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Showing posts with label Dieting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dieting. Show all posts

Gardening - A Weight Loss Exercise Plan + Diet

Gardening can be a fascinating topic for some people - or really boring to anyone who has zero interest in plants. But if you are fascinated with the idea of growing your own food, I want to propose the following Exercise Plan / Diet.

The goal essentially is to grow your own food in your backyard. This will require lots of work (exercise), careful planning, time, cooking/baking skills, and a dose of determination.

I recommend planting the following, which I have listed in order of spectrum because I think it would be nice to have a garden that is ordered by colour:

Red Beats
Raspberries (Requires more space.)
Mini Red Potatoes (Smaller than regular potatoes, but tastier.)
Red Peppers
Orange Peppers
Yellow Peppers (Because it is nice to have variety.)
Sweet Corn (Requires more space.)
Green Beans
Lettuce (There are many different kinds of lettuce, I recommend planting 3 different kinds so you have variety.)
Watermelons (Green on the outside, red on the inside.)
Herbs (There are likewise many different herbs, such as basil, parsley, cloves, dill, etc. They are commonly used as spices, not as a main dish.)
Purple Cabbage
Purple Cauliflower

I recommend against planting anything huge like squash or pumpkins, because those plants take up a lot of space. So unless you have tonnes of space, you should focus on plants that produce more food for their smaller area. This is similar to the Sweet Corn above, which does take up more space, except that pumpkins and squash take up a LOT of space. Also don't expect to be growing any huge "prize winning pumpkins" on your first try. Most likely they will be quite small. (Also who wants to eat that much pumpkin???)

I also recommend against planting white or yellow potatoes, which contain a lot of starch and starch is fattening. I includes the Mini Red Potatoes above for variety and also because they taste better.

Baked mini red potatoes are also very tasty. Just bake on a pan, add some spices and yum!

Once you've got your garden growing your next step is to eat what you've grown. Some of that may require learning some new cooking / baking skills, but honestly the internet and youtube has lots of recipes for you to explore. Make a mistake? Oh well, you will know better next time.

The end goal is that you will be eating more healthy food that you've grown yourself - which often tastes better than anything found in a store.

All that exercise from tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting means you will have shed some pounds over the course of Spring to Autumn. Once you've harvested the food at various stages during the year you will reap the benefits of eating lots of healthy vegetables - whether they be the form of salads, stews, soups, berries with yogurt, on pizza, juicing, or whatever recipes you decide to cook up with them.

The end result is if you treat your garden as both an exercise plan and a diet plan, you are guaranteed to become a healthier weight / a healthier person in the process.

I also recommend weening yourself off sugary drinks and high sugar / high cholesterol snacks. Some foods are so addictive that people will get into a habit of eating them at a specific time every day and if they do not then they get cravings for sugary things at that time of day. (This happens to me every year when I visit my parents and my mother sends me home with bags full of cookies, squares, etc - and I end up developing a sugar craving during a particular hour of the day afterwards due to snacking on them that part of the day. Fortunately I eventually run out of them and the craving is forced to go into decline.)

There are three ways to ween yourself off addictive foods:

1. Eat less of them and stop buying them, you will eventually have to stop because you run out.

2. Go cold turkey, meaning cut yourself off from them completely. This is trickier because if they're in your cupboard / freezer you either have to ignore they are there or thrown them out. Option 1 suddenly looks more appealing, yes?

3. Eat berries. Berries have natural sugars in them, so they will fulfill your craving for sugar but you are switching your addiction from one food to a different food. Other foods that are also higher in sugar are: grapes, mangos, bananas, cherries, apples, pears, kiwis and pineapple. By replacing your addiction with something healthier this is a good way to ween yourself off sugary foods and make a gradual switch towards healthier options.

The Perfect Pregnancy Diet – Getting The Best Prenatal Nutrition

Okay, so the title here is a bit misleading.
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect pregnancy diet’. Every pregnancy is different, every mother has different nutritional needs in the first place, and every fetus will demand different things. However, there are a few rules of thumb which, if followed, can help you and your baby to get the very best start on your parenting journey!

Here’s what and what not to consume while you’re expecting.


Folate and Folic acid. Folate and folic acid are B vitamins which can help to prevent birth defects. Brain and spinal abnormalities in babies have been linked to maternal B vitamin deficiencies. Ideally, folic acid should be consumed if you’re trying to get pregnant, as well as during pregnancy. You’ll need about 800mcg each day during the conception period and during your pregnancy. Good sources of folate and folic acid include:
  • Cereal – some fortified cereals contain 100% of your recommended daily folate intake.
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Oranges
  • Peanuts
  • Multivitamins – But be sure that they’re made by a trusted supplier!
Calcium. Calcium is not only great for helping your baby’s bones to develop as they should. It also keeps your own circulatory, nervous, muscular and immune systems in great running order. You’ll want to get around 1000 mg of calcium a day during pregnancy, slightly more if you’re a younger mother. Good sources of calcium include:
  • Fortified cereals
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
If you’re lactose intolerant or simply don’t eat dairy products, don’t despair! You can also get plenty of calcium from the following non-dairy sources:
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Orange juice
  • Multivitamins or Calcium supplements
Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, which – as mentioned above – is great for helping your baby develop a nice, strong skeleton and good teeth. However, Vitamin D is also thought to have a role to play in our moods - people with a good amount of vitamin D tend to be happier, while people with a deficiency tend to feel depressed. Given that pregnancy can be a time of intense mood swings, anything which helps to balance your emotions has to be a bonus! Some scientists even believe that keeping your Vitamin D levels topped up can help reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression. Sources of vitamin D include:
  • Natural light – Vitamin D is most commonly absorbed through the skin in the form of sunlight. Thus you’re likely to absorb less Vitamin D in low light conditions (during the winter this sometimes leads to the "Winter Blues"), so it might be worth indulging in some of the following alternatives as well!
  • Salmon
  • Fortified juice
  • Fortified cereals
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Multivitamins
Protein. Protein is the substance by which our bodies and the bodies of our babies grow bodily tissue - not just muscle tissue. It’s particularly important during the second and third trimesters, when your baby’s body goes through a period of accelerated growth. You’ll want around 71 grams a day, from good, healthy sources (don’t max out on the protein shakes!). Here are a few ideas for getting your daily protein:
  • Peanut butter – healthy and delicious!
  • Cottage cheese
  • White meat – chicken breast is a great, healthy source of protein
  • Salmon
  • Lentils
  • Milk
  • Eggs
Iron. Iron will keep the blood which carries nutrients to your baby in great shape. It will also help your baby to develop a healthy heart, and give their circulatory system the best start it could possibly have. Low iron levels are also associated with feelings of sluggishness, low energy, irritability, and increased risk of infection. During pregnancy, your need for iron nearly doubles. Given that many of us are iron-deficient anyway without realizing it, it’s probably a good idea to pay considerable attention to the iron in your diet! Good sources of iron include:
  • Fortified cereals
  • Multivitamins
  • Kidney beans
  • Spinach
  • Lean red meat – lean beef is an excellent source of iron, but be careful not to be overenthusiastic with your red meat consumption! As we’ll explain in a moment, too much red meat during pregnancy can have unwanted side effects.
  • Dark turkey meat

Soft And Mould-Ripened Cheeses. Sorry, soft-cheese addicts. Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, Danish blue, Roquefort…they’re all out while you’re pregnant. Why? Because the delicious mould in these cheeses may contain a bacteria known as ‘Listeria’ which can cause miscarriage and stillbirth. No after-dinner indulgence is worth that. Hard cheeses aren’t so dangerous, as they have less bacteria-harboring water within them. If you really do love your soft cheeses, then it should be safe to eat them if you cook them first.

