How two guys lost 150 lbs on an easy to follow vegan diet!

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The weight loss supplement that probably works- and why you dont want to take it


Last night I did a bit of clothes shopping because the jeans that I purchased a few months ago have gotten so big, I was starting to look silly in them. This morning I got to work and realize that my new smaller jeans (casual friday) suddenly seem too big as well. Go figure! Which brings me to a question. Is there something that you can take that regardless of what you are eating  will help you lose weight ?  The answer is probably, but you are still better off changing what you eat than taking it. Let me explain:

Of course, there is lots of hype surrounding dietary supplements. After all, they are a huge and profitable business. And who would not want to lose weight without having to modify their diet? A real weight loss pill that has no side effects would be a dream come true, at least while you continue to take it. So what works and what doesnt.? Dr’s at the Mayo Clinic took a look at some of the weight loss supplements out there like Alli (the OTC version of a prescription drug), Chitosan, Green Tea extract and CLA among others.Here is what they found : Alli works, but not as well as the prescription version. Of the others, the only one that has good evidence of effectiveness is CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid. CLA is found in the meat and dairy products of ruminants. In fact the meat of grass fed beef has five times as much CLA as non grass fed beef.It can also be extracted from sunflower oil.

People that use CLA do seem to lose not just the weight, but actual body fat, but there seems to be a price tag for that loss.Apparently people who take CLA experience big increases in oxidative stress, which is a reduction in the bodies ability to deal with free radicals that are implicated in both heart disease and cancer. In fact, the level of oxidative stress is higher in CLA supplementation than in heavy smokers! The other problem with CLA is that just like with every other weight loss supplement, the evidence for effectiveness standards are low for supplements, and some of them actually differ slightly from what was tested in the laboratory. So back to square one, because there does not yet seem to be a   magic weight loss pill. At least not yet.

I dont know about you – but the weekends are always more difficult food wise. I am home all day, and in a moment of boredom I am tempted to overeat, or go off into something that I should stay away from. But when I put on my smaller jeans this morning and realized that they are actually a little big, its like someone is trying to tell me “hey- you are doing it the right way!” Stay strong and have a great weekend!



φάει φασόλια σας That’s Greek for- eat your beans!

Decades ago, a man in New York moves back home to the Greek Island of Ikaria. Stricken with cancer, he figured he would spend a year or two with friends, drink some wine and spend eternity with his relatives in the local cemetery. But a funny thing happened on the way to oblivion. Stamatis Moraitis died in February at the age of 102. He was diagnosed with Cancer 36 years ago. And such is life on the island where people forget to die.

What I like most about this story as opposed to other places where people are thought to live a long time , the people on Ikaria are not primitives living in the remotest places on earth. Ikaria has technology and people have lifestyle choices just like we do. They also have birth certificates, and Ikaria is a “blue zone” one of the very few places on earth where it is confirmed that an unusually large percentage of the population live to the age of 90 or longer. In fact, about 30 percent of the people on Ikaria live to 90 and many have no physical or mental disabilities. They are still out late at night drinking the local wine and planting their gardens. Its quite something when you think about it.

Unfortunately there are some parts of the lifestyle on Ikaria that we cannot duplicate over here. People don’t really get going until late morning, they drink wine and herbal tea during the day and hang out with friends until late at night most days. I don’t think my wife would go along with that aspect of the lifestyle. But the one area where I absolutely agree with these folks is diet. Here is a breakdown of what they eat…. and if you have been reading this blog it will sound very familiar:

Beans(about six times the average for westerners), Vegetables- homegrown potatoes and tomatoes etc, low amounts of dairy and meat only a few times a month. They drink tea, and wine. Something very interesting about Beans which are featured in low fat vegan diets. Beans are a form of resistant starch and are now gaining traction as a super-food. Resistant starches like beans and sweet potatoes “resist” digestion, but for some reason not yet understood also cause burning of fat in the body. All I can say is φάει φασόλια σας… eat your beans!

Here is a recipe from the New York times blog article about  Ikaria and its very similar to recipes that we make on a regular basis: you can sub vegetable broth for olive oil in any recipe that calls for frying :


Olive oil
2 medium eggplants coarsely cubed
2 coarsely chopped potatoes
2 zucchinis coarsely cubed
2 green peppers coarsely cubed
2 medium onions coarsely cubed
1 or 2 large ripe cubed tomatoes

In medium to deep frying pan put enough olive oil to cover pan. Add vegetables and a little salt. Cook covered on a very low fire. Approximately 20 minutes cooking time. When done sprinkle a little oregano and raw olive oil.

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Don’t weigh yourself too often – its a “waist” of time

If you are like me weight loss is a process. Meaning, step on the scale, read numbers, step off the scale. Done. But really? If you had to pick one number to pay attention to what would it be?  Most people would say the scale is the best measurement of success. However, the last year, and lots of listening has convinced me otherwise. Let me explain:

Everyone knows that because of different body compositions, two people can weigh the same , and look very different. Using the BMI scale, a measure of height and weight and the most common measurement other than raw weight, a body builder is obese!. Thats because the scale which developed into the BMI measurement does not take into account body fat or composition.The body builder has lots of extra pounds, but its muscle, as evident by a narrow waist… But BMI scale does not take into account waist size, and as it turns out, waist size is perhaps the single most important measure of health.Here is why

Scientists at the City College of New York looked at 14000 individuals and here is what they found. That the best measurement of mortality is not your weight, but a combination of weight and your waist size they call ABSI or A body shape index. Its a combination of your weight, waist size and BMI that all together, provide a much more accurate measure of how healthy you are. Think of it as adding body fat to the equation because thats what it does. Dont bother trying to do the calculation yourself, its a headache, but you can find calculators all over the internet. Just type in A body shape index or ABSI.

