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

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Labels- How to read a nutrition label for real !



Elchanan here. I am a guest here today at Vegan Fat Loss, and the other half of “two guys that lost 150 lbs.I think its now about 160 lbs but who is counting! I guess some people would call me a weight loss engineer. I tend to focus on the more technical side of all this. Like how to take something vegan and low fat and make it more tasty. Or how to lower the calories in a recipe while maintaining the flavor.Evidently its working, because I have lost almost 100 pounds doing it !

I would like to share an idea with you regarding labels. Specifically the label that you find on the side of your food, or “nutrition label” At least thats what the FDA calls it. However I am very skeptical. In fact,the label is probably somewhere between misleading and sinister. Let me explain further.

By the way, the FDA has a motto which is “Protecting and Promoting your Health”. But are the labels on your food accurate ? The short answer is “not really”, and here is why:

Let us take the label for 2% milk as an example. First of all, I think you will agree or believe that 2% or “low fat” milk as it is known around here is healthy right? After all, its milk and its low fat. Well the dairy council wants you to believe it, and apparently so does the FDA. But lets analyze the label on a container of low fat milk.

low fat milk

In reality the concept of 2 percent is misleading. Its designed to get you to think “okay 2 percent is fat, and thats low” right? I believe thats what most people think, but in fact its wrong. Here is why: This milk is 2 percent of fat by weight. But when we look at fat calories, its actually 37% calories from fat and 60% of that is saturated!

Here is another suprise. The FDA allows food vendors like restaurants to report that a hamburger for example, is only 10 percent fat, by including the vegetables and bun in the calculation as well. The bottom line is this, if you are drinking milk and eating hamburgers (we keep kosher-so we never do it together!) you are not getting a few percent of your calories from fat, its more like 30-40 percent, and the numbers you are reading on labels are misleading you.”Big Food” of course is benefitting from this ruse, because it allows them to push unhealthy and weight gain causing foods on the public!

In order to lose weight, you need to get your fat levels down, and one of the best ways to do it is to look at the labels of what you are eating and make your own calculations. One of the things that has really helped is figuring percentage of calories from fat, not by weight. If you follow a plan to get your fat calories as low as possible,along with everything else we discuss here… you will lose weight. I promise….


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Cookouts: And How to prevent weight gain


Sunday we had a cookout for my 19 year old son who left for Israel. And with the Syria situation, what timing….!

Its the first time we have done a cookout in the park for many years. Of course we had a wild mixture of all sorts of different foods to grill. Meat for some and vegetables for others. The whole thing was my sons’ request. Last day in America? He got to call the shots, and a fun time was had by all.

Cookouts are a huge challenge to the whole concept of healthy eating- of course. The traditional barbeque is hot dogs hamburgers, beef and chicken. We grill all sorts of vegetables that are suprisingly tasty like portabello mushrooms and zucchini. Of course not everyone will tolerate that sort of behavour, and for those folks we also had the traditional stuff. In the past we grilled at least once a week, and now we are down to maybe two or three times the entire summer, which for me presents way less temptation. And thats how I deal with it…

But what about those among us that know that they cannot stand up to temptation. Meaning folks that are going to get big no matter what? I know this is not politically correct. But think back to your 20’s. We all knew different types of people. There were the people that had skinny genes. Usually guys and girls that just looked like sticks for the most part, you knew they were going to be that way their entire lives. Than there were the people in the middle, a little more robust, they could go either way. If careful they would be a normal weight, but if not they were going to be heavy. Thats me and my family for the most part. And than there were the folks that were big and remain big their entire lives. We all know some people like that. Everyone in their families are just big.

Researchers at Duke University did a really smart thing. They decided to focus specifically on big people in their 20’s for a “weight gain prevention” program. Their objective? Not to get people to lose weight, but to prevent the gains these folks make in their 20’s. The average “gainer” in their 20’s can gain on average 2-4 lbs a year. Arresting these gains could be a big improvement from a public health perspective.

The goal was simple. Get these people to eat about 100-150 calories less per day, and do a very mild amount of exercise. And guess what ! It worked… ! The majority of the group was able to stick with a program and prevent weight gain over a period of two years. Some even lost weight. Turns out its easier than people thought to at least get large folks to stop gaining. The focus was on things that should be easy like, dont drink soda pop, and walk 15 minutes per day.

I still think these people would be way better off with a total diet makeover,, lots of fruit and vegetables and no junk. But I have to be realistic. Some people just have no interest in getting slim no matter what. But even for those folks, there are ways to at least maintain a healthier lifestyle on some level. For the rest of us, no excuses, eat your vegetables!

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Short Circuit: How to rewire your brain to lose weight


Did you ever wonder whether your cravings come from being hungry or perhaps something else? I think everyone suspects what we now know is true. Its not really all your stomach thats telling you to eat, its also your brain. So here is how to “train your brain” to feel full on less!

