Category: Diet and Food

The Perfect Protein

The Perfect Protein

I know I usually write about spiritual subjects. But trust me, when you’re not eating right, you can really feel weighed down and unspiritual. So, I thought I’d share a little about healthy eating on the go.

When I was a young man, for eighteen years, I was a vegetarian. We used to call mixing rice and beans together a perfect protein. Today, there is no such thing as an imperfect protein, so there is no need to balance something like beans with a carb to make it more perfect. Whew. What a relief, right? How many times have you found yourself wondering if you could eat just cheese and not a cracker? Would it assimilate in your body the same?

Actually, beans and cheese do better eaten alone and not with carbs. They both already have enough carbs in them to balance them. So, if you’re considering beans for dinner, eat bean soup. If you’re wanting cheese for a snack, eat just a chunk of cheese, preferably mozzarella, because it’s the easiest to digest. Low fat cottage cheese is also good for a snack.

One of the most fascinating things in my work is to find out what most people think is a healthy diet. I have people who call me almost daily saying that they would like to come in for weight loss hypnosis.

Then there is a big pause. “I know all there is to know about losing weight,” they say. “I’ve been on about twenty diets and none of them worked. So, you can save that part of the session for someone else. Let’s just do the hypnosis.”

“Okay,” I say, “then just bring in a diary of a week’s worth of eating, drinking and exercise, please. I should be able to get the gist of what I need from that.”

“Alright.” I hear a reticent sigh. “I guess I can do that.”

Then that person comes in with the diary. Breakfast is 2 cups of coffee with 3 sugars, a piece of toast with jelly, and a glass of juice. –Well, who wouldn’t think that was a healthy breakfast? It had all the food groups, right?

WRONG! It was missing the most important food group for energy, protein. Plus it had 6 teaspoons of sugar, jelly (mostly sugar), and juice (liquid sugar). Also, coffee has enough acid in it to make you very, very hungry after about an hour. It can also give you a sour stomach and make you not hungry, but then postpone ravenous hunger for lunch or those donuts someone brought in for work.

Am I talking to the choir?

Okay, then lunch… Most people go out for lunch because they work. So, the majority of people are trying to find healthy food where healthy dining is a mere impossibility, especially if it’s in the work place where food is catered. I’ve been there, I know. You get a sandwich (too much bread), some carb side dish (chips usually… more carbs and grease), a cookie (sugar and carbs) and a soda (liquid sugar). Is it no wonder we fall asleep at work?

Most of the time I’m trying to help people find what is healthy in the few things that were ordered and take advantage of those few things. If you get a sandwich, you can always take the protein off and eat just that with half or quarter of the bread. If it comes with a pasta salad, you can eat half, instead of all of it. If you have the choice of any fresh fruit or vegetables, by all means choose those. And if you can drink just water, please do that as well. And save the cookie for the guy on the corner selling newspapers. He probably needs the carbs. Sitting on your butt at the computer all day doesn’t count as exercise.

Dinner is most people’s chance to catch up with all the places they went wrong all day. But still, they get home hungry from work, don’t feel like cooking, and end up buying something premade on the way home from work. When you’re hungry, you almost always choose the wrong food. Trust me, you will make bad choices when you are ravenous.

Here is a sure fire way to make healthy choices for a week long of fast paced eating: Pick one day of the weekend when you have a couple hours for grocery shopping and cooking, because we are going to do all the preparing at one time, while you are motivated. You are going to go the store and buy your favorite fruit and vegetables, a couple packages of some kind of tender, lean protein, (can be vegetarian if you like and fish), a couple potatoes, an onion, you may need some seasonings. Also, pick up some protein powder, plain yogurt, and some frozen fruit. If you are inclined, get some protein bars as well and maybe some kind of fruit and nut mix for a snack.

When you get home, I want you to get a beautiful bowl and arrange your vegetables and fruit in the bowl so they look gorgeous. Think CORNUCOPIA!

Place some Saran wrap around them and put them in the middle of your refrigerator. Then make a small stew of some of your veggies and one of your proteins, potato and onion. While that is cooking, grill or bake your other protein so that it is almost cooked. Season these with things that you like.

If you are bereft of ideas on how to season, you can get my cookbook: “The Protein Powered Vegetarian” on Amazon. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, all the seasonings for the stews and protein dishes are the same.

Then when you get ready for work on the first day of the week, make a quick protein shake with the ½ cup yogurt, cup of frozen fruit, ½ banana, and a scoop of protein powder.

For lunch, grab a container of that stew and a couple pieces of fruit. Make sure you take some snacks like nuts and protein bars so you won’t be tempted with the bad stuff.

For dinner, when you get home, most of your dinner will be made. All you have to do is figure out a side dish and warm up the protein. Voila! You have a great week of food with a minimal amount of stress and lots of healthy choices.

Now you even have time to exercise!  LOL

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Another Migraine, Another Show

Another Migraine, Another Show

I went to a neurologist once for recurring terrible headaches. He said to me, “My man, you are a migraineur!” which meant I was one of the lucky people who would get migraines probably the rest of my life. Actually, unlucky me.

If you are one of those people or know someone who gets migraines or bad headache, read on. I want to tell you my story and hopefully you or a friend won’t have to suffer as I did.

