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

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Fat acceptance, Good or bad?


Today is Chanuka and Thanksgiving, which apparently coincide once every 78000 years. Do Jews even celebrate Thanksgiving? There is a funny joke about that, yet I digress. Today’s discussion is about fat acceptance, good or bad. Should we encourage people to accept their obesity. Should we embrace them? Are we discriminating if we beg them to get their act together. ?   I feel the need to wax poetic after a very large piece of Chanuka/ Thanksgiving pecan pie.

The saga of Maria Kang is a case in point. This busy mother of three small children is famous or perhaps infamous for her facebook pictures and comments such as “look at me,what’s your excuse” Folks call her the “no excuse” fit mom.

In other words, if she can do it so can you. However, Facebook seems to disagree with this approach, and in the last few days they have shut down her page using the reasoning that her view of the overweight can be construed as hate speech. Eventually Facebook restored her page, without the comments.

Which gets to the heart of the matter. Are the overweight ill, in need of treatment? Or are they just big? And in need of acceptance? a few years ago I would have said they need acceptance but today, 70lbs lighter, I am not so certain. It seems to me it’s more like an illness, that is actually treatable, and that the very overweight would be mostly thankful to be relieved of their burden, I know I was.

I don’t see the hate speech thing either. Telling people they can lose weight because you have done it is not discriminatory, its more like “come on folks, if I can do it, so can you” is that so bad? I think acceptance could actually be more dangerous. Look at it this way. If obesity is an illness and we accept it, than people don’t need treatment. Are we than dooming people to shortened lifespans heart disease and disability due to our misguided political correctness?

We love our friends and family whatever they weigh, and I believe Maria has her heart in the right place. Eventually she will be vindicated. At least that’s how I see it.

Anyhow whatever you believe, the candles are burning, and leftovers are safely tucked away. Enjoy the holidays, whatever you celebrate!


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Is this the miracle food of the future ?


Drank some fancy beer over the weekend, which gave me a gout attack. That led me to my go to vegetable for gout, celery. It always seems to stop gout cold, along with cherry juice. but I always wondered why, and now I know. But I also found out something interesting:

Sometimes you hear about a food product that is healthier than you thought it was. But the claims being made for this lowly ingredient are beyond that. Forget Gout for a minute. What about something that can prevent cancer and lower your choleserol ? And you will never guess what it is.


I know its hard to believe. Because what is the stuff anyhow? A garnish that people use  and thats about it. But Parsley has one attribute that has the scientific world abuzz. Its the best source of a flavinoid called Apigenin, which is, just perhaps, an effective treatment for everything from inflammation to cancer and heart disease. This stuff is powerful.

How does it work you may ask? Who really cares ?… just eat it. Actually Apigenin is not only found in parsley,,you can also  find it in celery and chamomille tea, but parsley just happens to have about 10 times more Apigenin  than any other source.

Apigenen has two big things going for it. It seems to interfere with the cell cycle in cancers and is also anti -inflammatory. It has undergone some preliminary lab testing and been found to be effective in shutting down cell activity in at least 14 different cancers. It is especially effective against Prostate Cancer cells. It can also lower your cholesterol to boot!

In Chinese medicine, people drink celery juice as a sort of anti gout tonic and  “elixer of life”. Perhaps the anti- cancer effect of Apigenin was never really understood. But over the next few years, I think we will all be hearing big things about Apigenin. It is available as a supplement, and in this case is extracted from grapfruit.

Perhaps Apigenin will achieve fame as a treatment and preventative for Cancer. But just as an aside, anything that enables me to have a few beers without becoming a cripple ? Two thumbs up !



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How to decide which lipid test is best for you ?


Spent the last few days reading lots of articles about lipid or “cholesterol” testing. There seems to be some confusion as to what test best predicts your chances of having heart trouble down the road. Still trying to wrap my head around it, but here are some conclusions that I think will benefit the general public.

Medical science as practiced does not necessarily keep pace with actual developments in the field. A good example of this is exercise stress testing. You get on a treadmill, run or walk a bit, and if there is something wrong with your heart, it shows up on an ekg or ultrasound that is done at that same time. Relatively low tech, but also inaccurate.  Yet, find me a Cardiologist in any major city that does not still use them, not likely.

