21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: September 2012 Kickstart Forum: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Created on: 09/17/12 06:15 PM Views: 2601 Replies: 15
On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 6:15 PM

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:

Week 1:
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.)

Week 2:
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?

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Sorry, my web browser ended up double posting this! Please remove one, mods! Smile

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 6:57 PM

I won't tell you you're doing it wrong, but I see very little in the way of Greens in your diet. Grains & bean/legumes are great, but I would suggest adding in more than the occasional Kale to your over all diet.

Personally I find the that I make meals that are one part Grains, one part beans/legumes, and two parts greens. I even skip beans/legumes if I feel like it since I can get my protein & energy easily from Kale or Bok Choy & Quinoa.

www
RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM

I am not sure how many people will read such a long detailed post when you say at the beginning that you are not going to listen to anyone who disagrees with what you have already decided.

I only suggest that you give it a bit more than two weeks. If you don't feel like it, fine, eat what you like. If it works for you, that is great.

- madeline

madeline yakimchuk
Director: MEET IRENE - An Unlikely Vegan
GRYPHON media productions

www
RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:30 PM

gryphonpro wrote:

I am not sure how many people will read such a long detailed post when you say at the beginning that you are not going to listen to anyone who disagrees with what you have already decided.

I only suggest that you give it a bit more than two weeks. If you don't feel like it, fine, eat what you like. If it works for you, that is great.

As I said, I'm really not here looking for assistance in tweaking the diet, or anything. I'd just heard all this heavy-handed rhetoric about how all animal nutrient sources are bad, the key to removing heart disease from our society is to remove all animal sources of food from our diet, eating plants alone will result in weight loss, et cetera, et cetera.

So, I've done that. If I don't see the benefits reflected in the cholesterol tests, then based on the other diets I've tried, the answer (for me) is clearly NOT the removal of animal sources of food.

Eliminating carbs was helpful for my body.
Eliminating fatty red meats was helpful for my body.

Will elimination of all animal products be helpful for my body? That's the only goal of this kickstarter for me. I need an answer to that question and that question only. So far the answers to the criteria of weight loss and energy are "No", and only the cholesterol test is left.

If it turns out that my cholesterol levels are unchanged, or have only changed slightly, I will have to chalk up the Vegan diet as a bust for me, and add my tale as another cautionary voice against making blanket statements about all of us 7 billion people on the face of the earth.

If I just wanted to lose weight, cutting carbs, counting calories, and working out will do that for me regardless of whether or not I eat meat. I'll give this the ol' 21-day trial and let science be my guide.

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Clayton, heart disease from cholesterol build-up in the arteries is the result of both cholesterol and inflammation. Your liver makes all of the cholesterol your body needs for cell repair and other body functions. If your arteries are inflamed, your body makes more cholesterol to repair them. Inflammation can be caused by a variety of things including eating processed foods, smoking, etc. Not only does eating a plant-based diet eliminate the ingestion of extra cholesterol, but the phytosterols in the plants help decrease inflammation. If you are using cholesterol as the only marker of the benefits of a plant-based diet, you are doing your arteries a disservice. Please don't stop taking your medications. If your doctor prescribed a statin, please know that statins only work on the cholesterol your liver makes, not the cholesterol you ingest. Also note that it typically takes more than three weeks to see a significant change in cholesterol.

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 9:54 PM

kandoo wrote:

Clayton, heart disease from cholesterol build-up in the arteries is the result of both cholesterol and inflammation. Your liver makes all of the cholesterol your body needs for cell repair and other body functions. If your arteries are inflamed, your body makes more cholesterol to repair them. Inflammation can be caused by a variety of things including eating processed foods, smoking, etc. Not only does eating a plant-based diet eliminate the ingestion of extra cholesterol, but the phytosterols in the plants help decrease inflammation. If you are using cholesterol as the only marker of the benefits of a plant-based diet, you are doing your arteries a disservice.

I wasn't using it as the only marker. If it hit the weight loss target, or the more energy target, I would have been satisfied. 0/3 is a no-go for me.

kandoo wrote:

Please don't stop taking your medications. If your doctor prescribed a statin, please know that statins only work on the cholesterol your liver makes, not the cholesterol you ingest.

