Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On the road to the new me

Two recent events have led me to make some pretty significant lifestyle changes.

One was the personal story of a friend and musical colleague, a retired geneticist who spent years studying cancer, who read a book called The China Study and immediately stopped consuming animal protein. He convinced another friend and musical colleague, an MD, to read the same book... and the latter went vegan too! Both of them report that they feel better, they're losing weight, and they're never hungry. Well, I'm about halfway through the book now, and I am avoiding animal protein - especially casein (goodbye, beloved cheese!) - as much as possible.

The other event, which came at about the same time, was that my doctor advised me my blood sugar is way too high. It's in the range she said we'll call Impaired Glucose Tolerance or hyperglycemia - "but between you and me," she added, "it's diabetes." So I'm giving up sweets, including sodas and other sweetened beverages; and I've joined a health club.The plan is to do circuit training three times a week, and swim twice a week.

So far I've been on my low-sugar, not-quite-vegan diet for a couple of weeks, and I started working out just 6 days ago. My (very rough) estimate is that I've lost about six or seven pounds so far. I feel great, and while I can't say I'm never hungry, that is primarily due to the paucity of 100% plant-based food options in downtown Richmond. I'm already getting hooked on this workout thing, and enjoying vegetarian foods when I can get them. And I can't wait until my next visit to the doctor, to see what changes I'm wreaking in my cholesterol, triglyceride and blood glucose levels.

I'll post more about all of this as I go, including progress reports. For now, I gotta go. It's time to hit the lap pool.


  1. Color me impressed! I'm especially in awe of the lack of cheese. I do vegan from time-to-time for a couple of friends, but you have way more will-power than I do to commit to it. Good Luck!

  2. Yay! I can feel the healthy vibes all the way down here.

    I joined a gym 2 and a half weeks ago, and have gotten addicted to it. The vegan part would be hard to pull over with the family though. Hows the rest of your house adjusting?

  3. Well, Jan eats little meat to begin with but she still cooks with animal products, and says she doesn't want to learn to cook all over again.

    Libby hasn't expressed any interest. She loves her cheeseburgers; she'll be tough to convince, although at her young age she has the most to gain.

    On the other hand, neither of them has read the book yet. The book is the key. It describes the largest-scale scientific study of diet and health ever undertaken, and presents some astounding conclusions. Some things that we've been told all our lives are essential parts of a healthy diet, it turns out, are really, really bad for us - even in small quantities. And this is based on a huge amount of scientific evidence from a wide variety of respected sources. I'll keep campaigning for them to read the book, and then we'll see.

  4. Y'all might just convince switch yet. I do plan to buy (or at least read) the book.

    One of the major hurdles has been passed already; I stopped by Harrison Street Cafe on the way to work the other day, and tried soy instead of cream in my coffee. Not bad!

    Speaking of which, they're a bit of a hike for you (probably more than a half hour walk) but they are good, and have lots of yummy vegan stuff.