Inflammation Reduced and Weight Lost on the Abascal Diet!

Since July 4th I’ve been trying to follow the Abascal Diet. (See I have to say that my morning back stiffness has been reduced. I’ve not taken any Ibuprofen for back pain since embarking on this eating plan. Further, as of today, the side effect of weight loss seems real. I’ve dropped my weight from about 154 to 149 since July 4. Weight loss was not an original goal, but it’s great to see my clothes becoming looser.


How’s the Abascal Way Diet Going for Me?

Dear Readers:

First, let me give credit to whom it is due. To learn about the Abascal Way diet–developed by Kathy Abascal–go to: TQI stands for: To Quiet Inflammation. This diet fits quite well into my B.E.T.R.I.M. approach because the Abascal Way is all about NOT eating certain foods in order to reduce inflammation. I have some back stiffness I’d like to resolve….and some hip pain, and heel pain in the morning, just for the record. We’ll now see if this Abascal Plan has any effect on these three areas of inflammation. (I have been seen by Western medicine practitioners for these maladies and do have a diagnosis for them.) But, the testimonials found in the Abascal Way book suggests I might make some progress in inflammation reduction by using this diet. We will see!!

On July 4 (13 days ago) I started the (Abascal) Elimination Phase and am: Not eating wheat, beef, dairy. And, no grains at breakfast. And, only whole grain, such as quinoa or brown rice. Always my ‘required breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks, are made up of 2/3 veggies or fruits, per the Abascal routine. It is NOT an easy diet to follow I would say. I have not taken the classes which are available and am only following the book.

But after 13 days, of great interest to me is that the typically stiff back I have is much reduced. I have nto taken any taking any anti-inflammatory drug (such as over-the-counter Ibuprofen) since starting this diet. And, it appears I’ve lost at least 2 pounds fairly quickly, a nice side effect! My weight is now 150, which it hasn’t been for years. My goal weight is 145-147 I believe, but maybe the best weight for me is even less. Of interest also, is the need to reduce internal fat (that which lives around organs). It’s not just the inner tube around the waist that is of concern. Maybe getting rid of the ‘inner fat’ would prove that my ideal weight is even closer to 140. I still have some hip tightness and heel pain which haven’t really changed….but we’ll see. I’m going to try to document progress on all fronts in this blog.

I should add, before closing out this evening, that as I mentioned above, this IS a somewhat difficult diet to follow in my view. And, I have not succeeded in sticking to the plan 100% of the time. That is, I have had a bite or two of ice cream. And, I did have one coffee with a bit of half and half. And, I had a bite of pork.  And, I had a sip of beer.  (All the foods I mention on this short list are not permitted in the Elimination Phase.)  Getting to 100% adherence to the plan is my goal. Wishing myself the best… Regards, E

“Right” Intake Monitoring…..Check out the Abascal (TQI) Way!

Dear Readers

Busy with all sorts of stuff of late, I’ve not blogged about a thing.  But during this time, I ran across a magazine article about an anti-inflammatory diet.  The diet, and the book written by Kathy Abascal are:  The Abascal Way – To Quiet Inflammation (TQI) for Health and Weight Loss.  (See: The message is that certain foods cause inflammation….and pain.  Pain is totally worth eliminating!  I’ve thus embarked on The Abascal Way to try to reduce (read eliminate!) certain foods in my diet and eat the ‘right’ foods to try to reduce inflammation (in my back), and hence, pain.  I have to say, the testimonials in the book are stunning. 

Now, after kicking off this ‘diet’ July 4th–and embarking on the Abascal so-called ‘eliminiation phase’–I’m beginning to think some of my back stiffness is lessening.  Being a skeptic by nature, I’m cautious.  I wonder if I’m just hoping for less pain, and so perceiving that I have less pain, that is, the ‘placebo effect’ of hoping it works and so it does.  We’ll see.   My goal with the Abascal Way diet is to reduce back pain and inflammation.  But, I did see that this morning my weight seems to have dropped 2-3 lbs.    Of course, knowing me, I wonder if the bathroom scale is falling apart.  I guess some weight loss would not be so surprising, given (what seems like) a vegan diet I’ve been consuming since July 4th.  The seemingly departing pounds are nevertheless very welcomed, to say the least!

I’ll be honest, it’s not easy to ban wheat, sugar, beef, corn (Fresh corn is OK.), fruit juice and alcohol (Even a half a cold beer on a hot day!), ice cream, and cream in coffee from my diet…at least during the Abascal “elimination” phase.  But, as I alluded, pain is a powerful motivator.  Wishing myself luck,

Regards, E

My B.E.T.R.I.M. January entries…a busy month…..piano…..

It’s true confession time.  I barely recorded any foods that I didn’t eat in January! 

The January (very short) list includes these:  Half ice cream sandwick; apx. 10 dried cherries, 1/4 glass of milk, cheese stick.   (That is a lousy list, if I say so myself!)

However, there were a couple of occasions in January that I did make the choice ‘NOT TO EAT” something but then didn’t record IT.    But, that could suggests I’ve had some behavior change resulting from past use of my BeTrim Record.

Frankly, this has been a busy month and so my blog and my record went on the back burner, but I am pulling it back onto my radar screen today so I can report a better record for February.   Yes, like any behavor change, even keeping this little record book requires sustained discipline.

