Lectin This

Now that my Three Quarters Thirty month has come to an end, it’s time to party with bread, sugar and wine, right?  I’d come to the conclusion that I should continue this lifestyle the majority of the time, but allow for these things on certain occasions, eating out being the most frequent one. It is so difficult to eat out as a Whole Thirty vegan, let me tell you. Just bring me a plate of lettuce and a sweet potato, please.

Somewhere in my internet travels, I was served up an ad for a Dr. Gundry who claims to have lost 70 pounds by only eating certain foods. Really?  Go on…  A short amount of research gave me the basics of his plans to avoid lectins. Lectins are

carbohydrate-binding proteins, macromolecules that are highly specific for sugar moieties of other molecules. They are also known as phytohemagglutinins. Lectins perform recognition on the cellular and molecular level and play numerous roles in biological recognition phenomena involving cells, carbohydrates, and proteins.[1][2] Lectins also mediate attachment and binding of bacteria and viruses to their intended targets. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lectin).

No, I don’t know what that means, either. But Dr. Gundry’s theory (paraphrased) is plants develop lectins because they want to live. Lectins make them less likely to be eaten by animals while growing. I guess that makes sense on the surface (because evolution is real, people). A little further research and I found Dr. Gundry’s list of Yes and No foods:   Sigh. Almost everything I eat is wrong.  Also, foods like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach are allowed. Don’t they want to live? Do they not have lectins?

What did not escape my notice was the fairly large overlap between allowed and not allowed foods on his plan and the Whole 30. Also obvious to me is the majority of foods that I was allowing my self on my self created Three Quarters 30 (beans, lentils, edamame, tofu and more) are specifically prohibited here. Even tomatoes and cucumbers are banned, unless pealed and de-seeded (as if that is going to happen). Whole 30 is based on reducing foods that cause inflammation, so my bet is lectin causes inflammation. But on Dr. Gundry’s plan you can have a 6 oz. glass of wine and dark chocolate, so perhaps the trade is worth it.

Swinging from one highly restrictive plan to another won’t work. What I need is a plan that I can live with everyday. These diets, plans and cleanses are short term fixes. So my plan is to be as plant based as possible, cut down on these things banned by these plans, especially grains and sugar.  I plan on not having them most of the time, but there are exceptions, else there is the risk of losing it and eating an entire vegan banana bread from Trader Joe’s (which is so amazing, my mouth waters just thinking about it). So back to it… starting tomorrow. Today is the super bowl, the official holiday of carbs, sugar and alcohol.  Go Pats!

Three Quarters 30 – 1 week in

I made it through one week of my Three Quarters 30. Whoop Whoop!


Photo by ViTalko on Pexels.com

The sugar hangovers are gone and I feel good. I even feel what I called a little de-puffed, which means some of my post-holiday bloat has receded. It’s all good news except for the one nagging cheat I had. Over the weekend, I met a friend for a movie, then we grabbed a bite. This particular friend is the type of person who has a hard time with people who don’t do things the way she does them. She loves meat. I am a vegan. On the surface, she is supportive, but she acts a little put off by what I order. She once told me she feels guilty eating meat in front of vegetarians, so perhaps it is a dislike of having her choices curtailed, though I assured her she should eat whatever she wants.

So the thought of explain to her that I am both vegan and doing the Three Quarters 30, which in practice means there are very few options in restaurants, was just not something I wanted to do. So I decided to just try to find something on the menu that would work for me. Which was all fine except we had gone to a craft brewery. She was waxing on and on about them making their own beers there and how good they were the entire time we were looking at the menu. If I told her I wasn’t drinking, I know she wouldn’t want to drink, either and she clearly was excited about it. So I ordered the smallest beer with the lowest alcohol content. Go along to get along, right? But I feel guilty. I cheated on myself. Of course all of it is my own fault. Possibly if I had told her about Three Quarters 30 outside of deciding on this movie, it wouldn’t have been an issue. I should really try to avoid eating out entirely for the duration, it’s so difficult. But I didn’t, and now I have to live with the choice I made. But, all you can do is get up, start again and be better today.

Three Quarters 30 – Day 3: Sugar Hangover

Sugar hangover is what I think this is, anyway. Because even though I no alcohol has been consumed, I woke up feeling dehydrated, gross, my mouth dry; my tongue desperately trying to clear this bad taste out by making the sound mleah, mleah, mleah. I should drink a big glass of water, but I have a big, steaming, cup of coffee in my hands because I’m so tired (three day work weeks are a bitch!). What is this? I thought I was supposed to sleep so much better without my glass of wine with dinner. This sucks. I don’t want to do it anymore. Is this what Seth Godin calls the The Dip? Two days is my dip?

