Sunday, December 1, 2013

My vegan journey

In November, 2011, I posted a blog entry here that I would be changing to a fat-free vegan diet based on How to Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease, by Caldwell Esselston, Jr. I was making changes in my diet because:
  • my blood pressure had been consistently higher than I was comfortable with, whenever it was checked, for many months;
  • my cholesterol was checked and came back at 243, which is too high.
  • I'd been on a slow weight loss journey for many years, and following Weight Watchers had thought I was following a healthy plan. I was shocked when my cholesterol came back with elevated numbers, and I did research to find out what changes to make to my diet to correct the situation. This plan appeared to fit the bill. Additional weight loss would be an added benefit.
  • My grandmother died (albeit, she was 93) of heart issues. My dad died (albeit, he was 80) of heart issues. I had been aware that he was struggling with cholesterol issues, but I'll never know for sure at this point what all those prescription pills on his television were for. My uncle, Dad's brother, died the next year, of heart issues that he had struggled with for years.
  • My mother and my aunt (her sister) both died of forms of cancer. A fat-free diet is also what cancer research points to for reducing cancer risk.
So at that time, in 2011, I was able, after following the diet strictly for three weeks, to have my cholesterol and blood pressure checked again. I had lost 13 pounds in those three weeks. My cholesterol dropped from 243 to 187, and my blood pressure had dropped (don't have the exact numbers in front of me) from concerning to numbers like those of a teenager.

After the initial three week period, I continued to follow the diet plan fairly strictly for a full year. It wasn't going over well with my family, though, even though I was serving the family regular meals and was just following the vegan plan quietly on the side. I had cholesterol numbers run again in 2012, and they weren't as low, but they were still in the "acceptable" range. I began to slack. By the second year (2013), I was slacking more and more. The weight would go two steps down, one step up. But remember, the weight wasn't the main reason I had started this special diet. 

In 2013 I again had my cholesterol tested. This time it was back up to 241, even though I was still largely following the vegan diet. I was slacking enough that it was obviously affecting the numbers. The doctor said not to worry about the numbers, because my "good cholesterol" was high and my "bad cholesterol" was low and in the acceptable range. But in addition, as I approached some recent surgery, I was finding that medical personnel were having to take my blood pressure twice at appointments because the first reading was coming back at a concerningly high reading (140/110 or something). It would drop by the end of the appointment, but I wasn't satisfied with that.

My hubby finally supports me, understanding that I'm not on some crusade or campaign, but that my personal family history and medical records support the wisdom of this diet for me. So, while I still love my Ben and Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar pint to share with my hubby, I have told him that I need to get strict again and get back on the "straight and narrow", for my long term well being. I am still 20 pounds from the top of my goal weight range, and I would probably be most happy if I lose at least 30 pounds.

 But weight loss not being the primary reason I follow this diet, suffice it to say that I am back to my primarily strict vegan diet.

Breakfast today was cooked whole oats topped with frozen blueberries. Lunch was home-made black bean soup, a salad, and wasa crisps. Dinner will be ravioli, salad and garlic bread for my family, but I will probably have whole wheat gnocchi, sauce and salad.

I'll post my menu plan for the week tomorrow, as usual. It might not really indicate what vegan meal I eat for dinner each night, but I'll be eating vegan. I've got a lot of dishes planned for myself, but I'm not sure yet what order I'll prepare them in. I'm also the queen of eating the same food day after day after day. It's not for everyone, but it keeps me fed. I've developed the self-control at this point, and the one thing most likely to derail my strict plans is not having something available to eat that I've got ready at the right time, rather than temptation. So I like to keep a vegan dish at the ready that I can just scoop out and heat, especially for the busiest days.

Feel free to comment, if you wish. Hope you've enjoyed reading.


No comments :

Post a Comment