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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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Question Human Diet and Health Issues

Ashamedly, my husband and I both know more about our cats' and our reptiles' diets than our own. If we put as much effort into keeping ourselves as healthy through good eating as we do our animals I think we'd make out pretty good- case in point, my lizard eats organic non-lettuce salads from our garden every day from spring through sometime in fall. As a result he is in peak condition and his colors show really well. I wonder if we are alone in this or if there are others here with the same dilemma of making sure their cats are eating more wholesomely than they are.

So Bearing myself: I'm 5' 1.5" and I weigh about 110. I am 40. I have a genuine serious allergy to dairy. Not the kind that makes you stink up the car- the kind that makes you have trouble breathing and crashes your blood pressure before you pass-out and then stink up the car. I dislike diets high in meat. At well rounded meals where there is a nice vegetable or two and some form of starch I will take 2 or 3 quarter size bites of the meat (unless it's one of my meat weaknesses- like duck, lamb or beef), eat every shred of the veg and some of the starch. In general I want a little amount of meat. A LOT of veg and some good quality grain. I prefer the Asian style of nutrition management. I spent many years as an ovo-lacto vegetarian and was happy until I came down with my dairy allergy. I worked meat back into my diet but I'm thinking about dropping it as a daily food item again. I stop eating when I know logically that I've had enough, generally this is before I feel really full. I find the "stuffed" sensation to be unpleasant. After my last bite I feel like I could eat more but chose not to because I don't feel I need it.

My husband: Is over 6 ft and over 330 lbs! He is 47. In a single sitting he can eat over a pound of meat and a good amount of starch- if it has butter or salt in it or a sauce to cover it in. He IS good with vegetables. A drizzle of olive oil and quick saute with some garlic and he is gobbling the stuff like a football fan eating hot wings at super bowl. Of course if the veg is covered in cheese he will really go to town on it. He won't stop eating until he feels so full he that walking makes him uncomfortable. At home we eat fairly reasonably, we still make the meat "make the meal" as it were. But we both love veg and are experimental with different cuisines. The problem he faces daily is that he is not in the habit of packing lunches so he eats 5 city lunches, a few city breakfasts, fast snacks and maybe one dinner during a workweek. None of that is wholesome food. ie. A lunch would be creamy cheddar soup in a breadbowl at Panera, or a deli sandwich that comes with a ridiculous amount of meat and cheese.

He's been feeling tired a lot lately and recently feels yucky after eating. I've been worrying for the past oh...15-25 years about his health but he recently had blood work done and their only comment was that his vitamin D is low. This can be due to a lack of sun or diary or "shockingly" obesity causes vitamin D to be absorbed less efficiently. The doctor's made no insinuation that he was "pre-diabetic" or had any other obesity caused disease yet.

So now I've been making him do research on how diet and health are related and he wants to try this whole foods vegan diet but he acknowledges (and I agree) that totally eliminating meat may not be necessary.

So we have agreed to try going mostly vegan. We already grow must of what we use for vegetable in our garden. We want to use meat as a flavorant really- again how it is traditionally been used in Asia- with a little meat flavoring a whole dish that consists mostly of vegetables and grains. So we might get 2-4 small bites of meat in a meal.

Mostly-vegan is not a popular category to be in. Occasionally incorporating any meat or egg into a meal will not make us popular with the vegetarian crowd either. We just want for me to stay healthy and for my husband to gain health. We know that eliminating cheese and milk from his diet (they are already out of mine) is smart because even vegetarians have to be watchful as dairy adds on pounds. I will be far far happier if everyone of our meals isn't meat-centric and we'd both love to see him lose weight, have more energy and live longer.

But now the question we face is how do we make these changes? What we want doesn't seem to fit into any popular diet type: raw foodist, fruitarian, vegan, ovo/ lacto or ovo lacto vegetarian, pescatarian, paleo diet, atkins diet, low carb, low fat etc etc. We are looking for sources for eating reasonably. If anyone knows of any books or sites that could be helpful (one's that aren't trying to sell us tips for their miracle method book or cure) I'd be so appreciative!!!!

Also I'd really like to know how others are feeling about their own diets and heath status here. What are your thoughts? Have you tried "fad" diets or what have you found "reasonable eating" is for you?

I know a cat forum isn't the best place for this question but health and diet are human issues that transcend special interest and this is really the best and most active group of people that I know of on the net!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 04:06 AM
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I think this is something best discussed with your personal physician and after complete physicals and extensive blood work.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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After my husband's last recent physical- about a month ago, he inquired about weight loss and his GP said to wait until his next physical because right now- there are no issues other than he could stand to lose weight.

It's annoying that it seems he will only be concerned once the numbers show there is a problem. It's more about treating disease than preventing them
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 09:38 AM
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Hi Marmoset

I personally would focus less on a specific diet, and start just making simple lifestyle changes. Because you want it to stick. Going on a diet may not be realistic in the long run if it's drastically different from what you've been used to eating.

Like if you say he eats a couple of times a week outside, you could try just substituting one of those with a packed lunch. You can never really know what they put in food in restaurants/outside your own home. At home you could try cutting down on the portions a little, or bulking it up with healthily cooked vegetables (like grilled or steamed). Or try looking up healthier versions of your favourite recipes If you like to cook, you could cook together. Since your husband is a tall man, I wouldn't suggest cutting down on intake that drastically, because it may make him dizzy or not have enough energy.


