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Hi all, my name is Mike. I work for a large corporation as a software engineer. I recently reached the benchmark of being the fattest I had ever been in my life so far. I was up to 258 lbs. My Dr. had me on blood pressure medication, which I was resisting taking, but my blood pressure was up to 155/100 and he said I needed to take them. My blood sugar was also bad, I was testing it every day and my Dr. said I was now pre-diabetic and should expect full-blown diabetes.

On top of that, I have really bad back and neck and arm pains because of pinched nerves. I have cervical spondylosis, and have done phsyical therapy without much of a result. I also have cubital tunnel syndrome and they are recommending I have a surgery done that slices open my elbow, cuts the muscles off the bone in my forearm, relocates a nerve from its natural location to under the muscle, then sew everything back together, and fingers crossed, hope when it heals, the problem goes away.

I was also starting to have irregular heartbeat / palpitations, especially when stressed and drinking too many energy drinks.

Anyway, I saw the documentary "Forks Over Knives" and something about the movie just grabbed my attention. I couldn't look away from it. The people in the movie stated many ideas that I had secretly believed all my life, but never lived by. The movie made me think about how I have been lied to all my life about so many things, so very many things. I also thought about how so much of my lifestyle is hypocritical, it goes against what I believe about right and wrong but I keep doing it because it's normal and it's what others do. It never seemed right to me to eat so much meat and artificial, heavily processed junk that we eat, but it's delicious and gave me at least some temporary "high" that foods like that give you, the momentary pleasure that tempts you;.

After that movie, I made a resolution to change the way I eat permanently (not just a diet). I have not figured out all the details yet, and I have a long way to go before I am really healthy, but I have made a start. For a month now, I have been eating according to a quote from the movie: "A mostly plant-based, whole foods diet, which avoids processed foods". And combining that resolve with the resolve to lose weight. This is what I do:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: I try to eat only plant-based whole foods, avoiding refined and processed things like sugar, bleached flour, pretty much anything that isn't a whole food, staying away from meat and other animal products like dairy. I might slip a little, for example, have a vegetable soup with chunks of chicken in it. This kind of thing can happen when I eat out with my co-workers and it can be hard to find a 100% vegetarian dish at some restaurants. But I really try my best to not consume any animal products if I can on these days, the goal is NO meat eggs or dairy at all and only whole plant based foods. For my total caloric consumption on these days, I try to stay under 2000 calories.

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are more interesting. Those are fast days. On these days, I get up, and can drink water, tea with no sugar, diet soda, and any other 0 calorie beverages. But no food. This fast lasts from the moment you wake up in the morining, until the moment you wake up the next day. NO food whatsoever on these 3 fast days, only water or other 0 calorie drinks. These days really make me feel cleansed and more alive. These fasting days sometimes are hard and can get intense towards the end, but I feel amazing afterwards.

Last but not least, is Sunday. Sunday is the day that I give in and allow myself to eat meat without feeling guilty. This doesn't mean I eat a whole roasted ham or anything, just that I allow myself a nice Sunday meal, which may include animal products. For example, a ribeye steak with a baked potato with butter on it, and sauteed green beans on the side. Add some sweet onion wedges to eat with the steak and a green salad, and you have about my ideal Sunday meal.

So, that's me. I hope you won't think less of me for not being completely comitted to vegetarianism, I dive right into my meat on the special Sunday dinner. Is there a term for the kind of "vegetarianism" that I am practicing? Or can I even call that? On a good week, I will go 6 of the 7 days without eating any meat or animal products, that should count for something shouldn't it?


Anyway, I've been living this way for about a month now. I have lost 26 lbs. I still need to lose about 30 more to reach my goal weight, but I am on (or ahead of) schedule with my goal so it's OK. It's enough that people at work are starting to notice and say hey, you lost weight! Even though I still look fat, they can tell I'm less fat.

My blood pressure has gone from 155/100 to now, 120/80. Am I the only one who thinks that is amazing? And I have not even been exercising, just dieting!

Not only that, but my nerve pains in my arms, back, and neck are less severe. They are still there, but it makes me wonder, if they got a little better when I got 26 lbs less fat, isn't it possible that by the time I'm a whopping 58 pounds less fat, the nerve pain could improve a lot more?

