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

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The Israeli Paradox: What really causes heart disease


Perhaps you have heard of the French Paradox. Or, better put, why don’t the French get heart disease like the rest of us?But did you know that there is an equally interesting “Israeli Paradox” related to heart disease? And why do so many Israeli’s get heart disease anyhow? For the details, read on…

As it goes, the French, despite their wild ways of smoking and drinking, don’t  succumb to heart disease like the rest of us . There are many possible explanations for this of course. Up until a few years ago it was believed that red wine protected the French from heart disease. That idea has been dismissed at this point. One possible explanation is that health statistics are calculated in a way that reduces mortality from heart disease. Another is that somehow their diet is protective.

In the mean time, did you know that there is also an Israeli paradox ?  Israelis have low serum cholesterol but have high rates of heart disease, which is the opposite of France, and absolutely interesting. Perhaps, by examining both ends of the spectrum, the experts will figure out the true cause of heart disease. In the mean time, we can create our own little  hypothesis right here. And even before the experts, you and I will understand what causes heart disease. So?

One researcher Susan Allport, sums up the Israeli paradox as follows :

Israelis eat less animal fat and cholesterol and fewer calories than Americans, but they have comparable rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and many cancers. They have an ideal diet, as far as the American food pyramid is concerned, but far from ideal health.”[3] 

And the big question: What is different about the Israeli diet that we can point to that would make a difference, or cause an “ideal” diet to be unhealthy?

Guess what- Israelis consume more omega -6 than any population on the planet. In other words vegetable oil. It is now believed that the ratio of omega six(think vegetable oil)  to omega three (think fish, and flaxseed)  is a very important measure of inflammation in the body. Israelis have a very distorted ration of omega 6 /omega 3, and speculation is that causes inflammation, atherosclerosis and other illnesses.  In fact, that is exactly what the following research abstract concludes :

Diet and disease–the Israeli paradox: possible dangers of a high o… – PubMed – NCBI// // //

Israel has one of the highest dietary polyunsaturated/saturated fat ratios in the world; the consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) is about 8% higher than in the USA, and 10-12% higher than in most European countries. In fact, Israeli Jews may be regarded as a population-based dietary experiment of the effect of a high omega-6 PUFA diet, a diet that until recently was widely recommended. Despite such national habits, there is paradoxically a high prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and obesity-all diseases that are associated with hyperinsulinemia (HI) and insulin resistance (IR), and grouped together as the insulin resistance syndrome or syndrome X. There is also an increased cancer incidence and mortality rate, especially in women, compared with western countries. Studies suggest that high omega-6 linoleic acid consumption might aggravate HI and IR, in addition to being a substrate for lipid peroxidation and free radical formation. Thus, rather than being beneficial, high omega-6 PUFA diets may have some long-term side effects, within the cluster of hyperinsulinemia, atherosclerosis and tumorigenesis.


Is vegetable oil a major contributor to heart disease ?

Do the French have a good omega 3/ omega 6 balance? If so, evidence from both societies could be the key to understand what truly causes heart disease. In the mean time,, dump the oil, eat more fish, and enjoy life!




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Milk, maybe it doesn’t do a body good?

cows milk


Milk, most drink it, use it, believe in it. Recent research however shows that just like many foods we all believe in, the health benefits of drinking milk is quite probably a myth.

Cows milk has really become a staple in the western diet. You would be hard pressed to find a western refrigerator that does not at least pay homage to dairy products, especially milk. Many physicians even recommend that women who are susceptible to fractures, and children with growing bones drink a good amount of milk daily.

However a recent Swedish study seems to show exactly the opposite, at least for women consuming three glasses or more of milk daily. Turns out if you do so, you are doubling your chance of dying, especially from heart disease. Also, you are increasing, not decreasing, your chance for broken bones. I will leave the whys to the experts, but I suspect the heart disease is related to fat, which milk contains plenty of, and broken bones has to do with calcium absorption, which is more complicated than just drinking milk that contains calcium.

Here in America, we have milk and dairy products pretty much shoved down our throats from the time we are little children. A lot of that has to do with the dairy lobby, which strangely, is one of the more powerful groups that lobby our lawmakers.Those farmers also spend a lot on advertising which has everyone brainwashed over the great benefit of anything dairy.

So what can you use instead of cows milk.?  Try almond milk  soy milk and just about any other thing you can now try in the dairy section. You can even make your own almond milk and its super easy. As far as taste goes, yes, it will taste different at first, but after a day or two, you will not notice it at all.

As with anything, moderation is good. I have seen great benefit from totally eliminating dairy from my diet, and I attribute at least some of my weight loss success to abolishing cows milk from my frig. At the very least everyone should be aware that something we all thought was really healthy may not be, and proceed with caution and moderation.

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The protein controversy, enough is enough


The big question that folks always seem to get smug about is “how do you get enough protein?”

How do we indeed !

Surprisingly, there are a few ways for non meat eaters to approach the protein question.

a) don’t get enough protein, cause you don’t really need as much as you think

b) make sure that you get enough or close to enough in the foods that you do eat.

c) use protein supplements

In reality we have gone through different phases on this and have done all three individually over the past years. And I can say this, in terms of the way you feel , however you approach this it doesn’t really seem to make a difference.