I've been a chronic dieter my whole life, eating disorders too... and I know that it's all about moderation. That's what's worked for me but it's taken almost a decade of mistakes to actually get to grips with. Too restrictive and it won't last very long. You don't want to go through all that work for it to just be sabotaged 6 months later, right?

What did your GP suggest in terms of how he can cut back?
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 10:40 AM
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I agree that you are placing too much emphasis on labeling your 'diet'. Who cares if the 'vegetarians' don't like it if you eat meat sometimes or if the 'vegans' hate it that he has the occasional porterhouse?

4 years ago (age 3 I was 4'11" tall and weighed very close to 325lbs. I was 'perfectly healthy' until I had a stroke. Then I got serious about my health. I had the same revelation, I obsess over the food I feed the cats and weight every moral but my own set was awful.

Losing a large amount of weight isn't about 'dieting' or finding a 'diet' that you like or about going vegetarians or vegan or 'going on Atkins'. If you completely cut out ANY food group you'll lose weight because you'll be cutting calories by not eating that food. No meat? Less calories. No carbs?.... less calories. Low fat? less calories. Those diets aren't sustainable (for most people) for life and for a morbidly obese person this change needs to be for life or weight will start to creep up again.

I wouldn't even worry about him losing weight. I followed 2 basic rules. Portion control and clean food(very subjective term, I know). I ate 1.5 servings of everything at meal times (remember, I was 320+lbs so my body used a LOT more calories to move my bulk around). Even after losing a majority of the weight I still have to weigh my food. I have a seriously skewed version of serving sizes. What *I* think looks like a cup of rice is way more like 2.5 cups when measured. Since the scale is always on the counter for cat food, it's no biggie to toss everything on it before eating.

Clean food, what I mean by clean food is little to no mechanical processing. No frozen meals, no boxed mac n cheese, basically whole foods I cook myself. That's not to say I NEVER eat potato chips, cheetos, Doritos, etc..' but they are an exception and not something I buy often and now I don't eat the entire bag in one sitting. I'll eat some and take the bag to work for the guys to finish at lunch. I eat ice cream every night, but only 1/2 a cup and I make it myself so I know it's without crap like high fructose corn syrup and other crap. Cream, whole raw organic milk, less sugar than the recipe calls for, and real fruit. I eat mac n cheese but it's not orange powder or cheese 'product', it's real cheese, whole raw organic milk, and whole grain pasta. I used to live on diet Pepsi, now it tastes like chemicals to me. I drink filtered water and a LOT of it.

Following those basic rules I set put to be HEALTHIER and weight loss was a very nice side effect. By the BMR rules I'm still considered over weight but I lost almost 2/3 of my body weight and I'm quite comfortable where I am.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 10:58 AM
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Going from eating as much as he wants of anything he wants to some sort of restricted vegan diet is a sure road to failure. Cutting out food groups like dairy and meat protein are also unhealthy if you don't know what to replace them with (an how much).

He doesn't need to choose some named diet, he needs to learn to eat healthy foods in appropriate portions. And it takes work...grocery shopping, menu planning, cooking, packing lunches or snacks etc.

A program like Weight Watchers is a good way to learn about how to balance the food groups and portions correctly. WW can be done online (no meetings to attend).


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 12:28 PM
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Hi Marmoset!
Agree with the others here, but if you want a healthier start, check out the 'Mediterranean Diet', its a great balance of healthy foods, also pick up a couple of Chinese, and Asian cookbooks! Vietnamese food has a lot of veggies, with a small amount of meat, as well...
And it's ALL flavorful!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 07:17 PM
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Obviously, eating healthier is a great decision. But at the end of the day losing weight is all about keeping your calories at a level your body actually needs instead of consuming an insane amount of calories.

A few years ago, my boyfriend lost over 40 pounds just by counting his calories. He ate whatever he wanted, but kept his calories at a certain number everyday. The weight literally fell off.

The amount of calories your body needs depends on your weight, height, BMI, and physical activity, so obviously it varies from person to person (kind of like our cats!).

I agree with Doodlebug... I think you're stressing too much about particular diets. It's all about making healthier choices and keeping your calories lower. If your husband enjoys meat, there is no reason to cut it out and become a vegan. Meat is good for you!

My boyfriend and I have mastered our healthy dinners by finding recipes on Pinterest and tailoring them to what we like.

I definitely know what you mean about worrying more about your pets than yourself. I am the same way! I've been naturally thin my entire life so I'm so guilty of eating unhealthy, eating whatever I want, etc. Now that I'm in my 20's I'm trying to develop healthier habits so I can keep myself healthier.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 07:20 PM
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I forgot to add - my #1 place to find recipes is Pinterest. You can search for recipes that tailor your needs. It's great to find several recipes you really enjoy and then they become regular dinner staples. We have mastered our typical dinners and make sure they're healthy and lower in calories.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 07:27 PM
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One of the best (free) tools out there is My Fitness Pal. You log your food and it keeps track of what you choose (carbs, calories, fat, sodium, etc.). You can also log exercise. If you burn calories, you get to eat more (good incentive to work out/be more active).

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