The same is true of lipid profiles or cholesterol testing. The standard test is HDL LDL and sometimes triglycerides.  Yet just as in stress testing, research shows that these tests only correlate to heart disease that walks in to the emergency room about 50 percent of the time. Not very accurate at all. Some heart attacks appear below the cholesterol radar of HDL  LDL and triglycerides.  Yet, again, if you go to your local Doctor that is exactly what you will get. A standard HDl and LDL test.

Better and more accurate tests are not just on the horizon, they are already here. One of those is the NMR lipoprofile, which is now widely available. The test differs in one important area. It measures the size of the particles in the LDL portion of the cholesterol test. As it turns out, people that have a lot of small-size LDL particles are way more likely to have a heart attack than those that don’t. In other words, your numbers might look normal – but if your LDL -P or partical number is big, you could be in for trouble.

This is also a partial explanation for why so many heart attack victims have a normal total cholesterol. When examined in most cases, the LDL -P was high, and it was simply missed. There is a strong relationship between Lipoprotein (a)and VLDL, from the chart above, and LDL-P. When one is high, so are the others, and it usually means much greater risk ,even when the “standard” HDL and LDL numbers look good.

So, here is my conclusion:

There are three types of people in this world when it comes to heart disease

Type A- Not to be confused with type a personality. They are healthy, have no family history of heart disease, and their numbers look good. Meaning all their numbers. These folks are blessed with good genetics and take care of themselves. They are at low risk for heart disease and have little to worry about.

Type B- Probably half the population, they either do not take care of themselves in terms of diet or exercise, OR they have a family history of heart disease or both. I think that these people would greatly benefit from advanced tests like LDL-P, calcium scores, Lipid fractions etc. Determining more accurately who might develop heart disease among this group and treating it with diet and statins would possibly be the biggest public health improvement of the decade.

Type C- A minority group, they look healthy, meaning really healthy, but have a strong family history of heart disease at a young age. They may have a parent or an uncle that died young of a heart attack etc.Often when checked, they have very high numbers in one of the categories from the chart above. If you fall in to this category, you should get to your doctor and get some of these advanced tests tomorrow, because getting on medication or changing your diet could save your life!

However you fit, do not become complacent on this . Go to your Doctor and request the best and most accurate tests available. Know your numbers, and take action as necessary!

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What are your chances of having a heart attack? : Click here


A few years ago scientist got together and said. “hey we can predict who is going to have a heart attack with just a bit of info so lets publish it”. And thats where the controversy starts. And by the way, if you want some idea of your chances of having a heart attack, Click here.

First you will need the following: Age, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking habits,  the calculator does the rest. The problem is that not everyone agrees that its correct.Some scientists feel it overstates the probabilty of heart disaese,and on the other side are the developers who respond “the numbers dont lie”. The calculator was based on data going back 10 years with many 1000’s of subjects, and its creators claim the work is rock solid.

So, what are your chances of having  heart disease ? Well…  I played with it for about an hour last night and if you are a male age 42 with a cholesterol of 190 and normal blood pressure, over your lifetime you have about a 35 percent chance of heart disease  and a 2-3 percent chance in the next 10 years. For women its a little less.. That lifetime number is huge in my opinion

The ten year number might not sound like a lot, but think of it this way, if you are 42 years old, over the next 10 years, chances are that one or two people that you know will have a heart attack. Of course its on average, so perhaps your circle of friends will not get hit, but somebody else might know three or more people having incidents, its all statistical,, but nevertheless, scary.

Interestingly, as your choleseterol drops so do your chances of heart disease..  if you get down low enough, say below 130 total, it seems to drop off entirely. As I mentioned, this is just a guideline and some say that its all overstated, but even if its close to correct it makes a strong case for eating well enough to really lower your cholesterol, or taking a statin. Or like me just do both. And with a vegan diet and statins my cholesterol is really low.

The other thing is that this device does not take into account triglycerides. Some people have pretty normal cholesterol but really high triglycerides, and are at greater risk for heart disease. Diet seems to really help with that. Whatever you do, if you suspect you are at risk, get with your doctor and get a plan in place to fix your numbers. Dont ignore it , like i did.

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Do Low fat diets work: T Colin Campbell weighs in on “fat addiction”

t colin

As usual there is much confusion over which “diet” to follow if you are trying to lose weight. Atkins? Weight Watchers? There is even some professor somwhere that swears you can eat twinkies all day and lose weight, as long as you make sure to reduce calories. A calorie is a calorie right ?

