Many friends have asked how I’m doing since my cardio adventure and surgery, and thank you all for that! I’m doing wonderful! It has been, of course, a life changing event in so many aspects, the biggest is eating and nutrition. This lead to a paradigm shift in health, eating, foods and understanding the foods we eat, our diets, nutritional needs verses out dated ingrained wants.
|This was back in November, at 180 pounds. I've shed 12 more since, with only about 15 more to go. YeeHa! I've gone from 2x shirts to large, (big shoulders, haha) 44 jeans to 34, and you bet, Kessy is smilin' too!|
Last May I tipped the scales at 235. Today 168. Doc Lewis, my cardiologist, would like to see 160, I’m shootin’ for 155. Great weight for a short fella, only 5’6”. Side note here when Ravishin’ Robbie and I were married 39 years ago I was 5’10” but my bone condition has my spine collapsing so I lost 4”. I pleaded with Doc to take that into account. He smiled politely 8 months ago when he said, “160 is a good weight for you.” I now believe him.
A wonderful thing about our hospital’s cardio rehab program is how they incorporate nutrition in the training. A truly in depth and understandable course on healthy eating that can, and does, not only get a fella back on his feet, but shatters myths, old standby ideas and attitudes, setting the stage for years of healthy, vibrant living.
Now for myself, having grown up on a PA Dutch very old fashioned dairy farm in PA and proud of his meat and potato diet, this new fangled idea of “healthy eating” was not only a paradigm shift, but something I had doubted all my life. Along the lines of insisting horses needed iron shoes nailed to their hooves, I insisted on that for many years too. Oops.
Having learned the beginnings of an understanding of what a human body truly needs to thrive at re-hab, as I am wont to do, I dove headlong into a bit of research on my own. Having a fair understanding of research, interviews and compiling facts from my experience in writing for TrailBlazer and Natural Horse Magazines, I began to look up and contact cardiologists, nutritionists and dietitians who, like holistic and homeopathic veterinarians, are on the cutting edge of societal evolution.
A few things became abundantly clear. The first and, for me, the single biggest fact is, “It is impossible to lose weight and maintain that weight loss simply by eating less of the same foods we’ve always eaten.” The body mind and triggers will not reset, so folks set sail on years of what has become known as, yo-yo loss and gain, fad diets, struggles and disappointments.
We must realize, understand and accept that almost all foods produced in the U.S. are unhealthy, toxic and addicting. Did you know sugar and salt can be as addicting as nicotine and heroine? It is a fact, and the large companies, fast food outfits and even meat produces know it, and spend millions of dollars in research to create just the right blends of sugar and salt to feed the triggers in our brains to keep us over-eating—addicted. We’ll not even discuss diet sodas, except to say, none should ever enter your body, really no soft drinks should.
Way too much along the lines of “What not to eat and why” for a blog post, let’s focus on a few simple blunt facts that can, and will, change lives. And remember, this all came as hard for me as taking my horses barefoot, and other holistic care.
Again there are changes in what we eat, not just how much we eat, that are paramount to success, health and satisfaction. No processed foods of any kind, ever—they are the addiction triggers. If man made them do not eat them, period. If it is in a bag or box or frozen it is not for health. No butter, spreads, sauces, bread, very, very little pastry, salt or things you can now begin to see fall in this old habit category. So what is left?
Sadly, for me for sure, we can’t really turn to fresh meats, turkey, chicken, beef or even most fish. But especially beef, pork and poultry are so loaded with growth stimulants and other nasty things which of course then transfer to our bodies, we need to severely limit, (and shop extremely wisely) them as well. Ravishin’ Robbie and I now eat about 3 to 6 ounces of meat a week. Yup, that’s it. I know it was mighty tough for this ol’ boy to swallow too, but friends, trust me—for your health and your family.
For us, we decided to go raw. We eat about 90% raw veggies, and pretty big piles of them. We are totally organic, which nowadays is easy to do, and in fact is more affordable than you’d think. We were already headed this direction when Bobbie Jo Lieberman released her book, “Sassy Salads,” and that for us was the final push. I Highly, highly, recommend it! So much knowledge there in a fun easy to read and understand format.
But eating raw has changed everything. My nasty, nasty arthritis is much better. I have zero dizzy spells, no swelling in my legs, and perhaps most importantly, my mind is much more clear, focused and recharged. And before you jump to conclusions, no, those things are not a result of my heart surgery—my cardiologist has stated it is totally related to diet change, (which they started me on) and he asked me to write about it. He said, “We patched up your heart, your diet changes are doing the rest.”
Quickly now, some tips that help. No snacks of any kind in the house. Drink water, no ice, (ice kills digestive enzymes and is a habit) decaf coffee or tea, no sugar. Keep cut up raw veggies in the fridge, snack often on them throughout the day, you can take them to work or play with you. Build big beautiful salads for your main meals (To get you started check outBobbie’s book). Olive oil and vinegar dressings can be made in many exciting and fun ways. Nuts make good snacks too, and don’t forget fruits! We grow our own sprouts and the salmon and other meats we eat we grill or bake and shred on our salad, just a few ounces a time or two a week. Just about our only cooked food anymore is the few ounces of salad meats, and our morning 7 grain oatmeal breakfast—which saves money and time, haha!
One last big tip from the doctors—weight loss should average a pond or 2 a week. That’s it. In that way the mind and body can adjust and accept as the proper weight and not go into starvation fear, which trigger all the old addictions, and yo-yos.
There you have it, it is really quite simple. I like to say, it is less about how much you eat, and more about what you eat. Like making the paradigm shift for your horse’s health, take this one for yours—it’ll rock your world!
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry