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Finally, I’m in the land of Esselstyn

I’ve been exploring more controlled and directed ways of eating for several years. I’ve tried, monitored, created my own, monitored, etc. Finally, I’ve settled on my forever way of eating and it is the plan promoted by Caldwell Esselstyn. It’s taken me about one year to fully transform my habits to make eating this way second nature. Most people eat what they eat out of habit and I’m no different. Today’s milestone was giving up my beloved Quorn Naked Filets. Goodbye sweet fungus. I loved you.

I’ve had a great deal of self-doubt during this transition. Could I maintain this way of eating? I fell off the wagon twice in the last 6 months but it wasn’t a serious fall. The better I felt, the easier it was to maintain.  Yesterday, I was watching three young men from the Destination Imagination gathering ordering up their foot longs at Subway and I felt a gagging physical revulsion as I watched their sandwiches being prepared. I had made it over the hill and I don’t ever need to turn back again.

During the transition period, I have had several bouts of acute allergic dermatitis.  It was so bad at one point that I had to visit a physician and get an injection of ‘roids.  Tracking down the culprit was made easier because I was gradually eliminating things from the diet. The first hypothesis was a new lotion I was using but, on retest, it was not the problem. The problem was Fage yogurt. It was the last dairy product that I was eating. I am mildly allergic to milk (not intolerant, really allergic) but I had never had problems with hives from milk. Perhaps it was something in the live culture but I was a red itchy mess on and off for two months. No more dairy ever for me.

I’ve felt for many years that my body was a ticking bomb. My brother had a heart attack at a relatively early age.  He didn’t have any of the danger signs. I’ve never eaten as badly as he has during his life but I fear it could happen to me, too.  I don’t want that.  It is too late for him but it isn’t too late for me to change. Change is good.

If anyone out there is considering eating this way, it’s not that hard to do. This plan got some press when Bill Clinton said he was following it. It was difficult for most of the planet to think of Bill Clinton as a vegan but Bill Clinton is a smart guy and he read the literature. He knew he could die or he could change. He changed.

I can tell you this:  I feel much much better. My only health issue is osteoarthritis in my knees.  Curiously, after the elimination of dairy, my knees started to feel better. This could be coincidence but it is something I recorded in my notebook.  I didn’t have blood pressure or cholesterol problems when I started to transition. I’m going to get a blood panel done in about six months after I have been absolutely true to the Saint Esselstyn.

A new documentary on this plan is in theaters now. It’s called Forks Over Knives. Go watch it but, please, don’t eat the theater food.

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May 28, 2011   No Comments

Yummy Vegan Flax and Oat Bran Bread

This bread is my staple stomach filler. It’s easy to make and tastes rich for a bread that contains no milk and no eggs.

2 cups Hodgson Mill Bread Flour

2 cups Hodgson Mill Spelt Flour

1 cup Hodgson Mill Milled Flax Seed

1 cup Oat Bran

1/2 cup Dark Molassas

1/4 cup Raw Sugar

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt to Taste

3 packets of active dry yeast

Put 2 cups of warm water in a small mixing bowl. Add sugar and molasses. Mix well and add the 3 packets of yeast. Let this incubate until you have a foamy mess. I usually let the yeast grow for about 30 minutes. Place the rest of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

After the yeast has come to life, add the foamy goo to the dry ingredients with gentle mixing. Make sure everything is distributed evenly. Put another cup of warm water in the small mixing bowl and add the olive oil to this with mixing. Pour this in the large mixing bowl and mix evenly. At this stage, use your hands and begin kneading the dough. Add water and/or extra bread flour as necessary to reduce stickiness and create a proper bread dough consistancy. Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes. Do not use a mixer. Do not use a bread machine. Form the dough into a ball. Coat with olive oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place. I usually let the dough rise for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Punch the dough down and knead some more. Form the dough into a long cylinder and cut it into 12 pieces. Roll each of these pieces into a ball, rub some olive oil on them and place them evenly spaced in a large pyrex baking dish. Cover the dish and set it in a warm place for the dough to rise a second time. I don’t time this. I wait until the dough is above the level of the top of the dish.

Pop the bread into the oven at about 300 F and cook until done. Watch carefully. Since this is such a low fat recipe, overcooking will rapidly dry this bread.

It will give you 12 square rolls that are a perfect size for a sandwich.

October 27, 2007   No Comments