I have a piano lesson to go to shortly.  (And, for sure, learning piano as an adult also takes much discipline in the form of putting in the practice time.)  After that I’ll go stright to the gym.  Yes, exercise too must ever be part of the effort to maintain healthy weight too.   Regards, E.

Ouch! New York Times Magazine, Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dear Readers —   The Sunday, 1/1/12 NYT Magazine reports that scientific research is strongly suggesting that once we are over weight, our bodies ‘fight against us’ when we try to lose the weight.  Further,  while trying to get down to our correct weight (My ideal is about 147 lbs. and I’m at 155 lbs. right now), and to maintain it, we have to eat fewer calories than that person who is normally at the weight we’re trying to achieve!   Still, the article also says that there are people who’ve lost excess weight, who  have kept it off; however, they have to work diligently to keep it off.  But, don’t despair. 

Let’s face it, gentle readers, regular exercise and selection of good food are also critical.   “Good” in my book means, fresh, nutritious, low-fat, non-processed, non non-hydrogenated oil-containing foods, as in no trans fats.  Can’t say I always eat that way.  But, it’s my goal to increase intake of foods fitting those criteria.  BeTrim is just one tool in that arsenal of getting to the ideal weight.

After reading the NYT article and thinking about this blog, for lunch today I had this salad:

Emmer Ferro (From Bluebird Grain Farms in Winthrop WA., emmer is a grain whose origin is the Fertile Crescent, in the Middle East, where agriculture began once upon a time. Now they’re growing emmer in Washington State.) combined with Mixed Greens and Walnuts, topped with Salad Dressing (a Girard’s oil dressing), a sprinkling of ground Jarlsburg Swiss and a sprinkle of freshly Ground Pepper.

It’s gray and raining in Seattle, at about 4:15 pm and time to contemplate things other than food and not eating it.   As a last note, being hungry after a fairly light lunch, I just downed a mozzarella string cheese stick.  I know that’s boring info, but want to confirm that eating less, eating light, isn’t necessarily a straight line to the goal.    Regards, E.

Taking B.E.T.R.I.M. into the New Year!

Dear Readers –

Wishing you all the very best in 2012!   Having slacked off a bit in fall of 2011, for the record, I hit the deck running with a pencil and my small (4.5″ x 6.0″) periwinkle spiral hardback BeTrim notebook (a gift from my sister) at the table on New Year’s Eve.  Having the notebook on my lap quietly ‘waiting’ for me to make a choice not to eat something provides just enough pressure, I find, to help me maintain awareness and focus on my food decisions throughout a dining experience….be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or in-between walk-through-the-kitchen ‘snacking’ options.   The focus seems to diminish when the book is out of sight!   

Let me suggest, BeTrim is really not a diet, nor really even about food.  It is about in-the-moment decisions, and keeping a record of the decisions.  Sometimes I can’t record a food I’ve not eaten right away–say, if in mid-conversation or at dinner with others–but the book remains a quiet companion if you will, ‘waiting patiently’ for a later entry.  A small BeTrim booklet in the briefcase, backpack, or purse makes record keeping, anywhere anytime, possible.  Again, having multiple BeTrim booklets is one option….notebooks at home, at work, on vacation, at the gym, you name it.

So, for New Year 2012, with great pleasure I thumbed through the 2011 pages, and then pulled them out and tossed them in the recycle bin.  An end-of-year cleaning out of the BeTrim book is one option, but not necessary, just my preference to start afresh. 

As to personal outcomes to date, I’ve lost some weight. My clothes are less snug.  I still eat foods I enjoy, but with more control, more moderation, smaller initial servings, and fewer second helpings….that is, when I have my little periwinkle book at hand!   Of course, I try to exercise regularly.  And,l  aim for eating the ‘mediterranean diet’, although I still need improvement in that area.   Gee whiz, I do like butter, and ice cream. and homemade chocolate chips.  I should say, I’ve never been one of those ‘thin persons.”  My weight  has been a chronic struggle since childhood (more details on that later), just to let you know you’re not alone if you have eating habits you recognize you want to change.   I’m there with you.  Anway, I have some other things I have to do this evening.   Bye for now, and wishing you all the best from Seattle on a sunny, moderate mid-winter’s day.  –  Regards, E.

Oy vey…..

Dear Reader……Tonight I completely neglected bringing my BeTrim record book to the table.  The days are darkening too early and one slips easily into a funk….can I trust that gentle reader might know what I’m talking about?  I always claim ‘seasonal affective disorder’ isn’t me, but I do wonder at this time of year at times.  I miss the sunlight.   —  OK, so bucking up!… let’s remember that ‘better eating’ is important for sure, but also daily (if possible) exercise, and just getting outdoors however briefly, helps keep one on track.  I went to the gym today, a good thing.   I’m going upstairs right this minute to have the B.E.T.R.I.M. book at hand for every food interaction moment tomorrow!   Today’s lesson:  Clearly having the book present and accounted for is a vital visual/mental cue that helps me/us/you ‘think’ before eating.  It reminds us we have a ‘choice’ not to eat something.  This is all fairly simple, but maybe not so simple….the mind works in mysterious ways.   Over and out for now – E.