It's a combo drug, 1 part to reduce cholesterol absorption, the other is a statin. So, it does actually work on the cholesterol I ingest, which is at 0mg, and has been for 2 weeks now.

kandoo wrote:

Also note that it typically takes more than three weeks to see a significant change in cholesterol.

That's funny, I could swear that flies directly in the face of the way that this kickstarter's being pitched.

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Hi Clayton -

I, too, had higher than normal LDL cholesterol before I started this program. I also have Type 2 diabetes. I go for an A1C every three months to ensure my blood glucose scores are in the appropriate range, but cholesterol testing takes place very six months. For you to expect a huge change in cholesterol levels after 2-3 weeks on this plan is really not realistic.

I'm just a lay person with no expertise in nutrition, but even I noticed gaps in your daily menus:

a) where's breakfast?
b) many of your calories seem to come from fats in the nuts and peanut butter. No wonder you're not losing weight.
c) are you consuming adequate calories a day given the exercise you do with your 4-hour basketball sessions? It doesn't seem like it to me. No wonder you're gasping for energy at the mid-way point.
d) as someone mentioned, you're not eating near enough vegetables, and there's no variety. Ever have a salad or other greens besides a scoop of kale?

If you're determined to quit after three weeks without truly following the plan then the failure is all yours. There are lots of wonderful recipes and amazing ingredients to try. I really hope you'll stick with it - and do it right.

Cheers!
Mari

All we are saying is "Give Peas a Chance"

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Clayton, It takes about 6 weeks to see the difference in your blood cholesterol. The full effect will not be for up to 3 months. (Whenever your Dr. changes your medication he will test your blood 6 weeks later.) You did not say how high your cholesterol level was, but this diet will decrease it. The level that your Dr. will take you off statins is probably an LDL less than 100 (if you have heart disease less than 70). With an LDL less than 70, plaque will not continue to form.

Your genes will be a determining factor also. I can eat no cholesterol and my LDL is 100. So even on this diet I must take a statin.

See pcrm's flyer "What happens after one high fat meal". With a plant-based diet, your fasting cholesterol is your true cholesterol level. When you eat animal products, your fasting cholesterol is not your true cholesterol level because after you eat, your cholesterol level will rise over a 4-6 hour period.

I have been talking to cardiac experts and reading as much as possible for the last 18 months. 18 months ago I had a heart attack while jogging. I had no symptoms before and even passed a stress test with flying colors. However part of the plaque broke loose and clotted in my right coronary artery. The right side of my heart was without blood for 3 hours. There was some damage. I had to stop and rest just walking to the mailbox after the heart attack.

I had just started on a plant based diet but did not eliminate fats and oils, so it was easy to jump in on no/low fat Kickstart and continue the plant based diet through cardiac rehab and beyond.

I am now off all medications except a low level statin and I'm running 100 miles a month. My heart's pumping ability has returned to normal. I am determined to stop and hopefully reverse my heart disease.

Whatever you decide to do, do not do the Atkins diet with high cholesterol. Everyone I know has either gained all the weight back or is in worse health after 2 years.

The book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" by Caldwell B. Esselstyn has been my diet/lifestyle bible.

Be careful.

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Dontx-- I am 46 and just found out that I have high cholesterol and I'm about 60 pounds overweight. Thank you for your post above. It is very helpful information. Tomorrow I will go in to talk to my doctor about my options. I absolutely hate taking any sort of perscription drugs so I'm hoping I can figure out this vegan diet so I don't have to take anything.

Clayton--I've also been skeptical about this diet so far. I followed it strictly the first week and gained weight. This has been extremely frustrating and I have to admit that I haven't been following it well since.

I own a copy of The Engine 2 Diet and have found that it goes beyond the idea of just eating vegan, (that is eliminating all animal products). You must also learn to read labels. For instance, unless a bread lists 100% whole wheat on its label, it's practically useless as nutritional product, just whole wheat isn't good enough. Also, he goes into many other products that claim they are low fat but really aren't -- you just need to learn to decipher the labels right.

After I visit my doctor tomorrow, I plan to re-read the book and try to figure this thing out.

