Sunday, February 17, 2013


you may know that i don't like the word diet.  as one of my heros (and i'm not fucking kidding) richard simmons says, the first three letters of the word 'diet' are 'DIE'.  i prefer lifestyle change.  because a fad 'diet' is not sustainable; it's about making lifelong, sustainable changes to your life that will make you healthier.  the word 'diet' describes what foods you consider suitable to eat daily (fruit is part of a healthy diet).  it may refer to what a group of people eat (new yorkers eat a diet rich in pizza) or a recommended type of food (my diabetes means i should be on a low sugar diet).  diet is a noun; it describes WHAT you eat. people 'diet' as a verb; it describes HOW you limit yourself things because you don't think you're worthy to eat them, or you're too fat, or whatever.  think about a religious jew who doesn't eat pork - he's not ON a diet, that's just something that's not IN his diet.

it surprises some people that i love richard simmons.  i remember as a teen doing his 'sweatin' to the oldies' routines and honestly working up a sweat (and i wasn't even fat).  a lot of people my age just think he's a funny, gay, short-short wearing exercise freak.  but he's more than that.  richard simmons was a very in demand actor in italy in the 1960s.  he was in italy studying art and being fat, and was still very much in demand.  one day someone left him a note saying something like fat people die, and i don't want you to die.  that really struck richard and he 'went on a diet' - the wrong way.  he lost a fuckton of weight in a couple of months - over 100 pounds.  in A COUPLE OF MONTHS.  he did it by starving himself, overexercising, and using diet pills - and landed in the hospital.  it inspired richard to research nutrition and a proper diet (noun) and he returned to america, taking a job in a restaurant - witnessing firsthand how out of control portion sizes and poor diet (noun) choices were.

so what did he do?  he helped millions of people lose MILLIONS of pounds...  on the dr oz show in 2010, richard said that over his 35 year career in fitness/health, he estimated that he had helped people lose over 12 million pounds.  i bet it's more.  richard still does his fitness thang at his fitness center in beverly hills (where else?).  he leads motivational classes.  and i think richard simmons is ridiculously motivating.  he's so excited and cuddly.  all he wants to do is make you healthy.  i read a quote from richard once saying he didn't have many friends.  he felt he didn't have a lot to offer one person - he had a lot to offer a lot of people.  he has spread his love and motivation and support around the globe, just trying to make us all a little healthier.

i don't like when people talk bad about richard simmons.

it's his philosophy about diets that i really love.  i might tell people 'i'm on a diet' but only because it's easier for people to understand.  it's hard to say 'i'm in the midst of a lifestyle change'.  it sounds like i'm about to undergo gender reassignment surgery.  (i'm not.)  i'm not ON a diet.  i'm CHANGING my diet.  i'm redesigning a healthier DIET for me and my family (aka awesome husband @_antgas).  and what started that dietary change?  well, aside from the fact that i'm fat, my husband is in the best shape of his life, and that every january i try again?

'fat, sick, and nearly dead'.  that's what started this.  it's a documentary (available on netflix) about this guy who was... well, fat, sick, and nearly dead.  he had a rare autoimmune disorder and was on so many pills.  he decided that he was going to give his body what it needed to heal itself (short story) and he went on a 60 day juice fast - and lost so much weight.  AND was able to stop taking all of his medications.  he basically cured himself.

now a 60 day juice fast sounds ridiculous to me.  i like to chew things.  plus all that produce would just be ridiculously expensive, especially during winter in new york.  but @_antgas and i decided it was an excellent way to get our daily fruit and veg.  on a regular day, if i ate one serving of fruit and two servings of veggies, i was happy.  i don't have time/money/energy/stomach space to eat that much fruit and veg.  so we started juicing about 5 nights a week.  i learned i don't like kale.  i was reminded about how much i love fresh carrot juice.  and we started experimenting with ginger and different types of apples and what we could find in the reduced produce section at stop & shop.

