The Secrets to Healthy Eating and Losing Weight in America

posted in: Diet and Lifestyle | 0

As I stepped up on the scale, and read the display, I realized that I was now 188 lbs. About 25 lbs overweight. Why? I ate more food than I needed. This is how I lost that extra weight.

I’ve been eating a healthy diet since the mid-1990s which was essential to overcoming my health challenges at that time. (Further information in the Edie Weinstein interview.) Mostly vegetarian, whole grains, vegetables, lentils, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds, with fish, and eggs occasionally, gluten and dairy free, and reduced nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables, some of the most popular, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. contain belladonna, are very toxic for some people, and so I eat these sparingly.

I’ve abstained from alcoholic, high sugar, and most caffeinated beverages (green tea occasionally), pharmaceuticals, and most meat for many years now, which really saves money. I feel fantastic on this diet and even though almost all organic only costs about $10 per day.

Much can be found on the Internet now about healthy eating, and healing foods, and the perils of not doing so. For example, an article published in Reuters Health News, April 4, 2019, linked one in five deaths worldwide to people eating poor diets high in sugar, salt, and processed meat that contributed to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, a global study found. See also Foods You Can Eat and Not Gain Weight, MDLinx April 8, 2019.

As I progressed spiritually, and aged, I needed less food and this caught up with me when I traveled on a project with a generous expense account.

I stayed at a hotel with a breakfast buffet and, although I only need a cup of oatmeal and some fruit in the morning, couldn’t resist an additional one egg omelet with vegetables, fried potatoes, and a larger than usual portion from the large selection of fruits available. I ate a restaurant portion of rice, and vegetables, for lunch. A restaurant portion of salad, fish, rice, or potatoes, and vegetables for dinner, and then, with the money left over, bought a pint of an organic, frozen coconut dessert, and a fresh squeezed juice for the morning. All reasonably healthy. In moderation.

This was more food that I needed, though, and the sugars contained in the dessert made me want to eat the entire portion, and so I did. After a month of this behavior, and reduced exercise due to the schedule of the project, I was having difficulty fitting into my clothes.

I wake up 5 – 6 am without an alarm. Breakfast should be the second heaviest meal, before eight am, lunch should be the heaviest, noon to one, and dinner, the lightest meal, before seven pm. In bed 9 – 10 pm. Moderate portions. Drink liquids, ideally water, 20 minutes before, or 20 minutes after meals, not during, so as to not dilute digestive fluids. Half of my body weight, in ounces, per day. This is about the right amount of liquid for me during the summer; less during the winter.

Late Dinner and No Breakfast is a Killer Combination, European Society of Cardiology News | April 18, 2019.

Adhering to this regimen I lost between a quarter, and a half pound per day, depending on how much walking, and bicycling I did.

When I reached 162 lbs again, a much flatter stomach, and able to get back into some favorite clothes, I discovered that I didn’t want, or need, to return to the sluggishness of eating until “full and stuffed.” I was easily able to keep that extra weight off as “intentional eating” is actually in alignment with optimal body functionality.

After a light dinner I still felt hungry initially, and then began to choose to enjoy the feeling of clarity, and well being, like that experienced during fasting, which then passed within an hour. After digesting for 30 minutes I sometimes sipped 6 – 12 ounces of Reed’s Extra (non-alcoholic) Ginger Beer which assisted me through the adjustment. Ginger also provides a wide range of health benefits. Walking, too, after dinner can be helpful in shifting focus off the initial feeling of not eating enough.

Many Americans skip, or eat a light, low nutritional value (like coffee, and a pastry) hurried breakfast as late as mid morning, a light lunch as late as mid afternoon, and a large dinner mid evening, though, all of which is outside the optimal digestion cycle. Many, too, eat unhealthy amounts of fat, sugars, and refined flours. And drink caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages, often highly sweetened, which add unnecessary calories, and cravings for more.

Many Americans, too, eat beyond what they need for comfort and recreation. What may be required, for some, therefore, would also be the transformational work of discovering, understanding, and correcting, the root cause of their excessive eating, and drinking.

Because early evening is the optimal time to eat lightly this might call for a lifestyle adjustment, and may require the cooperation, and understanding, of friends, and family. An added benefit would be sitting at the dinner table sipping a Ginger Beer, while family eats, and doing all the talking without interruption! After a while of this, they might join you in healthy eating.

