Is soy dangerous?

I have still not looked that deeply into soy, but public opinion seems to be split on it, so I keep my intake rather low to hedge my bets until I can figure it out. Being the cynic that I am, it’s hard for me to believe anything, and, in fact, I really don’t put my faith 100% anywhere, so it takes me a while to get a handle on some concepts, especially one with such a diversity of opinions, all with, of course, scientific evidence to back them up.

I used to drink a lot of soymilk, but a few years ago my friend Hans told me how much better almond milk was for me — he was buying into anti-soy rhetoric, which, as I said, may indeed be valid, but I just don’t know. Anyway, I tried almond milk and immediately switched, primarily because almond milk just tastes a lot better than soy milk.

Outside soy milk, which I used in my breakfast cereal and protein shakes, I didn’t really eat soy, except for soy sauce sometimes, and a little tofu here and there from Pei Wei, which has the best tasting tofu, I think, although I cannot to speak to its nutritional value ;=)

Well, that was then, and this is now. Then I was consuming a lot of animal protein. Now I am eating mostly vegan, so I need my plant-based protein, and soy products like tempeh, tofu, and edamame are really good sources of it. The Ultimate Reset taught me that. (Um, not about the tofu. The creators of The Reset are not so hot on tofu, because it is processed and often done so with chlorine. Horrors! But I like it, and I think the benefits outweigh the risks.)

My current thought is that non-GMO (GMO stands for “genetically modified organism” and, yeah, there is a movement against that, too, which seems to be somewhat valid, so I try to stick with non-GMO when possible) tempeh and edamame are okay with me, along with tofu. They are great sources of plant protein, and are eaten by a large percentage of the world’s population, so my cynicism tells me that most of the anti-soy rap has been generated by the meat industry, which sees soy as stiff competition.

Soy or no soy, well, life doesn’t really boil down to that, now does it? I mean, how can we possibly know what one particular ingredient does to our bodies? There is simply too much going on inside for one ingredient to be “the one thing” that will either kill or cure us, right?

I fact, I am at the point where I cannot even continue to demonize sugar, because there is a lot of sugar in the good fruits we should eat. Okay, maybe refined sugars and flours are bad for us, but perhaps that is simply a problem of volume, and if we only ate a little of that stuff, we’d be fine, right?

Ultimately, it’s virtually impossible to know the answers. The body interacts with the nutrients we ingest in so many ways, there are too many factors to determine what a particular ingredient does inside us. We have a hard time knowing whether it ever makes it to where it needs to be, or whether it has the opportunity to do the damage or uplift the health the way researchers claim it can do.

So what I currently do is strive to eat a lot of plants, and even, on rare occasions, some fish or eggs, and that should be me as close to “okay” as I can get. That’s my take on it for today, anyway. As you may have noticed, I am always open to change, if the right evidence comes along.

But I’ll tell you, I’ve been through a lot up to now, and a whole foods plant-based diet, including non-GMO soy, seems right.

Is muscle soreness reduced by a vegan diet?

When I switched from paleo to vegan a few months ago — an unexpected result, by the way, of my having gone through The Ultimate Reset — I did so because in the 21 days of The Reset I (1) lost weight that I thought I had no chance of losing, (2) my lower leg and foot cramps were gone, and (3) my eyes were not burning all the time like they used to. Given those results, I figured I’d try a vegan diet for a year or so, then re-assess at that time.

I have discovered an unexpected side effect of my plant-based diet, though: I am not nearly as sore the day after a workout as I used to be.

At first, I thought this lack of delayed onset muscle soreness — abbreviated as “DOMS”, that’s the soreness I would always feel the day after a workout and beyond — was because I was not fully recovered from The Reset, so I just wasn’t pushing it that hard. As the weeks passed, though, and the DOMS remained severely diminished, I decided to put it to the test.

One sure way for me to feel sore the next day is to do my Steve’s Chest & Back routine. I do all the exercises to exhaustion, so there is no way to dog it, and I have felt so sore from this in the past that I could barely move my arms the next day, because of all the DOMS in my chest and lats.

I did it, gave it all I had, and the next day … nothing. Well, not completely nothing, but not nearly close to any kind of soreness I’d felt in the past.

“Okay,” I thought. “Maybe there is some connection between a plant-based diet and a lack of muscle soreness.” But I was not convinced. So I waited 6 weeks and tried it again.

Again, I was barely sore the next day. Hmmmmm….

I started looking around a bit, once again, at DOMS, and there is still not a lot of consensus as to what makes us feel DOMS. Some say lactic acid. Some say lack of stretching. Some say muscle spasms. No one seems to know for sure.

I did discover, though, that Brendan Brazier, the guy who wrote the book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, also noticed his DOMS was much less severe when he went vegan.

Again, hmmmmm….

I will continue to test this hypothesis on myself, but I would say that my soreness is at least 65% to 70% less as a vegan than it was when I was eating a high-animal-protein diet.

And that’s a good thing.

Some amazing results from The Ultimate Reset

You may know that I am a Beachbody Coach, a Tony Horton fanboy, and a Shaun T insaniac. But I am not a blind follower. I learned the dangers of that type of faith when I was quite young, so I am wary of it … always.