Some weeks I have eaten as little as 20 or 30 grams a day of protein (the adult male recommended requirement is 80 grams per day) and others I have eaten way more. I feel exactly the same, and I think I pretty much look the same as well.

There is some evidence that people are fine with lower levels of protein munching, and that we are all being brainwashed about eating “enough” protein. The beef council perhaps?


pit also doesn’t seem to relate to weight loss in any way.

I am a 52 year old man with six children and a grandson, nobody is really looking. He is young and single, so it still matters! I suppose.

If you do end up using a supplement, you can choose between a few different options. We have ended up settling on rice protein, which I stir into my cereal in the morning a few days a week for a protein boost.  There is also whey and pea to choose from as well. The whey is obviously a dairy product.

It pays to really shop around. Online stores such as Amazon are often about half the price or have larger containers, and not to mention,a much better selection!

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ode to missing friends


This week our community lost not one, but two individuals. Both passed away before their time. It’s a stark reminder that no matter what we do, what we say or what we write, some people will be called early.

One of those individuals was a good friend and colleague from the steel industry. Chaim Taub or Charlie as we knew him, was a kind and warm hearted individual. His generosity among his family and many others was well known. He is blessed with wise and righteous children. And we appreciate the fact that his family brought him back from Florida for a funeral here in Cleveland, where hundreds gathered to hear his deeds of kindness to his family and others.

The other individual was a young women with a large family, stricken with cancer. We hope and pray that her husband and young children have the strength to go on without her kindness and wisdom, and that we are able to help them thru these very difficult times.

Let us not be foolish enough to think that eating a healthier diet will save us from the fate that awaits every one of us. The goal here is to get healthy and be healthy to provide for those around us. Our families, our friends, and indeed those mourning the loss of others. They need our strength as well. I know the healthier I eat, the better I feel, and the more I am able to give of myself, and in the end, getting healthy is something we can all be happy about.

Have a great weekend!


Save your heart. Eat Less Sugar



Strange but true. Researchers have found a direct connection between added sugar in your diet and heart disease. Folks that get a lot of the stuff have twice the risk of dying of heart disease as people that get the least sugar. At least that is what researchers say this month in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Guess I need to tell my son to stop swigging Vernors directly from a two liter bottle. But when do they ever listen?

The point is that if you eat a lot of sugar, you really need an action plan to eat less. What I find about sugar is that it is sort of like salt. The less you eat, the less you miss. The more you eat, the more you crave. Or something like that.

There are some obvious places to look for sugar. For example, how about cutting out soda pop? I used to drink a can of coke every day. Haven’t had a drop in probably a year and don’t miss it one bit. Or perhaps I drank half a cup in the summer. Either way, I do not miss it. And it has a huge amount of sugar in it . Daily coffee?  This might sound like a joke but it isn’t. Try buying better coffee. In fact, do what we do. Buy green coffee and roast it yourself. Top quality Ethiopia Yirgacheffe  coffee doesn’t need sugar, or cream for that matter.

Perhaps you think that you are “eating healthy”. Have you taken a look at your low fat yogurt? As much sugar as ice cream. Cereals like Raisin Bran also have a lot of sugar. Big food loves sugar because once you crash,  you are hungry again. Getting away from sugar can really help you lose weight.

The researchers are not even sure why there is a connection. Perhaps sugar raises your blood pressure or affects your blood lipids like triglycerides. Does it matter? Just put on your granny glasses and start reading some labels. Start comparing labels.

Nobody would have thought it, but by getting the sugar out you could be doing your heart a really big favor.

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Avoiding Winter Weight Gain


Right now it’s 19 degrees outside, or -7 Celsius. Which reminds me, why do we gain weight in cold months ? Are humans destined to be bears, and store up in the winter? Sorry, today we are throwing that excuse in the snow! But there are some things you can do to understand and prevent winter gains.

Evidence suggests that humans are not natural hibernators during the winter. So that excuse goes in the snow.And what does cause us to munch more around now? Well, for one thing, it’s the holiday season for most people. And studies show that both humans and animals eat about 40 percent more food out of the house than at home.I wonder how they tested the rats? Invited to party?

So here is one suggestion to combat the going out gain. Eat before you go out! Make a big salad, eat some fruit. Just don’t go on an empty stomach. It works. Do so and you will eat less.

The other big cause is also simple. Less movement and more eating. What would you rather do when it’s this cold? Go out? Or sit at home? I vote for home. Which leads to popcorn, and things like oatmeal cookies, while watching TV,,, a dynamic weight gain combination that is best avoided.

Seasonal affective disorder? Depressed? We live in one of the cloudiest, darkest places in North America, and don’t see the sun for days at a time in winter. SAD affects more than a few folks around here. But, in depression you are just as likely to under eat as over eat, so the number of people that gain from depression is actually small.

So, in the end, it’s not that hard. Just keep to your regular schedule of getting out, exercising indoors on the coldest days, and eat right especially before big events. You can maintain your health in winter, and leave the hibernating to the bears!

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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!