As I stepped up on the scale, and read the display, I realized that I was now 188 lbs. About 25 lbs overweight. This is how I gained, lost, and kept off, that extra weight.
As I progressed spiritually, and aged, I needed less food, and this became particularly apparent, when I traveled on a project with a generous expense account.
I stayed at a hotel with a breakfast buffet. I realize now that I only need a cup of oatmeal, and some fruit, in the morning, but then, in addition, ate a one egg omelet with vegetables, fried potatoes, and a large portion from the excellent 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. Then, with the money left over, I 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 than 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.
The American Diet and Lifestyle
Many Americans skip, or eat a light, high stimulation, low nutritional value, like coffee, and a pastry, (caffeine, sugar, refined – partial grain, quick digesting – flour, dairy) hurried breakfast, as late as mid morning, a light lunch as late as mid afternoon, and a large dinner mid evening. All of which is outside optimal digestion, and, absorption cycles. Many, too, eat unhealthy amounts of processed meats, saturated fats, and refined sugars and flours. And drink excessive amounts of 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.
Much can be found on the Internet now about healthy eating, and healing foods, and, from the medical community, on 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.
Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all-cause mortality in a general population of middle-aged adults, Journal of the American Heart Association, August 09, 2019
The Transformation of the Medical System
Beyond the obvious benefits – personal and environmental – it is especially important, now, to develop healthy eating, and lifestyle, habits during this time of medical system transformation. Medical professionals, for the most part, mean well, however, much of the current system has become so complex, reactive, and focused on treatment with surgeries, and drugs, that, “Medical mistakes — from surgical disasters to accidental drug overdoses — are the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S.”
And there’s the opioid crisis.
Physician burnout, understandably, is reaching a crisis level.
Fortunately – based on consumer interest, and demand – some within the medical system are beginning to respond. At one time doctor meant teacher and an Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health formed to “advance integrative medicine and health through academic institutions and health systems.”
Integrative Medical Centers have opened in many hospitals, clinics, and wellness centers, bringing together the best of the world’s medicines, including education on healthy eating, and disease, and pain, prevention.
I’ve been eating a healthy diet since the mid-1990s, which was essential to overcoming my health challenges at that time (see Interview.) I’ve progressed beyond alcoholic, high sugar, and most caffeinated beverages (green tea occasionally), pharmaceuticals, and most animal products, as well. I feel fantastic on this diet and, even though almost all organic, only costs about $10 per day.
- Vegan/mostly vegetarian. *
- Whole grains.
- Fruits, and vegetables.
- Lentils, beans, and tofu.
- Nuts, and seeds.
- Dairy free.
- Reduced gluten.
- 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. One small portion/day usually.
- Very small amounts of salt, and refined sugar.
* I prefer a vegan diet and go days, sometimes weeks, without eating any animal products. I do, though, occasionally enjoy the convenience, comradery, and variety, of eating what is available, like salmon at a Christmas dinner with non-vegetarian family, or at a social event, or, a little bread, or egg, in a restaurant dish.
- 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.
- Dinner, the lightest meal, before seven pm.
- Moderate portions.
- In bed 9 – 10 pm.
- 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 winter; more during the summer.
- Daily exercise and relaxation/meditation.
- Alignment with soul purpose and spiritual progress.
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.
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!
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 like, Beyond Meat Beyond Burgers and Beyond Sausages, Impossible Burgers, Smart Dogs, and Udi’s whole grain, gluten free, hamburger, and hot dog buns (contain egg and potato.)
I also tried, and like, Tofurky products, although contain wheat, and therefore not gluten free.
It’s not hard to cook simple, healthy food, and so I’ve included some suggestions, and preparation instructions. It can take several weeks to adjust to new flavors and so patience is required.
Whole grains, seeds, and fruit.
Whole Foods organic bulk rolled oats, with organic flax seeds, and an organic fruit.
Oatmeal, and whole grains, and vegetables, contain more protein than most people realize. Protein consists of nine amino acids and may also be obtained by “food combining.” Seven can be obtained from rice; the additional two from beans.
I reuse the 32 oz plastic bulk containers when I want to take a meal along with me.
Boil three quarters of a cup of water.
Spoon two heaping teaspoons of organic flax seeds, and two thirds of a cup of oatmeal into a one pint corning ware bowl. Add one or two heaping teaspoons of shredded, or powdered, coconut as a sweetener, and flavor enhancer, (if desired.) Mix thoroughly.
Pour on the boiling water, stir, and cover.
Ready in five minutes, a thick, chewy, consistency that I like, and one bowl to wash.
Organic bulk quick oats, prepared in the same way, are softer, if that is your preference (requires 7/8 of a cup of water.)
Flax seeds provide omega 3 essential fatty acid. 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.
One adult multi-vitamin with food.
Whole grains, vegetables, beans, nut butter, and (optional) chocolate.
One 16 oz package of Trader Joe’s organic brown rice/quinoa pasta (quinoa has the most protein of all the whole grains.)
Two 25 oz jars of Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Basil Marinara sauce.
Two 15 oz cans of organic dark red kidney beans.
One 16 oz Whole Foods Organic Mediterranean Blend and one 16 oz Organic Blue Chopped Kale frozen vegetables.
Enough, for me, for five portions.
