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  1. Hey JD! Welcome to vegan bodybuilding! I have not read Robert Cheeke's new book, but I have read his detailed post from 2015: http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=37270 You're off to a good start! Knowing your calorie requirements is important... but not as important as you might think. That's because it's very difficult to accurately measure how much energy you burn off. No matter how hard you try, you will either over-estimate or under-estimate. So use your calorie estimate as a starting point, and then adjust your estimate based on your results. Start by rounding off the numbers so they are easier to remember: BMR = 1800; Required calories = 2100. My recommendation is that you not go below 1800 calories. A balanced diet (like the one Robert recommends) with 1800 calories will provide all the vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy. Going below this will (possibly) throw your system out of whack and make improvement difficult. If you need 2100 calories each day and you are only eating 1800, then you will lose around 1/2 pound per week. Weigh yourself after a couple of weeks. If you have not lost as much as you expected to, start to increase the amount of exercise you're doing. Start by walking 15 minutes per day. Then 20 minutes. Then 30. When you see your weight start to drop, you'll have a much better idea of how many calories and how much exercise you need to balance each other. Use exercise to create a calorie deficit, rather than cutting nutrients! But keep in mind, the body that you have right now is the result of your lifestyle. If you want a different body, you must change your lifestyle. If you think of 'diet' as a temporary change to lose a dozen pounds before summer, so you can then go back to your old habits... then you'll be right back here next winter, with the same old lifestyle and the same old body! If you want to be healthy, then you need to think long-range! The habits you build right now will pay you back when you're in your 50s! Trust me. Best of luck! And keep us posted on your progress! Cheers,
  2. Hey Sticky, So, you've been in pain since 2002 (except for a brief period when you were eating meat)? That's a long time. I'm sure it's hard to remember what you were eating way back then... but I agree with jmf -- except for B-12, there are no vitamins, minerals or macro-nutrients that you can get from meat and dairy that you can't get from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts. If you switch between eating vegan and not, you are adding some foods and taking away other foods. If your problem is due to nutrition, that's where you need to look -- at what has changed (if it's a medical problem, then as jmf said, you need to consult a doctor). For example, if you vegan diet was unbalanced, you might have been iron deficient. Switching to meat could have given you the iron you needed. But you could have gotten the same iron by eating more wheat. On the other hand, if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, then eating wheat could be part of the problem. It's either diet... or it's medical. You definitely need to do something, and you are far beyond my knowledge. Sorry. Dr McDougall (a long-time advocate of plant-based diets) recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes and very low in salt, added fat, added sugar, and processed foods. The only reason I mention it is because the online discussion board at his website is frequented by nutritionists and doctors. If nobody pops up with a recommendation on this board, you might try there. https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=7 Best of luck,
  3. Hello Sticky, I am not a doctor, so please do not interpret anything I say as medical advice. First of all, I am very sorry to hear about your troubles. I totally understand how being in constant pain and not being able to sleep can destroy your sense of life and sap your will to live. If I were in your position, I'd try anything... even eating spam (!)... if I thought it would help. Eating a balanced vegan diet can provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need... as well as the providing a good balance of macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs, and fiber). With that said, there is obviously something seriously wrong here. I suspect the problem goes far beyond a simple choice between vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore, and may be due to some type of disease or medical condition: e.g., celiac, diabetes, leukemia, cancer, viral infection, IBS. However, if you diet is an 'extreme' one, then it is possible you are not getting one, or more, of your essential vitamins or minerals and a diet tweak might help. Have you spoken to your family doctor about this? Have you had any medical tests? How long have you been experiencing these problems? Did you have any of these problems before you went vegan? How long after you went vegan did the problems start to appear? How much fiber are you getting in your diet? How much water are you drinking each day? Are you taking any medications? Note: after reading more about IBS, I found the following articles which may help. Or not. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/basics/definition/CON-20024578 http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/harris_irritable_bowel_syndrome.htm https://dontfearthevegan.com/2013/03/06/vegans-say-what-irritable-bowel-syndrome/ I hope you find some relief soon! Cheers, EDIT: you might try posting this on Jeff Novick's (RD) page over at Dr. McDougall's Online Discussion Board: https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=22
