After powering through Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in two days (and you know what two of my days are like – they do not include long hours of peace and quiet), I started the 6 week plan as laid out in the book. That meant no dairy, coffee, juice, alcohol, sugar, fat, salt, processed foods, starchy vegetables, rice, meat, eggs…maybe it will be quicker just to say what I did eat! Fruit for breakfast, a huge salad (1 lb) full of leafy greens, veggies and sprinkled with nuts or seeds for lunch, and for dinner another huge salad, some cooked veggies and beans and a piece of fruit. The first few days were the hardest, and I cheated on the first day and had a cup of black coffee as I was suffering from a bad headache (unbeknownst to me at the time I began the diet on the heels of becoming quite ill so the beginning of the week was particularly difficult). I didn’t have any trouble feeling full – leafy greens, fruits and veggies pack a considerable amount of fiber – but unlike my boss (so he says) I did have a problem with missing things – like that morning cup of coffee. I also got bored (then I discovered different flavors of balsamic vinegar and that spiced up my salad experience) and found it a little hard to cook ‘normal’ dinners for everyone else.
But despite these difficulties I was getting positive feedback almost immediately in the form of the numbers on the scale! I weighed myself each morning and each morning the needle on the scale dipped a pound, sometimes two. At the end of one week I have lost 10 pounds. And even more encouraging – my blood pressure has dropped considerably. For those of you who don’t have to track your blood pressure and hence might not be aware normal is 120/80 and lower. High blood pressure is related to diet and is a dangerous condition as unchecked it can lead to strokes. When I started the diet my blood pressure was too high – 146/96 (hypertension). When checked after 6 days of the plan while still taking my full dose of blood pressure medicines (a combination of 3 pills) it had dropped precipitously to 92/59. At that point I decided not to take my medication; there is such a thing as too low blood pressure. Today, after one day off meds my reading is 99/67.
I am beginning week two feeling much better – my illness resolved and I haven’t been having headaches. I still find salads a bit boring (and feel like I have lettuce breath) but my oldest daughter has joined me on the diet so we are planning together and cheering each other on. She is more adventurous in her salads, adding tofu, mushrooms or fruit in addition to the lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers that make up most of my salads.