Choice4Health- The Journey Begins to Find Your Perfect Weight and Restore Your Health

On Feb 2nd 2020 I stumbled upon an ad on a website for Dr Gundry’s book “The Plant Paradox”. I had out of control diabetes, I was obese, I was in my 60’s and I was not sleeping! I decided that I was going to get the book on audible.com and listen to it on my road trip from Nevada to California. What I heard during that trip simply blew me away!. I listened to the book on my return trip as well and it all became clear to me! I started the program on Feb 4th 2020 and the results were miraculous! I decided after I realized all the benefits the good Doctor described that I should put up a site to help spread the word, and this is it. I am officially starting to write entries here as of August 3 2021 and I will try to tell the entire story, how easy it was, what Gundry recommendations I followed strictly and what I followed loosely or not at all. I hope this helps someone out there.

Just an FYI- I am a retired person, never finished college, I have never been accused of being an over achiever and my intelligence level has declined with my age so please forgive the current state of the site (completely unfinished looking) and any other errors you may find as I ramp this site up. Not sure how far I am going to take this beyond telling the initial story and occasional updates, I guess that depends on the response I get. You must register to contribute here but I am very interested in hearing from people.

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February 4, 2020

On February 4, 2020 my weight was 248 pounds, my A1C was way above 8, my Thyroid was out if wack and I was on 2 diabetes drugs. The Atkins program that I had used years before, and also fell off of years earlier, was no longer working for me and I could not lose weight no matter what I tried. I put on much of this weight due to a shoulder injury followed by a foot surgery. While recovering I made the mistake of sitting comfortably in my recliner and watching a Food TV Network. During the commercial breaks I would roll out to the kitchen and fix myself a sandwich or some other snack, which was not good for me, and then roll back to the recliner or the bedroom to watch more  TV.

I want to be clear, I did not go “whole hog” in to the Gundry lifestyle, for example I had not used any of Dr. Gundry’s recipes, not that they are not fine recipes, all I did was listen to his book and understood (because of his clear and simple explanations) the biology and chemistry of what he wrote. I am neither a biologist or a chemist! He also provided a list of foods you can eat and a list of foods that you have to stay away from, his “Yes and No” lists. Armed with this new understanding and these two lists I simply substituted ingredients in the foods that I would cook for myself. Now I have to admit that for me the Covid pandemic had a silver lining. The lockdowns prevented me from eating out in restaurants and take home always meant cold food when I finally got it home. I was forced to prepare meals for myself at home 100% of the time. No I’m not a cook but I do like good food, so I learned how to prepare a few simple dishes. And I’ll just cut to the chase, from February 4, 2020 to September 28, 2020 I lost 42 pounds. That’s right and on Thanksgiving day I checked in at 20o pounds. 

I did use some of his products after I noticed some success with the basic plan, but you don’t really need to buy anything to get started (I really liked that part) and I can assure you it is all very easy to do once you understand the cause and effect of what you eat and what the animals, you eat eat. Also, you will need to understand which vegetables and fruit to not eat. All of this information is in the “Yes and No” lists the Dr. provides.

I’m not going to show you “before and after” pictures of myself because I’d like to maintain some measure of privacy, but I will share with you some graphics from a scale that I bought, a RENPHO Body Fat Scale in March of that year that will demonstrate the weight loss and other health benefits that I enjoyed as a result of just a few minor changes in my life. BTW I think the scale helped me enormously as do the friends I have gifted it to.

In the image below (which comes from the free RENPHO App that works with the scale) you can see that my weight was 229 lb. on March 18, 2020. That was the day I received the new scale so you can see that I had already lost 19 pounds between February 4 and March 18. Truth is I think the initial loss is always large and fast, the same thing happened when I first used Atkins. The data on the right are the various measurements the RENPHO scale takes and tracks for you.