Fortunately, there are many vegetarian “look alike” choices now that taste great, and are hard to distinguish from what they are imitating, to begin transitioning with. I’ve tried, and recommend, Beyond Meat Beyond Burgers and Beyond Sausages, Smart Dogs, and Udi’s whole grain, gluten free, hamburger, and hot dog buns (contain egg and potato.) Impossible Burgers can be found now at thousands of restaurants including Burger King and White Castle.

I also tried, and like, Tofurky products, although contain wheat, and therefore not gluten free. I’ve also made a good tasting baked bean burger with a can of organic Walnut Acres maple, and onion, baked beans thickened with buckwheat, a gluten free, flour. Buckwheat flour is also great for thickening vegetable stews.

It’s not hard to cook simple, healthy food, and so I’ve included preparation instructions. It can take several weeks to adjust to new flavors and so patience is required.

I ate what I usually do for breakfast. Whole Foods organic bulk rolled oats, with organic flax seeds, and an organic fruit. Boil three quarters of a cup of water. Spoon two heaping teaspoons of organic flax seeds into a one pint corning ware bowl. Pour the boiling water over the flax seeds, stir for ten seconds to soften, add two thirds of a cup of oatmeal, and stir. Cover. Ready in five minutes, a thick, chewy, consistency that I like, and one bowl to wash. Quick oats, prepared in the same way, are softer, if that is your preference. One adult multi-vitamin.

Rice, vegetables, and beans for lunch. Oatmeal, whole grains, and vegetables, contain more protein than most people realize, as does combining rice, and beans.

Fill a five quart pot with four quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add one 8.8 oz, Thai Kitchen thin (white) rice noodles and boil 2 – 3 minutes. Drain, and put back in the pot. White rice is an excellent “baseline,” and causes very few allergic symptoms, but can be varied with other more nutritious forms of brown rice like Pad Thai noodles, fusilli spirals and penne pastas.

At the same time boil two 16 oz bags of frozen vegetables. I like Whole Foods Stir Fry Asian Vegetables, and organic Blue Curled Kale, but any vegetables will do (with the exception, of course, of those causing allergic reactions.)

I mix in an eight ounce Trader Joe’s organic red wine, and olive oil, vinaigrette salad dressing for flavor, and chop the noodles. I then open, drain, rinse, and add a 15 oz can of red kidney beans. Beans, along with vegetables, and dressings, can also be varied.

Add the cooked vegetables and mix thoroughly. Enough, for me, for four lunches. I’ve also used 2 25 oz jars of Organic Tomato Basil Marinara with a 16 oz package of penne pasta, beans and vegetables, which makes five portions.

One teaspoon of organic almond butter and a small portion, three or four squares, of an organic, 85% cacao chocolate bar, for fun. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring and the low sugar content of a high percentage cacao bar doesn’t make me crave more. Almond butter is a high calorie, low bulk food, 95 calories per tablespoon, and additional servings can also, therefore, be used to maintain weight.

The flax seeds provide omega 3, and olive oil omega 6, essential fatty acids. Flax seed oil is a versatile, yellow, liquid, an excellent replacement for butter, and actually easier to work with, pouring onto popcorn for example. Use sparingly as this is also a high calorie, low bulk food, 120 calories per tablespoon, as is olive oil.

Rice, or quinoa, and bean, vegetable stews for dinner or “fun foods.” I made one Beyond Burger with mustard, a slice of tomato, and onion, on a toasted gluten free bun, or a Smart Dog, or Beyond Sausage, with mustard and ketchup, and one half, to one pint, of boiled, mixed vegetables flavored with a table spoon, or two, of Trader Joe’s Thai Yellow Curry Sauce. Another teaspoon of almond butter and a fruit for dessert.

It isn’t all cook at home either. I am able to find excellent, reasonable cost, vegetarian meals now at many restaurants.

In fairness, I didn’t arrive at the ability to eat mostly organic, (except restaurants, the trade-off being the social benefits) vegan, gluten and dairy free, reduced nightshade vegetables, overnight. This article, therefore, is an example of what is possible, and the further suggestion to embark slowly, completing each necessary step with patience, and reasonable expectations, and an eye towards the eventual rewards of significantly improved health, physical appearance, quality of life, well being, and spiritual progress.

Consult with your physician and nutritionist for additional dietary advice.

© 2019 Robert Taub all rights reserved