Tuesday, September 24, 2013

THE PLAN, FOLLOW-ALONG...The beginning of your weight loss and health renewal experience

          As promised on my Facebook page, I am resuming my most recent eating plan adventure, on which I’ve lost over 25 pounds and from which I’m feeling healthy and vibrant.  This time, I’m going to blog it in “follow-along” style. So, I’ll provide all the info and list the food supplies you’ll need to follow along with me each day.
          The main premise of The Plan, by Lyn-Genet Recitas, a more than 30-year veteran of Holistic Medicine, is that every food reacts specifically with the chemistry of every individual, therefore, what is “healthy” and weight-loss-friendly for me, might not be for each and every one of you. “The Plan” sets you up to find those foods “friendly to your individual chemistry”, which can be counted upon to assist in weight loss and general well-being. Another point Ms Recitas makes quite clear is that several of the foods we’ve been conditioned to think of as “healthy foods”, including salmon, Greek yogurt and oatmeal, have been found, in her many tests, to react poorly with many individuals.
          All recipes I will give you are credited to Ms Recitas and the quotes and information come directly from her book “The Plan”. There are only a very few minor tweaks I made as I went along, mainly associated with what’s available here in my local area.
          Good Luck and better health to all of you and as my dear friend, Helen, always said to me: ‘stick with me kid”.
          OK! Let’s get started!
          As a bit of background, we’ll detox our bodies during the first three days…Ms Recitas stresses that the detox brings your body to neutral position, where you can determine your body’s reaction to individual foods, thus singling out your “friendly” foods as separate from your “unfriendly” foods – the ones that will work with your body from the ones that won’t. Having already been on The Plan, I have found two unfriendly items. The first is salt, as much for its water-retention evils as poor chemistry with my body, Then, here’s acetaminophen, which I had been consuming in relatively large quantities for my constant headaches, both before and after the stroke.
Ms Recitas’ contention is that since many of the foods we consume on a daily basis are filled with salt and sodium derivatives, along with many other chemicals, our bodies tend to be in a constant state of inflammation, hence a platform for the myriad of diseases our current society is experiencing.
          To follow along, you will weigh each morning, using the scale simply as a statistical interpreter – a gain of 0.2 pounds is considered “reactivity” to a given food item.  For me, getting into the mindset of the scale being “just” a data-gathering machine was particularly difficult. Although I knew she was right, it was still hard for me to own. I did, though.
          Reactivity, contends Ms Recitas, is tied closely to an internal inflammatory state, which in turn sets the stage for various unhealthy conditions, such as excess weight gain and diseases, including cancer and diabetes. My take on this theory is that it makes sense, so is worth a try.
          It is worth noting here, that just because you find out particular foods are “unfriendly”, are inflammatory to your system and could be responsible for your weight gain and unhealthy feeling, you don’t have to give them up entirely. Once your “unfriendly” foods are found, you can then weave the “unfriendly” ones back into your diet, knowing all the while, you can go back to your “friendly” foods to start the weight loss again (and start feeling better too)!!
          During the 3-day detox, you will also start taking care of your liver. Ms Recitas encourages taking a liver Detox Supplement OR indulging in Dandelion Tea. As I already take too many pills, prescribed after my stroke, I chose the tea, and it’s become a regular part of my everyday diet.  Those of you who know me will undoubtedly roll your eyes and nod knowingly, “yeah, she likes all that weird stuff”… and I do! I’m drawn to the unconventional like moths to a flame. I’ve tried all manner of foods unfamiliar to our North American culture. Pip’s tail is, in fact, delicious (cue rolling eyes!)
          So, to start off… Each morning, upon awakening, you’re to weigh, drink two glasses of as pure water as you can get with lemon (I use pure lemon juice from the bottle, as fresh lemons can be costly), then take your liver detox supplement or dandelion tea.  Then it’s breakfast, which, I’ll deal with in a moment. Ms Recitas also delves into Thyroid function by asking that we take our temperature with a Basal body temperature thermometer immediately upon awakening. You’re looking for 36 degrees Celsius. According to Ms Recitas, that is the awakening body temp of a properly working Thyroid.
          One of the first things you will notice is that The Plan cuts your sodium intake back quite substantially, and this, according to Ms Recitas, will substantially lower your cravings for sugar. So, are the two partners in crime? Well, I guess so… who knew ? Now we know why either is so difficult to quit on its own. Such secrets being withheld from us for so very long. Conspiracy! I say.  But not from where we think. Hmmmm. So many things make more sense.  Now, think about it for a minute, Why do chocolate bars and potato chips taste so good when consumed together. My early life in two words. Salt and sugar. We will now start to taste the real food… for good or bad!
