Of Bloodwork and Personal Health: The Lesson of a Plant-Based Diet

I started on the path of plant-based eating about three years ago as a means of improving my health and wellbeing. In that time period I have monitored by blood chemistry as a means of checking in on my physical health. These tests reveal a fascinating change as a result of switching to a plant-based diet.

Briefly, important markers like A1C, LDL and HDL, Cholesterol, etc have all changed dramatically. My LDL hovers in the low 40s, HDL in the high 40s, Cholesterol around 100. Those markers, in particular, tell me something about my particular issue: heart disease. I face a genetic time clock related to plaque and the development of CVD in my veins and arteries. The diet has transformed my body to the point that, according to most studies I have read, results in very positive long term outcomes for my physical health.

I’ve used as my guide Dr. Caldwell Esseltsyn’s work on plant-based diets. His work http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/ is informative and has proven to be true in my case. So, weight loss, change in blood chemistry, etc. I closely follow he requirement for very low fat intake and that has proven to be an important path to physical well being.

Despite all of the positives, I have had set backs, some weight gain and less physical activity due to a grueling work schedule. Nevertheless, I know, based on the science, that what I am doing is paying off.

I am curious about many of the nutritional plans out there in the world, and with the high interest in the Keto and Whole30 diets, I wonder at the claims of each of these eating plans. Are those plans backed up by the kind of information I have in my own experience? If someone eats a high fat diet like the Keto, will that lead to CVD? The studies I’ve seen are a bit contradictory. A recent study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452247/ revealed that weight loss on the Keto plan stops at around 22 weeks and then levels off. Studies also show a dramatic rise in lipids in the bloodstream, a problem that would be a death sentence in my case.

I’m not arguing diets here; I’m really just fascinated by the way food consumption and movement affects my body. So interesting.

Finally on these days, I am feeling pretty good about my physical health and barring a catastrophe, look forward to better days ahead.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Reclaiming Life and Existing in the World

This past Fall, I started drawing. It was an attempt to get out of my thinking mind and into another space. Let me say, right here, that I cannot draw and have no real artistic ability. At the same time, I wanted to try something that, to me, was and is a huge challenge. In a sense, my attempts have been the path to letting go of all of that detritus of negative thoughts and emotions and just be in the moment of drawing with a pen or pencil.

Like most things I do, I took the most difficult path (without really knowing it) and dove right into a picture I took on my travels in Bhutan. I chose landscapes and then gravitated to buildings (which is where I am right now). I am drawn (no pun intended) to the architectural and design style of buildings and nature. The lines and shapes created in natural places fascinate me. I love then taking those images and turning them into something I interpret.

The funny thing is, my vision is my own and, to my mind’s eye, somehow missing something. I cannot grasp the exact curve or line of a space and it clearly shows, to me, when I produce the drawing. I cringe, actually, at my own lack of skill. And STILL I draw. It’s like I am trying to accept that part of my self that is somehow my own.

OK, yea, I’ve written about self and am well aware that I have no self in the terms many folks imagine “self” to be. I am a collection of thoughts, emotions, experiences, nothing more. What I think of my self are those collected identities that change over time. Maybe with the art/drawing, however, I can tap into a true nature. That connection to the world; a non-binary way of seeing things. Hmmm. Anyway. Here are my drawings.

A Tree in the Woods
My First Attempt at drawing a House
Attempt #2
A Series of Leaves
A Cartoonish Tree

So, what have I learned through these various permutations of drawing? Well, I can say I was completely in the world of drawing while drawing. I definitely dropped my mind. That one benefit – no mind – was my goal. I definitely achieved that one thing. Small glories.