It's been a long time - please help me get back to vegan AND lost weight! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-21-2015, 03:55 AM
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It's been a long time - please help me get back to vegan AND lost weight!

Hello everybody. It's been a long time since I posted. I've slipped and reverted to "the dark side" and would appreciate help getting back. I'm in a bad place right now and want to get back to eating right.

A brief recap (though many of you might remember me).

2012 - I weighed 129 kg and had a heart attack and a stent installed. My blood sugar was through the roof (HbA1c 11+). And so was my cholesterol. My doctor recommended an 1800 calorie/day diet and exercise. I decided to be more pro-active and started the Ornish heart disease prevention diet which is basically vegan + no oil + no nuts.

That was 1,314 days ago. Yes, I continue to log every day, so I've followed this slow moving disaster day by day.

All through the rest of 2012 and 2013 I was very good on the diet - didn't go off once. by February 1, 2014 I had dropped to 89 kg - a loss of 40 kg! My HbA1c dropped to 5.4. My LDL dropped to 72, but it vegan alone didn't help with that. I needed to take 1 statin every evening. My doctor (and Ornish too) admitted that just eating vegan doesn't always help with that. Anyway, at the beginning of 2014 all my blood values were great.

Then I started slowly going off my diet (as I had so many times in the past).

By April, 2014 I was back to 95 kg.

By September I was in the high 90s, somes hitting 100 kg.

By November 2014 I was consistently over 100 kg.

By January of this year I was over 105 kg.

Most of this year I was struggling in the 106-109 kg range.

This month I broke 110 kg.

My blood sugar got dangerously high again and I'm taking some blood sugar meds which have brought my HbA1c down to about 6 now. I still take the statin and my cholesterol is ok. But I feel terrible - because of my weight and the way I'm eating.


I'm trying to halt a complete reversal and I can't.

I slipped off vegan almost 2 years ago. I was feeling (1) that the rice especially was too caloric, (2) my body doesn't react well to tofu and soy it seems (a surprise to me, because I like it), (3) my digestive system never really reacted well to being vegan all the time.

I feel there is probably a healthy, VEGAN, very low calorie (avoiding starvation mode), sufficient protein way to get back on track again. Advice is appreciated!

I think grains are deadly, calorie wise. But I do love rice - brown rice, white rice, all rice. But I do believe rice contributed to me eventually going off my diet and starting my rebound.

I never felt "deprived" when I was vegan. But, as some of you might recall, my digestive system also never really felt great during the 700 days I tried it.

But I think I isolated the cause of that. To my great surprise, I believe I found out I have some intolerance to soy! Particularly tofu and edamame, both of which I love and ate a lot of the first time around. I think if I avoid tofu and edamame this time it might be ok. Maybe soy milk is ok too, in limited amounts. Green veggies seem to be ok. And salad vegetables. Not all legumes are bad it turned out. I think I tolerate garbanzo beans and red kidney beans well, like 50 gm at a time in lunch salads.

I just have to do something though. It needs to be really low calorie. I'm thinking below 1,500, because at 59 years of age my metabolism just seems to have slowed down. I'm thinking of "net calories" - so I can add a bit more food if I do a good amount of exercise some days. But basically I'm aiming for 1500 calories.

I'm not really sure what to make as my "staple food" though. Rice is just plain too caloric. I can't control my appetite when I eat rice. It's just not filling; not even brown rice.

I'm thinking that to truly feel healthy again and reverse this rebound before I gain it all back I need to eat (1) less food; (2) eat vegan as much as possible (even if I have to wean myself back into it); (3) stop snacking; (4) concentrate on green vegetables and fruits maybe...

I think vegan is an important component though. My statin helped bring my cholesterol down to normal levels. But vegan *plus* the statin was super good - like incredibly, better-than-anybody-I-know cholesterol levels.

And when I lose weight my blood sugar always goes down, even if I eat tons of fruits a day. My weight seems critical for controlling blood sugar.

Anyway, any suggestions would be appreciated.

I wonder how important dropping the oils and nuts are. It seems it's important maybe for the calories? Both oils and nuts are incredibly high in calories.

Advice welcome! I am tired of eating dead animals, pretending that I need to "go low carb to avoid sugars." If I'm having a problem with sugars I should just avoid added sugars and be strict about that.

A bad experience with a pork chop the other night made me realize how sick the way I've been eating has been. I generally enjoyed the 700 days I was vegan. It helped me bring some perspective and sanity to what I was eating.

I just need to find the discipline again before having another heart attack!

Anyway, I'm back. For those who remember me, thanks for your advice in the past.

doug
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#2 Old 12-21-2015, 10:53 AM
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I'm just now coming back, too! I'm sorry to hear about your struggles.

I've found that a vegan/plant-based diet is best for my system, too. I have been lactose sensitive since childhood, and as an adult, I've discovered I'm also very sensitive to all animal products. Because I know how my body reacts to these products, I am training myself to think of it almost like an allergy. I know I'm not allergic, and I don't want to diminish anyone who has allergies, but I also know that if I eat meat and consume dairy, I'm going to be ill from it. There's ABSOLUTELY no reason to put myself through that when I can get a much more diverse, delicious experience eating a vegan diet. I know it hurts my body, so why would I continue to consume it?
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#3 Old 12-21-2015, 01:03 PM
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Doug!! I have wondered about you!! Why not do Ornish again? It worked very well for you last time! I remember you were worried about your weight loss stalling, but that is normal.

I am soy intolerant, high cholesterol, 57 years old. Vegan 11 years. You can do this! Welcome back
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#4 Old 12-22-2015, 06:19 AM
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Doug:

It is so smart on your part to want to return to a vegan diet. You know from your past experience that this can cure the high blood sugar and other terrible metabolic problems that come from being obese. Keep your focus on regaining good health as your goal--this will make the obstacles which arise seem minor.

Quote:
I'm thinking that to truly feel healthy again and reverse this rebound before I gain it all back I need to eat (1) less food; (2) eat vegan as much as possible (even if I have to wean myself back into it); (3) stop snacking; (4) concentrate on green vegetables and fruits maybe...
It sounds as if you already have a good strategy in place. Build on this and get going!

If you think you are soy intolerant, plan on getting your protein in other ways. Add extra legumes of other types (non-soy beans and lentils, for instance) to your diet.

I've gotten good ideas from all the major vegan diet advocates: Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, Joel Fuhrman, John McDougal, Michael Greger, etc.

In my own life, I eat something of a "Fuhrman-McDougal" hybrid diet. I am so lucky--my company operates a wonderful cafeteria with a fantastic salad bar. Every day at lunch I have a giant (typically weighs in at one pound) salad. I start with a large bed of greens (so-called spring mix, spinach, and arugula), and layer shredded carrots, sliced red bell peppers, grape tomatoes, steamed beets, mushrooms, onions, etc. on top of them. Then I top if off with some sort of plant protein--beans, chick peas, or quinoa, and tofu if they have it. (Of course, I realize that you want to avoid soy products in the future.) In addition, I take two slices of whole wheat bread and a quarter-cup of chopped walnuts to work to eat with my salad. I consider my lunch-time salad to be the cornerstone of my healthy vegan diet.

I eat more of a "McDougal" dinner. I often make a "veggie bowl" for dinner. I got a lot of good ideas from this video on YouTube:
I often have some sort of cooked grain--such as rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, etc., as part of my dinner. However, I see from your post that you have problems with rice. It is probably the high glycemic index of the rice which gives you problems. It causes a rapid spike in your blood sugar followed by a crash, and this causes you to get hungry sooner. I guess you'll have to experiment with other whole-food plant carbohydrates--corn, sweet potatoes, other kinds of potatoes, etc.--to see if you can find some alternatives which don't do this. In my own life, I've found that the physical bulk of my whole-food, plant-based diet creates a sensation of fullness which seems to last a long time and prevents hunger pangs. I am almost never hungry, and what hunger pangs I do have are so minor that they are easy to ignore.

You said in your post that exercise is part of your program. This also is a key to curing the metabolic problems involved with obesity.

Good luck! Please post often and let us know how you are progressing.
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#5 Old 12-24-2015, 03:34 AM
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Hi people. Thanks very much for your responses and great suggestions. To be honest, my first few days haven't gone well. I've not stuck to it very well. And I had some things which weren't digestively very comfortable.

But...

I HAVE GOT TO DO THIS.

The alternative is a complete rebound and another heart attack like in 2012.

So, here I am several days after committing to healthy vegan living, breaking my promise the next day and being bad, but trying yet again.

I have to do this!

Thanks for your support. I hope I have more positive news this coming week!

doug
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#6 Old 12-24-2015, 03:38 AM
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Doug:


In my own life, I eat something of a "Fuhrman-McDougal" hybrid diet. I am so lucky--my company operates a wonderful cafeteria with a fantastic salad bar. Every day at lunch I have a giant (typically weighs in at one pound) salad. I start with a large bed of greens (so-called spring mix, spinach, and arugula), and layer shredded carrots, sliced red bell peppers, grape tomatoes, steamed beets, mushrooms, onions, etc. on top of them. Then I top if off with some sort of plant protein--beans, chick peas, or quinoa, and tofu if they have it. (Of course, I realize that you want to avoid soy products in the future.) In addition, I take two slices of whole wheat bread and a quarter-cup of chopped walnuts to work to eat with my salad. I consider my lunch-time salad to be the cornerstone of my healthy vegan diet.
Bob, your lunch sounds completely ideal for my (1) tastes, (2) metabolism and (3) digestive system. When I was on a 5 week trip to the U.S. a couple of months ago I would have salads like that almost every day and believe it or not I lost weight during my trip.

What do you use for dressing?

I could eat like that forever and not get tired of it I think.

Were you ever obese though?

Thanks,

doug
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#7 Old 12-24-2015, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
Doug!! I have wondered about you!! Why not do Ornish again? It worked very well for you last time! I remember you were worried about your weight loss stalling, but that is normal.

I am soy intolerant, high cholesterol, 57 years old. Vegan 11 years. You can do this! Welcome back
I guess I'm mainly trying to do Ornish again. The Ornish support forums seem to have vanished. And I felt a bit let down in the end when I started regaining and not really getting any good advice there. But it did work very well the last time.

I just need to get back into it!

Did you ever have any obesity issues?

Thanks,

doug
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#8 Old 12-24-2015, 03:59 AM
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Welcome back doug!

Beans, as you mentioned earlier, are a great way to get in protein, iron, calcium. They are relatively low calorie, very low fat, cheap, and versatile. How about using them in soup? Soup is actually very filling for very few calories. Throw in some chopped leafy greens and other vegetables with some beans and water or vegetable broth into a pot and make a soup. It is very hard to mess up soup.

Also, if grains are problematic for you, try squashes and sweet potato in place as a carb source. I love black beans, kale, and sweet potato sauteed (in water) with curry powder, ginger, and other spices. If you cook just one sweet potato or one small squash, you could eat the whole thing and not worry about overdoing it. Don't add any sugar to them. They are lower in starchy sugar than say rice. And easy to digest. another favorite of mine is to make stringy spaghetti squash and add kidney beans and some other vegetable like brussel sprouts or broccoli to it. I might add salsa or just a few nice spices, and cook it all in vegetable broth.

There are grains that are much lower in carbs and less triggering as far as blood sugar and appetite. Buckwheat groats are a great source of protein and other nutrients and have an earthy taste to them. Almost no starch. I like to soak them overnight and then drain and rinse them and add berries and cinnamon for a filling breakfast. Sometimes I blend the soaked buckwheat groats with a banana and blueberries and just a touch of water for a "porridge". They are softer than other uncooked grains and the soaking makes them more digestible and softer yet, but they still retain a slight crunch and remind me of grapenuts cereal. They can be hard to find though. Oat groats are similar but require more soaking as they are a harder grain.

Lentils are great for high protein too, and they do not require soaking first. You just cook them from dry. I LOVE split pea soup (with green or yellow split peas). I simply saute (in water) a chopped carrot or two, an onion, and the split peas and then add four or five cups of water (to one cup split peas) and spices like cumin or garlic powder and black pepper and let it simmer for a half hour until everything is soft. I add a touch of lemon juice too. Then I pour the soup into a blender and blend it into a thick creamy rich mixture. I add a touch of plant milk to make it creamier yet. VERY filling and there is almost no way to overeat this soup. It will fill you up quickly. One cup of cooked split peas in a soup is enough for four to six servings and it keeps a day or two in the refrigerator if you want more for another meal.