Raw Eggs. Raw eggs, and foods containing raw eggs (mayonnaise for example) can pass on salmonella. This has the potential of seriously harming your baby. Avoid – it’s just not worth the risk!

Pate. Even vegetable pates can contain the aforementioned listeria bacteria. With soft cheese and pate off the list, the list of things to smear on crackers during pregnancy is disappointingly short. It’s worth forgoing your spread-based indulgences for nine months, though, for the sake of a healthy baby.

Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a valuable and healthy vitamin – but too much of it during pregnancy can cause liver toxicity and birth defects. While you do need Vitamin A in order to help your baby develop properly, going out of your way to seek it out could become problematic. Carotenoid-containing veg like carrots, kale, and so on will give you all the Vitamin A you need (and don’t worry about overdoing it with these!) Sources of Vitamin A to avoid include:
  • Liver
  • Multivitamins with a high concentration of Vitamin A
  • The prescription drug Isotretinoin, or Accutane.
  • Anything containing Retinol
Oily Fish. Some types of oily fish such as shark, marlin, tuna and swordfish contain high levels of mercury, which can cause problems with your baby’s developing nervous system.

Caffeine. You don't have to cut out caffeine altogether, but do try to limit how much of it you consume. High maternal caffeine consumption has been linked to low birth weights, and a growing body of evidence is linking serious coffee habits with miscarriage in early pregnancy. 

Alcohol. We all know by now that drinking during pregnancy can damage your baby’s developing body, and leave them with serious deformities. The liver is one of the last organs to develop, so fetuses have no real way of processing alcohol. A baby exposed to too much alcohol in the womb may grow up with learning difficulties and cognitive abnormalities. It’s best all round to have a sober nine months.

Sugary Drinks, and Why You Should Read the Calories

Ah, sugary drinks. (And that kitten on the right is just plain adorable.)

We know they are bad for us but many of us keep drinking them any way.

My personal Achilles heel? Hot chocolate, either at home or from Tim Hortons.

So lets start with that, since I too am guilty of that pleasure.

3 tablespoons of Nestle Carnation Hot Chocolate "Milk Chocolate" mix has 120 calories in it. This is the amount that is recommended on the label for making one cup of cocoa.

Tim Hortons meanwhile has a calorie counter on their website... which is annoying slow and bothersome to use, but I managed to get it to work eventually.

1 medium Hot Chocolate at Tim Hortons contains 300 calories. Wow. The extra large, which is the size I normally get is 530 calories.

Wow. 530 calories. That is almost the same amount of calories you would find in 5 cups of Rice Krispies (550 calories). Slightly more than the equivalent of 10 apples (520 calories).

So yeah, that is a lot of calories for one measly drink.

And Tim Hortons is not alone. Starbucks, Timothy's, Second Cup, McDonalds and many other sources available here in Toronto all have lots of calories in 95% of their drinks. The rare few drinks that don't have whopping huge amounts of calories are things like:

Plain Water

What about juice you say? Oh, you mean the sweet juice that has sugar added so it tastes amazing? Yup, that stuff is chock full of calories too. Even the supposedly health conscience fruit juices available have large amounts of calories.

So what can you drink instead?

#1. Drink more water. Get into the habit of carrying a water bottle with you.

#2. Drink more tea. Also something that you can store and carry with you.

#3. Try vegetable juices. Healthier for you and comparably lower in calories. Takes some getting used to however. I recommend watching the documentary film "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" which is about a man from Australia who becomes a professional juicer and goes on a road trip across the USA to talk about health issues.

Below is the extended trailer. Various websites online have the full documentary available. I have not checked recently, but it may also be available on Netflix.

The Health Benefits of Boiled Water

Yesterday I wrote a post title The Health Benefits of Green Tea, during which I mentioned there are also health benefits to drinking boiled water.

So here we are, lets discuss this!

1. Kills Bacteria in the Water

Local drinking water isn't always the safest, which is why drinking tea is so popular in many ancient cultures where the drinking water was considered unsafe. By boiling the water first, it kills 99.99% of the bacteria - making the water healthier to drink. The remaining 0.01% that may survive will be killed off by stomach acid or killed by your body's immune response.

2. Purifies the Water

Many contaminates are easily removed by boiling water. The act of boiling breaks down the bonds water has with other chemicals, allowing them to separate and causing those chemicals to either evaporate or to drop to the bottom. This is why if you have water you know is contaminated then tiny particle debris will collect at the bottom after the water has been boiled. (However we should note that boiling water does not get rid of ALL contaminates, like lead. So you should still attempt to filter the water or have it tested for lead.)

3. Weight Loss

Drinking boiled water is great for maintaining a healthy metabolism, which is what you want if you’re trying to shed a few kilos. The best way to do this is to kick start your metabolism early in the morning with a glass of boiled water and lemon. As an added bonus, boiled water will help to break down the adipose tissue (aka body fat) in your body.

4. Assists with Nasal and Throat Congestion

Drinking boiled water is an excellent natural remedy for colds, coughs and a sore throat. It dissolves phlegm and also helps to remove it from your respiratory tract. As such, it can provide relief from a sore throat. It also helps in clearing nasal congestion.

5. Menstrual Cramps

Hot water can also aid in diminishing menstrual cramps. The heat of boiled water has a calming and soothing effect on the abdominal muscles, which eventually can help to cure cramps and spasms.

6. Body Detoxification

Hot water is fantastic for helping your body to detox. When you drink boiled water, your body temperature begins to rise, which results in sweat. You want this to happen because it helps to release toxins from your body and cleanse it properly. For optimal results, add a squeeze of lemon before drinking.

 7. Prevents Premature Aging

There’s a reason you should want to clear your body of toxins: they make you age faster. Also, drinking boiled water helps to repair the skin cells that increase the elasticity of your skin and are affected by harmful free radicals. Subsequently, your damaged skin becomes smoother.

8. Prevents Acne and Pimples

The benefits for your skin just keep on coming. Boiled water deep cleanses your body and eliminates the root causes of acne-related infections beneath the skin.

9. Hair Health and Vitality

Drinking boiled water is also good for obtaining soft, shiny hair. It energizes the nerve endings in your hair roots and makes them active. This is beneficial for getting back the natural vitality of your hair and keeping it healthy.

10. Promotes Hair Growth

Activating the roots of your hair has another added benefit—growth! The hot water promotes the regular activity of the roots and subsequently accelerates the growth of your hair. (Not such a big deal if you are a male Scotsman and prone to lots of facial hair anyway.)

11. Prevents Dandruff

Drinking boiled water keeps your scalp hydrated and helps fight against dry scalp or dandruff.

12. Enhances Blood Circulation and Promotes A Healthy Nervous System

Another important benefit of drinking boiled water is that it enhances your blood circulation, which is important for proper muscle and nerve activity. In addition, it keeps your nervous system healthy by breaking down the fat deposits around it.

