“Weighing in at 162 pounds, 5′ 8″ … in the center of the ring….”

You’ve heard the fight announcer barking out the vital statistics of the MMA or Boxing Federation athletes. It’s okay for a muscular running back name Ray Rice to wear 210 lbs at 5′ 8″ but normal guys are overweight at 165 lbs at that height. Ray Rice can dead lift 400 lbs and does so every week. I would rather not say how much I can dead lift.

For those of you looking for the solution to weight loss, belly fat, a bad blood lipid profile or other lifestyle issues that can lead to chronic disease, I offer myself as a test case for you to study. Just call me “guinea pig”. I don’t mind. The very best clinical study you can read about is the one you write.  Forget about those 300 people in study X, what really can work for you?

As you may know, if you have read my email and blog for any length of time, I am a health coach. I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in October 2012. I have been concerned about the nutritional value of modern food. Six years ago I started a dietary supplement company with the primary focus on heart disease and reversing heart disease risk factors. This is mainly accomplished with Omega-3 oils, Niacin, Vitamin K2, and other supplements to mitigate the risk factors that come from poor diet.

I grew up only knowing a poor diet. All vegetables were out of can and bland and therefore I didn’t eat many vegetables growing up. The most I would do was a few slices of cucumber and maybe some ketchup on my burger. You may laugh about ketchup being considered a vegetable but the Federal Government considers it a vegetable on their new MY PLATE graphic encompassing their view of healthy eating. Of course, ketchup is laden with high fructose corn syrup or other sugars. The tomatoes are so thoroughly cooked that a bottle of ketchup can last for years on a shelf without refrigeration. So to answer the question is there any nutritional value to ketchup, the answer is NO. There are some empty calories from the sugar but that’s it. Can any one say “Food Lobby”?

In 2005 I was diagnosed with high risks factors for heart disease and was given a prescription for a medication that I never filled. Instead I started on Omega-3 fish oil and I stopped eating beef. In three months my triglycerides had fallen from 508 to 200. From very high to borderline! This was great!

Since then, I have learned a lot about healthy living, exercising, and how to do things the right way, the holistic way. I became a fitness instructor for the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA).

So in November, after having graduated from IIN, I was shocked and a little dismayed that my blood test revealed I had what is in essence metabolic syndrome, high triglycerides and low HDL. I was still faithfully consuming my Omega-3s and I was eating “pretty healthy” or so I thought. But one indicator of my problem was that my weight had crept up. I was a pound shy of 180, although I carried it pretty well. My little forays into Wendy’s for a spicy chicken burger was becoming habitual as were other little excesses.

This goes to show that even a health coach or a graduate from the largest nutritional school in the country can have health challenges. No one is immune. So on November 2nd I made an instant decision that I was going to stop bread, rice, pasta and beef. I had gone back to eating beef when it became possible to buy it from Whole Foods as organic grass fed hormone free beef. I did complain to my doctor, “it’s grass fed.” To which she replied, “It’s still beef.” There are controversies of course but I figured, I would take her suggestion for two months and see what happens.

Now the first time I heard about forgoing bread, pasta and rice was about 2006. I cried. And I couldn’t do it. I loved bread. I love rice.  I had lived in India where rice and chapatti were part of the way of life. I lived in China were rice was part of most meals. I loved the comfort of quick burning carbohydrates.

I have since learned that quick burning carbohydrates like bread of any color, rice and pasta are merely time released fats. Carbohydrates and fats are both for energy. Fats are stored energy and takes a little more conversion in the body to turn into energy. If you are a runner, an athlete, a farmer or work in a steel mill, then by all means eat plenty of carbohydrates because you need the instant on energy to do your work.

If your work is comprised of sitting at a desk 6 – 8 hours a day, then you don’t need quick burning carbs. You really don’t. I know you love them. I did too. But the consumption of donuts, cakes, sugary treats has a few problems for the health of a class of workers I call sitters. If  a person sits in front of the TV during leisure time, if you sit for work at the office, if you sit in a car to go anywhere then you don’t need those extra calories. You may want them because you are habitually addicted but you don’t need them “for energy.” Actually, those sugary carbs will make you want to sleep if you are just sitting, like just about 2 o’clock that fatigue sets in from whatever over indulgence you had for lunch. So the trick is to stay alert while you are ‘sitting’ so you can get your work done. This can best be done with veggies and protein.