My migraines began when I lived in an old English Tudor in Belmont that just so happened to have an exit vent blocked by cement (the vent that lets go of the toxic fumes from your furnace). I worked from home, so my partner wasn’t showing signs of sickness, but I was. So, we didn’t get it that the problem might be the house until right atop the fireplace some strange yellow goo started seeping from the wall.

Once it was investigated, we realized that I had been exposed to carbon monoxide fumes in small amounts almost constantly for 2 years. During that time, I had debilitating bouts of fatigue and headaches. I would say it took about another year for me to recover from the fatigue, but the headaches remained.

At first, like most people, you assume that you should use over-the-counter medication and rest. I did this and most times the headaches went away. But as the years went by and as I got older, the headaches got more intense.

About six years ago, the headaches turned into migraines. Let’s define what a migraine is. The dictionary defines migraine as a recurrent throbbing headache that typically affects one side of the head and is often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision. That is in short a small version of the headache. Mostly, migraines are so debilitating that I know I had to get into a dark room and put ice on my head and get completely quiet as I took the strongest pain medication I could find. Often that was something like Percocet or Hydrocodone.

Finally, and I’m not sure why it took me so long to go to the doctors to get it treated, but I rented out my apartment to a doctor for a year and he treated my migraines with actual migraine medication. Some of these are:

This version of migraine medications are Triptans that target serotonin receptors. These drugs cause constriction of blood vessels and bring about a general interruption in the chain of chemical events that lead to a migraine. They don’t stop other migraines, but they will help the pain of one that has already occurred.

Let me say this about these medications. They are miraculous, but they will break your bank account. Some are 15 dollars a pill. So, if you are getting a great deal of migraines, you won’t be getting a great deal at the pharmacy. The way to go is to find preventative or prophylactic medication instead, which are also expensive, but not nearly as expensive as these meds.

There are other versions of drugs used to help prevent migraines. These are:

Beta-blockers

            Calcium channel blockers:

            Tricyclic antidepressants:

            Other antidepressants:

            Antiseizure medications:

            Herbals:

When I began to experience 3-4 migraines a week, I went to the neurologist. He prescribed a beta-blocker. This made my heart feel like it was going to come out of my chest. I couldn’t stay on the drug, no matter if it was going to help my headaches or not. Though this kind of drug did not help me, it has helped many people with migraines.

The next drug I tried was an antiseizure medication, which was Topamax or the generic Topiramate. This medication is a prophylactic med, which means that you take it every day no matter if you get a migraine or not. The cost is $32 a month if you take 2 tablets a day or $16 a month if you take one tablet. You do the math. For many months, I took 2 tablets, but I am down to 1 tablet now.

Topamax was the first medication that really helped. I believe in one year of taking it, I only got 2 migraines. I felt as if the med had given me my life back. And for that, I will be ever thankful for the doctor at Vanderbilt who prescribed it.

I have also taken Amitriptyline, but not for migraines. There is a group ofgastroenterologists who believe that this drug in very small doses helps IBS and digestive problems that occur from the body digesting food too quickly. In other words, Amitriptyline in small dosages (25mg a day) can greatly help IBS patients not get diarreah. I have shared this with many clients who have had great results.

The last thing I want to add  that really helped me was a book called: “Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World” by Sharon Heller.  This book describes an illness called Sensory Defensiveness, which means there are people who can be over stimulated by sound, light, taste, people, and touch. These people are generally migraineurs. Heller takes you through ways to overcome over stimulation.

I truly hope this information helps someone. If you know a person who suffers with any of the above illnesses, please share the information.

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Unlucky in Stomach Acid, Lucky in Weight Loss

Unlucky in Stomach Acid, Lucky in Weight

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, there was a time I was trying to gain 10 pounds to see what it would be like to try to lose weight with my clients. This was to be a compassionate move for my weight-challenged dear ones. Everybody was against the move and said I was just lucky I couldn’t gain weight, because I tried like hell to gain, but just couldn’t.

Soon after, I went to get my yearly physical and told my physician that I had kind of a chronic stomachache after I ate almost every day, which is why I probably couldn’t gain weight. I mean it simply would be miserable to eat too much, so I’m not inclined to overeat.

So, my physician told me about a fix that gastroenterologists were using. They would take small dosages of the old antidepressant amitriptyline and use it to slow digestion for people with IBS, because they realized that IBS was most likely the body digesting too quickly. If you’re not familiar with the term IBS it means Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Well, I began to take the drug. Low and behold, the stomachaches stopped completely, almost immediately. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, my appetite widened and the ability for me to eat without an upset stomach made me gain the 10 pounds and a couple more.

So, yes, folks, I am now TWELVE pounds over weight for my taste, and I have a potbelly to prove it. I can barely fit into my pants. I’m on the verge of proud, and kind of disgusted at the same time.

I’ve always been told that I look better with a little weight on, so I’m not sure if I should just do a little more exercise and turn it into muscle or try to lose all the weight. But I’m ready to be the compassionate weight loss champ that I was going to be before without even trying. Yes!

I noticed that I’ve been sweating more—an interesting after affect. I never used to be able to sweat either. Maybe this drug is going to make me normal. “Bo, normal!” Is it possible? I won’t be special anymore. That makes me kind of sad. L

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