This must be an anti-vegetarian rant, right???

cropped-vegaint.jpg

Before…

I really appreciate a fine steak.  At least I used to.  In fact, I used to eat a lot of meat, red or other, from land and sea.  I also used to make fun of vegetarians and vegans with equal smugness.  The title of this blog was coined by yours truly, after leaving a vegan restaurant where we had dinner with some friends who happened to be vegetarian.  “Well, that was…interesting…what did you think?’  asked my wife as we drove home.  “Vegain’t” I responded with no hesitation.  Vegain’t.  Indeed.  That was a few years ago.  I thought it would be a great name for a steakhouse… If someone had told me at the time that, a few short turns around the sun later, I would eschew meat of any kind and adopt a 100% plant based nutrition plan, I would have laughed loud and long, and laughed some more.  However, things change…

 

Heavy

Paradigm Shift…

March 2013 – three epiphanies:

1.  I am 54 years old, and I weigh the most I ever have, some 276 pounds.  Although I am 6′ 4″ tall, most of my excess mass is located in two areas – my belly and my face.  I can no longer run, lest my abused knees completely blow out in one final protest.  I continue to downplay my weight gain, taking up “speed walking” as a noble replacement.  I even participate in a half marathon, walking the distance in a little over two and a half hours.  As I pat myself on the back for a “Great job”, I secretly acknowledge that climbing even one decent flight of stairs leaves me very short of breath…

2.  Around the same time, I am shopping for a new suit.  I am interviewing for a new job, and all of my suits seem to have shrunk in the humid South Florida climate.  The salesman at Men’s Wearhouse frowns when I emerge from the dressing room.  “Suspenders…” he sighs.  “Come again?” I reply, with more than a little irritation in my voice.  He explains that it is important that the pants come up on the belly, as opposed to under the belly, a feat only possible with suspenders.  I purchase the suit and suspenders.  Bewilderment and shame are free of charge.  I wear the suit only once, to the interview.  I get the job and the sense that things need to change…

3.  A very good friend and former colleague has a sudden and fatal heart attack at 50 years old, leaving behind a wife of almost 30 years and 4 kids.  This hits me hard and deep.  I know that I must make some changes – not a fad diet or the latest exercise craze, but a fundamental paradigm shift that will reset how I look at things permanently.

Catalyst…

My wife is an event planner, who works many evening events.  One Friday evening in late July 2013, I am perusing the offerings on Netflix, and stumble across a documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, which chronicles the 60 day juice fast of Joe Cross, a 40-something year old Australian self-made man, who happens to weight over 300 pounds, and who is suffering from several diseases requiring strong prescription medication.  The film documents his 60 day fast, in which he loses about 90 pounds, and meets many people during a 30 day stay in and around NYC and across the U.S. on a 30 day road trip.  I won’t bore you with the details from the film, but highly recommend investing the time to watch it.  Something clicked with me, and I knew what I had to do.  At that moment, I decided not on a 60 day juice fast, but 15 days.  I figured that habits are made or broken in about two weeks, and I would start with a singular focus for a defined time frame.  I spoke with my wife the next morning about my intention and desire, asking only for her support.  To my delight, she said that she would join me on the 15 day juice fast.  We spent the next week researching juicers (more on that to follow), clearing out our pantry and refrigerator of junk food and weaning ourselves off of solid food.

haiku

Now…

Our journey began on Saturday, August 10, 2013.  In the posts that will follow, I will document my journey from an omnivorous, sugar-addicted, processed food filled heart-attack-waiting-to-happen, to a newly found and embraced world of strictly plant-based nutrition.  Some posts will be centered on feelings and interesting observations.  Others will focus on specific topics and or techniques, e.g. juicing.  I also plan to share recipes I have come across, tried and refined (cashew cheese…who knew?).  Cooking is one of my passions, and I am thoroughly enjoying creating healthy, vegan versions of popular foods that non-vegans/vegetarians will enjoy.  This has been an extraordinary journey over the past 8 months.  I am now 208 pounds, with clear skin and a total cholesterol of 115.  I feel like I’m 35, not 55.  I have more energy, and sleep better than at any time in my adult life.  I feel it is worth documenting, even if no one else ever reads this or any future entries.  If my experience inspires just one person, that would be OK with me…until then, namaste…

 

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