13. Digestion

Drinking boiled water is particularly beneficial for digestion. Studies have shown that drinking cold water during or after a meal can harden the oil present in the consumed foods. This can create a fat deposit on the inner wall of your intestine, which can eventually result in intestinal cancer. However, if you replace the glass of cold water with hot, you can avoid this problem. In addition, hot water is beneficial to digestion, which is what you want after a meal.

14. Bowel Movements

Speaking of digestion, drinking boiled water can help to keep you regular, as well as make your bowel movements healthy and pain free. Dehydration can result in chronic problems with constipation. As the stool gets accumulated inside your intestine, the movement of the bowel becomes slower. It is always recommended that you consume a glassful of hot or warm water every morning when your stomach is empty. It decomposes any remnant foodstuffs and makes the movement of the particles smooth and less painful through the intestine.

15. Distills Safe Drinking Water after a Nuclear Attack

Okay, I admit I am adding this one because it is amusing / fascinating, but it could potentially be useful if Donald Trump becomes president. Haha!

Ideally what you want is commercially available water purification tablets, but that won't separate everything. The most reliable way is to distill and purify the water by boiling it at 100 °C.

When you boil water at exactly 100 °C in an effort to distill it, all of the water will boil and become steam, while contaminated impurities won't boil. The steam is then collected in the still, condensed back into water either a cooling fan or cold water surrounding the tubes, and then drips back down into a container.

A simple still can be constructed using plastic bottles, a tube and a heat source. The water doesn't actually need to be boiled in this case. It just has to be placed close enough to the heat source that the heat will slowly cause steam to rise up the tube and then fall into a 2nd container that is placed further away and insulated. The water should still be boiled to get rid of bacteria before drinking it however.

In a pinch someone could even use an old fashioned whiskey still, like the one pictured below.

 16. Cleaning Medical Instruments

 As a follow up to the above survival tip, boiling medical instruments in hot water is also an effective way of cleaning them.

17. Keep your Baby Healthier in the Womb

It is strongly recommended that pregnant women regularly drink boiled water. Consuming hot water (not scalding hot, just warm) keeps both mother and child hydrated, detoxified and energized. It reduces fatigue and infections while promoting healthier bowel movements, reduces the effects of morning sickness and heartburn.

Boiling the water before hand and letting it cool is a necessity for pregnant mothers. You cannot be drinking it too hot, but the good news is that boiling it first gets rid of unwanted bacteria and also contaminates which are unsafe for your baby. (Again, we should note that boiling water does not get rid of ALL contaminates, like lead. So you should still attempt to filter the water or have it tested for lead.)

The Health Benefits of Green Tea

I have been meaning to write a post on the health benefits of green tea for some time now, and have mentioned it many times in past posts, but never a post that focuses solely on green tea. Finally, here it is:

Green tea is one of those rare herbal products growing in consumer popularity mainly because scientific research has validated its health benefits. As a supplement it is being marketed towards prevention of cancer, although green tea has also been linked in research to benefits like preventing diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and other chronic diseases, along with no notable evidence of severe adverse risks even at fairly high dosages (1600 mg of green tea catechins or about 6 - 7 cups of tea per day), the impetus for consuming green tea and its healthful components is strong.

Green Tea's Popularity

Culturally, green tea has been around for many centuries and lauded for its health benefits. Whether it truly was a benefit and how much wasn't fully revealed until recent decades, when studies into the benefits of green tea made it possible to how much it truly benefits tea drinkers.

The tea leaf industry dominates, but there has also been growth in green tea supplements (pills) for those people too lazy to remember to drink a cup or two of green tea per day.

All this talk about green tea has made me thirsty. I am going to go put a kettle on.

And while that is brewing I am going to make a list of all the tea in my cabinet...

  1. Alpine Punch Tea (rooibos, coconut, apple, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, black pepper, rose blossoms, almonds).
  2. Blueberry Tea (blueberry, ginseng, gingko).
  3. Camomile Tea.
  4. Chai Black Tea.
  5. Cinnamon Tea, two different kinds.
  6. Earl Grey, Decaffeinated Tea.
  7. English Breakfast Tea, two different kinds.
  8. Green Tea, three different kinds.
  9. Ginger Tea (ginger, stevia, black tea).
  10. Honeybush Tea (honeybush, safflowers, sunflower petals).
  11. Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea (black tea, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel).
  12. Korean Barley Tea or 보리차 (toasted barley).
  13. Korean Plum Tea or 매실차 (plum, sugar, honey).
  14. Korean Ssanghwa Tea or 쌍화차 (ssanghwa powder with crushed almonds).
  15. Mekong Cinnamon Tea.
  16. Moroccan Mint Tea.
  17. Orange Pekoe Tea.
  18. Peppermint Tea.
  19. Traditional English Tea

Now some of those teas actually belong to my girlfriend (#3, #4, #7, #9, #16, #17, #18 + #19), but to be fair the lion's share of them (11 out of 19) are mine. Thus it would be logical to assume the following:

#1. I must really like tea.
#2. I apparently really like cinnamon tea (this is true).
#3. I really like Korean teas, likely due to my time spent living in South Korea.
#4. I still have 3 different kinds of green tea, although I must admit it is not my favourite.

And those are just the teas I was able to find in the cabinets on short notice. We might have other packages of tea hiding in tins hiding behind pancake mix or bags of rice in other cabinets. I could drink tea every day for a year and probably not run out.

Anyway, lets get back to the topic of green tea.

The Contents of Green Tea

Polyphenols, the major active components of green tea, is what is responsible for some of green tea's health benefits, whether are consumed as a tea or as a pill. However that is not the only active ingredient within green tea, so consuming a pill containing polyphenol doesn't necessarily give you all of the health benefits.

Green tea also contains the following compounds:
• Polyphenols: catechins, phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonols/antioxidants (kaempferol, quercetin, myricitin, and rutin)
• Xanthines: caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants (theobromine and theophylline)
• Vitamins: vitamin C and B vitamins
• Amino acids: L-theanine
• Microelements: aluminum, fluorides, manganese
• Essential oils
+ Boiled Water*** - Boiled water oddly enough has a long list of health benefits all by itself, but that is another topic for another day.

Green tea includes caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants, specific flavonols (which act as antioxidants), and the highly researched class of green tea catechins. Primary green tea catechins consist of epicatechin (EC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG, the most potent in this group, is responsible for most of green tea’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties - which is why green tea is so handy against preventing cancer.

So basically green tea has lots of vitamins in it, plus a host of anti-cancer ingredients, making it overall very useful for preventing cancer and promoting good health in general.

Risks of Green Tea

The U.S. FDA cites 400 mg as the safe threshold for daily caffeine consumption. Above 400 mg, health risks include gastrointestinal upset, muscle tremors, and palpitations. But to drink that much caffeine from green tea, you would need to drink the equivalent of 10 cups of coffee, or approx. 12 cups of green tea per day.

Tea leaves also tend to accumulate aluminum from soil, and chronic high aluminum exposure (more than 20 mg per day for a 150 lb. person) has been found to cause Alzheimer’s disease. However that is basically impossible to consume, as that would require drinking approx. 800 to 1200 cups of green tea per day. It should also be noted that many foods contain aluminum and that small doses of aluminum (approx. 0.1 mg per day) do have health benefits (increases immune response), whereas high doses (20 mg or more) of aluminum have health risks.