Are soba noodles available where you live? There are ones without egg in them, just pure buckwheat or whole wheat/buckwheat soba noodles, and they are also very filling and high protein. They are not starchy like pasta. I make them and add celery, onion, bok choy lightly steamed. I even throw on some rice vinegar for added flavor.

Eating soy free can be tough as a vegan but not impossible. I did it for a while. I used to have an intolerance to tofu for a few years, then was able to reintroduce it by eating sprouted tofu, and now I can handle tofu with no problem. Tempeh was never a problem for me, but miso could be. I try to limit soy intake due to being on thyroid meds but do have it on occasion. I focus a lot on beans and nonstarchy grains for protein sources when avoiding or cutting down on soy. I also utilize vital wheat gluten but if grains are problematic you might not want to go that route.

I love nuts and seeds, but like you I wouldn't be able to leave them alone, so I am careful with them. If I buy almonds, as I plan to for next week, what I do is portion them per serving into separate containers and store them in my refrigerator and then use one portion for my planned meal. I am going to have a serving of almonds (1/4 cup) with a mango for breakfast some days next week so I will portion them ahead. That way I am not grabbing and eating them mindlessly. Planning ahead is key often times.

Best wishes to you doug!

In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel



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#9 Old 12-24-2015, 04:06 AM
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NatureBound, thanks for your note. Very encouraging.

I think soups like you mentioned are an excellent idea. For one thing, it's winter now, so it will help keep me warm. And soups are filling.

Yes, soba noodles are available where I live. This is Tokyo. I do like soba noodles. They are much higher protein then rice per 100 gm. Still, they tend to cause hunger spikes like rice does. Still, I think I can handle reasonable amounts. But the soba noodles sold in the local store are not 100% buckwheat I don't think. That is rare to find. They are vegan though.

Sweet potatoes are also ok, and very filling. At my local supermarket you can actually get them freshly made, nice and hot, soft inside. I like putting a little soy milk on them (I seem to be able to tolerate that as well). Miso should also be ok because it's fermented.

Ah, almonds. I think I calculated there are about 9 calories per each almond. So need to be really careful there!

Thanks,

doug
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#10 Old 12-24-2015, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Bob, your lunch sounds completely ideal for my (1) tastes, (2) metabolism and (3) digestive system. When I was on a 5 week trip to the U.S. a couple of months ago I would have salads like that almost every day and believe it or not I lost weight during my trip.

What do you use for dressing?
Doug, my taste for salad dressing has evolved over the years. When I first started eating salads on a regular basis, I would eat the "traditional" salad dressings, such as ranch, Italian, etc. I would put a small portion in a small container and dip, say, every third bite into the dressing. Eventually I switched to olive oil and drizzled a little over the salad. Then, very gradually, I lost my desire for any salad dressing. I almost never use any kind of salad dressing, now. I find I just enjoy the flavors and textures of the vegetables and other salad components by themselves. If I were to use any I would use some of the type recommended by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, like this one: http://www.food.com/recipe/dr-fuhrma...ressing-512810 .

Quote:
Were you ever obese though?
No, I have never been obese. However, back in the days when I was eating the standard American diet (SAD diet), I weighed 45 pounds more than I do now. I did a lot of stupid things back then. I remember I used to buy a large bag of Doritos chips every week. I would eat a large handful every evening as I was making dinner. I also drank a bottle of fruit juice every day at lunch, thinking that because it was fruit it was healthy. I am so glad I bought Dr. Ornish's book, Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease, in 2000, and began the journey to better health.
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#11 Old 12-24-2015, 05:44 PM
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To be honest, my first few days haven't gone well. I've not stuck to it very well. And I had some things which weren't digestively very comfortable.
Remember, the process takes time. It is only recently that nutritional science has begun to understand the important role the gut microbiome--that is, the population of bacteria in the gut--plays in nutrition. It is now known, for instance, that the species of bacteria in a person who eats a whole-food, plant-based diet are completely different from a person who eats an animal product-centered diet. It is going to take a while for your gut microbiome to change. Make sure you do everything you can do to help. For instance, remember to chew your food very thoroughly. This will allow the digestive enzymes and bacteria to function optimally.
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#12 Old 12-24-2015, 05:50 PM
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I'll check out the salad dressing recipe you mentioned. While I'm being "as vegan as I can be" this go-round I'm trying not to be fanatic about invisible specs of non-vegan ingredients because my main concern is losing weight and being healthy and I know that tiny specs of things aren't going to matter.

