Monthly Archives: September 2011

Success story: Lost 10kg, no more joint aches, glowing skin, high energy, more focus…

This post is about one of my online clients Neha B. She started working with me around April 2011 and she was a good client really. As per standard protocol, I emailed her her customized nutrition and workout program on the 28th of March and she started the program in a very timely fashion. She did all the right things – she emailed me details and pictures of all her meals for the first few days, she emailed me constantly asking me questions over and over again (Note: I keep repeating that there is no such thing as a silly question and strongly recommend my clients to keep asking me questions), she emailed me weekly updates regularly, she made changes based on my recommendations, did her workouts diligently etc etc.

I generally have a very high success rate with my clients and most of my clients tend to reach their goals pretty much exactly as planned and also (finally) realize they have gained much more than just fat loss or strength gain or whatever else their goal is. Neha was no exception. Since she did the program as was laid out for her, she started seeing results almost immediately. For example, by the end of week 3 she had lost 4.5 lb (2 kg) and 12 total inches (30cm).

As expected, the honeymoon phase came to an end and her fat loss started slowing down. As of June 11th 2011, we had exchanged about 54 emails (which is close to the average number of email exchanges I have with most clients) and this was the last email I received from Neha.

Hi Raj,

In the last two weeks I have not lost any further weight and my weight is stuck at 69 kilos. I was barely losing half a kilo a week on an average and last two weeks not even that 😦 Some measurements have gone done by a cm, some stayed constant. (see attached excel sheet)

I also tried a bit of intermittent fasting in the 9th week by eating a good breakfast and then no lunch and then a small snack in the evening ( so a gap of about 6-7 hrs). The days I ate a good breakfast IF was no problem but some days with just a good enough breakfast and no lunch felt a real slack in my energy.

I stopped IF in the 10 th week, cos i had a bad acidity attack because some constituent of a meal at a restaurant did not suit my gut (btw, the thing that cured my acidity after 2 days of suffering is coconut milk :)) Although I was not sure if this was the right way to do IF I gave it a shot in the hope of getting my weight to budge.

At the same time I do feel stronger and my workouts these days are a breeze. The first time i did wall squats I had tears in my eyes after 20 seconds and last week I didn’t even realize and i managed to hold the wall squats for 65 seconds! I am also able to do a couple of full push ups along with the knee ones.

Energy wise a bit on the lower side because of disturbed nights(toddler teething).

Any ideas Raj, what can rev up my weight loss!
I know I wont stop trying, exercising and eating clean but this is kind of discouraging…

Regards,
Neha

Again, she was no different from the average client. Most people expect miracles to happen overnight and are ecstatic when they see rapid fat loss. The same ecstasy turns to depression once rate of fat loss slows down and the added stress (from depression/tension due to slow fat loss) results in excessive cortisol release which slows down fat loss even more to almost a screeching halt. And to make things worse, this is when people conclude that the program no longer works and start doing, what I call, stupid shit or in less aggressive words ‘stuff that wasn’t recommended for them… for a reason’. As you can see from the above email, Neha was getting frustrated ‘cos of the slow rate of fat loss and started doing ‘stuff that was not recommended for her… for a reason’ but was also ready to do what it takes to reach her goal.

Then she disappeared. No emails. No updates. And finally, a couple of weeks back, I get an email from her.

Hi Raj,

Personal and professional life had taken over all priorities in the last months and hence did not get the time to update you in a long while but have nevertheless been constant in my efforts to lose weight and follow the program.

Now that I have lost 10 kilos I knew it was time to update the coach 🙂

The last time I emailed you it was about why I was not losing any weight and you had said if it remains the same we will change it.

Then around the same time you directed us to a post about stress and weight loss. And that is when I realized how badly stressed I had been those days and hence my weight had not budged. That day I decided on two things. One: I will not get stressed about anything and two: that I am not a person who loses a kilo a week. The max I lose is half a kilo a week and there is nothing better I can do about it than accepting it as a part of myself.

Slowly and steadily the kilos kept coming off and I hope will continue to till I reach my goal.