So basically the health risks of green tea are practically non existent, and could only result if someone was consuming ridiculous amounts every day beyond the normal amount.

Celebrity Health Diets: When to listen to celebrity advice

Do celebrities know what they are talking about when they recommend a health product or lifestyle?

Celebrities from Gwyneth Paltrow to the Kardashians are trying to get you to buy into their particular brand of health product.

This in and of itself could be a good thing, in fact some of these products could be really helpful in getting you into shape.

But it may also be a bad thing because a recommendation from a celebrity may not be the most informed source of information about your health (better sources include your doctor or a scientist).

So let's look at some celebrity health products and lifestyles and follow some simple rules that will help us make the best decision.

If the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) says it is not good, that might be a sign.

A health supplement and sexual enhancing drug has been endorsed by the football personalities Jimmy Johnson.

In a commercial, he says that the product works for him and with 1 billion pills sold it must work for the other men who purchased them (which is faulty logic because all we really know is that they purchased it not that it works for them; in fact for all we know a good proportion of the men that purchased the pills could be suffering from adverse health effects because of the pill [though this has not been proven]).

Despite the praise showered on the drug by Jimmy Johnson, the FDA has denounced the drug and issued a voluntary recall for it in 2011.

The spokesman at the FDA said that they have received reports of spiked products, poor regulation of what is put in the pill (including counterfeit and undeclared ingredients) and that it included ingredients that have been banned in the United States (including 1 that is known to cause heart disease.

If the celebrity is a little shady.

I am talking about those celebrities (and I use that word very loosely) that you are not so sure should be celebrities.  These include the reality stars or the 15 minutes of fame on Youtube variety.  These people essentially hit the lottery and have done nothing to deserve your attention.

A lot of the time these people want to extend their paydays and by extension their celebrity so they may endorse things that in the long run (or short run for that matter) are not the best choices for your health.  Snooki and The Situation from MTV's reality hit Jersey Shore are just some celebrities that have endorsed products that are meant to make you healthier but really there are  questions marks about the products efficacy.

Snooki endorsed a cookie diet, but even she has conceded that working out everyday is the best way to lose weight.

The Situation has endorsed a protein infused vodka drink that falls short in terms of it's weight losing abilities.

If it just sounds crazy.

Some diets are just a little too crazy for normal people.  If your job is to look good all day and you have the means to ensure you can maintain your lifestyle then have at it, but if you have a full time job, kids, friends and family or a restricted budget then this diet may not be for you.

Posh Spice otherwise known as Victoria Beckham swore by her 5 Hands diet in which she only ate 5 handfuls of food (which was only berries, nuts and grains) a day.  That sounds great for her, but if you need a lot of energy and you want to make it through the day this may not be the best thing for you.

Gwyneth Paltrow used to live by her organic and macrobiotic diet where she would only eat whole unprocessed foods.  This seemingly does not sound too extreme but when you think about it it has 2 major problems.

The first is money.  How in the world could a normal person with a family possibly maintain that kind of diet financially.  Organic foods way are more expensive that regular foods and could break the bank of us non-celebrities.

The second problem is nutrition. You will have to ban meat and dairy products from your diet. These foods provide important vitamins and nutrients that you will have to supplement in someway to ensure you stay healthy and without the proper guidance you could be putting your health in serious danger.  Ms. Paltrow herself has since relaxed her diet restrictions so even she has admitted that her diet may not be the best way to live your life.

Listen to yourself

The best way to tell if a celebrity diet or lifestyle is a good idea for you is to check with yourself.  Pay attention to what your body is saying to you.  If you feel pain, stop that particular exercise.  If you feel hungry or lightheaded, eat.  If you feel full, stop eating.  If you feel that a particular pill you are taking is making you ill, consult your physician.  Everyone is different and we all have different circumstances we are living in so make sure that whatever you are doing is right for you and makes you feel better.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 30

Hello Toronto!

Today is my last day of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

I admit it has been a fun experiment, but my conclusion is that I am not cut out to be a vegetarian. (I will be having bacon and eggs for breakfast tomorrow morning.)

I have lost some weight around my middle - although I do wonder if I could have lost more if it had not been that huge blip that was Valentines.

My weight as of this morning (my final weigh in was after breakfast) is 191.5 lbs. When I started this experiment I was 197.6, so I have lost slightly more than 6 lbs, which suggests I lost roughly 0.2 lbs day. Mathematically that is 700 calories per day that I was either taking in less food / burning calories through exercise. When you consider the average person should be eating 1800 to 2000 calories per day, 700 calories per day is a huge reduction.

Again, I probably would have lost more if it had not been that huge blip following Valentines. I would probably be around 189 or 190 if it had not been for that over-consumption of food on Valentines.

I am going to continue to eat healthy after this experiment, but meat will be back on the menu as an option. I hope that what I take from this experiment is that I will continue to eat healthier - more veggies and so forth - and I will have a greater appreciation of being an omnivore.

There will definitely be a lasting effect on my diet in the future. There will be lots more strawberry shakes (see photos below of the 3 step process it takes to make a strawberry shake) and I think I will go back to The Duke of Richmond sometime for that black bean veggie burger that was soooo good. I will also be making more veggie soups and stews in the future as I think I am addicted to those now. But it will be nice to have the option to throw in some leftover meat with the soup for added flavour.

Later tonight I am going to be having a veggie burger, veggie pizza and beer during a social event. But so far today I have had cereal and a salad. I will likely have some carrot sticks before I leave for the event in the evening.

This has been fun. I may or may not do something similar again in the future. Possibly 30 Days as a Pescetarian would be fun as I have determined being a vegetarian is not for me.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 28

Only today, tomorrow and Friday left to go for my 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

The end is in sight! I can almost taste the bacon!

I am going to be so happy when this is over.

I do have some conclusions on what has happened thus far.

#1. It is not so much what I am eating - vegetarian food can be equally fattening if it is deep fried, high in carbs, high in sugar, etc. The biggest difference clearly is HOW MUCH I am eating - as clearly demonstrated with what happened on Valentines when I clearly overate and ate too much greasy food.

#2. I also saw larger differences on the days after large amounts of exercise. Clearly exercising does pay off in the waistline department, but the trick for people is to make exercising sustainable. If they lose interest they will stop doing it.

Note - See Day 14 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian to see my exercise routine.

#3. I think for me having exercises to do every day (including shoveling snow) helped with the weight loss more than the process of eating vegetarian. Exercising was by far the biggest factor for me.

#4. Binging on Valentines = Bad.

#5. Eating healthy and lots of exercise on the days following Valentines = Good. See why below...

Yesterday I had leftover veggie soup, potatoes, a veggie burger and caesar salad at Johnny Rockets (as usual for Tuesdays).

This morning before breakfast I weighed in at 192.3 lbs and my waist is 40.5 inches. So evidently the weight gain from overeating on Valentines turned out to be temporary and I have even lost 0.1 lbs in the last 6 days.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 26

Day 26 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

Today at noon (after lunch) I weighed in at 195.6 lbs, and yet surprisingly my waist measured only 40.5 inches at the widest point.

So compared to 4 days ago (before Valentines) when I weighed 192.4 after breakfast, I have gained 3.2 lbs in 4 days - most of which happened on Valentines with the ridiculous amount of food I ate.

