Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time for a Change?

It's been a while since I've gotten excited about a new way of eating -- dare I say "diet"? So, I guess it's time. I'm being facetious, but I do feel kind of "stuck" lately. I saw the movie "Forks Over Knives", and wow, it provided a lot of food for thought (ha ha -- no pun intended!). After watching it I wanted to run out and buy a bunch of vegetables and throw all of the chips and sugar in my kitchen straight into the trash can. Reality intruded when I realized the revolt my family would stage if I announced I was never again going to cook their beloved (nitrate free, locally raised) bacon, or buy sugary cereal. Over the past 18 months or so, I've evolved into a more vegetarian cooking style, and I've introduced my childen to the love of hummus and lentil sloppy joes. I only cook meat a couple of times a week (and I don't usually eat any), but whenever we go to a restaurant, they celebrate with steaks the size of a dinner plate, BLTs, fried chicken strips, and french fries. I always thought I couldn't totally be vegan because I like yogurt so much, but the movie kind of turned me off dairy products.

I have lost and gained the same 8 lbs or so over and over again for that same time period. Stuck. After Dr. John McDougall was mentioned in the movie, I did an online search to find out about him, and interloaned his books from the library. They're pretty dated, but intriguing. His book on reversing heart disease is enough to scare the fat right off you, though he offers a lot of hope in the form of patients who went on his diet and reversed their disease. I don't have heart disease (maybe I do, but I don't know it if so...), so I checked out his other books, and liked what I read for the most part. He advocates a vegan diet with whole grains, starchy vegetables & legumes, fruit, and non-starchy vegetables, fruit, no caffeine, very little salt and sugar, and no fat. None. That part...well, I wonder if he still pushes that since studies were published 8 years ago (or so) showing how fat helps the body absorb all of the good stuff from the veggies.

His ideas appeal to me more than Dr. Joel Fuhrman because of the grains & starchy veggies. I was trying to force down gigantic salads and huge bowls of vegetables and avoid bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, butternut squash, potatoes, and other things I adore. Dr. F advises only 1 cup of whole grains OR starchy vegetables a day, and that was used up with my morning oatmeal. Dr. M is a bit vague on specific serving sizes, but from what I gather, he would recommend that your mealtime plate be 1/3 starchy vegetable or legume, 1/3 whole grain, and 1/3 green/yellow vegetable. If you want to lose weight more quickly, change it to 1/2 green/yellow veg, avoid bread & pasta, and limit fruit to 2 per day.

I still have the dessert problem to contend with, but he writes in the book that if you eat your starchy vegetables and grains, you won't crave something sweet after your meal. I thought that was ridiculous -- he has obviously never met me -- but I admit that it's kind of true. I've been eating "Dr M" type lunches this week, and haven't had that immediate "now I need chocolate" urge after lunch. I also didn't get that hollow, OMG I'm STARVING feeling at 4pm that I usually have at work. I don't think I've lost any weight -- maybe a little -- but I made a pact not to weigh myself until at least January 1. It was making me slightly crazy, and I don't need that.

I want to try out this way of eating more seriously, but I think I'll add in a few nuts with my vegetables, especially if I eat greens. It's a little easier right now because my husband is working nights and doesn't want to eat dinner with us (since it's breakfast time for him), so I can whip up something really simple for the girls and a different dinner for me. I haven't been baking much because my teenage daughter is trying to stay away from dairy in hopes it will help with her complexion, so I don't have a lot of tempting baked goods around. It will be a whole different ballgame when Tim goes back to days in a couple of months. There are, however, some really tasty sounding recipes in the McDougall cookbook and in this books, so maybe it will all work out if I stick with it.