Saturday, October 30, 2010

Success and Relapse

We're doing great.  We've lost weight.  Look awesome.  Ran our first 5k.  Completed a marathon.  Or an Ironman.

And then, perhaps complacency sets in...

We aren't quite as careful... the exercise drops off, the good eating habits slip.  And there's a bit of denial... I still look good, my clothes still fit, I've only gained two pounds.  Four pounds.  Then ten pounds.

But the reality is, often we relapse from the good habits we've adopted.

That's a position I find myself in.  After Ironman, my exercise has decreased dramatically, as it should -- 20 hours of exercise per week is way too much.  I'm still working out six or seven days a week, but the intensity of those workouts has decreased, or they're shorter.  I walk/run with the dogs and call that cardiovascular exercise, when that is nothing compared to what I used to do.

And I'll have to admit, my eating habits haven't adapted entirely to that change.  And here I am, seven pounds heavier than when I finished Ironman Lake Placid.

It's time to get back on the wagon..

I'm writing down everything that I eat.  I'm being more mindful of my portions.  And, I'm making sure that I get an hour of cardiovascular exercise every day.

I will do better.  We all can.  Tomorrow is a new day, and going forward, I will get back to where I was.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dog Companionship Can Make You Healthier

I've had my pooches for six weeks now.  It's been an adjustment for all three of us.  I've learned that it takes dogs time to build up stamina for long walks when they've lived in a kennel environment all of their lives. And they've learned that my dining room floor is not a toilet.

Curves and Gold, my rescued greyhounds, have been so wonderful to have.  As I've mentioned before, they make me a happier person.  They always greet me with wagging tails.


There's great benefits to owning dogs.  Dog companionship has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  Dog owners have less depression.  They get over acute illnesses much quicker.  And dog owners live longer.

Of course, if you're looking to get your own dogs, rescue.  NEVER buy from a breeder.  So many dogs need loving homes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

If I eat healthy, can I avoid statins?

Recently, I gave a talk to a group of participants who are following an unprocessed, plant-based diet for thirty days.  I spoke about what heart disease is, the risk factors for heart disease, and how to prevent it.

Interestingly, the most popular topic was statin medications.  Several of the participants wanted to know why statins, which are cholesterol-lowering medications, could be needed if an ideal healthy plant-based diet is followed. 

Yes, diet is very potent at lowering cholesterol.  In fact, a plant-based diet can be as potent as the highest dose of statin medication in lowering cholesterol levels.  However, in spite of a "perfect" diet, they may still be recommended.

Diet is powerful, but there are certain circumstances where statins are indicated:


- When diet and exercise are not enough to lower the LDL cholesterol to goal, which may be the case even in people who are following a pristine diet

- Coronary artery disease, history of heart attack, diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, and stroke -- even if the LDL cholesterol is low, statins have pleiotrophic effects, which means that they do more than just lower the LDL level. They reduce progression of arterial disease, improve the lining of the arteries, and reduce occurrence of heart attacks and strokes.

There are randomized controlled studies of hundreds of thousands of patients that definitely support the use of statins to prevent arterial disease in patients who have risk factors but do not yet have arterial disease and also in patients who already have disease.

I wholeheartedly support a plant-based diet and exercise to get cholesterol to goal, especially since I am a vegan and avid exerciser. But some people simply cannot get to that goal, and others have risk factors that indicate a strong benefit from a statin medication.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Newsletter Feature Article About Me

It's great to be recognized by my employer for my triathlon endeavors:

Sunday, October 03, 2010

New Creations in My Kitchen

Two creatons made with my new Vitamix blender:

Truffles!!!
Now, I can't quite give away all of the ingredients just yet because they will be entered into a competition this evening and I think these truffles just might be able to win.  The concept is easy, though:  Mix a nut with dried fruit and dates to sweeten them.  Or add cacao to make something chocolatey.  Put them in the freezer.  Then serve.  Yum.

Green Smoothie 
Mix one cup of almond milk, one banana, seven strawberries, and two handfuls of kale.  Since I had just worked out, I added one scoop of chocolate Sun Warrior protein.  On the Vitamix, choose the "smoothie" operation and the machine does all the work.  Or you can make this with your own blender.  Amazingly nutritions and tastes very good, even though it's green :)