From Part I: Around the end of 2009 I stepped on the scales and was shocked that I was getting close to needing to put ANOTHER 100 pound poise on the scale. .
I was 390 pounds (177 kilos)!
I was wearing the largest Carhartt coveralls made (60 x 32) and had to have them modified to add 6" to fit around my belly . . .
See, The Guru's Story : Part I
The Guru's Story : Part III and
The Guru's Story : Part IV
Continuing Progress - Lowering Sodium
It takes study to learn how to read labels.
Knowing how many milligrams of sodium is too much is important.
Sodium is a serious dietary problem and found in high levels in surprising places.
You have to be sure to compare the serving size and the amount per unit. An example was our favorite salsa.
It had "only" 120mg of sodium per serving.
But a serving was listed as only two small spoon fulls.
We were using three or four times that amount on two meals a day because we were using it to add zing to Sheri's beans and as dressing for salad.
That was 960mg of extra sodium per day!
So now we make our own salsa.
The U.S. government recommended amount of sodium is 2400mg a day but this amount is still too high and will result in high blood pressure.
The British Government and Dr. Fuhrman recommends 1600mg or less.
So you want a maximum of 1000 to 1200mg of sodium a day.
The normal sodium level in the recommended green vegetables is about 400 to 600 mg/day.
So your added amount from other sources should be no higher than 400 to 600 mg/day.
We were getting nearly double that amount from the salsa alone.
We were still "low salt" but no as good as we thought.
We had some canned mushrooms on the shelf and thought we would add them to a salad.
A little 4 oz. can had 440mg of sodium!
One can was supposed to be two servings but in a vegetarian diet two little 4oz. cans might be a single serving!
This is in a product that needs NO added salt for its intended purpose, an ingredient for cooking that would have salt or spices added to it by choice, no as packed.
We also like black olives (AKA California Mission Olives) and they are nice to add to salads for color, flavor and their iron content.
In our family it was common for two people to share an 8 oz. can (or two cans (1 each) during holidays).
The published serving size is 5 olives or 11 servings per can.
That is 1265mg of sodium in one can of black olives or nearly your entire daily amount without eating anything else!
But I occasionally like green olives.
However, they have 350mg sodium per 5 olives or 3500mg per jar!
Pig out on these and you have really eaten too much salt! Think about the number you see on a pizza with olives.
Easily 350mg sodium per slice of pizza just in the olives.
Fuhrman says if it HAS a label OR you have to read the label you should probably not eat it.
The more labels I read the more I think he is right.
That is why he is so against processed foods.
He does not believe "it must ALL be raw" but highly processed is a different thing.
I was surprised that in almost every product that has a "healthier" version, the sodium is higher!
Reading the labels will teach you to distrust the American food industry.
Why lower Sodium?
Sodium increase your blood pressure.
High blood pressure helps perforate your blood vessels.
This damage is then repaired by cholesterol. . the other half of the equation.
Good cholesterol makes clean smooth repairs to your blood vessels, bad cholesterol makes rough lumpy patches to your blood vessels that tend to fail and then more cholesterol builds up on top of the old and thus clogging of the arteries. .
If you lower your blood pressure the damage slows or stops and if you change the balance of cholesterol the blockages will clear up and future repairs will be smooth like nature intended.
Thus correcting the two things helps cure cardiovascular disease vascular .
Your blood pressure at age 80 should be no higher than at age 8.
It is NOT a given that it should increase the older you get.
We use the potassium chloride salt substitute in things that really NEED salt.
If you salt heavily or have high potassium levels this may not be a suitable alternative and you may want to check with your physician.
NOTE: New information
indicates that without sufficient vitamin D and Omega 3 oil otherwise perfectly healthy vegans
with a low sodium diet have no better survival rate from heart attack than people on a bad typical American diet. You need both.
The Guru's Story Continues
July 2010, Down 40 pounds and 6 inches (200 pounds and 32 inches to go).
After my initial weight loss it has plateaued. Dropping very slowly.
There seems to be an initial 10% weight loss when changing to this plan and then a tapering off for a while.
If all you need to lose is 10% that is great but in my case I need to lose over 60% of my starting weight. I still have 200 pounds to go.
After getting off bed rest and back to work I started walking.
My initial walks were very short due to the condition I had gotten into and the further weakening from 6 weeks of bed rest.
Walking 50 to 60 yards making a circle around the house was tough to start.
But there is a 20 foot rise in the loop.
Raising an extra 200 pounds 20 feet is hard work.
After a week of of short walks I made it to the end of the driveway.
Another 75 yards and a drop of about 30 feet, that had to be walked back UP.
Hills can help or hinder an exercise plan.
It is now mid July and after more a month of daily walks we now walk about 250 yards up and down hills with a 50 foot climb in each direction twice a day.
Each day we seem to do it faster.
I still find myself breathing quite hard at both ends of the circuit.
As it gets easier I will add "free weights" (carrying a hammer in each hand).
Swinging hammers while walking is great exercise for a blacksmith even if it looks a little crazy to the neighbors!
Food and Cooking
We are now fine tuning our own recipes that we like as well as trying a few new ones.
Sheri shops a lot and we must get many things at the Whole Foods store as well as order things on-line.
Even common foods recommended for the Fuhrman plan are often not available in our rural area.
Weeks go by when kale is not available.
We are practical about our food.
While organic may be better we feel at this point that what we are eating is more important than fine points about how it is grown that may or may not make a significant difference.
Yes, I belive organic is better but you pay a significant premium for it.
If you eat nothing but organic bread, beef and cheese made with lots of sea salt you are still eating a bad diet.
Organic does not make THAT big of difference.
The general rule is that the darker the color or more intense the better it is for you.
Antioxidants are in the colors of fruits, berries and vegetables.
In some items such as sesame seeds there are white and black sesame seeds. The Chinese prefer the black and so should we.
However, some valuable non-green vegetable foods such as mushrooms or califlower do not have an intense color externally.
In order to get your high nutrient vegetables at more meals such as breakfast Fuhrman suggests blending kale and some of the other high nutrient greens into smoothies.
We are not yet into green smoothies. . .
But we are adding spinach and kale to Sheri's Beans.
Cook until soft with the beans, remove and blend then return to the beans.
This adds green color temporarily to the beans but as they cook the color returns to the normal beany brown.
In the Fuhrman food nutrient density rating system known as ANDI kale rates the highest score of 1000 along with several other greens.
Adding kale to beans and soups significantly raises their nutrient value.
July 20, 2010 - 344 lbs. More updates as the journey progresses and we learn more.
July 27, 2010 - 340 lbs. (-45 pounds). Posted several recipes including my Christmas Bread
(NOT on the diet!).
December 8, 2010 Married Sheri.
February, 2011 - 345 lbs. (UP) Hit a plateau and got depressed. Shortly after this Sheri stopped helping with my diet.
Unknown to us, her being confused about the new recipes was one of the first indications of her Alzheimers.
February 2017 - Over 400 lbs. While taking care of Sheri I let myself go and got into poor eating habits.
I have been back on that 10 pounds a year or more escalator upwards.
I knew I was in bad shape but did not notice utill the week after Sheri passed away.
Health crisis has me going back to basics with a steamed broccoli and beans diet.
After two weeks I already feel a bit better. I do not get out of breath walking up to the shop and I almost fit behind the stearing wheel now. . .
Have a LONG way to go.