Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vegan for a Month: Day 16 (many links!)

Well, if pure weight loss was a goal of this pursuit, week two was a negative one, as a pound was gained. I'll blame the bad weather.

Maybe I need to read/view some of the links Dr. Duckworth has passed along. It's not a small grouping of readings, so pick-and-choose, as you have time (from, unless otherwise noted):

New veg show on cooking channel

Milk intake and osteoporosis examined

A speech on "The Starch Solution" by John McDougall, MD

Time Magazine: Veggies still good for you

A debate over the book "The China Study"

Vegetarianism as long-life indicator

High fructose corn syrup's fat-inducing effects

High-end vegan dining in SF

Food Democracy Now: a clearinghouse for issues relating to good eating

Monday, December 13, 2010

Qs for Dr. Duckworth: Natural Remedy for Dry Skin?

Question for Dr. Duckworth,

Do you have any thoughts on natural remedies for dry skin? As we've moved into winter, I'm finding that over-the-counter lotions aren't completely doing the trick. Thanks.

M. Graham


You can make a lotion out of ginger and sesame oil. Take the ginger and chop it up, very fine. Then pour in sesame oil, or even olive oil. Use one part ginger to three parts oil. You could even go as high as a one part-to-one part. Mix it up over three days' time. The ginger will activate properties in the oil to make a nice ointment for the skin.

Dr. Duckworth

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vegan for a Month: Day 9

It's good to get some information in your system, when you're about to make a change in lifestyle, even for a shorter term eyb. As someone who built up about three years of veganism in smaller chunks, I wanted to read up on some supporting literature, while also looking for any drawbacks that might occur, any nutritional deficits that I might be inviting.

The two main bits of media that I took in while transitioning in December would certainly be considered advocacy of a more vegetarian and, by extension, locavore diet. Readers of this blog would be sympathetic, I'm guessing, to many of the ideas expressed in them and may have already taken in the works.

As someone who lists the books that I read, I noticed that I'd recently consumed two by Anthony Bourdain, the world-renowned chef, traveler, author, curmudgeon and champion of meat-eating. In response, I picked up "The Face on Your Plate" by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, a writer unknown to me, despite myriad titles to his credit. He's a sensitive man, and I don't say that with disrespect. The process of killing animals for food revolts him at that base level, he's even squeamish around sustainable family farms that grow animals for meat. The book's smart and you'll learn something about how your meal came to be; for sushi fans, his describing the way eels are killed will be something you won't forget the next time you're checking off boxes at your local sushi restaurant. His calls, though, for more happiness for farm animals is one of the ideas that probably won't resonate with most Americans. On the other hand, his discussions of how he, in his late 60s, keeps up with his young children, while still able to work out at a highly effective clip might sway more. In fact, his advocacy for a Meatless Monday is likely pointing to a way to bring people into a more vegetarian lifestyle, if at a slower pace. For those that labor over books, it's a quick, "readable" read.

"Food Inc." is a film that's made a mark in a short period of time, the 2008 documentary (available for online streaming at Netflix) tackling factory farming, American families and their over-reliance on fast food, the ability of companies like WalMart to make a major dent in the ecological future of our world, and a variety pack of other major-and-minor themes involving our country's food production and checkout line desires. Though it's a strident film, with clear points of view from the first few frames, the doc's got enough subtlety to not wear you out with jackhammering of messages. (That said, I watched it in two sittings, so I might be countering my own point; the early section on chicken farms might have you walking around the block, on a search for some perspective.) The film's probably going to find an audience already caring about these issues, but if it somehow made it into schools, public television and other mainstream viewing circles, the effect could be profound. The images and messages explored are so universally troubling, only the most unthinking people could resist making some change for the better after watching.


Oh yeah! An update, or two, on the last entry. Lost five pounds the first week of the vegan plan. Ate one massive pot of healthy soup to do so; once exercise kicks into higher year, the results should even even better. And the sugar cravings are largely past. There's still that temptation to grab an Amp when they're around, but those afternoon and early-evening crashes are starting to abate. Shew.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Vegan for a Month: Day 4

Greetings. My name's Thomas and I'm generally the person who posts up videos and other blog items here. I've been a patient of Dr. Duckworth (and occasionally Jason Hackler) for the past 18-or-so months. During that time, I've welcomed the approaches and care given at NLTC. But no one can monitor you all the time, and I've allowed some personal habits to push me to a personal-high weight of 231 pounds.

As a former athlete (not a good one, but an active one), this is completely galling. It pains me to even type in those numbers. 2. 3. 1. Together. In a row. AYIE.

To combat the creep of pounds and to establish some better habits going forward, I called a truce with drinking, giving myself a break from alcohol for the last seven weeks of the year. That process I'm well into and it's not been a bad thing; it hasn't been that rough to adapt, actually. But I'm also tapping into a vegan diet for the month of December, figuring that there's no rougher month to attempt some dietary changes, what with holiday parties, cookies set out on every available surface and the wintry temperatures keeping outdoor exercise to a minimum.

Dr. Duckworth thought it'd be interesting, maybe informative, for me to punch up some thoughts over the next month. I've given myself a few days worth of veganism before jotting down the first thoughts, but I'd like to diverge from the meat-and-dairy talk for this first entry. Instead, I'd like to point out that energy drinks can be as addictive as anything I've come across.

While they probably disgust no lack of readers here, energy drinks have been a daily dose for me over the past year, or two. I'm partial to Rockstar, Amp and Full Throttle, while passing on Monster, Rip It and Xyence. (Though, if handed one of those for free after a concert, I've willingly broken my own rules.) For the first three-plus days of the new diet settings, what's bothered me most is a serious, mid-day craving for these caffeine-and-sugar bombs.

Used to be, I'd grab one before an afternoon class "to help keep me sharp." Or I'd grab one before working nights "just to stay awake." And sometimes I'd find myself with one in-hand, solely because I'd be paying for gasoline, or standing in the checkout aisle at a store, with the drinks within super-easy reach.

Cheese, oh, I'll miss it soon enough, I'm sure. A pizza? Oh! They're so delicious! But I just watched a friend dine at the awesome Good Pie without having a stress attack. After being vegetarian for 20 years, I've worked in a fair amount into my weekly meals and I'll certainly want some sushi, eventually.

The energy drinks, though? I miss them already, like old friends. It's mid-day of day four and mind's keeping with the program, but my body's detoxing. It ain't fun. But it is necessary.

More soon...