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!

Starting a New Exercise Routine?

Ever year the gym is crowded with new year’s resolution-ers, people who want to change and be healthy who use the start of the new year as their kick start. Here is my pro tip:

Find the exercise that you like, that works for you that makes you want to go. 

You don’t have to do what your friends do or what you see on tv or what your favorite celebrity’s routine is. Just get moving and if you try something and don’t like it, don’t do it. You will find what works for you. Your body wants to move. It wants to be healthy. If you have signed up for a gym with all the classes and equipment, try them all until you find something. Don’t be afraid of looking dumb in a class because you’re new. Everyone was new once and they remember what that was like. Also no one is paying attention to what you do. Everyone is looking at themselves in the mirror, not you. If some gym rat does cop an attitude, fuck them, they are an asshole. Assholes are everywhere, what are you going to do? Why should you not become healthier because of some asshole? So get out there and Zumba, spin, walk, run, use the elliptical, take Step, lift weights, bike, take yoga, play basketball, play soccer, swim, dance, kick-box or whatever makes you happy. Stick with it. You will not regret it.

(obviously I’m not a doctor, so if there are any medical issues or concerns, check with your doctor first!)


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.