Tuesday, June 17, 2014


The Mitzvah I Ignored to my Peril (6), Beginnings are Hard

70 pounds overweight, 11 pills a day, out of breath and fatigued, and with symptoms of various horrible diseases, I’m not sure I’m going to be here at the end of the year.  But I am sure that if I don’t do anything, I may not be here at the end of summer.

I sorted through suggestions, information, web sites, doctor recommends and determined… I have no idea.  But I do know this: sugar is bad and is now in almost everything we buy.  Bread. mayonnaise, ketchup, even lunch meat.  Almost every processed food we buy is now loaded with it.  Worse, most U.S. products are using High Fructose Corn Syrup instead of sugar.  (Fortunately this is not true in Israel.)  And because of it, even seemingly healthy foods (whole grain bread, granola, etc) are presenting a completely different nutrition profile than they were 20 years ago.

About the only processed or prepared foods I found in my house that have no sugar are hummus and soy sauce.

So I decided to try low carb, very low sugar, never ever any high fructose corn syrup, low processed products, high vegetable diet.  Salad, meat, eggs, fish, cheese (not together!)  That’s all.  Nuts for snacks.

Not paleo, I’m not frying my egg in butter (I can’t completely overcome a generation of nutrition advice).  Not Mediterranean, I like olives and olive oil, but not as a diet stable.  Not avoiding carrots, which are higher in sugar content. 

Not juicing, I want my vegetables with all their fiber.  Not exclusively raw vegetables, cooked are fine as is soup.

But if it’s white (potatoes, rice, flour based), if it’s a grain (wheat, oats, spelt), if it’s processed or pre-packaged, it’s gone.

And some exercise.  The bikes are broken, the skates don’t fit, the gym is too expensive.  Oh my gosh, I’ve got to walk.  Every day, no matter what, no matter how I feel or if the time is available, it’s walk or die.  I’ll walk.

- WEEK 1 -

Diet - I explain to my wife what I’m trying to do, she sends me to work with a sandwich.  I come home, it’s chicken and pasta.  I get frustrated and snap at her, “Can’t you see I’m dying here???  Take away this poison!”  She’s upset, I’m an idiot.  Just because I’ve been freaking out and making life decisions doesn’t mean she can read my mind or automatically conform to every change I want.  I apologize, she accommodates.  She gets some details wrong a few more times, I gripe and complain some more – I’m still an idiot.  She puts up with me and after a week has it all figured out, she’s a tzadekes. 

The eating adjustment is a bit hard.  We keep “extreme kosher”, the diet plus our kosher standards mean I can’t just run out and pick anything up if I want a supplement – even in Jerusalem.  A bit more planning ahead is required.

And I’m getting some “carb cravings”.  Sometimes I’ll eat a full mean, even a large one, and not feel full.  I power through.

Exercise – I walk 2 blocks, I think I’m going to pass out.  I can barely catch my breath.  I’m passed by an elderly man using a walker.  Am I really this out of shape?  (YES)  After 2 days of 2 blocks, I go 3 blocks (yay!)  By the end of the week I’m doing 1/4 of a mile.  This is sad, but there is progress.  I’m somewhat able to breath by the end of the week. 

WEIGHT CHECK – 245 lbs.  I lost 5 pounds in a week!  This is wonderful.  It’s easy.  Why didn’t I do this 20 years ago?  In a few months I’m going to be a stick!  And off all medication!  I’m seriously excited!  Ok, it’s hard, but I can manage this for 3 months.  No problemo!

- WEEK 2 -

Diet – My wife’s in sync, the food is different and even interesting.  She’s getting into varying the vegetables, I’m enjoying the meals.  The carb cravings have cut down, everything seems ok.

Exercise – By the end of the week I’m up to a 1/2 mile.  I can outpace the elderly gentleman with the walker now.  It’s still hard to start each walk, but by the end of the week I’m enjoying it and breaking into a light sweat.  My children have joined me a few times, and my wife is now joining me for the walks.  It’s “our time to do something together”.

WEIGHT CHECK – 240 lbs.  This is unbelievable!  Some diet change and walking and life is turning around.  In a few months I can become a frum model!  Who knew this was so simple?  Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?  I rave about it in shul, one of the fellows who has diabetes is inspired to start a similar plan.  Within a few days his sugar levels have dropped to almost normal!  I’m beginning to think I’m a diet genius!

But there’s a problem.  I took a blood & urine test per doctors instructions.  Nothing’s improved, and there’s slight signs of blood in my urine.  The number is low, but were always negative in the past.  Could this be caused by the change in diet or exercise?  I see the doctor, he’s not worried about given the number is low.

- WEEK 3 -

I walk out of my office at the end of the day and double over in pain.  Intense agony in the groin area.  Fortunately my wife is picking me up from work today.  I beg her to quickly get me home so I can lie down.  I’m panting in pain.  She takes one look at me and says we’re going to the hospital.

She barges our way into triage, I’m begging to just curl up on the floor.  They ask symptoms, ask for a urine sample.  It’s brown, I’m bleeding internally.

I’m certain, given my many other symptoms, that it’s exactly like the article of the guy who lost his kidneys due to undiagnosed diabetes.  I start to say viduy and goodbye to my wife…

…to be continued, G-d willing.


  1. Refuah Shleima, please Hashem!

    Yes, i agree no butter. The meat is adequate. Use organic virgin coconut oil and olive oil only. Try eating olive oil and organic apple cider vinegar on veggies (or balsamic vinegar), steamed only, if cooked. Otherwise raw. Tomatoes or tomato salad with oil and vinegar at end of meal reduces cravings for sugar.

    Absolutely no processed foods. Even hummus can be made from steaming the frozen chic peas and then using the water from steaming, olive oil, garlic, a dash of turmeric or curry, little water and use food processor to make a creamy texture.

    Learn vitamin and mineral vale of veggies and vary each week to cover them all.

    Chicken soup (with whole chicken) made with only carrots, celeriac (organic celery root) and some celery leaves(after checking) is tasty and sufficient. Then the boiled chicken can be the Friday night meal. Better than baked.

    A salad of greens to start every meal generates the digestive juices that help with rest of the meal.

    You can order from Bodek, they deliver, the organic items, with heksharim.

    Please keep us informed. We are following your progress (or otherwise) daily.

  2. Refuah Shleimah.
    May you be pain free ASAP.

    If you need to snack, try a few almonds.

  3. It's amazing how smart your readership is, with really good healthy suggestions for you. Do you realize this?
    Chew on almonds and brazil nuts too.

  4. Moriah wrote that juicing is expensive. Not really so. It depends what your selections are. My husband juices 3 paks of wheat grass (13 nis@), and 2 bags of carrots. And that's not much shekels. He says the wheat grass helps the body and the head, especially his davening. There are tremendous healing properties in the wheat grass juice. It all fits easily into the food budget.

    His juicing also cleared up some nasty side effects from an antibiotic he "had" to take for a case of pneumonia. I think it was walking pneumonia. Those meds are dangerous. People die fom them!

    I like green apple juice for Shabbat. Also celery, apple and parsley. Great detoxer. Not expensive. Plus I'm a big salad eater.


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