Mid of March I weighed 74 Kilos. April first week, I started with the program under your guidance and I weighed 73 kilos by then ´cos I followed your guidelines and tried to eat in the same way and managed to lose a kilo. And now my weight is 64 kilos. I feel great about coming so far and even though I do want to lose 5-6 more kilos at least, I am not desperate to do so and know that by following the same lifestyle that I have followed up-till now I will get there.

I eat real food 95% of the times and my cheats are completely gluten free because the minute I eat gluten my joints start aching and the duration they ache for is directly proportional to the amount of gluten consumed. Had it not been for your guidance I would´ve never discovered that I cannot tolerate gluten and this explains why my Mom has arthritis today and I was walking towards thyroid problems.

I am not scared of gaining back weight anymore because I feel so crappy when I eat most kinds of cheats that I want to reverse the effect asap and at the same time I know that eating and working out this way is the way I want to live.

My psoriasis is the Soles and Palms kind. It has always majorly been on my soles and maybe say once a year I would get a breakout on my palm and it would go away real soon. However, currently the feet are doing WAY better but I had a sudden breakout on my right palm along with a pustule. It made things and daily chores really tough. I got rid of it somehow and the palm is much better now but not completely alright. I realized I was having much more dairy (milk in tea 3 times a day and cheese everyday and paneer every other day) than I had ever had and hence I cut down on it. I drink black tea, and drink no milk, eat no cheese and paneer. Have had plain yogurt only once since 3 weeks but I never stopped butter and ghee. All this has made my condition better but I know elimination is the key to find out how much it helps, but the occasional ice cream and stuff has been a problem, plus an upcoming almost 4 week long India visit. I have also thought of trying the GAPS way to heal my gut and I want to do it when I come back from India. What do you think?

I think my psoriasis is the result of the abuse I did to my gut when I was really young say 6 – 8 years old. I snacked a lot on tamarind, pickles and sweet candies and stuff and thus ruined my gut flora and ended up with psoriasis which is termed incurable and with an unknown cause! Since I didn’t know what  were the culprits in my diet, I never eliminated these things from my diet until recently and hence my condition never went away completely. Maybe doing the GAPS diet will help and reverse my auto immune disease. Though there is still time for me to try GAPS I have already started taking one pro-biotic capsule a day at least to see if it helps. I use coconut oil to moisturize my soles and palms and have started consuming a teaspoon of coconut butter since yesterday.

Pros:

  • Lost 10 kilos in 5 months
  • No more permanently pregnant tummy
  • No more joint pains
  • Skin glows
  • Have enough energy and stamina to complete all my tasks without getting tired. I used to pant earlier carrying my about 10 kilo child up 3 flights of stairs and now carrying a 10 plus kilo toddler, a heavy handbag , a 6-7 kilo grocery bag all up the stairs at once is no big deal(YAY!) 2 months back we went to paris and our toddler refused to sit in the pram and without getting tired we manged carrying her, our heavy knapsacks and the pram everywhere through the trains and through long hours sightseeing on foot in the city.
  • I can concentrate much better on my work without yawning and feeling lazy
  • Almost never need a nap in the afternoon
  • Migraine frequency reduced to once in three weeks from once to twice a week
  • Feel angry rarely and feel more patient and positive as a person

Waist     : 82 cm –> 68 cm [Raj: 14 cm reduction in circumference]

Hips       : 110 cm –> 98 cm [Raj: 12 cm reduction in circumference]

Thigh     : 67.5 cm –> 58 cm [Raj: 9.5 cm reduction in circumference per thigh]

Arm       : 32.5 cm –> 28 cm [Raj: 4.5 cm reduction in circumference per arm]

Tummy : 100.5 cm –> 85.5 cm [Raj: 15 cm reduction in circumference]

Cons:

  • Lots of stuff gotten loose, even rings 😉
  • Hubby worried about the hole im gonna burn in his pocket with all the new stuff I am planning to buy!

Workout update:

Continued with all the said workouts from my plan. However last month could only do the workouts and had no time yoga. Managed my walks during grocery shopping and finishing other things. Walked long distances with heavy bags and many times on a single day on weekends. Tried to stay as active as possible.

Supplements update:

Daily dose of a multivitamin, a tsp of cod liver oil and a pouch of magnesium (I still need my magnesium supplements and cannot go for more than 2 days without them).
Whey only in PWO almost never as a pre workout snack.