I read once that the sugar hangover lasts about a week. It’s your body saying: give me my drugs, fool! I need the sugar! I want the sugar! A little sugar won’t hurt anything!  Let’s go eat a bagel (which when digested turns into sugar) and a latte! NO.  I can push through this. I can! Mostly because I went to the gym last night and just like all the New Years resolutioners who have just joined the gym, I could feel my extra holiday induced jiggle. So I still feel gross, but now gross, dehydrated and tired. I’m off to get some water and to fight another day.

The Three Quarters 30 – Year 2

For the second January in a row, I am doing (participating in? torturing myself with? Choosing to eat according to?) what I call the Three Quarters 30. What is the Three Quarters 30? A variant on the Whole 30. Since I am vegetarian, and getting pretty close to being a vegan, the actual Whole 30 is near impossible. Last year when I researched the ‘program’, I found that the suggest to actually eat meat during your thirty days, which just isn’t going to happen. But what is Whole 30? You can read all about it, but in a nutshell it’s a program built on not eating anything that you want to eat. No grains (bread, rice, pasta, etc.), no added sugar (hello, sugar is in everything),  no beans, no dairy, and (gasp) no alcohol. In essence, it eliminates processed foods, plus sweets and alcohol and it is brutal. My Three Quarters 30 is based on the Whole 30’s recommended food list for vegetarians, though I don’t include eggs or seafood.

Why would anyone do this, and why am I particularly? I’m sure most people do it because they think they will lose weight or view it as a cleanse. I believe the point is to eliminate items that cause inflammation and move a person toward better health, but who are they kidding? People want to look good. My goal is a bit of a cleanse after the holiday season carb/sugar/alcohol fest, I feel gross. I want to reset my whole system, and of course lose some weight and look good. The ‘program’ hits on my two weak spots: carbs and alcohol. Oh, do I love my wine, and it loves me back, too. That love is settling in on my midsection for a nice long winter. Last year, it did wonders for my skin and I did lose a bit of weight, but possibly the best part of it was it made me aware of how certain foods (ahem, simple carbs and my favorite food group, sugar) impact me. When I ingested a lot of bread or personal kryptonite, peanut butter cups, after Whole 30 I was hyper aware of my bodies response, which was weeeeeeeee….. blood sugar! And it wasn’t a good feeling. One would hope I could learn to maintain that and eat less of these things for a longer period, but I slowly slipped back into my old habits over the year, leading up to the debauchery of the holiday season. This year, my goal is to kick off the year, but clearing out last years mess and starting fresh, followed by figuring out how to eat sensibly because I know in the long run, no gimmick or plan that involves long term deprivation is going to work. Being aware of what I eat and drink is the first step. So I’m off to make a breakfast smoothie. Wish me luck.

Three Quarters 30 Try 2 – Day 2

Today again was a pretty good day.  

Same smoothy as yesterday, same stew with some corn in it for lunch.   Making meals in advance works for me.  When it comes to choosing foods that are good for me, well, the smaller the choices, the better, I guess.  

Since we’re getting ready for a bombogenesis, following by an artic blast, I decided to cook up some food for dinner which could be cooked in a large batch and could be eaten cold, in case we loose power.  What fit the bill was Red Lentil Vegetable Stew   .  Yes, it’s Martha Stewart and also yes, you see chick peas.  I skipped the yogurt dressing.  Come on, even I can’t justify that.  Super yummy.  

Thoughts on Day 2:   I continue to be surprised that I’m not more hungry, though perhaps I over did it on almonds, and don’t miss wine more.  Wine was my friend that helped me unwind was off the stank of my job.  I thought I’d be crying for it, but I’m surprisingly satisfied with decafe tea.  Say what?!  Who are you??   I’m someone who always wanted to be the type who drinks tea.  But I’ve always been the type of person who drinks coffee and wine.  So there.  

So another successful day, but I reserve the right to be sad about the wine, especially when snowbound over the next few days. 

Three Quarters 30 Try 2 – Day 1

What is the Three Quarters 30?   It’s the version of Whole 30 that I am making up for myself because I am a vegetarian.  Whole 30 actually recommends (last I checked, which admittedly was awhile ago) that you eat meat during your 30 days, which isn’t going to happen.  This is part of the reason I gave up on my previous Whole 30 attempt.  Well that and I just wasn’t that into it.  I hated my job and thus needed wine at night.   