but what really happened is we started watching other diet (noun and verb) documentaries on netflix.  ones like 'killer at large: why obesity is america's greatest threat', 'hungry for change', 'food matters', 'forks over knives', and 'vegucated'.  they're all great docs, but the two that really seemed to resonate with @_antgas and me were 'forks over knives' and 'vegucated'.  'forks over knives' talks about two doctors and a plant based diet.  and how it fixes EVERYTHING.  overgeneralization, i know.  but really, google it and 'the china study' and learn about how the instances of chronic illnesses and cancers skyrockets when meat and dairy are heavy in one's diet.  'vegucated' is about three new yorkers who accept a challenge to live a vegan lifestyle for six weeks with guidance from another vegan.  this movie may use a bit more visual scare tactics (how pigs are slaughtered, for instance) to promote veganism, but it still has some good animal rights information and health info from the three volunteers.

i have seen the PETA videos.  the ones where they hold rabbit's eyes open to test cosmetics in them and you hear the rabbits scream.  i've seen most of the 'meet your meat' video, but while i was in high school.  i remember being terribly saddened by them.... enough to ensure that my cosmetics were not tested on animals (that began my boycott of revlon and gillette) but not enough to stop enjoying the everliving fuck out of a steak.  for some reason, seeing this kind of stuff again at 32 years old and 271 pounds (already lost 14 since the new year), i was devastated.

and watching 'forks over knives' really affected @_antgas.  we're all taught how meat and dairy are good for us - hell, the government includes them in the myplate dietary guidelines (which replaced the pyramid).  our parents used to admonish us to 'drink your milk'.  but you know what?  we're the only mammal that continues drinking milk after infancy.  it's really like breastmilk - mammalian milk is meant to feed the young.  and we drink ANOTHER ANIMAL'S milk.  that's.... i mean, that's kind of strange, right?  a little strange.  like when that creepy uncle picks you up and it's awkward and a little inappropriate.  but the china study (discussed in 'forks over knives') followed the health of chinese people in 65 counties of china that ate a plant-based diet.  as meat and dairy were increased in their diets, the instances of cancers - particularly prostate and colon cancers - SKYROCKETED.  and through all of these movies and some other research, we learned about the carbon footprint of a meat-based diet versus a plant-based diet (you can google meatless mondays and check the UN - yes, united nations - website for basic info on that).

so the last week has seen the gas family undergoing probably the biggest lifestyle change we've ever seen.  there is no longer cow's milk in this house - we are using almond milk for cooking, cereal, and protein shakes.  i used soy milk in my coffee and was unimpressed... i'm going to try coconut milk next.    @_antgas found a soy based protein shake - no animal derived proteins.  i served meat-free meals almost all week.  we had fish (sushi) on wednesday.  @_antgas had chicken on friday and i had chicken sausage yesterday.  we're continuing to juice.

it was funny, my first thought was 'we don't eat THAT much meat'.  out of seven nights a week, i only cooked meat maybe four or five.... and i realized, that's kind of more than i thought.  but then we realized that we were eating meat every single day for lunch - cold cuts.  now i'm making beans and rice for lunch.  and @_antgas is on a bit of a cleaner food kick as well.  he's reading labels and cutting down processed foods.  i looked at the back of my favorite low fat ranch salad dressing (i use it for my carrot snack time) - HOLY FUCK.  i now use hummus for my carrots.  and that special k cereal?  the cookies i like?  ergh.  you can be vegetarian and eat SO SHITTILY - did you know oreos (and teddy grahams) are technically vegan.  i do not support PETA, and i will not link to them in my blog.  but they have an interesting page called 'accidentally vegan' where you can see a bunch of crap that you wouldn't think is vegan.  but if all you eat is morningstar farms veggie burgers, oreos, and soy ice cream - you're not healthy.  you might be vegetarian/vegan, but you're not healthy.

we're striving to be healthy.  we're looking at lower-processed, meat-free and dairy-free food item.  @_antgas is gung ho on cutting out dairy.  i think he's fucking crazy.  i love cheese.  LOVE. IT.  and i finally started eating yogurt like three years ago and i like to mix my chia seeds in it.  and since i started eating it every day, well, let's say my intestines are a lot happier and more regular.