Further goals:

  • To stay consistent and lose more weight and continue working out regularly.
  • Need to still get rid of the excess weight on tummy and upper thighs.
  • Eliminate milk products to see how far it helps with skin issues.

Looking forward to hearing what you think.
Thank you for your time!

Regards,
Neha

Honestly, this is not even a testimonial. It was just a mere update. No praises. No ‘oh you changed my life’. So why am I even posting this? Well, ‘cos this is freakin awesome and there are important lessons to learn from Neha and what she did…
  1. Understand your body! Not everyone loses weight/fat at the same rate. There are many things that affect your rate of fat loss. The key is to stay consistent and keep fighting the good fight.
  2. Don’t be greedy and change things up expecting to wake up with washboard abs. Sustainable fat loss is a slow process and a quick fix. Stick to it. Fight the urge to keep jumping programs.
  3. Fat loss is not all about diet and exercise. Stress play a MAJOR role in fat loss just as it plays a major role in cardiovascular disease risk and other such fun stuff.
What do I have to say?

Millions of people want to make a change. Only a few do and Neha, you did it. In my book… you are awesome! Congrats and good luck to you. Stay the course and you will absolutely reach your destination.

And as always – there is no such thing as a silly question and there is no such time that is a bad time to contact me with any questions/concerns.

Peace out!
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Eating real food? In India?

After many grueling days of head spinning search, I finally found a house to live in Chennai. The house was perfect for the most part. The location was pretty awesome really. It was super close to the beach and within a 0.5 km (0.3 mile) radius, there were 10+ restaurants (including a bunch of places that sell unbelievably awesome desserts), 2 grocery stores, 1 specialty grocery store, 2 health store, an awesome bookstore, 3 banks with 24 hour ATMs, innumerable tender coconut and sugarcane juice stands and much more! The house, though, was, in my opinion, pretty great. It had 2 bedrooms, 1 living, 1 dining room, 1 study room, 3 full bathrooms, a spacious kitchen which will definitely be overused and a prayer room which will remain unused. Other than that, the bathrooms were fine, the flooring was granite and tile, enough lights and fans and other usual stuff.

So after I finalize the rental and pay the advance to the landlord, I take my then to-be wife to the apartment to check it out. She walks in with me, checks out the space and her face shrinks. You know, the typical ‘Well, I hate it like you hate Justin Bieber. But I’m going to try real hard to make it seem like I just hate it to a normal extent‘ look. It took me a while but I finally understood why she hated it.

All plug no play

She and I lived in the US for a good chunk of time and while she is Indian at heart, she is still (for good reason) used to the US standard of living. The thing in India is that you don’t have many things that you can just plug and play. Everything is available, but nothing is readily available. See the difference? Let me give you an example.

In a place like Chennai, an air-conditioner is pretty much a necessity. So, if you walk in to a store to buy one, the sales dude will tell you the price and features and sell you the unit saying their company will take care of everything. He will promise you that as soon as the payment is made, an engineer will call and schedule an appointment and will very promptly fit the unit for you. All charges included. No hassles.Plug and play right? Wait.

In reality though, the engineer will call and set up an appointment for say Monday 10am and the guy might turn up as early as just 5 hours late or as late as ‘I’m on my way right now, I’ll be there in 3 days’! And only after this are you told that there needs to made a melon sized hole on your wall and that the power source is too far away from where you want the a/c and yada yada. So you battle it out for a few days and finally when you have the a/c installed and working, you feel like you’ve been blessed with the gift of temperature control. And this is just one example.

So in the case of moving into a new house, the house is EMPTY. There is literally not a thing in the house that you can use. You will need to buy and install your own a/c, fridge, washing machine, water filter, microwave and even change switch boards etc in many cases. All these things are available… but not readily available. This is the reason my US-trained wife hated the apartment at first glance and this is also the exact reason why people freak out when they consider moving to India.

The point here is to look a little deeper. What seems like an ugly empty house, could actually end up being your dream home if you spend some time and effort to set it up. The case with nutrition is the same… exactly the same! Pretty much everything you need is available… just not readily available. Let me break it down for you.

