Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Vegan Thanksgiving



People have asked me what a vegan eats for Thanksgiving. Today's menu includes

Salad: Warm heirloom beet, carrot and edamame salad - a simple mixture of freshly boiled vegetables placed on a bed of baby greens and drizzled in balsamic vinegar

Protein: Tofurky - a tofu and grain-based roast available from Turtle Island Foods . I do not typically eat meat substitutes since I enjoy the inherent food qualities of tofu, tempeh and seitan, but a Tofurky is great for family holiday entertaining.

Sides:
Harvest vegetable medley -brussell sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, fingerling potatoes, leeks, carrots, parsnips, garlic, bell pepper and fresh herbs roasted at 450F

Red lentils - simmered in vegan low-sodium bullion and flavored with cumin

Fresh roasted chestnuts

Mashed yukon gold potatoes (no butter or cream added, just a bit of soy milk)

Wines: Louis Roederer non-vintage Champagne, Chassagne Montrachet Maltroye 2001

Dessert: Vegan cranberry apple pie, Gyokuro Asahi green tea

I really look forward to those fresh Tofurky sandwiches after Thanksgiving!

Although the focus of this blog is IT, here's a brief personal word about my own vegan experience. In the 1990's I had a body mass index of 30 (that's obese) . I lived the all stress diet of a CIO: Starbucks grande lattes, supersized fast food, and business meals at the local steakhouse. I kept a bottle of Tums and Motrin on my desk. In 2000, I visited my primary care physician for the first time in a decade and discovered that my HDL cholesterol was low, LDL cholesterol was high, and blood pressure was borderline hypertensive (140/90).

I was offered the possibility of Lipitor, Ace Inhibitors, Beta Blockers, Nexium etc. Instead I changed my lifestyle. I first eliminated caffeine. Other than two weeks of headaches, sweats, irritability, tremulousness, insomnia, and fatigue, it was no problem. Without caffeine, I no longer craved the afternoon Krispy Kreme and all gastric reflux symptoms disappeared. My emotions and blood glucose became stable 24 hours a day. I no longer craved morning coffee and slept naturally instead of waking to caffeine withdrawl.

I then stopped eating fast food, fried foods, and beef. From there, I ate only chicken and fish. Then, I eliminated all meats and fish. As my 14 year old daughter would say, "I no longer ate anything with a mother". From there, I eliminated all animal products - no dairy and no eggs. I ate tofu, fresh vegetables, rice, and legumes, losing 65 pounds (before and after). That was 5 years ago and the drop in weight has enabled me to become more active. Today, I do not miss animal products. However, when I travel (especially in Eastern Europe) being vegan is challenging, so I may have vegetarian meals that include eggs or dairy. The end result of my years as a vegan is the data from my most recent primary care visit:

October 2007
Body Mass Index 21
Cholesterol (mg/dL) 130
Triglyceride (mg/dL) 80
HDL (mg/dL) 47
LDL (mg/dL) 60

BP Systolic (mm Hg) 116
BP Diastolic (mm Hg) 72
Pulse rate (/min) 53

No Tums, no Motrin, no medications of any kind. I have extended my vegan lifestyle to eliminate animal products from my wardrobe, including all leather. My current clothing is entirely rayon/polyester with a bit of cotton, and shoes made from polyester microfiber. I feel I've done my part to reduce my carbon footprint, minimize my healthcare costs, and maximize my longevity. I do not attempt to inflict any philosophy on my friends and colleagues, but I can recommend vegetarianism/veganism. It worked for me!

14 comments:

Rich said...

Thank you for this fantastic, inspiring post!

Bob Coffield said...

I agree. Thanks for the inspiring message and the simple health care lesson that all Americans need to learn. If we all took better care of ourselves costs would go down and the benefits of healthy living would rise.

Matt said...

Congrats on the healthy lifestyle change. It is one of the hardest things to accomplish.

Remember, part of the appeal your's and Paul's blogs have to me is the fact that it gains insight into what makes C_O's tick. So please, don't JUST post on technology.

I went through a lifestyle change somewhat like your's

In beginning of 2006, I weighed in at 235 lbs at a height of 5'11". I gave up the fast food, the soft drinks, and 'almost' went vegan myself. I dropped 30 lbs from that alone in a period of 5 months.

Then I started hitting the tennis courts heavily. If I didn't have a partner, I would play against the wall. Between that and a lot of golf, sometimes 2 rounds a day, I lost another 15 lbs.

Come January 2007 I was down to 180. I started hitting the gym, doing a lot of running. Got up to 5 miles in an hour (as the treadmill reads it). Within 6 months I weighed in at a low 158, which in my opinion was borderline scrawny for my height. So I did a month with a weight trainer to put on some good mass. I continued with the regiment he got me on, and now I'm weighing in at a healthy 175lbs.

What I find hard is, dating and eating out. I'm 25, she's 21. We both live with our parents, they lost everything in Katrina, and my apartment rent jumped 400$ after Katrina so I moved home for a while to build some equity while I'm in my MBA program. We eat out A LOT, to get out from under the parents' roof.

Since I refuse fast food, we eat a lot of Sushi. It's probably the best restaurant food you can get because it's not loaded down with butter.

That's my experience.

Everyone asks are you dieting? I always tell them no, it isn't a diet. It is a lifestyle change.

Wish I could go vegan, but they will kick you out of Louisiana if you don't enjoy seafood.

Mark Singh MD said...

A great testimony of how life style changes can benefit both the mind and body. Living a healthy life style, as from your experience, goes beyond just the numbers. It helps develop a state of mind, which is so important in order to reach our maximal potential.
Mark Singh MD
www.clinicore.blogspot.com

Mark Singh MD said...

A great testimony of how life style changes can benefit both the mind and body. Living a healthy life style, as from your experience, goes beyond just the numbers. It helps develop a state of mind, which is so important in order to reach our maximal potential.
Mark Singh MD
www.clinicore.blogspot.com

Mark Singh MD said...

A great testimony of how life style changes can benefit both the mind and body. Living a healthy life style, as from your experience, goes beyond just the numbers. It helps develop a state of mind, which is so important in order to reach our maximal potential.
Mark Singh MD
www.clinicore.blogspot.com

Margaret said...

Is it necessary to take supplements on such a diet. Of course, Kurweil is at one end of the supplement spectrum...thank you

Sachi said...

Truly inspiring!!

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! The part where you described your CEO diet (starbucks, steakhouses) really brought back memories for me. I have went to mostly vegan diet and no longer have the bad headaches and fatigue. Cutting out all of the processed foods and animal by-products did a lot of good. I feel like a well-oiled machine now. No junk! Thanks for creating more awareness about a natural lifestyle.

Dee said...

I had a very similar meal except I had it on christmas day! I didn't have tofurkey but similar mock turkey meat. Had the full trimmings of roast potatoes, sprouts, cranberry sauce. Had fruit crumble with vegan custard. Scrumptious! While I was eating my dinner I felt really good in myself because not only was the food delicious, I was so happy no animals had to die for me to enjoy a christmas dinner with my family.