How is it that changing what we eat can cause us to desire less ? The body craves food and you will always eat until you have that feeling of fullness. Even if you skip a meal, or eat less, eating is like sleep. If you have a deficit, you will make it up eventually.

But the question is, how do we trick the brain into feeling full on less ? The problem lies in not how much you are eating, but what you are eating. You are in between meals and you feel hungry.
You grab a bag of popcorn, potato chips or crackers for that matter. Or even a “meal bar”

First off, if you are in between meals and you are hungry, there could be something wrong with the meal that you ate. Did you eat enough? was it very high in sugar and refined carbs ? if so, your blood sugar is coming down fast and causing the feeling of “excess hunger”. Be that as it may, you are hungry and in between meals and you go and grab a box of crackers. And you eat,,, until you are no longer hungry.The stomach and the brain working together will not allow anything else.

I will use reduced fat triscuits as an example here.. For me, I would need to eat three servings to get anything like a feeling of fullness. Thats probably 1/4 of a box. And its 360 calories and about 8 grams of fat. Its also got a good amount of salt. I would say thats a typical western eating style in between meals snack as well. Now the brain and stomach are satisified and you have consumed 360 calories.

Contrast that with another healthier snack . 1 Large Peach, which is about 40 calories, has lots of fiber and is pretty delicious. Heck, sometimes I will even eat two of them. Just do a little math, the difference between two peaches and the triscuts is 280 calories a day which is 4000 calories in 14 days! if you are saving 280 calories a day just on an in between meal snack, thats a loss of over 20 lbs per year. You get the picture.

The point is that the brain doesnt distinguish one snack in the middle of day from another. It just says, “uh oh, low on something, time to eat!!” If you eat something bulky like fruits and vegetables you feel full. If you eat tons of crackers cookies or other stuff, you also feel full, but its 3 or 4 times the amount of calories. For the same volume. and thats the key, the brain recognizes the volume and says “full”, but you are full on less calories.

Thats why this works. Full on less. Its also why we are all so darn fat. We stopped eating real food, and think crackers and meal bars etc are healthy. But our example shows the truth. They are not. They are actually sabotaging us. Too high in calories for the size, we need to eat and eat to get full.

People always have the same concern about changing their diet. “Will I like what I am eating?” yes, you will like all the fruits and vegetables that you are eating, once you start to really dig in and eat them. People are amazingly flexible when they need to be, and cravings disappear after just a few days. So thats the key, start eating this way, and train your brain to get full… on less!

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Weight loss: How to eat less and feel!

get-attachment Here is my daugther and grandson, arent they cute? My son is “visiting” via the ipad.In the old days I would go on a diet, lose a few pounds and gain it all back fast!.. has that ever happened to you ?.Here is the secret to big weight loss. You can gett that full feeling on healthier food. And you will be full on less calories. If you can do this, you can lose all the weight you will ever need and you will never be overweight again. I promise.Because if it worked for us it will work for you.!

The first thing we all have to accept is that our bodies will eat until full. This is a certain thing. No individual can live feeling hungry.This is the only reason that calorie restriction diets dont work for permanent weight loss, especially eating the standard western diet. Calorie restriction is any calorie counting or point system diet. On calorie restriction diets you do not feel full. I know I never did. Thats because you are eating the same food, just less. And your body gets hungry under those conditions. So as soon as you go “off diet” you fill up on too much high calorie food and you are back at square one. Happens every time. Its biology 101.

But the great news is that you can short circuit the system using this recipe for success, which is also very simple to follow. And the great thing is there is no restriction- PLEASE EAT UNTIL FULL!

Uncle Sam Cereal, All Bran, Ezekiel, or Engine Two (rips big bowl) cereal with almond or soy milk.
I usually eat one large bowl with fruit like strawberries etc.

Cut vegetables of any sort on a bed of romaine lettuce. typical vegetables are tomatoes, red peppers cauliflower. Dressing is home made hummus or walden farms no calorie. Two slices of Whole grain bread like ezekiel brand or Alvarado Street. And on the salad please think big. I usually finish an entire head of romaine a tomato and other vegetables at lunch.

Snacks morning and afternoon- Fruit like strawberries blueberries apples oranges peaches and pears. Melons are very high glycemic and will cause excess hunger!

Dinner- Any one of a million recipes that are low fat vegan or fat free vegan. The most popular dinner in our house is peppers stuffed with lentils and rice or lentils and quinoa, but there are thousands of recipes out there. The potatos that we use are either red or sweet potatos. The big white russet potatos are also high glycemic and cause hunger.

Eliminate the follwing items from your cupboard: Dressings with oil, chips, crackers, cookies, popcorn, and anything in a box essentially.

Snack on fruit.

As far as the how do I do this factor, your desire for junk and bad food will disappear faster than you think. Because you are eating big, your cravings will dissapear in a few days at most. Hungry? grab anything from your breakfast lunch or dinner and just eat, there is no volume restriction. Eating like this it took me about a year to lose 65 lbs, and I would have lost more if i didnt cheat at least once or twice a week.