Well, I still hate my job, but I’m really in it for the 30 day haul this time because I found The Whole 30 Shopping List for Vegetarians and Vegans.  What the what?   Have they changed their tune or what?  The big difference appears to be the allowance of lentils, tofu, tempeh and some beans.  That is all I was asking for.  We all need our protein.  Now if they could start to look past chickpeas as well, we’d be in business, but hey, it’s only 30 days.  

So what are my goals for Three Quarters 30?   I know Whole 30 is about eliminating food that causes inflammation.  Honestly, if all the foods you can’t have on Whole 30 cause inflammation, my body has been on fire it’s entire life.  I do want to be healthier and detox from some excesses over the holiday.  Removing grains and sugar for awhile seems like a good approach.  The lack of alcohol will be the hardest part, but (sigh) is probably good for me, as well.  So my goals are to see how I feel after, maybe have better skin and if I lose weight, well I’d love that, too.  

So how was my first day?   Keep in mind, I hadn’t really planned out the menu.  It’s been 0 degrees here and I wasn’t going shopping.  For the first week at least, I have to make due with what I have at home.  

I made a smoothy with banana, blueberries, spinach and almond milk (no carrageenan!) .   Later I discovered banana wasn’t on the list.  Whoops.  Since I make them for the week and freeze them, there will be a banana every day this week.  Oh well.

Lunch was a vegetarian chili I made with diced tomatos, bell peppers, black beans (not sure if they are among the beans allowed, but I’m going with it), onion, cumin and then i threw a little bit of corn in because it was here.  Whoops corn isn’t on the list, either.   

Dinner was stir fry broccoli, red peppers, onion, celery, snap peas, watercress and tempeh.   

Snacks were almonds and an apple.   

I drank tea with dinner rather than wine.   I turned down chocolates that were passed around at work.  

And I’m still here to tell the tale!   Also, I was bizarrely not hungry all the time.  Weird.   Yes, it wasn’t perfect according to the list, but much healthier than I have been eating, especially over the holidays, so a win.  

Brown Quacamole Makes Me Sad…

But very green quacamole after two days makes me scared.  I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own quac since acquiring the NutriNinja food processor.  So great, so fresh, so exactly they way you like it!  Do it.    But recently I bought a box of 100 calorie containers of quac.  95% avacado the box declared.  Sounds great!  

Below is one of the containers after it’s top was removed and it sat in the fridge for 2 days (the acceptability of returning this to the fridge without top and forgetting about it is a topic for another day).   TWO DAYS and still as green as the day it was processed in some huge vat and slopped into this little container.  WTF!

Some folks probably think this is great!  Wo.. quac that doesn’t turn brown after an hour.  I am suspicious of what chemical is producing this effect.   Below are the ingredients. 

Avacados,,, great.  Organic onion.. rock on.  Organic garlic power.  wo!  Sea salt, ok.  Organic sugar.  Is that necessary?  Oh well. move onCitric acid.  does that mean lemon juice?   Ascorbic acid.  Isn’t that basically the same as Citric Acid?   Xantham gum.  WTF is that??  

From WebMDhttp://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-340-XANTHAN%20GUM.aspx?activeIngredientId=340&activeIngredientName=XANTHAN%20GUM

Xanthan gum is a sugar-like compound made by mixing aged (fermented) sugars with a certain kind of bacteria. It is used to make medicine.

Xanthan gum is used for lowering blood sugar and total cholesterol in people with diabetes. It is also used as a laxative.

Xanthan gum is sometimes used as a saliva substitute in people with dry mouth (Sjogren’s syndrome).

In manufacturing, xanthan gum is used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in foods, toothpastes, and medicines. Xanthan gum is also an ingredient in some sustained-release pills.

How does it work?

Xanthan gum swells in the intestine, which stimulates the digestive tract to push stool through. It also might slow the absorption of sugar from the digestive tract and work like saliva to lubricate and wet the mouth in people who don’t produce enough saliva.

Yeah, a laxative…   swelling the intestines to help push stool through.  Just what I want to think about when eating quac.  

I’m not sure if it’s the Xantam Gum that prevents the browning of the quac, but I do know that I don’t need it and I don’t need it, I don’t want it.   Back to making it fresh!