The other thing I notice is how delicious things taste now that my senses are not always being overwhelmed with meat. I had some steel cut oats for breakfast. I was savoring every bite, amazed at how much more delicious they were than rolled oats (plus I bought a good brand). For dinner I had a veggie burrito with cilantro lime rice, black beans, pico de gallo, hot salsa, lettuce, and guacamole, and I thought I had died and went to flavor heaven (thank you Chipotle for caring about vegetarians and not charging extra for guacamole on the veggie burrito! Love you guys!). Or a tofu dish in a Thai restaurant (Thai Basil, I love you guys!) makes you think wow, this protein source is better than meat any day of the week! (except sunday
)

Anyway...sorry for rambling. I'm just excited to try and become part of this group who seems to have figured out something important that most of modern society hasn't. i hope to get to know people here and learn a lot!

Mike
 

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Hi Mike! Welcome to VB. Your story is amazing. It's great to actually have a first-hand account of our diet helping someone on the road to good health. Cut out the steaks and you'll probably see an even bigger difference.
 

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Hi! You asked for a definition of what to call your diet. It's not a form of vegetarian-ism, since you continue to eat meat on Sundays. A new term that some people are tossing around is "flexitarian" - meaning they try to eat mostly plant-based but not completely. Around here, though, the term we use is omnivore - meaning you eat both plants and animals.

I wonder why, given your health issues, why you feel the need to continue to eat meat on Sundays? Do you perhaps feel that meat is some kind of treat or splurge? There are great vegetarian options for chili, barbeque, pizza, lasagna, burgers, hot dogs, "roasts" etc., etc. People here would be happy to give you some opinions on recipes or brands to consider. With the great progress you've made, it seems a shame to me to eat all that saturated fat even one day a week.

Which brings me to this - Veggieboards is a forum for vegetarians, not meat-eaters. If you think that you might like to become fully vegetarian sometime in the future, but just need a bit more time, then you're welcome to post here. But if you truly don't ever see yourself becoming vegetarian (no meat, no fish), then we'll have to part company. I'm sure there are other health forums out there that would suit your situation better than VB.

I hope you decide to stick around. Most of us truly believe that a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat, and it has the added bonus of doing far-less harm to animals and the environment. Another source you may want to check out is "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell - it talks about the benefits of a plant-based diet and the harm animal protein can cause to the human body. It's excellent.
 

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Welcome, Mike! I'd like to second what Poppy and sequoia have said. Cutting down on animal products can have a profound impact on your health; cutting out meat completely (or becoming fully vegan and removing dairy, eggs, and byproducts as well) can have an even stronger effect.

Vegetarianism and veganism aren't perfect, but they are both great ways to improve your personal health, as well as lessen your environmental impact and of course help animals. If you're considering going fully vegetarian in the future, we'd love for you to stick around, and we'd be happy to help you in your transition if you need it.

Whatever you decide, I wish you continually improving health!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeybox View Post

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are more interesting. Those are fast days. On these days, I get up, and can drink water, tea with no sugar, diet soda, and any other 0 calorie beverages. But no food.
Right now, I can't even go 3 days without an alcoholic drink, let alone food!
so as you said, that is amazing. Good effort, it sounds like it's paying off.
 

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Yay Mikeybox!

I've been soooo happy for the doctors coming out and actually researching nutrition as the source of health! Too many still want to struggle with fighting diseases people bring on themselves.
I know a man who was on deaths door from heart problems. Triple bypass, several stents, type 2 diabetes. He found Dr Esselstyns Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and followed it to a T. He had nothing to lose. He changed from a lumpy, sad sack of dispare to a vibrant, slim, healthy man who now shows no signs of diabetes, great cholestrol levels and heart problems in check for the first time in a loonnnng time!
Eat to Live is also an inspiring book. I go to it when I start craving sweets and junk (cause there are plenty of vegan goodies)

Give up the artificial sweeteners! Have you tried stevia? It's an herb-If you have a natural food store like WholeFoods you can get just a little from the bulk section without spending much before you try it. Splenda and aspartame are horrible.