Here is my weight and data on September 28 days 2020

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Improved Vital Statistics

In my last post I described the incredible weight loss that happened in a short period. I should tell you that by Thanksgiving not only was I down to 203 pounds but my A-1 C was 5.9 and I was able to stop the 2 diabetes medications that I had been taking. Additionally an extra beat that occasionally occurred in my heart rhythm disappeared and my resting heart rate was down to 55 beats per minute. I am not sure what my resting heart rate was before Feb 4 but I believe it was above 68 BPM. During the period between Feb 4th 2020 through October 2020 I wore a continuous glucose monitor to help me control my blood sugars and before I started the “Plant Paradox” regimen, my blood sugar level swung wildly as I went through the day sometimes as low as 45 and then after a meal as high as 235! By May 20 2020 my blood sugar was stable all day long sitting somewhere between 75 and 105! Both my doctor and I were amazed! I stopped taking the diabetes medications shortly after that. 
My energy level was higher, I was easily able to do my 10,000 steps a day, climbing the stairs in my house was no longer a chore and I began to crave the good foods and never thought about any of the bad foods.  
In my previous post you saw some graphs and some graphics which were provided by my scale, with a list of colored numbers. If you scan the two graphics, you’ll notice where the numbers turned from 3 red 3 blue and 3 green to 1 red 6 green and 1 blue (red is bad blue is better and green is good) . These are body statistics that are very important and they include BMI, skeletal weight and skeletal muscle, various body fat statistics and metabolic age. All of this change explained why I felt better than I did in my late 40’s and 50’s. 
As I said earlier, this achievement was incredibly easy, and while the pandemic certainly helped me stay on track,  if you make a commitment to eating clean and avoiding fruits and vegetables that are bad for you, it’s not a difficult process to fix your body. In fact the human body seems to be a remarkably forgiving and largely self healing machine.

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How I Did It

As I said earlier, I didn’t strictly follow what Dr. Gundry described in his book. I believe I did follow what I understood to be the more important parts of his plan. It’s not my intention here to tell you what the good doctor said in his book but rather what I understood from it and how I proceeded to change my life using his book as an inspiration.

One of the primary issues that the doctor describes is how lectins, which come from certain plants, interfere with the normal operation of cells. Gluten is a Lectin and there are many types of lectins. You may have heard of gluten since many products now advertise that they are gluten-free. Does gluten-free mean lectin free? I don’t really know, and somehow I doubt it, we will have to ask the good doctor for clarification on that issue. Well the doctor recommends that you avoid lectins at all costs because essentially they cause “leaky gut”. Leaky gut is, according to Dr Gundry the root cause of many health issues including digestive problems and joint issues. Your reaction to them will be different from mine because we all have our own level of sensitivity to lectins. Your DNA is pretty much what makes life a crap shoot (not Gundry’s words, they are mine). Basically lectin’s are found in tomato peels and seeds, cucumber peels and seeds, and a host of other vegetables that are described fully in his list of items not to eat also known as his “No” list. There was an interesting caveat however, in that if you wanted to eat beans or legumes, you could pressure cook them and that would destroy the lectins. I would say that’s an important thing to remember. Also while you’re not allowed to eat rice and pasta there is a caveat that if you prepare the rice or the pasta in advance and then refrigerate them, the rice and pasta then become a resistant starch (more on those later) instead of a carbohydrate that is very bad for you.

Now I’m not Italian but there is one thing that I do know, lasagna always tastes better after it’s been refrigerated and reheated. Another thing that I know is that the rice that is used in sushi rolls, especially Sushi that you pick up in the supermarket, is always refrigerated before you eat it. So much to my surprise two of my favorite things in the world, Italian food, especially lasagna and Sushi were actually not off-limits at all. That’s an important fact! So first I’ll tell you what I did for my lasagna recipe. Using the “yes and no” lists I decided to make some substitutions in my lasagna recipe. I used bison instead of beef (because that was what I had that was grass fed and finished) and I used goat cheese instead of ricotta cheese. As far as the red sauce went, I simply chose my favorite sauce, which I normally liven up with a mixture of my own special spices, and put it in my instant pot to pressure cook it. My logic was that if I could pressure cook legumes (beans) to kill the lectins, then I should be able to pressure cook a tomato sauce and not worry about whether it had been made with peeled and seeded tomatoes. The only thing left to do was to put it all together as you normally would a lasagna, bake it, let it cool, divided into sections, and then individually seal them and little boiling bags, which I then froze. I could then conveniently sous vide portions whenever I wanted lasagna. For those of you who don’t know what sous vide is, simply put it’s a machine that lets you drop a boiling bag into hot water and allows you to cook something to a perfect temperature and never burn it. It’s great for defrosting foods or for cooking steaks, but if you cook a steak (100% Grass Fed and Grass Finished!), after you take it out of the sous vide machine you will need to seer both sides. For a perfect medium rare steak, sous vide it to 130° and then seer it in a 500° pan or on your barbecue for about a minute on each side.

More on how I did it and what I ate later! Thanks for checking in!

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You Are What Your Food Eats!

