Hi, and congratulations for joining the journey and for taking control of your own health and well-being. Every step you take is important and we are here to encourage and support you. When we gain new knowledge, we can make better choices. I still learn new things every day. One thing I am doing differently now is to modify some of my favorite old recipes to make them simpler, quicker and lighter (like no added oils). You will find my new version of Hummus at the end of this blog. It’s actually based on a traditional Middle Eastern recipe from an old cookbook I have, and it has no added oils. It’s very easy and has only 6 ingredients.

I recently visited some friends, Elizabeth and David, that I hadn’t seen in many years. I was delighted to see they eat primarily plant based. I knew Elizabeth was vegetarian a long time ago, but that was not so for David. He agreed to let me share his story of how he improved his health by making some changes. Here is his story in his own words.

My Recent Health Story
To set the stage, in my young adulthood I was fairly tall and quite thin. However, like many people as they age, things changed. I put on weight, my cholesterol numbers were rising, and my bloodwork showed me to be pre-diabetic. The doctor was starting to make noises about prescribing Statins and there were concerns about my bone density since my vitamin D levels were low. I could tell that if I continued down this path I was going to end up another old guy taking a dozen or more pharmaceutical drugs every day half of which were to counteract the negative side effects of the other half. This was not the future that I wanted for myself, a change was needed.

Roughly three years ago, we started seeing a practitioner in “Functional Medicine” whose goal is to determine root causes and address them rather than treat symptoms. The main course of treatment revolved around dietary changes and various supplements. While I had been able to drop some weight prior to this by reducing the quantity of food I consumed, I had hit a plateau and could not seem to reach my desired target weight. Once I adopted the Functional Medicine dietary guidance the pounds seemed to melt away almost effortlessly without worrying too much about how much I ate. My cholesterol numbers eventually got back into the normal range and I am no longer pre-diabetic.

The main thrust of my dietary change is conceptually very easy and simple. In practice, this diet is actually pretty difficult to accomplish. (I’ll elaborate in a bit.) For me, sugar is the key. By eliminating as much sugar (and foods my body readily converts to sugar such as pasta, bread, etc.), my body was able restore itself. Additionally, I eliminated dairy and tried to switch over to healthier oils in cooking. To see if it was a factor, I stopped drinking alcohol as well. Besides my bloodwork numbers coming back into the normal range, there have been some other positive effects. I haven’t needed to use either ibuprofen or allergy related antihistamines for months. Apparently, something I had been eating had an inflammatory effect that went away when I stopped consuming it.

When I mentioned how difficult it is to make these changes, there are many reasons for this. It is quite hard to find things that don’t have added sugar. Many things you wouldn’t expect to even need sugar have added sugar. When I went to a restaurant and ordered a salad, many times the only dressing that was acceptable was oil and vinegar. Plus I had to remember to request “no croutons” and “no cheese”. Most of the time the only acceptable drink was water. Not to mention how hard it is to break the sugar addiction. And I make no bones about it, this is truly an addiction. They don’t call it “comfort food” for nothing.

Once I got myself squared away by being extremely strict for 6+ months, I found that I could occasionally eat a little cheese or a bit of bread. But when I do, it generally is going to be a very good specialty or gourmet example, no Wonderbread or Velveeta for me. One other thing has changed, after not drinking any alcoholic drinks for so long, I found that I lost my taste for them. And so rather than trying to redevelop my taste for beer, wine, etc. I’ve chosen to continue to abstain.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Dave P.

2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas, (reserve 1 cup of the liquid)
1 cup tahini
½ cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼- 1/2 cup chickpea liquid
½-1 teaspoon sea salt
Put the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and about 1/4 cup of the chickpea liquid in a processor or blender. Blend until smooth adding more liquid to make the texture you want for a dip or spread. Add more liquid if using like a sauce.


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