Moving on to nutrition

I think we will all agree that good health is a direct result of good nutrition and good nutrition is a direct result of eating real food rich in nutrients and avoiding foods containing anti-nutrients. That being the case, as I mentioned in the previous post, irrespective of whether it is paleo or primal or GAPS or WAPF or the sustainability focused Eat Real Food, the recipe for good nutrition calls for plenty of vegetables & fruit, seafood, meat, eggs, poultry, dairy and safe starches and limited amounts of soaked/sprouted nuts, lentils, beans and legumes.

So, the question then is, if you did move to India or live in India (or any other developing country) can you sustainably eat a diet that is focuses on food quality?

During the last couple of months, I have been on a search for real food. Unlike in the US, where you buy real food in a box or with a label, here I had an opportunity to look for ‘actual’ real food and not just food that is labeled as real food. Thanks to  the folks from the BootCamp and from my FaceBook group, my search moved on from branded grocery chains to local shops to street vendors to seemingly dirty but factually clean farms/home-stores where real food is really available. In other words, I had the chance to actually interact with the people who produce and/or source these foods and discuss specifics about the food.

Vegetables & fruits

Yes the commercially available vegetables in India are loaded with pesticides. But there are places that sell real organic vegetables and fruits (no pesticides) at extremely reasonable prices. One such store is ReStore in Adyar, Chennai. These guys are a not-for-profit organization who sell purely organic produce and groceries. Since it wouldn’t be fair to them if I even tried explaining their passion and service, I recommend you check out their website.

Seafood

Chennai is one of the few big cities in India that has a shoreline… and a big one at that. So finding fresh seafood caught from the ocean (i.e super fresh wild caught seafood) isn’t an issue at all! There seems to be plenty of stores that sell fish that was caught the very same day and if you’re not ready to trust the guys at the store (and you shouldn’t), you always have the option of buying fish from the beach itself!

Red meat

I have had very little experience eating red meat in India (cos of the taboo associated with eating the cow) and so I’ll share what one of my well-read readers, Vizeet Srivastava, who is very passionate about good nutrition and consumes mostly high quality real food, had to say.

I think lamb meat you get here is not labeled as grass fed but it is grass fed. Cows may be getting hormones and antibiotics injections to some extent but not large doses as being done in US (as many things are not very commercialized here).

Goat meat is generally safer for two reasons:
1. Goat is mostly domesticated by poor people.
2. Goat milk is not popular and not easily available so most of it will be consumed by the baby goat and will have better immune system and health.
I buy from local shop who keeps smaller breed which means there is lesser chance that it is farmed. Moreover I do not think goat factory farming is profitable given number of people who keep them at home.

Poultry

Free range chicken is definitely not easily available in India, but again there isn’t much nutrition in chicken anyways and hence I don’t see a need to invest any amount of time in finding a source of good quality poultry. That said, free range ducks seems to be available fairly easily.

Eggs

Country eggs (naatu kozhi muttai), quail eggs and duck eggs are available in most places. Since these are not farmed as commercially as regular chicken eggs, chances of finding free range eggs are fairly high. They surely wont be labeled ‘free range’ or ‘cage free’ or ‘blah blah certified’, but if you spend a couple of minutes and talk to the grocer/vendor and ask him where he gets his eggs from, you’ll be able to find good quality eggs.

Dairy

It is true that grass-fed dairy is unheard of in India. But why would I go ask for grass-fed dairy if I can walk into a dairy farm and ask the farmer what he feeds his cows? And will I have anymore questions if he points to green grass and hay and says I need to pick up the milk every day within 2 hours of milking? Granted, the cows feed on a mixture of grains in addition to grass and hay, but the fact that these cows have never been exposed to hormones of any sort and that the milk is ‘as milked’ and unadulterated makes it legit! How awesome is that? And how many skim milk/low fat milk/soy milk chugging ‘health advocates’ actually know how wonderful real milk tastes?

What is my diet like right now?

