Thursday, April 26, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 18

Day 18

or "How I Plan On Not Dropping Dead Anytime Soon"

Might or might not be my Bitmoji head on Rich Roll's body.

As some of you may know I recently celebrated another trip around the Sun. Birthdays seem like a good time to reflect on where we've been and where we want to go, both figuratively and literally.

Something has to change...and soon

Kevin Smith's recent heart-attack has freaked me out quite a bit. Kevin is several years older than me but like him I've been carrying around "a few" extra pounds for some time. It has gotten worse since I quit setting tile a couple of years ago. My uncle had to have triple bypass surgery and my Mom had to have a quadruple bypass surgery. The recovery from those surgeries did not look like fun. I would like to avoid all of that if it's at all possible.

Then there is the increased risk for all kinds of cancer when you're carrying around a lot of excess fat. My Grandfather died of lymphoma. My Grandmother died of breast cancer. My Dad died of lung cancer. My Mom had breast and pancreatic cancer. My uncle died from kidney cancer. My aunt has had breast and kidney cancer. After watching all of them go through treatment for it I don't want to get fucking cancer.

I am a full-blown stress eater. Doing the "old-guy-goes-back-to-school" thing precipitated an increase in my self-medication with fast-food. In addition to that, the unexpected death of my Mom (and the circumstances around it) a little over a year ago kicked my drive thru habit (and waistline expansion) into overdrive. Pour a bunch of alcohol all over it and you have a recipe for one Fatty McFattass. Now that I'm sober and working to say that way, I'm trying to recognize and address other addictive and compulsive behaviors. I think it's time to start working on my horrible diet now.

I've run out of excuses. It's time to get healthy.

Changing my relationship with food

I've been trying to cram as many episodes is the of the Rich Roll Podcast, Found My Fitness and No Meat Athlete into my ears as I can. I've especially been listening and (re-listening) to all of the episodes Ray Cronise was the guest (RR 212, 345; Found My Fitness w/ Ray; NMA 29, 113223). Ray Cronise is the mastermind behind Penn Jillette's 100 lb. weight loss. Ray is also helping Kevin Smith drop the fat after his recent heart attack. Ray has helped many others collectively lose thousands of pounds of fat. I really dig his non-dogmatic, no-nonsense, scientific approach.

Ray's diet secret? It's based on a whole food plant-based diet. Even more than that, Ray is big on starting out with mono-meals to rewire your taste buds. The mono-meals are not for weight loss or designed to be anything permanent. For a while you need to avoid hyper-palatable foods loaded with salt and fat until you can enjoy the subtle flavors of real whole food. New habits need to be formed. There is no mucking about with "cheat meals" or meat analogues.

"Rare and appropriate" meals are not planned cheat days. It's for rare situations when it is appropriate to indulge a little bit. It's good for holidays, family gatherings or when seeing friends you haven't seen in a long time.

Where I need to get to

Just Sides (founded by Ray Cronise, Julieanna Hever, Matt Donnelly, Michael Goudeau and others) has an ideal weight calculator. The average of my ideal weights is 154.8 lbs. I AM NO WHERE NEAR THAT! I have not been anywhere near that for a very long time, but I think it can be done. 

The tools to get there

I've read Penn Jillette's Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical TalesI just finished vegan ultra-athlete Rich Roll's Finding Ultra. I've had Ray and Julieanna's Idiot's Guide to Plant Based Nutrition for a while and plan to read it very soon. I am enrolled in Tricycle's Korean Buddhist temple cooking class and just ordered a shōjin ryōri (Japanese temple cuisine) cookbook entitled Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions. Forming new rituals around cooking and eating will hopefully help change my current relationship with food. Armed with some knowledge and these tools I'm ready to consume mostly plants. I say "mostly" because I've heard multiple people (including Ray) say there doesn't seem to be a difference between 90% plant based diet and 100% plant based diet as far as health is concernedAs of right now, I have no plans on becoming a vegetarian (let alone a vegan) but I know making minimally processed plants the majority of what I consume everyday will be a great thing. I am a huge fan of Japanese cuisine in general and ramen specifically. Bonito (slipjack tuna) finds its way into a lot of Japanese cuisine. I don't want to have to fret about every single ingredient if I go out with friends to a Japanese restaurant or hang out in Little Tokyo. If I have a bowl of ramen made with a pork broth or some nigiri sushi once in a while but my day to day diet is comprised fully of plants, it will be a million times better for me AND the environment than what I am doing now. I won't stress out about it.

Who knows, I might make the jump into 100% plant based at some point. If eating animal products triggers me into a fast-food bender maybe I will have to. I will cross that bridge when I get there though.

Long story short

Tomorrow I will embark on a year long journey (well, 363 day journey since I'm starting later than I planned). I am going to be doing a five day juice cleanse [I am an idiot 🤣] to kick it off. Then I will stick to a mono-diet for a while as a taste-bud "reset". This will probably be all sorts of different sweet potatoes. I have a day or two to figure that out. I will then reintroduce other plants as necessary. I plan on getting a blood test as soon as possible so I know where I'm at now and so down the line I compare future blood tests against it.

So, even if I do not write another blog post the next 365 days I will be back April 25th, 2019 (as long as I'm not dead or in a coma) with my report on how I did the previous year. I am posting this publicly so I will succeed or fail publicly. I promise to be as close to 155 lbs. as I can possibly be with a vastly improved blood profile. If you read only one more of my blog posts, please check back in for that one. Hold me to this, please!

That will do it for today. I'll be back tomorrow with a lighter topic. I wish I had a cool sign off like Rich Rolls' "Peace + Plants". How about:

Be Nice + Booty,

Hmm, I gotta work on that.

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