We’ve all heard the phrase you are what you eat, but according to Dr. Gundry, you are what your food eats. In my previous post I specified not only the kinds of food you can eat but what to look for on those labels. The doctor explains that whatever they’re feeding the livestock that you consume, ultimately winds up in your system. That made sense to me, so I embraced it wholeheartedly, and I think you should too. I was able to find all these foods that I’ve described to you either in my local Costco, Whole Foods, or on Amazon. I also found a lot of it in my local grocery store so this isn’t as hard as you might think. I can’t say that every small town in the country has a supermarket or butcher shop that can provide you with the requisite animal products but there are some online services that do. They seem to have all the correct animal proteins, beef, pork, chicken, fish, available and delivered right to your door!

Ok, you might say that all this is fine and good but all these things are quite pricey and indeed it is more expensive to eat clean and be healthy then it is to go on the way you’re going. Look at it this way if you want a high-performance metabolism and a high-performance immune system, just like a car, you have to feed it premium fuel and it costs more. If you look at your budget carefully, I think when you consider that you can no longer eat chips, doughnuts, take out food, fast food, diet drinks (I will tell you about artificial sweeteners in a little while) or eat in a restaurant every night, you will find that the cost difference becomes insignificant.

Diet drinks were a big problem for me! I used to drink at least a six pack of Diet Pepsi and probably more every day. Friends used to tell me how bad that was for me and said things like “artificial sweeteners cause ALS” along with other research citations that would occasionally pop up. Somehow none of that research ever really hit home with me until I read Dr. Gundry’s book, “The Plant Paradox” . I’ll talk more about the science that I learned in the book later but for now let me just say that the book talks about the good bacteria in your gut and on your mucous membranes in your skin and all the other systems in your body. He said that his research showed that just 1/2 a packet of artificial sweetener can destroy all the good bacteria in your gut. Now once I was so far invested into doing this thing it seems absurd to continue consuming anything that had artificial sweeteners in it. To be honest with you I’ve become so aware of this that while at a party, when my girlfriend tried to feed me something, I push her hand away, I look at it and ask what’s in it. It was reflexive and frankly surprised me. Dr. Gundry said in his book that your stomach actually communicates with your brain and I suppose that might have been an example.

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Feeding Myself Was Getting Easier

Things were starting to look up, feeding myself wasn’t going to be difficult at all. As I said previously I had lasagna servings in my freezer, I could go to the local grocery store and get sushi or I can have 100% grass fed and grass finished beef (usually grilled with my secret rub), along with my favorite, sautéed mushrooms and onions. I could grill pasture raised chicken and have that with a salad, I can make a stir fry with various delicious veggies and add chicken or wild caught shrimp. I can pan seer Sea Scallops (500° pan and 50 seconds on each side using this) and put them on a bed of previously refrigerated rice or pasta and use lots of butter and some lemon as a sauce. Lunches are very easy, I could have tunafish (use Avocado Mayo with Horseradish mustard ) on a bed of greens or just spring mix with blue cheese and Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar for a dressing. Through in a hard boiled egg and voila. Restaurant quality meals that are easy to do with no special cooking skills involved.

Here are the things to keep in mind! You can’t use too much olive oil but what you should know is you cook with regular olive oil and finish with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The Virgin olive oil breaks down in high heat so don’t use it to cook but use in your salad dressing.

Here are the caveats

Eating clean means eating clean so chicken or eggs that say “organic” or “no antibiotics” or “vegetarian diet” or “cage free” are not the chickens you are looking for (trying to use my Jedi mind trick here). I use Mary’s Pasture raised chicken parts (thighs, wings and breasts). Likewise, bison, beef, and pork should say pasture raised but if not at least Grass fed Grass finished or 100% grass fed. Fish & other seafood should NOT BE FARMED! It should all say “WILD” or “Wild Caught” All Veggies should be organic especially spinach! If you must drink milk use only A2 milk (it’s a genetic thing) and all cheeses should be European because that is where you find the A2 cows. For snacks I eat Lindt 85% Cocoa Dark Chocolate and Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts with Sea salt. They make a delicious pairing. You can’t eat too much dark chocolate and you are supposed to get most of your fat from nuts like pistachios or macadamia or almonds, etc. IMPORTANT NOTE! Peanuts are NOT NUTS! They are legumes so don’t eat them. Almond butter is a good substitute for peanut butter!

All of this is explained in the book and in Dr. Gundry’s videos, my goal is to give you a jump start here, to motivate you to read the book “The Plant Paradox” , and start you on a path toward changing your life.

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