A Fortnight of Fitness: Day 1

Last night, Deborah and I watched the documentary "Forks Over Knives," which is pretty much the film version of the book, "The China Study," touting the strong scientific evidence that a whole food, plant-based diet is optimal for health and can prevent or reverse chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.

It came out in 2011, but surprisingly I wasn't made aware of it until recently. It's a very watchable film. It doesn't get boring or bogged down in political ideologies too much. It pretty much just follows the history of some of the strongest scientific research to date on the health benefits of plants, and its proponents (one of whom is the author of "The China Study"). Most of this evidence doesn't make it into the popular press because the food industry is a major gatekeeper on corporate mainstream media and the advertising that underwrites it, and frankly veggies don't sell. The food industry makes its profits on value-added processed foods, as well as meat and dairy, all of which are strongly linked to the prevalence of chronic diseases (especially dairy).

Now that the holidays and my birthday are behind me, I am going to attempt a fitness challenge for a fortnight, where I adhere to a strictly plant-based, whole food diet and measure the results quantitatively (weight and blood pressure) and qualitatively (energy levels, mood, focus, etc.). I will continue to do everything else as I normally would, like going to the gym three to four times per week for a moderate aerobic workout.

I weighed in this morning at 222 pounds, my baseline for this challenge, and about seven pounds over my pre-holiday/birthday weight. Last night's birthday pizza did not help and may have artificially inflated my baseline, which is usually about 215 pounds. My target weight is 199 pounds, and I have not been at this weight since before I can remember...but probably before college.

My baseline blood pressure today was 126/83, using a Walgreens brand consumer blood pressure gauge my wife has that seems to be somewhat accurate. That's slightly high for me. I'll also attribute that to the pizza.

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