Sunday, July 31, 2011


Yesterday (Saturday) in my running class, we finally got a little more into actual running.  In the two prior sessions, our focus was just walking and then some running drills.  Since I walk almost every day now, that was no big deal.  Running is a whole other story.  It's tough!  While the running was difficult, it did feel good to push myself and get my heart rate up.  I started thinking that I should go ahead and sign up for a 5k in October.  The only problem is that my right knee started to hurt a lot.  This has happened every time I've taken up running as an adult.

Today I didn't have any knee pain at all, so I'm hoping it's just a matter of unused, weak muscles around the knee.  That's what I keep reading is the problem.  Of course, we did run on cement this time, so I wonder if that also had something to do with it.  I'm going to talk to the running coach about it tomorrow.  I really don't want to stop running.

We went to Casa de Luz yesterday, which was somewhat of a break from my eating pattern in that they use generous helpings of salt.  Since I've been eating salt-free for a while now, the Casa food tasted like it was drowning in salt.  Jessica who has been eating mostly the same food noticed it too.  I had to drink a lot of water and still felt overloaded with salt today.  I really didn't intend on breaking from E2L.  I just wanted to take Jessica somewhere for lunch, since she was working and we eat at home 99% of the time now.  Casa seemed like the healthiest option.  I guess Whole Foods would have been a better choice for me, since I could have stayed within the E2L parameters more easily.

I'm a little pissed off at Whole Foods right now though, because they just canceled the cooking class we were going to take on Tuesday.  Now they don't have any vegan cooking classes until September.  What's up with that?

7/26: 60 minutes walking in the neighborhood
7/27: 60 minutes walking in the neighborhood + running class (drills + walking)
7/28: 65 minutes walking in the neighborhood
7/29: 0
7/30: More intense running class (walking + some running + drills)
7/31: 0

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Running Class

I've been really good about exercising six days a week (my goal is five times), but I've mainly just been doing some walking.  I wanted to step it up some and get into running, but I've been hesitating due to a fear of shin splints, knee problems, and all the other things that can make you quit after a couple of days.  I decided to get some help, so I began an 8 week beginner's running class today at RunTex.  So far, it's pretty good.  I struggled some with the coordination part of a couple of exercises, but overall I was keeping up just fine.  We are starting pretty easy, so I'm going to continue my walking as well.  I don't think I'll be running an ultra-marathon just yet, but I will be ready to run a 5k or 10k at the end of the 8 weeks.  :)

7/19: 65 minutes walking in the neighborhood
7/20: 65 minutes walking around Town Lake
7/21: 60 minutes walking in the neighborhood
7/22: 60 minutes walking in the neighborhood
7/23: 0
7/24: 65 minutes walking in the neighborhood
7/25: 65 minutes walking in the neighborhood + RunTex Beginner's running class with drills

Monday, July 18, 2011


I saw one of these beauties at the Town Lake Trail on Saturday.  It's an elliptical machine and bike in one.  I want one!!!  It's a little pricey for me right now at $2399, but maybe I can get a deal when someone has one sitting in a garage....


I ended my short fast on Sunday with a bowl of organic raspberries, blackberries, and cherries.  Yum, the first food after a fast is always the most delicious. 

7/17: 0
7/18: 65 minute walk in the neighborhood

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I've decided that I want to fast for two to three days every month or two primarily for the health benefits, but also for reasons of self discipline.  By fasting, I mean drinking only water and abstaining from all foods, even those in liquid form.  So-called "juice fasting" is a misnomer, as fasting means to abstain from; thus, juice fasting seems to imply that one is abstaining from juice when in fact one is consuming juice as the only food.  It is more appropriately called a juice diet.  While a juice diet can have some benefits, it has some drawbacks.  I will discuss those at a later time.  My point here is that fasting (taking nothing but water)  confers the greatest health benefits with the least risk, assuming that a person is not deficient in some nutrients or has a medical condition that contraindicates fasting.  I don't recommend that people undertake fasts longer than two or three days without medical supervision, as there are some complications that can arise that would require the fast to be stopped.  However, long fasts are ultimately where people gain the best and most amazing results.