Still a work in progress but here is what I normally eat these days…

  • Scoop of whey in water while coaching.
  • Shake with 1/2 liter whole milk, 2 big bananas and 1 scoop whey right after working out.
  • 3-4 cups of avial (traditional south Indian dish made with mixed vegetables, coconut, yogurt and spices) or kootu (lentils + vegetables + coconut oil), 3-4 whole eggs, 1 cup cooked white rice and a cup of whole milk or yogurt for lunch.
  • 1 cup of whole milk, a bunch of almonds and a fruit or two in the evening.
  • Some fish, 3-4 cups of vegetables cooked in coconut oil or ghee for dinner.
  • 1 cup of whole milk and a fruit bout an hour before hitting the bed.

So what am I trying to say here?

Simple – If you are ready to go that extra mile and ‘hunt for real food’, you can rest assured that you will get food that is high in quality, exceptional in taste and easy on your wallet! But if you choose to be lazy and just accept what is readily available, I swear to God you will be stuck in a hot and humid room with an uninstalled air conditioner eating pesticide/anti-nutrient filled food!

Go the extra mile just once, do the foundational work well and eat real food for the most part ‘cos life is just better when you’re fit and healthy!

Peace out.

Paleo, primal, eat real food, GAPS… really?

This is probably what you'd look like at the end of this post

I think everyone will agree that the best way to eat right is to eat plenty of nutritious foods and, if possible, eat only nutritious foods. And hence the nutrition concepts concepts such as paleo, primal, eat real food, GAPS, WAPF etc. are pretty awesome. Forget the different diets circling around the internet. Forget high fat low carb. Forget moderate protein. Forget macronutrient ratios. The concept of good nutrition is that quality of food is paramount. As long as one eats foods that are devoid of anti-nutrients and wholesome and unprocessed, it can be accepted that the said person is ‘eating right’.

So in as little words as possible, any good diet concept should preach the following.

  • Eat meat, whole eggs, vegetables, roots, tubers, fruits, unprocessed whole dairy and nuts.
  • Stay away from any and all potentially allergenic grains like wheat.
  • Stay away from any and all legumes, beans and lentils unless they are soaked/fermented.
  • Stay away from sugars.
  • Stay away from anything processed.

As you can see, the emphasis here is staying away from all foods that could potentially hurt you and eating only foods that are benign. And as it turns out, the foods that don’t hurt you are actually filled with plenty of nutrients and actually help you w.r.t health and longevity. Now getting into a little more detail, the following minutiae really matter.

  • Red meat is great but all red meat should be grass-fed/finished.
  • Poultry is healthy but all poultry should be free range.
  • Seafood is filled with nutrients but all seafood should be wild caught.
  • Whole eggs are more loaded than multi-vitamin tablets but all eggs should be organic and free range.
  • Vegetables and fruits are king but all vegetables and fruits should be organic.
  • Dairy, and especially dairy fat, is healthful but all dairy should be from grass-fed animals or should at least be organic.

What’s the problem really?

All these nutrition concepts – paleo, primal, eat real food, GAPS, WAPF – work and there is absolutely no surprise there. If you eat high quality food and stay away from any and all anti-nutrients that irritate your gut, there is no chance that you won’t get healthier.

But here’s the catch. These concepts only works under one condition – you have got to do it right!

Let me explain.

Health is a not short-term goal. Health is the cumulative result of many years of eating good food among other things like leading an active and stress-free lifestyle. So for any of these nutrition concepts to help with long term health (and hence longevity), one needs to ‘do it’ for many many days. In other words – the diet needs to be sustainable. So then, the question is…

Are these concepts sustainable?

If you live in the US or in any other developed country, you’d notice that most things are easy. This holds true for everything from cleaning the house to depositing cash to eating nutritious food. But if you live in India or in any other developing country, you’d realize that it is indeed hard to get things done. And eating right isn’t an exception.

As much as advocates of all these nutrition concepts (yours truly included) argue that their concept of eating is suitable for everyone, sustainable and more environmentally friendly than agriculture dependent feeding, I still haven’t found answers to the following questions.

  • If meat, seafood & eggs forms a considerable portion of one’s diet and if high quality meat (grass-fed, wild caught etc.) is a requirement, what about places where high quality meat is unheard of?
  • If dairy is healthful and necessary for healthy living (especially in the absence of meat), what happens if grass-fed cows don’t exist and the term organic milk is always associated with ‘what is that?’ or ‘now you owe me your car’? You could go raw, but what happens if raw milk is diluted with questionable water and if raw milk is indeed unhygienic?