You know you can brew tea (herbal and others) with even cold water? I made sun brewed tea all summer and when I found that out I was very happy! I drink all kinds all day-rooibos, oolong with lemon zinger, there's a berry zinger i had that had stevia in the bags-it was good, I just got away from sweet drinks. Your tastes DO change!

Make this an exciting change! There are sooo many foods and food combinations you probably never tried, esp the spices and herbs.
If you live by a restaurant that is known for veg foods that could be your answer to your Sunday meal. I admit, I ate a lot of stuff that I didn't find all that good until I got used to how to cook with fresh veggies and spice.

I don't think the fasting days will benefit you at all, but instead screw you up.
http://www.pcrm.org/

Order vegan books from your library. Mine kept almost all the ones I asked for and that was two years ago! Amazon is a good place for reviews and suggestions. Google anything vegan.
 

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I agree with Poppy about the Flexitarian part, however at least your trying to cut down alot of things of animal products, the others have gave you some great resources, I wish you the Best and Good Luck.
Also Welcome to the Veggie Boards
 

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good luck dude. I am a believer that any improvement is a good thing. Take it at your pace and just keep loving the results.
 

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I like that you've cut down, but i honestly see no reason to fast, that is usually a religious thing and i don't believe it has any health benefit, and it just makes your metabolism even worse, but some people really believe it helps somehow so you can do what you want, but if i were you i would just stick to actually eating all the time, probably eating more often with smaller meals, and if you are going to stay on any meat, the worst kind for your health is red meat, so i'd go with fish, but of course we all advise going off meat completely.
 

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I don't think ol' Mikey has a proper place on the boards if he's still eating flesh once a week...
 

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^He's got one post here, obviously looking for support for a new lifestyle (which isn't easy for most).
Can't we welcome him and go from there?
I think that comment was rude and unhelpful.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by silva View Post

^He's got one post here, obviously looking for support for a new lifestyle (which isn't easy for most).
Can't we welcome him and go from there?
I think that comment was rude and unhelpful.
I can be rude and unhelpful at times but I thought one of the main rules of being a member here is that you have to be a full time veg*n.
 

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Isn't it that you have a desire to be full time veg*n? It sounds like this guy is transitioning.
I don't anyone who has a committed interest to leave. Sounds like this board would be a great benefit to him, as it is to me!
 

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Welcome to the boards! I'm sure you'll find lots of information here. It's great that you're comitted to improving your health


Quote:
Originally Posted by silva View Post

Isn't it that you have a desire to be full time veg*n? It sounds like this guy is transitioning.
I don't anyone who has a committed interest to leave. Sounds like this board would be a great benefit to him, as it is to me!
That's how I understand the rules too, transitioning veg*ns are okay. Maybe we'll hear the reason for his meat-Sunday and then see if he plans to go on eating meat?
 

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Originally Posted by Scorpius View Post

I can be rude and unhelpful at times but I thought one of the main rules of being a member here is that you have to be a full time veg*n.
We hoped that having two mods jump in an post welcomes and clarifications of the rules would deter unwelcoming posts. We're fine with people who have sincere interest in vegetarianism, even if they're in a stage of transition and information-gathering where they aren't sure yet what their goals are.
 

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Mmkay my bad.
 

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welcome, hope you continue on your journey. don't overdose on the grains- sounds like you have inflammatory issues. try eating greens with your thai tofu dish (broccoli, kale, spinach) instead of rice. or getting a large salad from chipotle and not the rice and flour tortilla. another benefit is the greens have far more nutrients than the grains and less calories, more water content.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kjesta View Post

Welcome to the boards! I'm sure you'll find lots of information here. It's great that you're comitted to improving your health


That's how I understand the rules too, transitioning veg*ns are okay. Maybe we'll hear the reason for his meat-Sunday and then see if he plans to go on eating meat?
Maybe give him alternatives to try. I would not have still been on a veggie diet if not for the alternatives that I found on this site.
and, like I posted elsewhere, last November I never gave animal treatment a second thought. Now, I do. See, change can come if given time.
 
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