I got into fasting when I was younger because of my interest in Natural Hygiene.  I read Herbert Shelton's book Fasting Can Save Your Life and was intrigued by the case histories and detailed information.  Shelton probably supervised more medical fasts than anyone else in history.  Even though some of it is medically inaccurate and out-of-date, the book has a wealth of information based on Shelton's experience.  It's a good read, as are Shelton's other books on fasting, nutrition, and health.  I did a few short fasts after reading the book, but the longest fast I ever attempted on my own was seven days when I was around 19 or 20.  I probably would have attempted a longer one, but I found it difficult to work while fasting.  This was probably a good thing, as I wasn't qualified to supervise my own fast. 

I eventually stopped fasting other than when I was sick, though I did occasionally try juice diets and the Master Cleanse to shed a few pounds here and there.  I do not recommend the Master Cleanse, and juice diets should be followed with caution.  Many people follow these for cleansing and weight loss purposes, and they are not the best solution for either.  Even fasting is not the best solution for weight loss, although it can help some.  Of course, weight management requires a change in eating when the fast is complete.  Qualified physicians who are experienced with fasting should be able to determine if it makes sense for someone to fast for weight loss. 

I resumed fasting recently after a terrible binge that I talked about in a previous post.  This time I pulled out Dr. Fuhrman's book that I skimmed many years ago,  Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor's Program for Conquering Disease, since I've grown to really respect his advice and am participating in his nutritarian program.  This book explains fasting from a medical perspective and discusses when, how, and why fasting should be used.  I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.  Dr. Fuhrman generally recommends longer, supervised fasts when needed but has also expressed that short fasts can have benefits if not done too frequently.  Once every month or two is okay, but every week would be excessive as the body needs to rebuild some after a fast.
Fasting helped me to get on track with my eating when I last fasted on Memorial Day, and I have adhered strictly to my nutritarian regimen with almost no exceptions.  I've eaten salad, greens, beans, nuts/seeds, fruits, and veggies and said no to all the vegan junk food and have avoided oils and most salt on all but a few occasions.  I feel like my withdrawal from the crap was hastened during my last fast, which helped to make the transition easier.

This weekend I'm fasting to give my digestive system a rest (part of the reason fasting is so beneficial) and to keep myself in check.  I just finished the second day of my fast, and this one was much easier.  I even continued walking for exercise during this fast.  I will likely resume eating tomorrow morning, unless I feel that one more day would greatly benefit me.

So what do I really hope to gain?  Mainly the benefits of caloric restriction (slower aging, less chance of degenerative disease), some self discipline, and maybe, just maybe, the toughness of one of my favorite TV characters:

7/12: 65 mins walking in the neighborhood
7/13: 65 mins walking in the neighborhood
7/14: 65 mins walking Town Lake
7/15: 70 mins walking in the neighborhood
7/16: 70 mins walking Town Lake

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Netflix raising prices?

Just received this e-mail from Netflix. 

Dear Gabriel,

We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.

Your current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:

Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $7.99 a month

Your price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). You don't need to do anything to continue your memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs.

These prices will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

You can easily change or cancel your unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both, by going to the Plan Change page in Your Account.

We realize you have many choices for home entertainment, and we thank you for your business. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-357-1516.

–The Netflix Team

I guess that $9.99 a month was too good to last, so I may be canceling the DVDs by Mail portion.  Hell, maybe I'll cancel the whole thing.  It's not like I need to watch more TV.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beavers at Town Lake?

This afternoon I took a walk on the town Lake Trail. When I reached the point where people feed ducks, I saw some people gathered around feeding what they thought was a beaver. While wasn't a beaver, it was the friendliest nutria I have ever seen in my life. Usually they move pretty quickly to get away from people, but this guy was having just a great time letting people feed him. Here are the two videos I took:

Exercise today: 70 minute walk outside at Town Lake Trail

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Recently Jessica and I have been watching past episodes of the show Hoarders. It's really inspired me to get rid of a lot of useless crap and even some things I don't necessarily consider junk. You see, I have been a bit of a hoarder myself. I've never hoarded to the extent of the people on that show*, but it was bad enough with the potential to become worse.