I don't even want to know what my weight was yesterday (Sunday). All I can say is wow. Binging on Valentines really can make a huge difference to your weight.

What is strange however is that this extra weight didn't go to my belly (possibly because it has not yet had time to do so) as my waist is still hovering at 40.5 at the widest point. I am uncertain WHY or WHAT happened, but if my waist hasn't caught up to this sudden weight fluctuation maybe there is hope this is just temporary.

Update: Today I had cereal, veggie soup, mashed potatoes and peas - and a beer closer to the evening.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 24

Day 24 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

Okay so technically I am writing this on Day 25 because yesterday was Valentines and I was too busy to have time to write it.

And honestly I am not even going to check my weight today. I am just going to try ignore everything that I ate on Valentines as it was a lot...

Friday I had cereal, soup and a veggie burger.

Saturday (Valentines) I had:

  1. [Breakfast] Cereal + green tea.
  2. [Snack] Hot Chocolate from Tim Hortons (while visiting the Toronto Archery Range).
  3. [Lunch] All you can eat Chinese food (vegetarian items only), many of which were deep fried.
  4. [Snack] Chocolate.
  5. [Supper] Grilled Cheese, Fries, Nachos and roughly 2.5 beers at a pub.
  6. [Snack] More chocolate.

By the time I went to bed last night I felt like a beached whale and "so full I might burst".

Hopefully if I play my cards right that Valentines food binge will likely be meaningless by the time Monday rolls around. Eating all that food yesterday for Valentines seems to have resulted in a deflated appetite today. We shall see when I weigh in on Monday (tomorrow).

Update - I did go to an event on Sunday where I had a plate of fries (it was the only thing vegetarian on the menu) and a beer. I didn't feel hungry that day and was probably still on a sugar high from Valentines.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 22

Day 22 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

Weighed in after breakfast at 192.4, waist at widest point is now 40.5 inches. Huzzah!

For lunch I will be trying something new soup wise, using a lot of chick peas. It will be similar to my old 2013 post titled How to Make a Hearty Vegetable Soup in a Jiffy.

Later tonight I am going to an event (again at 7 West) and will be trying something other than their veggie burger (which was horrible the last time I was there).

Nothing else new to report at this time.

Update - I had the grilled cheese sandwich, a salad and a Guinness. I have determined that grilled cheese, while not very healthy, tasted waaaaaaaaaay better than that horrid veggie burger I had last time at 7 West. I should have taken a photograph of the sandwich and the salad, but I forgot so I will just use a clipart example instead.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 20

Today is Day 20 of 30 Days as a Vegetarian.

Yesterday I had leftover pancakes and veggie stew to eat. This morning I had cereal, I will be having soup for lunch and later today I will be having a veggie burger (like I do every Tuesday and Friday) at Johnny Rockets.

Weighed in this morning at 192.8, waist at widest point is still 41 inches.

I have concluded that my food options as a vegetarian are very boring. I have started searching through recipe books / vegetarian websites looking for recipes that are healthy that I would actually like.

Unfortunately recipe books written for vegetarians seem to think wheat grass can be added to anything and ignores the possibility that most grocery stores don't even sell wheat grass. (And have you ever tasted wheat grass? Yuck!)

Thus what I have started doing is looking through mainstream recipe books (like America's Test Kitchen) and looking for examples of things that are healthy / vegetarian.

Many of the things in some of these cookbooks are quite complicated to make and it occurs to me that I am actually really horrible in the kitchen at anything that doesn't involve meat, pasta or cookies*.

* Mostly because my mother was absolutely amazing at making cookies, squares, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, etc and that such things rubbed off on me.

Note to Self - Visit grocery store and stock up on various things, I am running low again.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 18

Day 18 of "30 Days as a Vegetarian".

Yesterday I think I ate too much food I probably should not have. Why?

Because I was at the Toronto Sportsmen's Show as part of the Toronto Archery Club. I was there talking to bow makers, hunters, fishermen, camping enthusiasts, etc.

DnD Meats Dried Cured Bacon
With respect to food however the healthiest vegetarian foods I could find at the convention centre was vegetarian pizza from the Pizza Pizza stand and french fries from one of the food stands at the convention centre - which is to say, not very healthy even though they are vegetarian.

There was also venison meat and other meat packages for sale, but I knew that was definitely off limits. eg. I snapped a photo of the D&D Meats Dried Cured Bacon, shown here on the right. It doesn't look very tasty, but I betcha it is if you are a bacon lover like I am. Only 12 more days to go!

And today I fell off the diet wagon a bit because I ended up ordering a vegetarian pizza from Domino's Pizza so we could have a treat while watching The Walking Dead later tonight. So I didn't fall off the veggie wagon, but that pizza was most definitely not healthy. Whether this abundance of high carbs food will have an impact on my weigh in on Tuesday (Day 20) we shall find out then.

My weight this morning, before breakfast was 193.3, so the pizza yesterday may have been offset from the amount of walking around I did at the convention centre. I wouldn't have thought walking around carrying bags of stuff I purchased counted as exercise, but apparently I was wrong. My waist at widest point is still 41 inches.

Below are three of the photos I took while at the Toronto Sportmen's Show. I admit they are totally off topic for the vegetarian theme my current posts are on, but I wanted to share them in case any fellow archery enthusiasts are reading.

My girlfriend and I have been discussing what things I might eat after my 30 Days as a Vegetarian is over. Topics include Korean BBQd samgyopsal, a bacon cheeseburger, fish n chips... I know it is only 12 days away but it feels like longer.

Anywho I am hungry now so I am going to go make some veggie stew.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 16

Day 16 of "30 Days as a Vegetarian".

On Wednesday night my girlfriend and I went out for dinner and then to the Royal Alexandra Theatre where we saw "The Heart of Robin Hood" on stage.

We ate at The Duke of Richmond (Eaton's Centre) and I had the Black Bean Veggie Burger + Moroccan Stew. Honest to dragon*, that was the best veggie burger I have had yet. I could see ordering that burger again in the future (after my 30 Days as a Vegetarian is over), just because it was that tasty.

Black Bean Veggie Burger + Moroccan Stew

* I don't like using religious words online if I can prevent it, so I just replace them all with dragon. eg. omidragon.

Weight is currently 193.4 lbs and waist at widest point is still 41 inches.

Later today I will be visiting Johnny Rockets again for another veggie burger and caesar salad. I admit having food in restaurants 2-3 days per week is probably not healthy. For me it seems to be giving me something to look forward to while I am eating salads, mushroom soups, veggie stews, etc.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 14

Hello! Welcome to Day 14 of "30 Days as a Vegetarian".

Lets see... had another veggie burger at Johnny Rockets again last night. Honestly this is going to be a regular occurrence as I have events downtown near there every Tuesday and Friday.

In the meantime all of the homemade apple pie my girlfriend made disappeared two days ago so I am back to my regular staples of soups, salads, smooothies, etc. I am back to trying to limit my intake of anything sugary or high in carbs - the apple pie was a nice break from the monotony, but I need to watch how often I eat such things.