If you’ve read even some of my articles, you’d know that I’m a big proponent of sustainability and I keep banging on the same point over and over again…

Is your super healthy diet and/or nutrition concept sustainable?

The answer to this question depends on many factors and two of the main factors are ‘availability’ and ‘affordability’. Sure, you may have discovered the world’s best diet, but can you ‘do it’ right? Are high quality foods available? If yes, are they reasonably affordable? If yes again, is this affordable availability sustainable?

And IMHO, if you don’t have answers to these questions, then you’re just buying into another fad! Why? Well, because what isn’t sustainable doesn’t last!

Coming to India:

As most of you know, I recently moved to India (a developing country) from the US (a developed country) and I cant guarantee that the fight to ‘eat right’ is harder here… much harder.

Allow me to elaborate.

Let’s say Rahul, a chubby 40+ metabolically deranged desk-job worker with a sedentary lifestyle and limited experience and enthusiasm towards health and fitness, has been advised by his doctor to ‘eat right’. So he decides to try one of the above stated nutrition concepts. All his meals contain mostly meat, eggs, vegetables and fruits. He consumes limited whole milk dairy and enjoys a cup or two of rice say every once or twice a week.

While Rahul read the right literature, took the best advice and is following the plan as closely as possible, he doesn’t realize a few things.

  • The commonly available meat (beef, lamb, chicken etc.) is in no way close to grass-fed or free range.
  • Most commercially available seafood is farmed.
  • All commonly available eggs are from factory farmed hens.
  • Whole milk available in regular supermarkets are made from milk solids.
  • Vegetables and fruits are loaded with pesticides.

Ummm… this is what I call – epic fail!

I’m sure many of you can relate to our imaginary Indian – Rahul. You’ve made up your mind, modified your pantry and even tweeted your resolution! But are you doing it right? If yes, care to share? If not, what are you going to do about it?

Do I have answers to these questions? Have I modified my dietary recommendations? Are things really that bad or am I just orthorexic? We’ll find out in the next post.

Peace out.

Success story: How does eating real food help a 61 yr old?

Note: Following this post I will be writing about a number of critical topics such as Vegetarianism and health, Why you should eat junk food, Real food for the little ones, The guide to mass gain, The guide for urgent & rapid fat loss, Sample strength AND conditioning workouts and more. To take the most advantage of all this, please subscribe by clicking the ‘Sign me up!’ button under Email Subscription on the top right and get all new blog posts delivered to your inbox.

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If you have been a reader for a while, you’d remember that I posted a success story titled Man Vs. Diabetes. While I get plenty of such success stories, I just haven’t had the time to compile them and post them since I’m always trying to address some controversial topic or the other in an effort to make nutrition and fitness understandable for the lay person. Now that I have been out of action for a while, I thought the best way to sneak back in and start writing about serious stuff was a success story. Moving forward I’ll be sure to post many more such success stories.

While I was in Bali, I got an email from my buddy Mahesh and it read as follows…

Machi [Meaning – buddy],

I wanted to check my blood work since it has been 4 months and also to check how my diet plan has been working out for me and as well as for Amma [Meaning – mom]. Just wanted to share with you.

These are the numbers before and after.

Mine:

April 14 2011

HDL – 72
LDL – 135
Tri glycerides 48
Total Cholesterol 219
Blood sugar : 93
LDL/HDL: 1.875
TriG/HDL:0.6667
TotalChol/HDL: 3.04

Sep 3 2011

HDL : 64
LDL:104
Triglycerides:43
Total Cholesterol: 185
Blood sugar fasting: 78
60mts glucose tolerance : 135
2 hrs glucose tolerance : 63
VLDL:9
LDL/HDL: 1.625
TriG/HDL: 0.671
TotalChol/HDL:2.89

Amma’s:

April 7 2011

HDL: 44
LDL: 129
Triglycerides: 123
Total cholesterol: 197
Blood Sugar:Fasting 120, 60 mts: 234, 120mts: 199
vldl: 25
LDL/HDL: 2.93
TriG/HDL: 2.79
TotalChol/HDL: 4.47

Sep 3 2011

HDL:53
LDL:110
Triglycerides:49
TotalCholesterol: 194
VLDL: 10
Fasting bloodsugar: 95, PP 1hr30mts: 175
LDL/HDL: 2.07
TriG/HDL: 0.924
TotalChol/HDL: 3.66

My mothers overall health has improved significantly after following a real diet plan. Still got to work but her 4 months of stay with me I made sure that she eats good quality food and improve her health. The numbers show the efforts she had put in. Still working on her blood sugar.