For example, miso soup is very low calorie. But you can't get prepared miso soup here without some bonito extract in the flavoring. Why it's there I have no idea. But it's hard to imagine it really makes a difference in my overall health.

Olive oil for dressing would blow away my diet at 100 calories per tablespoon. So for right now I'm sticking to non-oil dressings with very few calories, like 3 to 5 calories per tablespoon. I think they are vegan, though again the 19th ingredient might be some sort of fish extract and I can't get all worked up over something really tiny like that.

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#13 Old 12-24-2015, 05:51 PM
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As an aside, my supermarket carries taco shells. The only two ingredients are corn and sunflower (I think) oil.

They are really tasty just by themselves. But a bit high caloric. And since I'm trying to go non-oil as well they are not allowed.

I wish I could find or make my own corn chips with no bad ingredients.

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#14 Old 12-24-2015, 07:17 PM
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As an aside, my supermarket carries taco shells. The only two ingredients are corn and sunflower (I think) oil.

They are really tasty just by themselves. But a bit high caloric. And since I'm trying to go non-oil as well they are not allowed.

I wish I could find or make my own corn chips with no bad ingredients.

doug
I've baked corn tortillas before to make chips. They worked well, although without added salt they were better dipped in salsa than just plain.

Here's a basic explanation:

https://happyherbivore.com/2013/05/h...healthy-foods/
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#15 Old 12-24-2015, 07:20 PM
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They look tasty and easy to make - if I could get corn tortillas. I've only been able to find flour tortillas here so far. Maybe I can get some online.

Thanks,

doug
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#16 Old 12-25-2015, 04:12 PM
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Anyway, I'm relieved to report I had an excellent day yesterday - even though it was Christmas! I only ate 1467 calories and had one of those "whooshes" of weight loss that is always encouraging to start a new day with. So I'm psyched for today.

I still need to find the right balance of vegan foods that are really "digestively comfortable" though.

doug
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#17 Old 12-28-2015, 03:12 AM
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Well, after two very good days I had two very bad days.

The two days I started losing weight too.

The problem which reared its ugly head again was extreme dietary discomfort. Bloating basically. I thought it was limited to just tofu and edamame, but it seems to be happening with the vegan diet in general. All my old memories of 700 days of discomfort came back to me.

I really would like this to work. But honestly, I can't live with day in, day out non-stop bloating from my diet.

The only things which seem "safe" are rice, some green vegetables like green beans and cucumbers and... well... that's about all I can think of really. Maybe mushrooms too.

Bananas and pumpkin seem particularly bad. All fruits seem bad.

I don't know what to do.

doug
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#18 Old 12-28-2015, 04:23 AM
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Hi Doug and sorry you are feeling this way! A lot of times when people change their diets suddenly, especially when adding fiber, they get digestive upset. More and more studies are showing that our gut bacteria types are dependent on what we eat. Have you ever tried a probiotic?
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#19 Old 12-28-2015, 04:35 AM
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Hi Doug and sorry you are feeling this way! A lot of times when people change their diets suddenly, especially when adding fiber, they get digestive upset. More and more studies are showing that our gut bacteria types are dependent on what we eat. Have you ever tried a probiotic?
Yes, I use a good probiotic. Believe me, it was a lot worse without it. Still, it never seems to get better with me.

What's a shame is that the only safe food really seems to be rice. But that also is the most caloric food and terrible for weight loss.

Maybe I should start with just rice and a few green vegetables and slow add one item at a time over time and see how that goes. Boring, but maybe the only way?

Gotta do this!

doug
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