I think I should take some time to talk about my weightlifting / exercise routine during this 30 day experiment. Here are the exercises I am doing:

Shoveling Snow x However much it Snows***
Jumping Jacks x 200 to 500**
Chin ups x 50 to 100**
Push ups x 50 to 100**
Bicep curls with 15 to 30 lb dumbbells*
Tricep curls above head with one 20 to 30 lb dumbbell*
Lifts above head with 15 to 25 lb dumbbells*
Shoulder Ts with 15 lb dumbbells*
Squats with 15 to 30 lb dumbbells* held at sides
Squat Ts with 15 to 30 lb dumbbells*

* The amount of weight I use varies on the day and how energetic I feel. The number of sets and repetitions also varies on my schedule for that day, and how busy / energetic I feel.

** The number of jumping jacks, chin ups and push ups relates more to how much time I have available that day and not necessarily how energetic I feel, although that is certainly a factor.

*** Honestly, you may consider shoveling snow to be a chore but it is still definitely an exercise as it combines both weight lifting and cardio. I should also note I don't shovel every day however as it has not been snowing every day, although we certainly got lots in the last 2 days.

Back to the topic of vegetarian food I have nothing new to report beyond my weight this morning and waist measurement at widest point:

193.8 lbs and 41 inches.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 12

Hello! Welcome to Day 12 of "30 Days as a Vegetarian".

As you may have already read 2 days ago I am getting bored of my food options so I have been looking for alternative ways to make different kinds of food. What I really need is a "vegetarian recipe book for beginners who suck at cooking".

Yesterday I went to the grocery store again, buying more strawberries and other things... but also:

6 Carrot muffins - 350 calories per muffin.
Apple pie - 320 calories per slice, using 1/8th per slice.
28 Bran cookies - 46.7 calories per cookie.

Now obviously I am not going to be eating everything all at once, or all on the same, etc. But basically I was looking for things that are relatively low in calories, but still taste good and allows me to break away from the hum-drum of eating soups, salads, etc all the time.

One of the things I saw yesterday was the Sugar Cream Pie from the photo below. (I saw it while I was browsing for apple pie.) What is funny is when I read the ingredients it is vegetarian friendly, but most certainly is not healthy for you. Brown sugar is its 2nd most plentiful ingredient and the calories were staggering. It made me feel thankful the apple pie was comparatively low in calories.

However I should note gorging yourself on apple pie is still not good for your waistline.

Another thing I saw at the grocery store was Textured Vegetable Protein.

Wow. Just wow.

I had to read the ingredients and check the calorie info, and it looked interesting, but I struggled to think of something I would actually use it for. I could not think of something to use it in, beyond oatmeal or cereal or mixing with yogurt, and therefore I didn't buy it because I have no clue what it actually tastes like and was unsure what to use it for.

Besides if I feel really low on protein I have whey protein powder I can use.

Personal + Measurement Notes

I cannot wait for this experiment to be over. My girlfriend keeps eating hamburgers, pasta with meat on it, chicken salad and other things in front of me. It looks soooooo tasty...

After seeing me buying pie yesterday my girlfriend decided to make homemade pie, so the store bought pie hasn't even been taken out of the package yet... but the homemade pie will likely disappear later today as there is only about 2.5 slices left.

My weight this morning, before breakfast, was 194.2. The two helpings of apple pie probably did not help... Waist at widest point is still 41 inches. At very least the apple pie is a nice break from the routine and I can hopefully power my way through the next 18 days.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 10

Welcome to day #10 of  "30 Days as a Vegetarian".

Honestly I am getting bored of my meal options.

When eating out I have been having veggie burgers (which is pretty hit or miss as some vegetarian options are just gawd awful), but at home I have been having:


That and eating carrot sticks, fruit, etc. I think that is why I get so excited about having a veggie burger when eating out, because it is a change from the hum-drum of salads, soups, etc.

Honestly I don't know how to make much more beyond those things without going into grains, cereals, potatoes, etc - things that are going to have a higher calorie count.

Thus I could make a rice / veggie stirfry, but I am trying to limit my rice intake because of the calories involved.

Likewise I could also make cornmeal bread or pancakes, but again same problem - cornmeal is high in calories.

And of course potatoes, which thus far I have been including in stews and mashed potatoes, but have avoided making potato pancakes, potato french fries, etc. The starch in the potatoes is almost as bad as sugar when it comes to packing on the pounds.

Basically a lot of the tastier options are off the table simply because I want to avoid anything that is too high in calories / starch.

The end result is that it is making me feel very restricted in what I can and cannot eat.

And to top it off I am now receiving nasty emails from a vegan (who I have since blocked) who insists that I should not be eating/drinking eggs, milk or other animal products either because "that is still murder" in her opinion. (By her definition, a woman donating her eggs to medical research would be murder too.)

So this morning for breakfast I had a yogurt and a bowl of carrot sticks. As much as I love carrot sticks, it was the yogurt that was the highlight of my breakfast.

In other news my weight this morning (after breakfast) was 193.8 lbs. I have lost almost 4 lbs in 10 days.

Waist at widest point was still 41 inches.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 8

Note: If you are enjoying reading 30 Days as a Vegetarian check out my past posts on the topic.

So I measured my weight yesterday (Day 7) before breakfast and it was 195.0.

And today I measured my weight after lunch (Day 8) and it was 195.9.

The really positive news is my waist measured 41.0 inches both yesterday and today. So things are definitely heading in a positive direction.

So my conclusion from this is that my weight is going to continue to fluctuate on an hourly basis just due to the intake of food and the expulsion of waste, so the process of checking weight is going to be completely arbitrary depending on how recently I ate something or went to the bathroom.

I also have to wonder how much eating out (vegetarian options only) at restaurants effects the weight fluctuations.

For example lets say I have a veggie burger, caesar salad on the side, and water to drink. I have had that exact same meal twice so far in the last 8 days because of an event last Friday and again this past Tuesday. I have no idea what the calories in such a meal is because I keep forgetting to check the calories when I am at the restaurant.

Tonight (Thursday) I am going to another event and this time I will be having some kind of vegetarian dish (possibly another veggie burger since that is my go-to dish), as well as beer because this particular event will involve a little drinking. So I can tell you right now the calorie content of tonight's meal is not going to be helping me.

And due to the length of the event and preparations I have to make earlier today, I am not making as much time to exercise as I normally do today. So I will only be getting a light workout in.

My workout schedule thus far:

Thursday, Day 1 - Light Exercise, Indoors
Friday, Day 2 - Moderate Exercise, Outdoors + Light Exercise Indoors
Saturday, Day 3 - Moderate Exercise, Outdoors
Sunday, Day 4 - Relaxed
Monday, Day 5 - Moderate Exercise, Indoors
Tuesday, Day 6 - Light Exercise, Indoors
Wednesday, Day 7 - Moderate Exercise, Indoors
Thursday, Day 8 (Today) - Light Exercise, Indoors

Back to the restaurants topic however, since the beginning of this health experiment I have been meaning to visit a number of Toronto's vegan / vegetarian / raw vegan restaurants to see what they have to offer.

I should note however that I have been to several before, back when I was dating a vegan woman years ago.

For example I don't really like Fresh. I had their veggie burger years ago and it was so awful I nearly vomited. They put wheatgrass on the burger and a host of other things that don't belong on a burger. I tried taking many of the pieces of unedible garbage off the burger in order to make it more palatable, but even the patty and the bun were horrible. The bun was as hard as a rock and difficult just to bite through, and the patty tasted like they had tossed way too many weird things into a blender together. I ordered the burger at Fresh because everything else on the menu looked ridiculously weird and made of things I knew I would not eat. It was as if the chef making the menu had no clue how to make normal food and/or was deliberately trying to make food that is as weird as possible. (I would like to play dodgeball with their chef and throw his rock-hard burger buns at him. See how he likes them!)