  4. I have switched to a (mostly) vegan diet, with the goal of becoming full-on vegan. I still fall-off the wagon occasionally. I decided on a full blood test... followed by 16 weeks of exercise (weight lifting mixed with walking, rowing, or hiking for cardio) and a diet based on The China Study... followed by another blood test. I lift 4-days a week, with a 2-day split, upper/lower body (since I am a beginner, I limit myself to 1 warm-up set followed by 1 high-intensity set). Cardio varies from low-intensity walks to high-intensity rowing sprints, 1-4 hours per week. My diet is a whole-food, plant-based diet, rich in complex carbohydrates, low in fat, low in sugar, low in salt, and with moderate amounts of protein. On a good day I consume 2,000-2,400 calories at less than 15% fat, less than 15% sugar, greater than 50% complex carbohydrates, and around 20% protein. =============== My meal plan for a 2,500 calorie day: Breakfast - 4:30 AM oatmeal, steel cut oats, quick cook, 1/2C berry medley: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, 3/4C 140g flaxseed meal, 1T, 7g Weight lifting - 5:45-6:45 AM After workout meal - 7:00-7:30 AM Sun Warrior, protein powder, 25g, 1 scoop edamame, 1C, 1/2 bag, 150g Lunch - 11:00-11:30 AM pasta salad (pasta, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, zucchini, carrots, green beans, bell peppers, onions, sunflower seeds, strawberry balsamic dressing) Afternoon snack - 2:00 PM 4 clementines 74g (or a small can of mandarin oranges) Cardio - 4:00-4:30 PM Dinner - 5:30-6:00 PM rice medley: brown, red + barley, 1 pkg refried black beans, no-fat, 1/2 can, 228g tomato, raw, 1/2C, 90g (or no-oil, no-sugar salsa) Evening Snack - 7:30 steamed vegetable (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sprinkled with garlic powder) Supplements - vitamins B-12 & D (when working indoors for many days in a row) =============== The above meal provides: 2,358 calories 13% fat (39g) 19% protein (114g) 11% sugar (67g) 56% complex carbs (212g) 0 mg cholesterol 1,494 mg sodium It provides the following percentage of the US Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamins and minerals. 793% vitamin A 250% vitamin D _95% vitamin E 284% vitamin K 593% vitamin C 300% vitamin B1 (thiamin) 135% vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 139% vitamin B3 (niacin) 211% vitamin B6 431% folate 500% vitamin B12 166% pantothenic acid _81% calcium 299% iron 236% magnesium 121% potassium 164% zinc 440% copper 731% manganese 232% selenium =============== After 16 weeks I saw a significant improvement. weight: 228.5 lbs => 204.1 lbs waist size: 44.75" => 41.0" hip size: 42.0" => 40.25" body fat: 30% => 24.8% triglycerides: 210 => 68 cholesterol: 187 => 145 LDL cholesterol: 125 => 86 HDL cholesterol: 36 => 45 non-LDL cholesterol: 151 => 101 LDL/HDL ratio: 3.47 => 1.95 chol/HDL ratio: 5.19 => 3.3 blood pressure: 134/66 => 109/67 =============== We all have different body types and I suspect each of us responds differently to different nutrients. My body seems to respond very well to a whole-food, plant-based diet. Cheers,
  5. I need help with my dietary choices. Disclosure: I am not vegan. I have explored vegan and vegetarian diets in the past, but never succeeded in making the cut-over. Health concerns are leading me to re-explore those options. My doctor tells me I need to lose 50 pounds (no argument there). To do this, he suggested 3 alternatives: 1. Eat whatever I want, but only eat when I'm hungry and only eat until I'm not hungry any more. (This one isn't going to work for me.) 2. Read "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes and follow those suggestions. (High protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate.) 3. Read "The China Study" by Campbell & Campbell and follow those suggestions. (Vegan. Moderate protein, low fat, high carbohydrate.) I have just started reading these books and I have a long way to go... but the low carb book really rubs me the wrong way. It goes against my experience as an athlete (many, many years ago) and against my core beliefs (which, admittedly, could be wrong). The high carb approach strikes a chord with me. I'm wondering if there is a consensus within this community about the proper ratio of carbs-fats-proteins, or if this really depends upon the individual biochemistry and physiology of each person? My thinking (when I bother to think about such things) has always been that fat is the enemy -- so a meal plan should minimize fat and emphasize complex carbs while making sure it contains adequate protein. After considering the sugar-insulin-diabetes connection, however, I'm certainly willing to re-adjust my thinking and believe that refined sugar is the enemy and that the correct approach is one that minimizes sugar and allows the quantity of fats to float, while at the same time emphasizing complex carbs. It seems absurd to throw out things like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, fruits and vegetables because they are high in "carbs". If anyone can shed some light on this complicated topic, I would be grateful! Cheers,