My own hoarding tendencies centered mostly around books. A few years ago, I had acquired thousands of books. I had so many books that my bookshelves were overflowing, and I started to store books in the attic of my place along with other assorted things. I had every intention of reading them all, but there was no way that I ever would despite being a relatively quick reader. Some of the topics didn't even interest me anymore. Eventually I realized that things were out-of-control, so I got rid of a lot of useless things including the majority of my books. I still love books, but I don't have to own every single one. I can borrow them through the library. I can also take advantage of e-books whenever possible. One of the reasons that I purchased a Kindle a couple of years ago is so that I would be able to have books without taking up any physical space. Still, even after my awareness and change, I find myself acquiring more books and items than I need. The show's been really good about reminding me how bad things can get for some hoarders. After watching, I usually find myself with a strong urge to de-clutter and clean. I maybe get even a little bit manic (think of Khan on the very last episode of King of the Hill in which he doesn't take his medication and becomes super productive).

Recently I made kind of an exciting discovery that I believe will allow me to have a little fun while giving away some of the books that I've acquired. There is a website called Basically, you register your books on the website and print out stickers with a tracking number inside. Then, when you give away your books, you have a way of keeping track of not only what you give away but where it is. Of course, this is assuming that people will actually register the books and that the website will even exist in a few years. I decided that I'm gonna take a chance, because I just really think it's a cool idea. I've even been looking forward to participating in what they call "wild release" in which you take a book and randomly put it somewhere just to see where it might end up. I've also thought about taking part in a books for soldiers type of program where I can send some books and see were those books end up, but mostly I'm using this as a way of letting go of books I've read, books that I've decided I don't want to read any more, and books as I read them. There will be some books that I don't want to give up, but I think I can still go a long way. It's a cool idea, and I'm excited to give it a try. I strongly urge you to check the website out and participate in this fun experiment.

*Well, there was maybe one person. She was a pharmaceutical sales rep, and her place was bad, but she hadn't spiraled completely out of control. She mostly collected clothes that she had acquired through compulsive shopping.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm back

I'm going to give this one more shot. I really think I have what it takes to write a blog.  I'm not going to just take a bunch of boring food pictures this time. Last time, I was trying to log my food and dietary habits to hold myself accountable for my food choices, and blogging is a good way to do that. I still want to keep track, but I want to keep this interesting, so I'm gonna talk about a lot of other stuff this time.  (You know, like I promised the last time.)

I recently recommitted myself to a healthy lifestyle. Yeah, I've been vegan for nearly 21 years, but that doesn't mean that I always eat in a healthy way. In fact I recently posted about this on the discussion board at I'm a member there, and I've been doing a pretty good job of following Dr. Fuhrman's advice (ala Eat to Live).  I'm sure I'll talk about that here from time to time. Anyway here's what I wrote (in red):

Hey, everyone!

My name is Gabriel, and I've been a member here since last October. I never got active on the board, though I have definitely been a lurker from time to time. I'm looking forward to being a little more involved in some of the discussions.

I'm 40 years old and have been a vegan* since I was 19. When I became vegan, I lost a good deal of weight after having gained a lot as an ovo-lacto vegetarian. In the days before there was much vegan junk food, I was a pretty thin dude. I ate mostly veggies, fruits, nuts, and salads with some occasional soy products and beans. I avoided white sugar/flour and didn't drink alcohol or caffeine (not even chocolate), and I didn't believe in supplements except for occasional B12. At the time, I was really into the Natural Hygiene way of thinking, even though my basis for veganism has always been ethical. I flirted a bit with rawfoodism, but I never really committed to eating completely raw.

This way of eating served me well for many years, though I probably should have been exercising more, as I was probably too thin. I'm sure that I could have made some other modifications as well (more beans and dark leafy greens and less or no fruit juices) and certainly some multivitamins. I didn't know very many vegans in those days, and I remember thinking that a vegan couldn't be fat. (HA!) I was even suspicious when a fat person claimed to be vegan.