          From the very beginning, you will do your very best to cut coffee out of your diet completely.  I know! I can hear you all now!!  To take your mind off it breakfast is relatively simple. You’ll make flax seed granola ahead of time and dish it out a cup at a time, add some Silk brand beverage (those of you in the Annapolis Royal area can get it at Save-Easy), a sprinkle of cinnamon, some ground flax, since to be totally effective flax seeds need to be ground http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flaxseed/AN01258 .  Cinnamon and ground flax are my additions  A $30 coffee/spice grinder does the job quite nicely and you’ll find lots of other uses for it, too! Using the ground flax seed means you’re getting maximum benefit from the seed.  Cinnamon is really good for you. It helps keep blood sugar regulated and it tastes great, too! http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes/AN00939  
The Plan calls for just blueberries on your granola, but, I use sliced strawberries, as well. Ms Recitas rates blueberries as 90% or less reactive and strawberries 30 % reactive. Numbers she’s derived from her many years of experience and testing with her patients. I have determined both to be “friendly” foods for myself. If they prove not to be for you, you can sub in raspberries (90% or less reactive). As an integral part of The Plan, we will be drinking lots of water… about the equivalent in ounces of one-half your body weight, for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’ll aim for 75 ounces of water.  If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is.  Oh! And we’ll be drinking it before 7:30 pm, so, we’re not  up all night. Sound impossible?  I assure you it isn’t!  Tough, maybe, but, not impossible. To paraphrase Brittany Hamilton, during her rehabilitation after losing an arm to a shark, I didn’t ask for easy, I want possible!  (I used that phrase throughout my entire recovery… still do, for that matter!!)
          While I do profess to have wide knowledge of nutrition and food, I AM NOT a doctor or health care professional, so for more information about this aspect of The Plan and Ms Recitas’s Thyroid findings, please refer to her book , "The Plan”.
          To wrap up what we’re doing so far:
*Try to take your temperature immediately upon awakening. If you wait too long before doing it, your body will warm up, thus affecting your results.
*Then, weigh.  A gain of 0.2 pounds or more indicates reactivity to a given food.            
         After the detox, your body will be at neutral position with regard to internal inflammation, so, each new food you introduce will “react” strong enough for you to have no doubt. We also will have an inflammation-reducing carrot ginger soup to help keep things “neutral”.
          I should tell you, at this point, that the entire plan takes 21 days to complete. The first time I did it, was several days following the detox, enough time to generate a good, rounded list of  “friendly foods”, enough to keep me on an even keel, so to speak.
          So, you’ve got the basics – start with the 3-day detox. Day 5 starts the testing phase, where we will begin introducing foods individually. This is where you’ll really start building your list of “friendly” foods.  I will be doing it right along with you, as if I'd never been on it.  It won't take long before you start knowing there is hope that this might be the one plan that has finally worked to shed those unwanted pounds and start really feeling better!!
          To be ready for my next post – recipes to get us started and Day 1 of The Plan (Detox Day 1), you’ll need:
3 cups whole flax seeds - stored in the refrigerator or freezer as the oils they contain can go rancid
about 2 cups dried cranberries or other dried fruit
2 or so cups each of sliced almonds; chopped walnuts; raw, unseasoned pumpkin seeds; raw, shelled unseasoned sunflower seeds -  stored in the refrigerator or freezer 
apples for snacking - I like firmer, less-sweet apples, and Cortlands are good this year
A few shakes of ground nutmeg
Fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries
2 fresh limes or lemons
1 cup or more of olive oil 
4 large (not Spanish ) onions
1 small zucchini
1 bag romaine hearts
assorted salad ingredients
1 bulb fresh garlic
1” fresh ginger
1 teaspoon each ground cumin, turmeric
1 heaping Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp smoked chipotle powder
½ cup apricot jam
1 can coconut milk (please don’t use low fat)
           Don’t worry, these ingredients are not all for one recipe!  We’ll make a few of the basics first, to get started with The Plan.  And there will be time enough to acquire any other ingredients.  You might find yourself, as I have, using the granola for your "everyday" breakfast cereal, and for snacking.  The seeds also make for great snacking. Until next week...

         Stay healthy and safe!


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