Asian Vegetable Brown Rice Noodle Vinaigrette
One 8 oz Annie Chun’s Whole Grain Brown Rice Thin, or Pad Thai, noodles.
One 16 oz Whole Foods Stir Fry Asian Vegetables (contains soybeans) and one 16 oz Organic Blue Curled Kale frozen vegetables.
Two 15 oz cans of organic black beans.
One 8 oz Trader Joe’s organic red wine, and olive oil, vinaigrette salad dressing. A mild, subtle, flavor I like, and have become accustomed to; you may wish to experiment by adding additional amounts of vinaigrette for a “stronger” flavor.
Olive oil provides omega 6 essential fatty acid, and is also a high calorie, low bulk food, 120 calories per tablespoon.
Enough, for me, for four portions.
Vegetable Brown Rice Fusilli Bean Herbes de Provence
One 16 oz Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli.
Two 16 oz Whole Foods Stir Fry Blend frozen vegetables.
Three 15 oz cans of Whole Foods Organic Navy Beans.
One 12 oz Whole Foods Organic Herbes de Provence Vinigrette.
Enough for me for five portions.
Fill a five quart pot with four quarts of water and bring to a boil.
At the same time start cooking the vegetables. Follow instructions on the package.
Cook thin rice noodles 3 minutes, Pad Thai noodles 5 minutes, or brown rice/quinoa and brown rice fusilli 8 minutes until al dente.
Drain, and put back in the pot.
Add spaghetti sauce or vinaigrette.
Add beans (right out of the can. Don’t drain. Whole Foods Navy Beans have a nice, thick, “bean sauce” that mixes nicely with the vinaigrette.). Mix thoroughly.
Add cooked vegetables. Mix again.
One teaspoon of organic nut butter; almond, cashew, sunflower seed etc, and (optional) a small portion, four squares, for example, out of 16, of a 3.5 oz organic, 85% cacao dark chocolate, non dairy, bar, for fun. A healthier alternative “peanut butter cup” equivalent.
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. Cacao, in moderation, also provides the health benefit of antioxidant flavonoids.
Using the above recipes as “templates” there are many whole grains, in many shapes, and sizes, such as penne pastas, vegetables, beans, lentils, sauces, and salad dressings that can be interchanged for variety (excepting, of course, those that cause allergic reactions.)
Whole grains, vegetables, beans, lentils, nut butter, and fruit.
“Easy to make” vegetable stews. Add one cup of cooked rice, rice noodles, quinoa, and/or several small red potatoes, and a half pint of cooked vegetables, to a 20 oz Trader Joes Lentil With Ancient Grains (contains millet, quinoa, and amaranth), or Organic Split Pea, soup or a 15 oz Organic Baked or Chili Beans. Heat and serve.
Or “transitioning foods.” 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.
Or a baked bean burger/open faced sandwich/(un) Sloppy Joe with a can of organic Walnut Acres maple, and onion, baked beans thickened with buckwheat, a gluten free, flour, on a toasted gluten free bun.
And one pint of boiled, mixed vegetables, and a medium sized red potato, flavored with a table spoon, or two, of organic olive, or flax seed, oil, and a small amount of salt, and pepper. For the more adventurous, a table spoon, or two, of Trader Joe’s Thai Yellow Curry Sauce instead of olive, or flaxseed, oil.
One teaspoon of nut butter, and a fruit for dessert.
There is much more to be found, for those willing to do a little more in terms of meal preparation, on the Internet such as:
Like olive, and flax seed, oil, nut butters are a high calorie, low bulk, food – 95 calories/tablespoon typically. Once I returned to my desired weight I began to add additional calories in the form of nut butter “good fats” to maintain weight.
It isn’t all cook at home either. I am able to find excellent, reasonable cost, vegetarian meals now at most restaurants. Mediterranean, Asian, and Indian continue to be among my favorites.
In April, 2019, I was able to dine with friends at Harry Carey’s, on Navy Pier, on a Beyond Burger, without the bun, or cheese, vegetables, and french fries.
Step By Step
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.
I didn’t arrive at the ability to eat, and enjoy, vegan\mostly vegetarian, and organic, reduced gluten, and dairy free, reduced nightshade vegetables, and low salt, and sugar, overnight. What may be required also then, for some, would be the transformational work of discovering, understanding, and correcting, the root causes of their excessive eating, and drinking. Many “diets” fail, long term. Just switching to a high saturated fat diet, for example, which in, and of itself, is unhealthy, does little, or nothing, to assuage cravings, and fill emotional void.
Eventually, the lower vibration satisfactions of excess, indulgence, and artificially enhanced flavors becomes replaced by much more satisfying food experiences on many additional levels. Among them, the ability to savor, and enjoy, natural flavors, and experience the warm glow of energetic balance. Like finally finding the right fuel for an automobile capable of high performance.
I am eating about 75% warm, soft, cooked foods at this time, and about 25% raw. I have a rather spiritually evolved friend, however, who grows her own food. All she needs for a meal is a pint container of her raw vegetables. She, in turn, has met, and is acquainted with, some Breatharians who can exist by ingesting the energy around them, and a small amount of liquid.
Consult with your physician and nutritionist for additional dietary advice.
© 2019 Robert Taub all rights reserved