So, I went in for blood work about 3 months back. Docs told me I had high cholesterol. Not like, "OMG Heart Attack Imminent!" high, but enough to put me on meds.
I figured a good test for this diet would be 2 months on the meds, followed by the kickstart and no meds. My reasoning for this was that, if I wasn't intaking any cholesterol, and still going over 100% of my recommended fiber intake, I'd have two months of artificial cholesterol removal, followed by 21 days of absolutely no new cholesterol and fiber-based cleansing.
To be upfront, any of those people who are going to tell me that "I'm doing it wrong", etc, I'm not going to pay any attention to you. I cut out all animal-based sources of nutrients from my diet. I'm not even taking the Omega-3 pills I had because they had oil from fish sources in them. In fact, I'm not taking any of my normal supplements because they use gel-caps, and I don't know if those gel-caps are animal based. If this isn't enough to get results, I remain entirely unconvinced that it is specifically the plant-based diet that is the key to success, and that it is actually the reduction of simple carbs, calories, etc that does the trick.
I have not varied my exercise routine, as that would affect the results.
As I hit day 13.5, here's my current results:
Diet consists of:
Lunch: Blueberries, cranberries, cashews, almonds.
Dinner: Refried beans, a scoop of brown rice, and a scoop of quinoa. Alternated with a serving of sauteed kale & garlic, and quinoa.
Snacks: Potato chips, 1 slice of double-fiber bread with peanut butter.
Drinks: Green tea, coffee with 1 packet of sugar, tons of water, beer (no more than 1 a day.)
Lunch: Almonds, a handful of sunflower seeds, pita chips with cilantro and japaleno hummus.
Dinner: Refried beans and quinoa with pita chips to dip. Occasionally kale.
Snacks: 1 slice of double-fiber bread with peanut butter.
Energy levels: Equal or lower.
The majority of my exercise is running 3 hours of full-court basketball one day a week. While not on any diet, I could basically run 4 games in a row without being winded to the point where I'm a detriment to my team. During week 1, I needed to sub out every other game. During week 2, I was doubled over, and gasping for breath in the middle of the 2nd game. I was on the verge of throwing up. Granted, it's been unseasonably humid here in California for the last month, so I'm willing to call this a draw.
I will say that ever since the diet, at all times of the day, my stomach feels, let's just say "unhappy". There's this constant dull, low-level pain.
Weight loss after 2 weeks: .2 pounds, as of this morning.
I write "as of this morning because my weight's been wildly fluctuating. On the Saturday of Week 1, I was +5 pounds. As of Friday of Week 2 (I was moving and had to climb 2 flights of stairs with boxes throughout the day.) I was -5 pounds. This morning, I am at -.2 pounds.
I'm not eating more than I was. If anything, I'm eating less. I dunno if this is because of all the water I'm drinking, or what, but I'm super nonplussed about this development.
Fullness Factor: I don't know who concocted the lie that eating lots of fiber makes you feel more full than you will eating the same amount of meat, but that is an absolute crock. I'm eating somewhere north of 30 grams of fiber per day, and I feel hungry literally all the time. (This may be tied to that low-level unhappiness in the stomach.)
Cholesterol Levels: Unknown
The only thing left to check is my cholesterol. I'll be getting blood drawn next week, the day after I have my last vegan meal of the 21-day period.
If I see no change in my cholesterol, I'm declaring that the plant-based diet, at least for me, is a sham. The true culprit in my case would be simple carbs, and I'll simply go back to eating lean meats, and will cut out the simple carbs to see the desired health effects.
So, anyone else out there having similar results? Have you tried diets like Atkins or the Mediterranean diet that cut out the simple carbs, but leave some meat, and aren't seeing results that set the plant-based diet apart from the others?
There are several issues here - first and foremost is stopping soemthing like a cholesterol med without medical supervision. I would not be surprised if you get a 'rebound' type result. A more "scientific" method, perhaps, would have been 3 months on meds, blood work, 3 months off meds (with medical
supervision) and vegan low fat, then blood work again.
Also, keep in mind that cholesterol levels can to some extent be genetically based. A friend of mine can run marathons, eat only lettuce, drink only water, and still have high cholesterol. His dad had it, his sister has it, he has it. Genetics. So, he is on meds forever and has been since he passed puberty.
I'm also not seeing a breakfast in there and some of those lunches look awfully small for an adult (lunch of just berries and nuts?) If you're going to gauge the "success" of the kickstart by your results, it would make sense to actually be following the kickstart to the letter, wouldn't it?
As far as fiber, what KIND of fiber are you getting? Is it soluble or insoluble fiber? Bodies need a mix of the two - and the soluble fiber is the one that can help reduce blood cholesterol levels (like oatmeal).
I can say that it does take more than 21 days to get any kind of large decrease in cholesterol, so what would you consider "acceptable" - 1 pt down? 5? 50? My hubby cut out animal products and ate a bowl of oatmeal every morning for 4 months (over the winter, it was simply because he wanted a warm breakfast). When he went back for blood work, the doctor did a double take because his cholesterol level had dropped significantly. There is a genetic component to hubby's cholesterol and blood pressure situation (dad, grandfather, mother, etc) so he is on medication - but it is at a low level and is basically a 'maintenance' type dosage to just help keep the level stable (it tends to rise slowly like a slow leak in a tire).