The real question we should ask is this. Which diet should we follow that will help us to keep our weight in control without going up and down, provide for optimum health, and prevent and even treat disease. Rather than explain T Colin Campbell’s position on this I will quote the famous author of the “china study” directly. If you want to understand the study, look it up. T Colin Campbell is a professor of nutrition at Cornell University. And here is what he has to say about the perfect diet ……. The mythology he is referring to is that certain diets work and others dont. Read on……………..

“More serious, however, is the effect that this mythology has had on suppressing information on the extraordinary health value of diets that are truly low in fat (10-12 percent). I am referring to a whole foods, plant-based diet that avoids added fat and processed and animal-based foods. This diet contains about 10-12 percent fat, sometimes pejoratively referred to as “extremely low fat”. Call it what you will, but this diet (also low in total protein, about 8-10 percent) produces, by comparison, “extremely low” incidences of sickness and disease. In fact, it now has been shown not just to prevent these illnesses but to treat them. Importantly, this dietary lifestyle cannot be dismissed by the mythological argument that so-called low fat diets have been proven to be questionable.

Professional medical researchers and practitioners also repeat this same mantra as if it is real. It has been shown for example in the very large Nurses’ Health Study at Harvard over an observation period of at least 14 years that reducing dietary fat from about 50 percent to about 25 percent of total calories has no association with breast cancer rates. Based on this and related studies, the sole manipulation of fat within this range does little or nothing when the diet still contains such high proportions of animal based and processed foods. Total protein remains very high throughout this range and worse, the proportion of protein from animal-based sources, already high when fat is high, if anything, increases even more when fat is independently decreased.

It is time that we seriously consider the health benefits of a whole food, plant based diet, which is naturally low in total fat, animal-based protein, and refined carbohydrates but rich in antioxidants and complex carbohydrates. The health benefits that are now being reported for this dietary lifestyle are unmatched in scope and magnitude of effect. It is time to discard the gibberish about low fat diets being responsible for the obesity epidemic. This demonizing of low fat diets does not apply to whole food plant-based diets, even lower in fat, because this dietary lifestyle really works. Just try it, but stay with it long enough to allow your body to overcome your taste preferences for fat that arise from its addictive nature.”

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Cooking Oil & Heart Disease: Health Canada says “just say no”

health canada

I have always liked Canada: Big open spaces. Cold Weather. Tim Hortons. ey?   But really folks our Northern neighbors know a thing or two about health.Since everyone has health insurance,(a very good idea)  it is in the governments interest to make sure that people know whether what they eat is good for them. And now comes the news: Cooking oil is bad for your heart.

An article appearing in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association sites recent studies that show that cooking oil, and specifically sunflower and safflower oil “increases the incidence of heart disease”. They also recommend that the Government remove the “heart healthy” label from the above mentioned oils specifically. It is believed that because those oils contain only omega 6 and not omega 3, they are inflammatory, hence the heart disease connection.

Of course Dr Esselstyn would say all oil is bad for you even so called “good oils” like olive, but thats a story for a different day. The fact that a well respected organization like the Canadian Medical Association would come out against a cooking oil is big news that will be well received among the low fat vegan crowd. Sometimes we feel like we are out in the wilderness here.

Confirmation feels good!

But how to reduce oil ?

Its easy, just stop using it. If you buy those new expensive frying pans you dont need to use anything at all in them, except a bit of water. Dont ask me what they are made of but they look like white ceramic, we use them now exclsuively. And the food tastes like food – not oil !

Try crushed flax seed as a substitute for eggs and oil in many recipes,, it tastes great!

I understand Tim Horton’s is not changing their donut recipes, at least not yet!

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Recipes for the road: How to maintain


This weekend was the festive event of my grandson’s second bithday party. I have not yet assesed the damage to my waistline, but assume its significant. But if I had a great time, does it really matter? Probably.And here is why:

In a big family, there is always something to celebrate, hence there is always an excuse to go off your eating plan. Its called self sabotage. Oh,I have to eat like this because it s a family event !    But yes, you can overcome the desire to stuff yourself at a party. And here are a few ways to do it.

Eat before the party.

It will lower your desire to stuff, obviously.

Pick the one item you want to try.

Go off your plan, but pick one item that you really want to try, otherwise stick to what you normally eat such as fruits and vegetables.

Skip the cake.

If you are eating off your plan, stick to the foods served during the meal. A single piece of cake can easily be 500 calories and lots of fat and sugar, save that for whatever you are eating, you will more satisified later.

If you change your eating habits you will naturally eat less, but if you have a plan going into an event, you will find yourself with way more self control!