Edited 09/18/12 12:59 PM
RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 1:52 PM

JavaGen wrote:

I own a copy of The Engine 2 Diet and have found that it goes beyond the idea of just eating vegan, (that is eliminating all animal products). You must also learn to read labels. For instance, unless a bread lists 100% whole wheat on its label, it's practically useless as nutritional product, just whole wheat isn't good enough. Also, he goes into many other products that claim they are low fat but really aren't -- you just need to learn to decipher the labels right.

After I visit my doctor tomorrow, I plan to re-read the book and try to figure this thing out.

Reading labels is key to anything. Also, staying away from the faux meats as much as possible and eating real whole foods is important. It's possible to be a fat, unhealthy vegan - plain white flour pasta with sugar and 'stuff' laden commercial pasta sauce is technically vegan but not great nutritionally. There are plenty of cookbooks and websites out there with yummy vegan desserts that are high in fat and sugar - still vegan, but not necessarily something for everyday use. Keep in mind that the kickstart is a start, a beginning, a way to get ideas on changing a lifestyle. It's not a 3 week cure-all, it's a 3 week chance to make positive changes.

--DebR

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 4:40 PM

A couple thoughts:

Nuts and nut butters:
Very calorie dense, 2500 calories a pound versus 100-300 for fruits and vegetables. A little goes a long way, and they're easy to overdo.

Fiber:
30 grams isn't that much. I get about 20 just for breakfast. I find it filling while fat doesn't satisfy me until way too late.

Energy:
You may need to adjust when, as well as what you eat so you perform well on the court. You might try fewer nuts, and more starch or fruit so that your muscles are stocked with glycogen.

Tummy:
Dramatically changing your food can affect your GI tract until it adjusts. That often happens regardless of what kind of change.

Three weeks isn't a long time, but it should be long enough to see some results. If you're not satisfied, move on. At least you took the time to do some first hand research. That's a lot more than most people do.

Come visit me at:
http://vegpedlr.net

www
RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 8:36 AM

The same post on the same day, 2 different times. Not listening to advice...discrediting the kickstart...troll.

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Friday, September 28, 2012 at 1:51 PM

isadoraworkman wrote:

The same post on the same day, 2 different times. Not listening to advice...discrediting the kickstart...troll.

Did you read my own reply to my second post? My computer accidentally double posted the same thing and I asked for it to be deleted.

With research skills like that, I'm not surprised you're unable to broach any criticism to your precious little world view. Probably didn't read any of why the criticism of my approach to the diet wasn't valid, either.

So, for the mature adults reading, I went in for my blood tests. Since my primary care physician is a friend of mine, I'm able to get test results back much quicker than people would normally be able to.

First off, though:

Weight loss, final tally: -5 pounds. The day after I began eating meat again, I lost another 3 pounds, but that was due to my body be unready to process certain things. (I'm guessing lactose.) I'm not counting those as part of the lost weight. The aspects of this particular that are unique just don't seem to promote weight loss as much as other diets have worked for me.

Cholesterol:

Total Cholesterol, down 89 points, LDL down 75 points.

So, after 9 weeks of being on pills and mainly staying away from red meat, and 3 weeks of the vegan diet (this was a combined effort, it's important to note.) I shed WAYYYY more cholesterol than I'd ever expected.

Also important was the fact that the two markers they do for liver testing had also improved, and the cholesterol drug typically takes a toll on the liver. So, I'm perfectly happy with these results. If I ever find myself under orders to take drugs, I know that cutting animal products can provide a big boost to the effectiveness of the drugs.

So, while I was pretty sure I was going to see some drop in cholesterol, (I wasn't taking in any new sources, and the body deals with it on its own, after all.) I wasn't expecting the drop to be THIS significant. In summation, after Day 22, I AM seeing results.

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Friday, September 28, 2012 at 2:31 PM

As you noted, since you weren't taking in any outside cholesterol sources, the body in combination with things like whole grains (like oatmeal) can have a chance to do some clean up on the system. And, should you choose on occasion to have a bit of meat or dairy, starting with a cleaner system and then going back to vegan afterward should be able to keep things clean - like doing a deep cleaning on the house so that you can do quick top-cleanings the rest of the time.
DebR

RE: On Day 13, Not Seeing Results.
Posted Friday, September 28, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Clayton-- that is very good news indeed! Thank you for sharing. I did not do well this time around on this diet. But after getting bad news from my doctor on my cholesterol counts and being prescribed lipitor-- I really want to give this another go...


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