Rawlicious (see comparison I have been to several times and their food is always good - they have a variety of things anyone can eat as well as a few oddities. Thus you don't feel forced into ordering something weird. Rawlicious also has quite a few desserts, which is not healthy really, but hey, they're in the business of making raw food taste delicious and that is pretty unusual by itself. Everything in their restaurant is not cooked whatsoever. Chopped, stirred, whipped, yes - but all raw.

Here is a list of places I would like to try sometime, if I find the time and courage to try their food:

Hibiscus Cafe
Hogtown Vegan
Kupfert + Kim
Live Raw Food Bar
One Love Vegetarian
Pulp Kitchen
Urban Herbivore

I cannot speak to the quality of any of those places, I am just compiling a list of maybes.

At present what I have been doing is going to "normal restaurants" and then just picking from the vegetarian options available. Which for me usually means going straight for the veggie burger because that is my past favourite. However some places have really bad veggie burgers and some have really good veggie burgers. Johnny Rockets for example makes a great veggie burger, hence why I have gone there twice. Fresh in contrast has a burger so awful it could poison someone. With all the weird things they put on it I wouldn't be surprised if they accidentally put poisonous toadstools or nightshade on there.

Caesar Salad, Veggie Burger + Water at Johnny Rockets

Tonight I will be trying the vegetarian options at 7 West (7 Charles Street West, Toronto) + sampling some of Toronto's beer (likely Millstreet or Steamwhistle). Tomorrow I will be putting in a heavy workout to burn off some of the extra calories from tonight.

Update - The veggie burger at 7 West was horrible. The patty was mushy like meatloaf and when you bit down on the burger, bits of the veggie patty would squeeze out the sides. Tasted awful too. I didn't even finish it. Ended up having a Wellington Dark to wash it down.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 5

If you are just tuning in now, I am doing a health experiment wherein I will eat vegetarian food for 30 days, and in order to make sure I don't gorge myself on bread during that time period I am also not allowing myself to have bread either. If you want to read more check out the previous posts:

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 1
Weight 197.6 lbs, Waist @WP 42.5 inches

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 3
Weight 196.4  lbs, Waist @WP 42 inches

Weighed myself just a few minutes ago, clocked in at 196.6. I should also note the time, 1:24 in the afternoon, and I just ate about an hour ago. Waist measurement at its widest point is still 42 inches, same as 2 days ago, but still down from Day 1.

So I am not seeing the progress I was seeing during the first 2 days, but that could just be a matter that I just ate. In theory if I wanted to skew the results I could do the measurements before breakfast every morning, but after my visit to the bathroom - whether that would be more accurate or less accurate is a matter of opinion. Regardless, I was hungry for breakfast this morning so I was more worried about making and eating my soup than I was in weighing myself right away.

It should be interesting to see what the results are on Day 7, to see whether I am stagnating or still on track.

My exercise schedule so far has been:

Thursday, Day 1 - Light Exercise, Indoors
Friday, Day 2 - Moderate Exercise, Outdoors + Light Exercise Indoors
Saturday, Day 3 - Moderate Exercise, Outdoors
Sunday, Day 4 - Relaxed
Monday, Day 5 (Today) - Moderate Exercise, Indoors

I decided to increase the amount of exercise I am doing indoors because I think that may be a major factor in the fat burning process and if I am having too many light exercise days or days where I relax, that in turn will result in less of a weight change.

Note - After this experiment is done I may have to conclude the biggest factor was exercise, not whether it was vegetarian or not, but we shall have to wait and see. Depends how much exercise I manage to fit into my schedule over the next 25 days.

More thoughts on being a Vegetarian for 5 days so far...

#1. Hamburgers smell good. Why does my girlfriend have to make hamburgers in front of me??? In the same room!!! And now she is laughing at me for writing this...

"Its not my fault!" she protests. "[I] was just joking... you should stop being a vegetarian."

I say: "I thought you were going to be supportive!"

She says: "I am supportive, I am just hungry!"

Eventually we got bored of this topic, but the smell of hamburgers permeated our home.

#2. Note to self, need to buy veggie burgers the next time I visit a grocery store. I need to be able to have something that is the equivalent for whenever my girlfriend decides to have a hamburger.

#3. Honestly, if I became a vegetarian permanently I think I would be the worst vegetarian ever. Why? Because I have zero interest in "saving the animals". My interest is solely on the matter of eating healthy. I really do not care if chickens are laying eggs, cows are being milked and their byproducts are being consumed by humans. I think this is partially because I was raised on a farm north of Kitchener. Mennonite region, lots of Amish in the region. My parents were beef farmers and when I was younger we purchased raw milk from a local farmer (although we later switched to store bought milk). It is true that factory farms, feed lots and similar practices do routinely treat the animals inhumanely. My personal beliefs are that animals should be raised in the wild / free range, and then hunted for their meat. I am anti-factory farm and pro-hunter - but my pro-hunter stance would not make me very popular in the vegan community. It is my opinion that we should be hunting cattle, deer, etc - and admittedly within hunting, there will sometimes be occasions when an animal is killed inhumanely, but this is rare as most hunters want to have the animal die instantly or almost instantly, as tracking a wounded animal through the bush is both arduous and stressful as the animal is crying in pain. The consensus from the hunting community is that they love animals, and they want those animals to die in a humane fashion before later being eaten. At the same time however I should note that I don't approve of "trophy hunters", the kind who just shoot animals for sport and don't actually eat them. If you shoot it, then you should eat it. Anything less is a waste.

#4. I received a lot of positive comments on the Toronto Vegetarian Association on Facebook and other sources. I did one little post saying that I was doing it for 30 days and asked for advice, and what I got was 30 Likes and 21 comments.

However I want to note that many of the comments were about how they think I should go vegan instead, because vegetarian isn't good enough for some people. One of them even made the comment "Being vegan feels so great. It's a much different experience than being a vegetarian."

Seriously. I try something new for 30 days, and someone makes a comment like that they are just rubbing your face in it with the "holier than thou" attitude. This is why normal people get annoyed at vegans because they have this attitude / belief that they are somehow morally superior to everyone else and yet apparently have an ego problem. Condescension doesn't encourage people to try vegetarianism or vegan-ism, it is either borderline rude or just plain rude and some people don't seem to realize when they are doing it.

Even vegetarians find vegans annoying sometimes. Seriously, how annoying do you have to be with the "holier than thou" attitude that you are annoying the vegetarians?

Over the years I have made a few vegan friends that I am still friends with. I say still friends with because the average vegan is pushy, rude and annoying - trying to force their food beliefs onto others. However for the ones I am still friends with, the friendship was maintained because they didn't try to push things on me, they were not rude/condescending and they just tried gently encouraging me instead. That is a much better way of doing things and makes way more friends. This business of vegans being rude is really the biggest reason why so many vegans have a bad reputation.

On the flip side I also agree that omnivores need to keep their own opinions in check. People's choice of what to eat is a bit like religion. They eat what they believe in eating. eg. I used to avoid eating lamb simply because I didn't like the idea of baby lambs being killed for my food, but I didn't have a problem with eating mutton because the sheep was old and going to die anyway.

