Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Experiment Continues

We're doing some experimenting recently in an attempt at creating a healthy, financially independent lifestyle for ourselves.

We moved our email, blog and web pages from the dedicated server I've been running in our garage to Google. We sold our 10-year old Mercedes and bought a newer used Prius. We're cleaning out the garage in and we'll be converting it to a rental unit. I'm riding my bicycle to work whenever possible. We switched to a low fat vegan diet.

Whoa - what's that? Vegan?

Being vegetarian isn't something new to me. I've been pretty much meat free for about 15 years. Of course it wasn't always easy. There's the peer pressure to deal with and just because you're a vegetarian doesn't mean that you're eating healthy. After all a veggie pizza is loaded with cheese and I know all too well what that can do to my cholesterol level.

Call me a tree-hugging hippie, I don't care, I feel great and my blood test shows just how far I've come since cutting out cheese, and fish--after all aren't we supposed to eat salmon to get enough Omega-3? Not!

Here's how it went so far this year.

                   January June August
Total Cholesterol    289   215   183
LDL Cholesterol      214   121   115
HDL Cholesterol       48    56    42

On January my cholesterol was sky high so I cut out the cheese, started eating more fish and began running every morning. On June 27 through 29 Rosie and I took a Celebrity Chef weekend seminar put on by Dr. John McDougall and decided to follow his low fat vegan recommendations. I also started riding my bicycle to work as much as possible for exercise.

Oh, but not eating meat-that must really limit my food choices. Well, I thought I'd document my meals, just to prove that a low fat vegan diet doesn't have to be boring.

Skipping the donuts, pastries, eggs and yogurt, I went for a bowl of oatmeal and a plate full of fruit at the studio commissary
Cucumber salad with peppers and couscous, pasta salad, curried vegetables with brown rice and yet some more pasta. What can I say, I like pasta and as long as it isn't loaded up with Alfredo sauce or oily marinara or smothered with cheese, pasta isn't fattening.
Working in the movie industry isn't all that glamorous, I often have to work through dinner. This is the time when trying to pick something out of a "Restaurants on the Run" menu can get quite challenging. No pizza or chicken wings for me, here I went for lentil soup and white bean hummos with pita bread.

You might notice that there aren't any drinks with my meals. Even though I do like a glass of red wine with dinner every once in a while I don't generally drink with my meals anymore. I heard that digestion is hampered by too much liquids, especially cold liquids and the usual cold soft drinks, especially sodas, does not do a body good. Oh and of course milk is out of the question. However, I do take in fluids during the day. I always ride my bicycle with a full bottle of water so that's a couple of liters per day just on my commute. In addition, I sip some herbal tea while working so my toal liquid intake is about 4 liters, about a gallon.

What about snacks? Motion picture studios are notorious for having lots of junk food on the set but if you look hard enough there's also fruit. My favorite snack is a banana. Not banana chips or banana flavored jelly beans or choclolate covered bananas, just plain peel and eat bananas.

So, the experiment continues. Up until now this blog has been just a personal exercise log and scrap book but we're turning a corner and expanding into other areas. In future posts we will be publishing articles about personal finance, healthy living and even some of our favorite recipies. Hopefully it will attract the interest of others looking to improve their health, wealth and life in general.