The other class of carbohydrates that are good for you and fine to eat as much as you want are the slow burning carbs. These carbs come in the form of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes. If it grows on a tree or as part of a plant, you can eat all of those carbs and you will not gain excess weight because those carbs are pre-loaded with fiber. The fiber helps those carbs burn slower and the added value of micro nutrients cannot be underestimated.

From November 2nd to December 31st, I lost a total of 16 lbs. I weighed in at 162 well within the healthy range on the BMI scale for my 5′ 8″ frame. On January 8th I will have my follow up fasting blood test and I am looking for certain improvements in the blood lipid profile.

Here’s what I did:

My indulgences –

I had 3 desserts during the last two months, all associated with my birthday week.

I ate bread 4 times either a sprouted grain muffin *1/2 slice or a dinner roll when I was famished waiting for my grilled chicken on salad.

My supplements –

I took 4 softgels of Omega-3 daily, 2 Krill oil, 3 Niacin capsules, Milk Thistle to support my liver enzymes, L-Glutathione and Epicor. (I was 95 % successful  to do this dosage daily. In other words I missed a few times.)

Breakfast – I used spinach in my breakfast omelet as well as onions. Sometimes two eggs, sometimes only one. Some days none.   On a handful of occasions I used oatmeal for breakfast with raisins or Bob’s Red Mill 8 grain cereal. 

Brunch – in case I missed breakfast. I used my protein shake: Metagenics Medical Food for Metabolic Syndrome with a banana, ultra greens powder, peanut or almond butter, a big heaping tablespoon full, sometime with raw spinach or raw kale added.

Lunch was really a snack,  either an Atkins bar with a goodly amount of water, tuna on romaine lettuce, or almonds with raisins.

Dinner – lots of vegetables, broccoli, kale, spinach with either chicken or salmon. I must admit chicken is easier for me but I found when eating out, I prefer salmon over chicken.  I also used lentils with carrots and spinach cooked Indian style for a dinner choice.

Tips –

Chipotle is a great restaurant chain where you can eat a really big, full meal and leave off the bread and rice and stick with beans and vegetables and protein. I know where they all are located in my neck of the woods.

Carry Atkins bars with you but read the labels and buy the ones with the highest amount of protein and the lowest amount of sugar. I always look at labels to see the sugar content, the carbohydrate content and protein content.

The great thing about protein is that it is only used to build muscle. Protein is not stored in the body, but carbohydrates and fats are stored as fat. Foregoing the starchy carbs has made me regular as clock work!

Be wary of low fat foods. If the fat has been removed then sugar has been added. Guaranteed otherwise you wouldn’t tolerate eating it. Fat satiates your appetite but sugar and carbs do not. You can get full on carbs and feel bloated but you will continue to look for something to eat. So don’t worry about fat intake, once you have eaten enough you won’t eat any more.

That instant decision I made to stop beef, rice, bread and pasta was six years in the making. I had attempted it many times before, but now after two months, I can truly say I have beaten my carb/sugar addiction.

But I do have a sweet tooth. I like sweets. The “cheat” for this is two-fold. First, use stevia as your sweetener. It’s zero calorie but it’s also natural and nothing synthetic. If you can get it at Trader’s Joe’s that’s the best but Truvia is available in most supermarkets. Second, don’t use zero calorie soda as a snack. Your brain is getting the message that you are ingesting calories but you are not. Therefore you will unconsciously find some calories to satisfy your brain. If you sneak a piece of chocolate, your taste buds are going to tell you in no uncertain terms to have another. To cut off the sugar crave from the taste buds and interrupt the pattern, make a hot herbal tea and sip it. No sugar or other sweetener allowed. The flavor will we different enough to cut off the brain stimulation that it is seeking.

If you have questions, write to me. Let me know if this article is helpful for you.

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