During the comments on Facebook a lot of them mentioned The 30 Day Vegan Challenge, which I had never heard of, but sounds like something a lot of people would try. There was also another one called The Veggie Challenge, wherein a person goes meat-free for a week. Both are novel ideas, but I want to get through my "30 Days as a Vegetarian" first to see how it goes and then make some decisions about the future (see #5).

Some of them were primarily concerned about the food being animal free, ignoring the possibility that I might be doing this solely for health reasons. They just assume that I am doing this health purposes. (I saw no reason to tell them I am anti-factory farm and pro hunter because that would just cause an argument that is counter-productive.)

Some of them talked about the social aspect of eating vegetarian food, how you should plan your meals ahead of time, what to do when you go to a party, etc.

Some suggested I need to drink almond milk, soy milk, etc - apparently ignoring the possibility I might prefer normal milk.

#5. The Future. I can see doing another "30 Days of Something" in the future. Possibly "30 Days as a Vegan" or "30 Days as a Raw Vegan" or "30 Days as a Pescetarian" or "30 Days on a Juice Fast".

However I should note, before I get anyone's hopes up, these ideas I am floating about would be just temporary experiments in different healthy diets. I am most looking forward to the Pescetarian because then I would be able to have fish and chips (obviously not every day, but maybe once per week).

#6. Lastly, I really could not care less if my vegetables are "organic" or "pesticide free". I have seen the studies that show so-called "organic food" has just as much pesticides on them as non-organic, and the reason is because the wind blows the pesticides off neighbouring farms and ultimately all the vegetables end up with lots of pesticides on them. Paying extra for 'wind blown pesticide fake organic food' is for fools who think pesticides actually have any measurable difference on the human body (which they don't, because 99.99% of pesticides are washed off before they ever reach the grocery store). The science shows organic food has just as much pesticides on them, and this myth that organic food is somehow healthier for you was perpetuated by the food industry seeking to expand a market that was originally geared towards vegans who wanted 'cruelty free vegetables' that had not killed any insects during the process of growing them, except they are not truly cruelty free. The neighbouring farms are still spraying pesticides, and the wind is doing the rest of the job.

Okay, so all of this talk about food has made me snack-ish so I am going to go make a snack.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 3

Twelve thoughts on becoming a Vegetarian for 30 days...

#1. Strawberry smoothies stick to my moustache. This is really more of a moustache beef than a 'going vegetarian' beef however. And my use of the word beef in the previous sentence was not meant to be a pun, but whatever. I started growing the moustache back in October in preparation for "Movember" and then I decided to keep it until March when the snow melts. It keeps my face nice and warm all winter long.

#2. Strawberry smoothies are really good. I should make these more often even when the "30 Days as a Vegetarian" experiment is over. The recipe I am using for making the smoothie is:

+ Approx. 1 and a half cups of strawberries, stems and leaves removed.
+ A splash of milk (about 1/4 cup).
+ Stick in the noisy blender for about 90 seconds. Pour the top of the smoothie into a glass, reblend any chunks at the bottom for 60 seconds, add to the glass. (I don't like any chunks in my smoothie.)

#3. Seeing my friends post images of "bacon wrapped potatoes" on Facebook is not helping so I have decided to limit my use of Facebook for the next month. Probably a good thing anyway, people spend way too much time on Facebook anyway when they could be outside exercising.

#4. I don't feel hungry as I am eating lots, but I do suddenly have a craving for bacon. I blame the friend on Facebook for posting those bacon wrapped potatoes.

#5. After I drink a strawberry smoothie, hours later I may belch and suddenly my breath smells like strawberries. [Note - I am not eating just strawberry smoothies, I have only had 1 so far, but the experience has resulted in many thoughts on the topic.]

#6. I am eating leftovers a lot more often I find. eg. This morning I had leftover corn and veggie pasta. This suggests that food will be less likely to go bad in the fridge because I will just go to the fridge and say "Ooooo! Leftovers!" and it will disappear quickly.

#7. Last night I joked with friends about breaking down on the 29th day and gorging myself on bacon. I don't think this will happen, I just thought it was an amusing idea. More likely I will have a burger with 2 strips of bacon on it, on the 31st day after the 30 day experiment is over.

#8. Before meeting friends last night I went to the Johnny Rockets near Yonge and Dundas and had the special, which was loaded with lettuce, onion, tomato, etc. The beauty of Johnny Rockets is that particular restaurant you can substitute their beef patty with a veggie patty instead on any of the burgers (with no extra cost). On the side I had a caesar salad (which had a surprising amount of dressing on it) and to drink I had water with a squeeze of lemon (the lemon came with the salad, but I used it to add some flavour to the water). [See 8 Benefits of Lemon Water in Your Diet.]

#9. My girlfriend was a vegetarian (pescetarian technically because she still ate fish) for approx. 11 years, from 2001 to 2012. She didn't do it because of her love of animals, but she does love them too - she did it because back in 2001 she found she suddenly didn't like the taste of meat. When she resumed eating meat it was when she visiting Haiti, but it was during a cholera outbreak so she ate meat because she couldn't trust the seafood there during the cholera outbreak. What happened was she ate some bad fish, got a really bad case of diarrhea and decided to temporarily go back to eating normal meat, and ultimately decided her previous disgust of the taste from 11 years previous had changed. This isn't so much a personal thought from myself, but some background on a conversation I had earlier today.

#10. I will be outside in the cold (2 degrees) this afternoon for a little more than 3 hours so I am packing a thermos of boiling hot green tea. I will be having hot mushroom soup before I leave so I should be plenty warm and well-fed.

#11. Last year a friend of mine got cancer and it struck me that he is way too young to be having cancer. It was just plain wrong that someone my age or younger should have cancer. However it did get me thinking about all the vegans and vegetarians who talk about how they cured cancer simply by eating healthy food. Given the choice between dying of cancer and becoming a vegan, I think I would rather choose the veggies. I don't think I would even have to become a full blown vegan either, but simply increase my intake of vegetables to the point that I am 95% vegetarian and 5% meat eater (or some similar set of numbers). So if you are reading this and you have cancer, you could consider that to be an option. You would still be able to enjoy meat once in awhile, but get all benefits of a very healthy diet.

#12. Eating hot soup on a cold day is always awesome. Mushroom soup goes well with a sprinkle of parsley on top.


I weighed myself this morning at 9:40 AM. My current weight is 196.4 lbs.

This change suggests I lost 0.6 lbs per day during the last 2 days. However weight fluctuates often just because of the amount of water in your system, bowel movements and when you last ate a meal, but it is a positive sign. I will be weighing myself every 2 days and posting the results.

If I continued at that rate of 0.6 lbs per day I could in theory drop 18 lbs of fat in 30 days. This would be consistent with what I did several years ago when I cut bread from my diet, ate a mostly vegetables diet, and only ate meat once per week. During that time period I lost about 20 lbs in approx. 40 days (averaging 0.5 lbs per day). I should also note that during that time period I was also weightlifting and doing between 1000 to 1500 jumping jacks per day as cardio to keep my heart rate and metabolism high.

My waist circumference at its widest point is currently 42 inches (down half an inch from two days ago) so that is likewise a positive sign. I am curious to see what the difference will be 28 days from now.

So far so good!
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