Mahesh

Let me point out a few things.

  • Mahesh and his mom are both vegetarians. Mahesh eats eggs, while his mom doesn’t.
  • Mahesh has been working with me for a couple of years now and he started off as a skinny marathoner and is now a solid fit guy who can squat, press and pull more than most and sprint a 100 pretty darn quick. His secret? Extremely consistent strength training & smart conditioning along with plenty of real food (whole milk, eggs, vegetables and fruit especially).
  • Mahesh’s mom is 61 years old. Clearly she had some blood sugar related issues which is being reversed.

Since Mahesh is young and his numbers are pretty darn perfect, let me break down his mom’s numbers for you.

  • Her HDL increased by 20% rising from from 44 to 53. If you didn’t know, a high HDL reading signifies cardiovascular health and immunity and is one of the most important numbers to look at wrt heart health.
  • LDL doesn’t mean anything, so I wont call her drop in LDL as an improvement.
  • Her fasting blood sugar dropped from 120 to 95 and, though not perfect yet, her postprandial blood sugar numbers are definitely improving! Without exaggeration, her fasting blood sugar went from diabetic to almost normal and she is well on her way towards completely controlling her diabetes! Good good stuff!

Obviously I’m not going to post this with no information about what she ate and other lifestyle changes. So I asked mahesh for some specifics.

Was/is she on meds for diabetes?

She wasnt on any meds for diabetes. It was completely diet and a lot of walking (1-2 hrs), around 20 thoppukarnams/day (in order to have an activity similar to squats), lot of sunshine.

What was her typical diet like? Any eggs?

I asked her to minimize grains (lentils). She completely eliminated sugar and sugar based productsand had limited the consumption of rice. Sheate a lots and lots of vegetables every day for the past five months, soaked well fermented payaru, lentils incase she felt like having different variety of grains apart from rice. Rice consumption was limited to max 2/3 days a week. Coconut oil was used for all the cooking. Olive oil for salad dressing. She also had optimum quantities of full fat milk, greek yogurt, cheese, nuts, avocado, fruits everyday. For protein she had tofu, tempeh, paneer. Most importantly she had Omega-3 supplements every day for the last 5 months. Most of the days she skipped her breakfast – 2 meals/day. She did complete fasting moslty 2x month but definitely 1x a month for religious reasons.

Any change in bodyweight?

She lost 2 kgs (4.5 lbs).

Change in energy level? Sleep quality?

Awesome energy levels to walk the entire NY city downtown, Chicago, DC and Boston downtowns without using any cab service. I was totally amazed to see her walk miles together without getting tired. She is 61. She has always been a sound sleeper and now it has only become better. Since there was less stress involved while staying with me in the US, she slept for longer hours (~8).

Change in other aspects of health? What has become better and what became worse?

Her chronic cold has improved. Shes using her inhaler a lot lesser these days but has not eliminated completely. Digestion has improved.

The way I look at this there are two valuable lessons here.

1. Mahesh did all he could to ensure his mom will take the real food route. He brought her to US, he made real food available at all times. he constantly spoke to her about the importance of eating real food, he ensured she walked a lot and got plenty of sunlight etc etc. He did his part well… very well.

2. His mom sealed the deal by doing exactly what she had to do. She took every piece of advice seriously, made changes to her diet and lifestyle and most importantly, stuck to it consistently.

There ya go – a testament to what eating real food and staying active can do for you (or your parents) irrespective of age. So whether you’re the son/daughter or the parent, you have here an example and motivation to make a change towards the good health and I truly hope you you do!

Peace out.

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