Monday, August 22, 2011

Mushrooms in my Fruit Smoothie?

 Lately, I have seen many articles extolling the consumption of mushrooms due to its many nutritional benefits (such as this one:)

Then I read someone suggested adding raw mushroom to fruit smoothies. OK I know that would be great, nutirionwise but how would that affect taste? Anyway, I started adding a few white mushrooms to my smoothies and it turns out that mushrooms, being rather neutral in taste, don't really add or detract at all, to the taste of the smoothie. So, if on hand, I always add at least a couple mushrooms to my smoothie.

H. Nicole Anderson
San Lorenzo

Friday, August 19, 2011

My New Organization: OA

About a year and a half ago, I saw a film on the RAVE diet which is a low fat vegan diet. The film was a bit sensational but I still believed that eating low fat vegan was healthier and might also help me lose the last twenty pounds that I have been trying to shed for nearly three years now. I halfheartedly tried to follow the diet. Doing this, I managed at least not to gain any weight and when I had my cholesterol checked last spring. My LDL was 105 with high HDL.

Last May, I did an enormous amount of research for an Honors Project at City College of San Francisco on the theory that a low fat vegan diet can not only prevent but also reverse heart disease. Although I searched for data that would refute this claim I found the only credible criticism was I could find was that the regimen was just too hard to follow. Having read all this research I was convinced, I was going to try this routine.

So I purchased a kindle version of Neal Barnard's 21 day plan. He advocates not counting calories but just to eat to satisfy hunger and don't eat any animal products or processed foods especially white flour and sugar. But telling a food addict to eat what she wants is like telling an alcoholic that it is OK to drink a beer or two occasionally.

Although the food cravings had diminished and I had a lost a few pounds over several weeks, I still occasionally overate compulsively. I was still occasionally using food the way I used to use drugs and alcohol. I decided to try attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings regularly. I had attended a few meetings in 2009, unfortunately, those meetings were run by a sub-group of OA that is more like a cult than a self-help group. These groups, which refer to themselves as OA-HOW or greysheeters, violate the the traditions of OA which are identical to those of Alcoholics Anonymous. Two of the cornerstones of AA are that the program is based on attraction rather than promotion and that AA unity is paramount. These HOW and greysheet people violate both these traditions by pouncing on newcomers and telling them that they must follow their strict food plan (no flour no sugar) that they must call their food plan in to their sponsors and that they must make five outreach calls per day. I knew this was not not for me so I tried Weight Watchers again, a program which had helped me lose most of my weight but for the fifteen or twenty pounds.

On July 25th, 2011, I found an OA meeting that was not HOW or greysheet. In fact, most of the other members had the same negative experience with HOW that I had had. Since that day, I have attended meetings every week and have maintained my abstinence. (I have a very complex set of rules that I have devised to define my own food abstinence, which I will detail in a future blog.) I am losing nearly two pounds a week and am confident I will reach my ideal weight soon.

Last  Friday night, I made the mistake of attending an OA HOW meeting. The meeting was fine but after it was over, a woman, who by her appearance was a bit less successful maintaining her weight than I was, accosted me and informed me that I was obligated to follow their plan. I avoided a confrontation but firmly told her I had a plan that was working. She tried to tell me that I would need a medical clearance to follow any plan other than the standard HOW plan. I told her I wasn't going to do that and she made me feel that I was not welcome on that group.

In the few weeks since I have been an active OA member, I have read OA official literature exhaustively. OA does not endorse any particular food plan. Still, all the suggested food plans advocate eating meat and dairy products. So the thought occurred to me that if these wacko HOW people can have a sub-group of OA so can we vegans. So I decided to start my own sub-group of Overeaters Anonymous and bought the URL I have not done much but put up a single web page but every journey starts with one small step.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

About This Blog

Since I began a low fat vegan diet about four months, I have been commenting on how following this regimen has helped me begin to address my food addiction issues.

On July 25th, 2011, I became an active member of Overeaters Anonymous, compiled a food plan around Neal Barnard's 21 Day low fat vegan lifestyle and began my first day of food abstinence. As an alcoholic and addict of other drugs, one of the easy things to do concerning remaining clean is defining abstinence.  With food, this is one of the most difficult facets of "sobriety."

 In future blogs, I will be explaining how exactly I define food abstinence following a low fat vegan plan within the context of being an OA member. I found there is very little on the web on veganism and food addiction so, in that sense, this blog may be unique. Although there is no "cure" for addiction, low fat vegan eating, along with twelve step work and group support, may be "just what the doctor ordered."  As someone who has been fat all her life and was once well over three hundred pounds, if this works for me, it should work for anyone.

Looking forward to blogging on a regular basis and to those who feel this information is helpful (or for that matter if you think  this is nonsense) please spread the word.

Forks Over Knives and My Food Addiction

My name is Nicole and I am a compulsive eater...
     As a food addict, I had tried all sorts of fixes to try to reign in my issues around food. I am also addicted to almost everything else, including alcohol and other drugs, from which I have remained abstinent for four and a half years. Still, I continued to use food. Finally, after research for an Honors speech in my City College Speech 1A class, I realized that a low-fat vegan diet is the way to go. In April,  I began following the Neal Barnard 21 day plan and many of my food cravings began to diminish. Although the plan promises weight loss and an end to the slavery of food tracking and counting calories, I did not lose that much weight. (At one time obese, I have been trying to take off the last twenty pounds or so for years) I realized, that as an addict, I was taking the advice to "eat as much as you want" to an extreme.

     Thirteen days ago, I began attending regular Monday meetings of Overeaters Anonymous, I announced my food plan: following the Barnard plan but also refraining from overeating and and compulsive eating. The only real restriction on portions were around starches such as bread and pasta (whole wheat, of course!) The first week I lost three pounds, more than I actually want. The second week I also lost weight although I don't know how much as I do not weight myself more than once a week. (I can tell that I lost weight by the way my clothes fit.) As that Denver Post article mentioned this is a very simple way to address our nations obesity problem, and by extension, our health care costs.

h nicole anderson
San Lorenzo, California