  6. Thanks for your comments, everyone.
  7. Thanks for the recipe, Nat.
  8. Thanks everyone, So tightening my abs will help keep my core braced and my back arched (not rounded forward) and this will reduce the risk of back injury? Kathryn --- I tried moving my feet closer together and that feels better. So I think there may have been some lateral stress on my knees even though they looked okay in the mirror. With my knees closer together, I can feel the lift in my quads much more. I can't dip as far, though, because of hip inflexibility. So I'll add some stretches for those muscles (iliopsoas?).
  9. I have recently discovered the squat. I love this exercise. But I think I might not be doing it right. I stand with my legs a little wider than shoulder width, toes pointed out at about a 30° angle. The bar rests across my upper back. I keep my back as straight as possible while squatting. I lower until my thighs are parallel with the floor, then rise. This keeps my knees above my toes. It looks similar to this http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/BBSquat.html except my feet are a little wider apart (for balance) and my toes rotated a little more to the outside. My problem is that my quads are not the limiting factor in how much I can lift. I feel that if I increase the weight too fast, I will injur my obliques or erector spniae or upper back. Also, when my thighs are near parallel, I can feel something shift on the outside of my left knee. It feels like a tendon or ligament moving across the bone. It doesn't hurt, but it is disconcerting. Are these signs that I don't have the form down correctly?
  10. Thanks for you support, everybody. I made up my mind. I have been in this line of work for 18 years, and in this industry for the last 8. I tend to doubt myself and my abilities and to think that if I only had a little more knowledge or a little more experience then I would be a worthwhile employee. But there is always some new skill to master, new knowledge to acquire. When I really take a close look, however, I find that I am uniquely qualified for the work that I do. I can find work anywhere! It is time to make my experience pay for itself! As Jay says, misery as not temporary... The most important things in my life right now are, hanging out with my wife, exercising regularly, and switching to a totally vegan diet. None of these goals can be achieved working offshore. So I have decided to tell our client that we cannot meet our deadline. I will be happy to continue to work on the project with a more reasonable deadline, but I am not willing to sacrifice my health and happiness... even though it IS a great project. I may get them to change the deadline, or they may toss me out and get someone who will tell them what they want to hear. It really doesn't matter too much to me anymore. If they toss me, that just means that I will have more time to look for another job. What is that expression? "I was looking for a job when I found this one..." Again, thanks for your support! ============= By the way, I sleep with earplugs every night, even when onshore. My hearing is so sensitive that when the cat jumps up on the bed in the middle of the night and starts purrrrrrrring, I often wake up! But then I pet him and he puts me right back to sleep.
  11. Hey Daywalker! This sounds like a terrific opportunity for you. It sounds like a great clinic. Congratulations! I know how great it feels to work toward a goal for many years and finally see things starting to come together. I am sure the patients and the staff will benefit from you knowledge. Try not to get burnt out by being from home so much and post when you can
  12. Natalie, you are such a tease! "Hey, would anybody like the world's most scrumptuous French Toast recipe? This recipe is so good, you'll be drooling on your pillow all night long. It's so good, you'll be late for work just so you can have seconds (and maybe thirds and fourths). It's so good you'll never even look at another chicken and think FOOD --- one bite and any non-vegan will be vegan for life. Is anybody interested?" Uh, well I don't actually have the recipe. Maybe later.
  13. Thanks everybody, those are all excellent suggestions. I always forget about nuts. I usually try to avoid them because of the high fat content, but if I am exercising enough, it shouldn't be a problem. And eating nuts is much better than not getting enough food and grabbing some junk on the way home... Jay --- what is hummus made from (besides the garbonzo beans)? Will it spoil? I guess if I get a good cooler bag like Bronco suggests then I won't have to worry about it too much. SeaSiren --- I want to eat at your house! "Morning Bananas"? "Dive Bar"? "Agave"? I don't even know what these things are. Am I thick? Where can I get them? Kathryn --- Yea. Soup. I always forget about soup in a thremos. (Talk about a high-tech appliance. Put something cold in a thermos and it keeps it cold. Put something hot in a thermos and it keeps it hot. How does it know what you want it to do? ) Thanks again, everybody.
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