In my mid- to late-20s, Karma paid me a visit. I started to gain a lot of weight. It was a stressful point in life. I was married during this time, and the marriage was a difficult one. My then-spouse was a talented vegan cook/baker, but her food was not the healthiest. Also, vegan convenience foods started becoming more widely available. I was eating more sweets and fried foods and other junk than ever before. I'd always been a big eater and stress just made me overeat. I gained a very significant amount of weight and developed some pretty bad back problems.

Fortunately, that chapter in my life ended. I filed for divorce and decided to get back on a healthier track. I began exercising and eating healthier again. I went to a doctor and had my nutrient levels tested. Everything was in the normal range, but my B12 was on the low side of normal. I don't think he tested my Omega-3 levels, so I don't know if I was deficient in those. I struggled a lot during that time. Losing fat was difficult as vegan junk food became more available and tempting, but I did eventually lose a good deal of weight. I also got more physically fit than I'd ever been before. I never did get quite to my goal though.

I went up and down quite a bit in my 30s. I had loosened up on some things (caffeine and alcohol), which opened up a new world of empty calories. Stress would get me into bad eating habits and the availability of things like vegan chocolate doughnuts made things even tougher. In addition, my work life was very sedentary. Every time I gained weight, my back would start acting up. I'd eventually get fed up with clothes not fitting and not being able to sleep, and I'd find a way to lose weight combining healthy and unhealthy methods. I'd lose weight by the three e's (exercise, ephedra, and eating less calories), but it never really lasted.

Last year, things got bad again and I started to read Eat to Live. I'd owned it for a while, but I had not completely read it and assumed it was similar the low-fat PCRM Neal Barnard books, which had never really worked too well for me. Once I started to read it, it all made sense. I had heard of Dr. Fuhrman before through his connections to Natural Hygiene many years back, and I knew that he went to a lot of veg conventions; however, he explained things in a way that was new to me and made so much sense.

I started following his guidelines, and I immediately began to notice a difference. I lost weight slowly and felt really good! Planning meals became easier, and I quit trying to eat all day. Unfortunately I let myself get derailed, and I gained most of the weight back.

A few weeks ago, after a pretty bad food binge, my back was really hurting and I was having a tough time sleeping. I decided to fast (water only) for Memorial Day weekend. When I broke the fast, I recommitted myself to the Fuhrman way of eating. I have been very strict, avoiding junk food completely and have no desire for it at all. I am getting back in the gym slowly but surely. I will be stepping that up (pun intended) this weekend. The fat is coming off, and I've never felt more committed to get back in shape and healthy.

I am looking forward to learning and sharing here. We're lucky to have this tremendous resource!

*I'm a vegan in the ethical and complete sense of the word, meaning I don't use animal products in food, clothing, etc.

So, that's what's going on with me right now. By the way, the food binge that I mentioned was with the vegan donuts from Ronald's Donuts in Las Vegas. I brought back over a dozen. Yep, that's right. I carried over a dozen vegan doughnuts on an airplane. Here's a picture of some of those bad boys:

They look good, don't they? And, they were good... Until I started to feel like absolute crap. Jessica and I ate them in two days!

I've been a healthy vegan, a fat vegan, a thin vegan, and a relatively fit vegan. However, I've spent way too much time in the fat vegan zone, and I am ready to change that. This doesn't mean that I will never indulge myself. What it does mean is that from now on I'll be more conscious of the quality of my food intake. For now, that does mean strict adherence with no exceptions to my chosen regimen of unrefined high nutrient plant foods with several restrictions. It's too easy for me to lose my way when indulging in some sugary treat, and I'm serious about this. Health and longevity are both extremely important to me. Since this is such an important part of my life, I'll be sharing my progress with you.I'll still post some food pictures, but I'll try to make them worthwhile. I won't just post pictures of everything I eat. If I find that I need to do that, then I'll do that elsewhere.