in many cases we THINK we know how to avoid this illness, but perhaps our information is dated, or at best, we are getting only some of the information we need to know to keep our glucose levels in tact. As an example, most of us know that keeping our sugar intake low is a good way to keep our insulin stable.  Did you know, though, that the countries with the highest intake of animal protein and animal fat are the same countries with the highest rate of diabetes?  Conversely the countries with the lowest rates of diabetes live on a diet that is relatively lower in protein (particularly animal protein), fat and animal fat.

In fact, Dr. James Anderson, one of the most prominent scientists studying diet and diabetes today, got fantastic (and surprising) results in a study that examined the effects of a high-carb, high-fiber, low-fat diet on 25 Type 1 diabetics and 25 Type 2 diabetics.  It is important to know that none of these 50 people were over-weight and all of them were taking insulin shots to control their blood sugar levels.  The first week they ate mostly plant-based foods and just a little bit of cold-cut meat.  Then the doctor switched them over to a an experimental “veggie” diet for the following 3 weeks.

He measured their blood sugar levels, weight and medication requirements.  The results were very impressive, especially with regard to Type 1 patients, as they are UNABLE to produce insulin and one would think it difficult for dietary changes to impact them.  After just 3 weeks on the plant-based diet, the Type 1 patients “were able to lower their insulin medication by an average of 40%.”  Needless to say, the Type 2 patients had even better results as they are much more treatable.  On the high-carb, high-fiber, low-fat diets, after 4 weeks, 24 out of the 25 Type 2 patients were able to discontinue their insulin.  That means all but one had basically reversed their disease.  One of the men in the study had been taking 35 units a day of insulin, with a 21 year history of the disease.  At the end of 4 weeks he had decreased his medication to just 8 units a day, and after 8 more weeks of following the “diet” at home, his need for insulin completely vanished.

Many people still praise the effects of a high-protein diet for weight loss.  Clearly,  reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to avoid disease.  This causes a bit of a dilemma in many minds.  How can we possibly lose weight on a high-carb diet?  We need to be clear about which carbs we are talking about as many of us say we are on a low-carb diet, but what we really are on is a low-fat, low-sugar, low-crap diet!!! Yes, we all agree we need to cut out the cake, cookies, sweets (these are bad for us because they are high in fat and sugar and have NO nutritional value).  We know that the “whites” like pasta and bread are also quite empty foods and should be deleted (or eaten minimally) on a weight-loss diet.  CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY THOUGH!  Veggies all have carbs in them (they also have protein and lots of other nutrients) as do grains and beans (also nutritionally dense) and fruit.  These are NOT the carbs that are making us fat and sick!!!  Eating huge portions of animal protein may cause some chemical reactions that make us lose weight but in the long run, this way of eating is making us sick and even killing us!

I realize that for many of us changing our lifestyles radically is not easy or practical.  I, for one, don’t think it’s easier or more practical to be sick, take medication daily, risk heart disease, stroke, blindness or even amputation.  As Dr. Colin Campbell says so well “Radically changing our diets may be impractical, but it might also be worth it.”   I can’t imagine one of us that would rather be sick when we can CHOOSE healthy.

For more excellent studies on how you can maintain or regain your health, I encourage reading The China Study, by Dr. Colin Campbell.  It will probably change your life, and maybe even save it!  It did just that for Bill Clinton (and if it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for me!)  Though I love to “spit” it about health and wellness, I don’t often have an “in your face” attitude.  In this case, it is so frustrating to me to see friends, family, students, etc., daily battling demons that they CAN control.

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQWlv523szEru-iUmM3KlSpDwOvPRUCfYcwjPb-g1A1c0gweAY&t=1&usg=__SJLaldR2bUYsYhRb6oITbPVXFZ8=

Thanks for allowing me this ramble.  I promise it is simply because I care so much about YOU.  I hope that you will treat your body like the temple it is meant to be!  And before I hit the little “publish” key on this page, and get ready for work (and play), I think it’s really important that I share how easy it really is to take control of your own food choices.  From my experience, most restaurants will be happy to make you anything you want!  All you have to do is ask.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Peace (and peas) and fitness!

Fun Friday

As I sit down to start typing, I am thinking about last night’s dinner.  I want to thank my dear friend, Lesley, once again, for modeling “If you build it, they will come,” with regard to family traditions.  Though we totally miss Kyle (and Nicole) at our Thursday night feasts, Mitch and I are so thankful to have the chance to have a weekly event with Derek and his friends.  It keeps us close, keeps the “kids” well fed (Mitch is sure they rarely eat salad, except on Thursday night) keeps me up on my new iPhone and iPad apps and so much more.  I am grateful for this time in life that allows us to have this weekly tradition.  I DID mean what I said about always having room for more, so Carol, or anyone, any time!  If I learned one thing growing up in a rather Italian neighborhood, there is ALWAYS room for a few more.

Thanks for sending good cheer to my big red guy.  Blaze seems to be Ok.  He definitely did something to that bad leg the other night, but thankfully nothing major.  He is sitting by my feet waiting for HIS morning walk.  I totally understand how important it is to him.  At 9 years old, I have found, if he just gets his daily walk in, he is pretty mellow the rest of the day.  This is a lesson not only for all animal owners, but for all PEOPLE, too.  We NEED daily exercise.  As Joseph Pilates said so many years ago, “Physical fitness is the first prerequisite to happiness.” Yesterday, I did a 1.5 mile run around my neighborhood and then later in the day swam about 35 laps.  It was a day off from work, but that just makes working out even more fun because on days like that, it’s “all about me.”  Feels good to push…Also made me feel better about eating pasta and garlic bread!  All about balance…

Speaking of balance, today is a rest day.  Mitch and I are taking off from life and heading out to the beach for some sun, salt water and relaxation.  Once in a while, “fun Friday, is definitely in order!

Hoping you can find some fun in your Friday.  Do you what you must and then do what you want!!!  One life…lets live it!

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTlfemLQT2jdIxmLpt0PMfnRi4LUkVAFOEDMPyU6bAEHztjq7I&t=1&usg=__MhP8l1nFwrMvTw-Y7IPb7vdQxp8=

Thanks so much for stopping in for some peaceandfitness.  You have no idea how much I appreciate the “visit.”