have you TRIED vegan cheese?  don't.  please.  just don't.

so instead of cutting out all dairy FOREVER, we're going to visit some local long island farms this spring and see if we can't find some locally produced, organic egg and cheese options.  until then, we're buying 'cage free' organic eggs and keeping our fingers crossed.  and i'm still buying cheese.  and i'm still going to eat the fuck out of it.

but meat?  not so much.  i think it's amazing that i've only eaten meat twice in the past week - and one time was fish, not even meat-meat.  and i feel pretty damn good.  i just never thought that this would happen.  my brother has been a vegetarian for seven years (i think it's about seven years...) and i remember asking him, don't you think you'll ever want a steak again?  my family LOVES some steak.  and he said he didn't think so.  he can go out to eat with us and watch EVERYONE around him eat a steak, and he's perfectly happy with his pasta primavera.  to be honest, i used to think he was crazy.  no chicken stir fry?  no chinese food boneless pork spare ribs?  NO FUCKING STEAK???!?!?!!


now?  not so much.  i remember my brother telling me what finally drove him to be vegetarian.  i never thought he was crazy for making the choice; i even told him i understood it.  i did - i am empathetic enough to understand why he chose it.  but now i REALLY understand it.  and while my brother's main reasons for eating a vegetarian diet are animal-rights based, i understand the health benefits as well.

and so we embark on a plant based lifestyle.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

waiting for nemo.

it appears we name winter storms now.  the one that's currently bearing down on the northeast is named nemo.  we're under a blizzard warning from 6am tomorrow until 1pm saturday.  that's a long time.  like more than a day.  and the most recent models are calling for like 18 fucking inches.  that's ridiculous.

last friday a friend helped me with babycatz and trapped her.  we caught her and another cat - white cat with a bad leg - and my friend took them to a town shelter to be fixed and vaccinated.  turned out that babycatz had this raging infection in her uterus that has a really nasty name and that she would have died if we hadn't caught her!

so we had to keep her a few days to heal.  my friend took the male and kept him in her shed overnight, then let him go.  she also loaned us a dog crate that we set up for babycatz with a teeny litter box and a blanket.  babycatz didn't hate us the first couple of days when we brought her food and spoke nicely to her.  but by monday, she was just about done with us and did more hissing than anything.  so last night we let her go.  babycatz yowled the whole time being carried through the house in the crate and when she finally was near the door, awesome husband @_antgas poked at her through the crate so she'd notice the outside.  and off she ran.

we called her for bedtime snack and she didn't come.  i was worried she'd never come back, that she didn't trust us anymore.  that made me pretty sad last night.

then this morning, she wasn't waiting for breakfast.  awesome husband @_antgas was leaving and she always came running at the sound of the door.  he was about to walk down the stoop when babycatz appeared!  so she still likes us enough to let us feed her all the time!

and now i'm almost four weeks post op with my uterus.  and things seem to be going well.  i had my followup last week and my gyno said that she went in there with a camera after she burned that shit up and said she "got a nice, even char".  and she was talking about my uterus, not like a steak.  which was a little uncomfortable, but i'm glad to hear we got an even char on my endometrial lining so that my period fucking disappears.  she said it should either be gone or really light, so yay.

then i got a thingy from my school last weekend, and i was all like, wtf is this?  but it turns out i made the dean's list.  which is like grown up honor roll, i guess.  pretty neat.

awesome husband @_antgas and i are juicing now too.  we got a juicer and we juice veggies and fruit at night to supplement our diet.  we watched 'fat, sick, and nearly dead' and it seems like a really good thing to do.  because, you know.  we don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, so it seems like something we should do.  we thought about doing a juice fast, but that might be a bit much.  we'll see.

with winter storm nemo heading our way, i am planning on staying in the house all weekend.  i'm actually looking forward to two days of just hanging out.  i have a bunch of homework to do, so it will be nice to get to work on some of that.  i asked awesome husband @_antgas if he wanted to watch all of the 'star wars' movies, or all of the 'harry potter' movies.  he said we should watch 'the walking dead' on netflix, which we've never watched.  what would you pick?