Good luck !

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Stop the pop, soda that is, and live better!

One of the first things that I noticed upon my arrival in Ohio from California was that people call soft drinks pop, and not soda. We all thought it was quaint and kind of funny. And even though I love Coca Cola, I know I shouldnt drink it. So I rarely do. This stuff is not just unhealthy, it has some pretty strange effects on mammals. We are mammals aren’t we ? So check this out :

Scientist took a group of mice (I know, you hate mice, so do I ), and fed them the equivalent of three cans of soda pop’s worth of sugar, but in the same ratios found in soda, like high fructose corn syup. What they found was pretty interesting. For one thing death rates were double the average for all mice by age. The more bizarre thing is as follows. The mice were way less likely to reproduce, or to create nests at all. It was effecting their behaviour, not just their health. Pretty strange if you ask me.

So what does this mean for us? You will say “humans are not mice” which is what people always say when they hear of mice studies. The thing is, if you have ever taken a biology course and had to dissect a mammal, you would find out that we are all shockingly similar, if not in IQ, but in structure and function. The point is that mammal behaviour is affected by consumption of sugar of all things, and thats kind of big news. Want grandchildren? Dont give your kids soda… Just kidding of course, but it is food for thought.

We all know that sugar consumption has exploded in the last 100 years and that people are consuming too much of it. But I never really thought about sugar much. It just looks so benign and makes things taste good. By the way sugar is hidden in all sorts of foods where it is not suspected to be like breads crackers and many other places..

And how much sugar should you be consuming according to the Pro’s ? About 8 teaspoons a day which is less than the amount in one can of coke.
Good luck to us all……and dont forget your nests!

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From Scratch / Kale Pesto Vol. 1

Here is a great recipe, that you can make even better by subbing olives ground and the walnuts for olive oil!

hustle + glow


Why hello there sexy, vibrant greens! Smooth and creamy, rich and light, this pesto gets around. It’s delicious versatility is matched only by it’s abundance of nutrients. The trick is to add in (some might say, sneak in) greens like creamy steamed broccoli and earthy, bold kale. Approach is key, by steaming the broccoli and kale you can create a rich and fluffy texture that eliminates the need for excess amounts of high- fat and calorie-dense oil and cheese.


Rich in calcium as well as fiber and protein (that’s right there is protein in vegetables!)  kale and broccoli add something special to the classic pesto. Health-hero Walnuts add protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc to the mix.  Let’s not forget the foundation of flavor, Basil. High in vitamin K ( your bones best friend), Basil is much more than a garnish.



Ingredients / what you’ll need

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No Dairy? The new miracle cure exposed


What do heartburn, migraine, irritable bowel, eczema, acne, asthma, and a host of other ailments have in common? . I used to get heartburn all the time. I think my wife was sick of my 3 am runs downstairs for a Zantac. But as soon as I changed my diet, all of that stopped!. No more heartburn, or stomach issues. But I didn’t understand what specific thing had caused the radical improvement in my stomach health  I think I now know the answer.

Mark Bittman is a writer for the New York Times, and over the past few years he has been writing about the miracle that seems to occur when people stop consuming dairy. Bittmman himself  suffered greatly from “acid indegestion” and found that it disappeared shortly after he quit consuming milk and other dairy products. His doctor, like most, had prescribed him a protein pump inhibitor. PPi’s are drugs that inhibit the production of acid in the stomach.

His article hit a raw nerve with well over one thousand comments. Some people had quit dairy accidentally. Like the man who went to China for a month where milk drinking is not common. He found his five year bout of eczema  completely cleared up. Other folks found they could eat all sorts of things that they thought had been causing indigestion, like spaghetti or wine, and that the real culprit had been a morning glass of milk.

I understand why we have not heard about this from the dairy industry. The US produces about 91 million metric tons of liquid milk every year. The US department of Agriculture is very supportive of the farm industry. Dairy features prominently in the most recent “myplate” food recommendations as well.

But what about the Medical establishment?  After all, if so many different ailments can be improved by eliminating dairy, it should be big news.  Out of the many people that responded to Bittmans article, not one individual mentioned that their Doctor knew or even believed that their was a connection between consuming dairy and ailments as diverse as eczema and sinus trouble.

And lets not forget our friends in the drug industry and the influence they have over Medical thought. PPI drugs or Protein Pump inhibitors, are a 13 billion dollar business. Nexium alone does 6.3 billion a year. That holds a lot of clout. But PPI drugs merely inhibit production of acid in the stomach. Not the cause of the acid. That we can thank our eating habits for. In this case, perhaps dairy is the culprit.

So if you have any kind of ailment, stomach or otherwise that you think could be helped, try an experiment. Quit dairy completely for a week and see how you feel. You might find like so many others that quitting dairy is “the miracle cure” you have been looking for.