changeover . . .

by mulberryshoots

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Sometimes I find myself going whole-hog to do something and then read something which stops me in my tracks. Then, it’s time to change the original plan. Talk about change being the only constant in the Universe!

In my reading about how to lower blood sugar levels FAST, I first read Mark Hyman’s “Blood Sugar Solution” book with a claim that he was a consultant to Bill Clinton. His regimen was basically a stricter Paleo diet: protein for breakfast, salads and greens, a 1-3 ratio of protein to green leafy vegetables for dinner. Two snacks of nuts, seeds or something low-glycemic. No problem! I diligently made a table of what to avoid and what to eat with sample breakfast, lunch and dinner menus which I put on the fridge as a guideline.

I forgot that I had also ordered a used copy of Joel Fuhrman’s book, “The End of Diabetes.” It arrived yesterday and I almost didn’t want to read more after immersing myself in Hyman’s books last week. But when I picked up Fuhrman’s book, he gave case histories with actual numbers and DATA of people whose blood sugar readings plummeted after a WEEK, and significant weight loss within weeks and months! One 80-year old woman’s weight went from 148 to 110 over a few months. After ten days, she was taken off insulin, something she had used for twenty years! A fellow weighing 268 pounds lost 16 pounds in two weeks and was off insulin and medication in five months after losing sixty pounds! Numbers and data are compelling, aren’t they? So there was no stopping me from reading about his diet regimen which departs radically from a modified paleo diet (which afforded all sorts of luxuries as a foodie.)

“The End of Diabetes” is achieved by eating vegetables. That’s it. Fuhrman makes the argument and shows data that vegetable protein (who knew?) was just as healthy as animal protein. The most drastic weight loss and glucose drops occurred in people who followed his “nutritarian” diet: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collard greens, etc.) non-starchy vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes, avocadoes, lettuces, watercress); low-sugar fruit light portions: melons and berries; an ounce of nuts and seeds daily, and you can eat all the raw vegetables you want. THREE meals a day, NO SNACKS, especially after dinner. Because blood sugar is highest in the morning, he advises that you eat a very light breakfast of fruit or lightly cooked VEGETABLES! I also read that drinking an ounce of pomegranate juice lowered atherosclerosis and reduced artery plaque over the course of a year!

After I read the book, I tore up the first table I had so carefully constructed and devised a different way to approach my health. Mainly, I wanted to make a substantive effort (lose weight, lower readings, feel better, be more active) that would correct and reset my well-being meter once and for all.

So, yesterday for breakfast, I had a piece of tofu cut into cubes with a little oyster sauce dabbed on top of it. Delicious and satisfying! I boiled up a cup of frozen edamame soy beans from Trader Joe’s and ate them alongside. Instead of coffee for awhile, I’m sipping mugs of boiled water poured over a fresh lemon wedge. Poured a half glass of pomegranate juice to take my supplements with.

Last night for dinner, G. and I weren’t very hungry after having some nibbles at a recital that we went to in the afternoon. Plus, I had cheated by eating some Medjool date halves stuffed with Boursin cheese (a scrumptions combo of sweet and salty.) When I got home, I read that dates are low-glycemic fruit and okay to eat which was a relief. So for our evening meal, we sliced up a half of a ripe cantaloupe and ate the melon with handfuls of fresh blueberries, raspberries and dry roasted almonds. It was satisfying and refreshing. We also didn’t feel hungry afterwards and felt lighter this morning when we woke up.

Since I love to cook, I’m thinking of dishes to make that are appetizing that fit into the “nutritarian” guidelines. It’s hard, I’ve found, to eat other people’s recipes for very long. So far, I’ve come up with fresh spinach stuffed portabello mushrooms; cabbage, apple and walnut salad with a creamy macadamia salad dressing; eggplant parm without the ricotta, using fine gluten-free panko crumbs (yes!); spiraled zucchini “noodles” with shrimp scampi; vegetable soups made with onions, carrots, celery, cabbage and stewed tomatoes similar to macrobiotic recipes I’ve made in the past. I bought some Mrs. Dash’s seasoning that contains no salt and put my Maldon sea salt and Lawry’s garlic salt away.

I’ve also visualized the difference between eating the old way and the new way.  In the former, a body is warm or (very) hot in the sense that all of our organs are being fed too much rich, heavy food all the time so that one’s physical infrastructure (organs, blood vessels, nerves, glands and muscles must work hard to process full tilt on an ongoing basis – like an engine that’s revved up and going 80 miles an hour, driving on highways all day long.

With vegetables, your liver, pancreas and your endocrine system go on vacation, so to speak, because they’re not asked to do so much. Your engine is idling in the driveway or just cruising down a shady lane at 20 miles an hour. So when your body system is cooled off from all that over-exertion, and then you add some exercise, such as brisk walking or going up and down flights of stairs, it gets your heart pumping and the cooled body is flushed out by more oxygen going through your pipes (and arteries.) Anyhow, that’s how I’ve imagined it to myself. Makes sense to me, at least and an added incentive to “cool things down.” Is that what they mean when they say, “chill out!”?

The only trouble with having so much more energy is that I don’t know what to do first today: take my walk, hang out the sheets on the clothesline, start picking up and vacuuming, clean out the freezer and pantry or cut up the strawberries and rhubarb to make a compote that I can eat for breakfast or lunch later.

Maybe I’ll pace myself and read some of the New York Times newspaper first. The Universe is taking good care of things (including Helpers) and it’s good to remember we can also give ourselves a break, to smile and to enjoy the day. Especially on a Sunday morning! Here’s to enjoying the day!