Here is a quick and dirty way to get close to the A body shape index number,,,,, its not exact but it will give you a snapshot of where you should try to get close to. Divide your waist in inches by your height in inches. In my case thats 35/70 = .50…. An elevated ratio is above .50… below that you are good. Just to let you know – before i started the low fat vegan diet about one year ago my waist was a 42… today it is a 35 so I am down 7 inches on my waist in a year.

The problem is that most people try to restrict calories, and step on the scale every few days in the hope of good news. Changing your body requires changing what you eat! And that is what we are trying to do here The best way to lose fat—- not weight, is to NOT restrict calories, simply change what you eat! Keep following what we are doing here, it’s so much easier than you think!

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Rain, and vegan pizza on the BBQ!


When people ask why I moved from Los Angeles to Cleveland Ohio I often respond…the weather! It’s a joke folks! And last night I was a  little lighter than air because we finally opened a few bottles of our home brewed belgian style cider.It was raining and about 50 degrees.. a far cry from a warm May day in my childhood home of North Hollywood Ca. But we did manage to fire up the barbeque and come up with a few fabulous vegan goodies

We grilled veggies like portabello mushrooms zucchini onions etc-as well as sweet and red potatoes with spices of all sorts. And the finest item was a vegan grilled pizza, which I would like to share with you here. The secret is a faux cheese sauce that tastes very cheesy but has just about no fat in it !  This recipe was developed by my son and 100 lb weight dropper Elchanan,,, who is an incredible amateur food scientist….PS  the cider is fantastic!

Ingredients- Dough (makes two small pizzas)

Active dry yeast,.5cup warm water,.5cup almond milk, 2.25cups wheat flour (sprouted), tablespoon each of chia and flax seed, salt oregano basil garlic tarragon and cider vinegar.

Combine all ingredients and knead 5 minutes or throw in bread maker. Allow to rise for 25 minutes.

Sauce: 8oz can of tomato sauce with pinches of oregano basil pepper flakes salt and garlic to taste.


Cheese sauce:.75 cup unswtnd almond milk, .25 cup nutritional yeast flake,1/8 cup whole wheat flour 20 grams ground cashews 2 tbsp white miso paste, dashes of red wine vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder salt and yellow mustard

mix all ingredients in saucepan and stir 15 minutes. Should have consistency of melted cheese.

Grilled vegetables of your choice!

Form dough into two balls and roll out flat to size of small pizzas. Put sauce, than cheese sauce on dough and mix sauces somewhat. Place pre-grilled vegetables on pizzas. Place on medium hot grill for about 7-9 minutes, or until dough is stiff and sauce bubbles

Cool. And enjoy!






Don’t let it’s “funny food” reputation fool you. Quinoa will blow your mind!



By now I know that you have heard of quinoa…….the South American grain that has taken the world by storm. When I first heard of it I sort of chuckled, assuming some new age guru had travelled to South America and discovered it, and because of that, we all had to suffer eating something strange and tasteless. And that’s how I felt after tasting it the first time….but we did not give up on quinoa, and the results are impressive…….

Quinoa is actually not a grain at all, it’s a seed, and it grows at high elevations in the Andes mountains. It is also a complete protein although it does have a fair amount of fat in it.The first few times I tasted it I was not at all impressed and I really figured that was the end of it at least for me. Besides, the grocery store was selling it in tiny and overpriced boxes and brown rice seemed way cheaper..

However that changed on one of our trips to Costco. We found large bags of quinoa selling at a price far below the grocery store.So, we gave the stuff another chance. And we started to experiment. Wow, amazing. First of all the Costco quinoa looks different and tastes different it has a nutty aspect to it that rice does not. I believe it’s higher quality than the supermarket stuff. And the key is you have to simmer it in vegetable broth not water! Add sauteed vegetables or beans or just about anything you can do with rice, you can do even better with quinoa!


All Loaves are not equal. Why I buy Alvarado Street Bakery Bread


Recently I had the privilege of taking a course taught by Christian Terwiesch of MIT in operations management. If I had to distill his message into one basic idea its this…. the little things really do add up. For example, a worker performs a process in a large factory and the process takes 30 seconds. That’s nothing right? But what if that factory is going 24 hours a day 300 days a year,its now  a process that occurs over eight hundred thousand times per year!. You get the picture And so too it is with our bodies and the bread that we put in it …. let me explain….

When we decided to radically change our diet, one of the things that we needed to eliminate from our way of eating was vegetable oil. Oil is nothing but fat that is added to processed foods. Its concentrated fat and empty calories, and we avoid it as much as possible. But what to do? , we didn’t feel like baking all our own bread and I dont know about you but I usually eat about two slices of bread every day  at lunch, and almost all store purchased breads now, sadly, contain oil of some sort.

Than we stumbled across the Alvarado Street Bakery products at our local grocery store. No oil, no added sugar, this is high quality bread and they have many varieties as well. We have tried them all. Yesterday, I pulled a loaf off the shelf, and compared the nutrition data off the package  to another commercial “whole wheat” loaf that contained, among other things both oil and sugar. I than calculated the difference in calories fats and carbs muliplied by two slices over 365 days in the year. The differences are impressive:

Eating the oil and sugar “whole wheat” loaf will add 1460 grams of fat, 3650 grams of carbs, and a whopping 21900 calories to your diet over the course of one year…..In other words, the little things really do add up in bread as in life. These little things, a few calories here, some grams of fat there seem small, but your body is a factory running 24/7. In order to attain permanent weight loss, you have to look at the little things as weill as the big ones..

Have a great weekend !