I believe nothing.

In fact, I once had a college professor tell a friend of mine that, “If god came down from heaven and told Steve that 2 + 2 = 4, Steve would argue with him about it.”

I believe that to be an overstatement, but it does speak to the fact that I take no authority figure at face value. You have to prove yourself to me.

So it was with no small amount of skepticism that I entered into The Ultimate Reset. I’d seen the testimonials about losing weight & inches, lowering cholesterol, but, of course, Beachbody would only put the good results out to the public, right?

Nevertheless, I enjoy a challenge, and what could be more challenging to a carnivorous workout fanatic than 21 days of near-veganism with no strenuous exercise allowed?

You can read about my Ultimate Results results here, but what I wanted to share in this article are some results from other people, others I’ve been discussing Reset with on Facebook.

From DJ, a diabetic:
“Monday was Day 21 of the Ultimate Reset. I have learned so much about cooking, spices and vegetables new and old on how to properly prepare them. I hope to do the Reset once a year. My numbers: 8lb weight loss, 11.5 inches in total (5.75 of that is the Ab area) BP 109/69, BMI 33.1 down 1.3, Blood Sugar this morning 115! WhooHoo. I feel great…more focused, energetic, feel good all around.”

From CC:
“I did The Ultimate Reset with, and mostly for, my wife, but wow … I’m a believer foooshoooo!

  • Weight: Pre – 167 Post – 158 = 9 lb loss
  • Waist: Pre – 36.5 Post – 35 = 1.5” loss
  • Total cholesterol: Pre – 197 Post – 157 = 40pt loss”

From KMK:
“Ultimate Reset complete! Results: 15 lbs. lost, 7 inches gone, sugar addiction kicked, after dinner snacking no more, and tons of new healthy habits gained!! SO WORTH IT. Feeling great!”

From IG:
I finally had my doctor appointment to get my test results from after the Reset. Before the reset my total cholesterol was 202, my LDL was 103, and my triglycerides were 274. After….total cholesterol was 155, LDL is 87, and my triglycerides are 139! My doctor literally asked me “What the hell did you do to get amazing results like this?” She said she has never seen anything like that in a three week period. So….I told her ALL ABOUT THE RESET! Sooo amazing how that little bit of information literally made my month 😉

From CB:
“Yay!!! I did it!

What I’m leaving behind:

  • 12.2 lb weight loss
  • 6 inches overall loss
  • Artificial Sweetener
  • Minimizing processed foods
  • Soda
  • (I’m not leaving coffee behind, but will be drinking black, Dandy Blend or sweetened with Stevia or Agave) 🙂

What I am gaining:

  • A completely new appreciation for whole foods
  • Amazing recipes
  • A healthier family
  • A healthier me”

From TNC:
“I went to my doctor yesterday to get my blood work done. He was clicking away on his laptop, asking routine questions, when he suddenly stopped typing, looked up, stared when I told him my results so far. He was blown away and wanted more information on what plan I had used. He said that my results were what they hoped people could sustainably achieve in a year. My total cholesterol went from 238 to 165 and my LDLs were down from 143 to 77!!!!”

From SZ:
“Lost 10.2 pounds and 5.5 inches. Cholesterol was 156 now 123.”

From DS, about his Parents:
“My parents finished and Mom lost 12 1/2 lbs, 13 1/4 total inches, Dad lost 18 1/2 lbs, 14 1/2 total inches. Dad’s total cholesterol is down from 240 to 160. WOW. Mom’s went from 202 to 171.”

From DV:
“Officially endend Ultimate Reset Sunday. I am down 13.5 lbs and 10.5 total inches! This is the most I have lost in a year. For some odd reason my body did not lose weight despite everything I did. I am feeling great, energized, relaxed and have tons of energy. I noticed in week two of the reset that my hair was not falling as much as it used to. My favorite part of the Reset was that I let go of alot of mental emotional baggage. I feel like a whole new person.”

From SM:
“Official results after Reset: Cholesterol 164 – down from 233. Triglycerides 99 – down from 274. LDL 101 – down from 133. What is also awesome is my A1C is now 5.3!! Huge improvement.”

From HLS, about her husband:
“Ultimate Reset numbers are in! My husband’s cholesterol is down to 143 from 181. His LDL (bad cholesterol) is down from 110 to 85. HDL (good cholesterol) is up 1 to 32. His Triglycerides were 199 and are now down 68 pts to 130!”

From RS:
“Took my final weight and measurements. I’m down 18 lbs and a total of 14 inches!!!”

From RMN:
“So after 21 days of the Ultimate Rest my labs are back. My cholesterol dropped from 298 to 187 and I lost 16 pounds…. Clean eating is the way to go!! It is the first time in 5 years that I have had normal labs! NO medication necessary any longer! WWHOOO HOO! Still have a ways to go but I am on track.”

From DA:
“Total losses for The Ultimate Reset: 15.2 pounds, 3 inches at the bellybutton, and 2 inches at the waist. I’d say that qualifies as a success! The bigger news is that I’m actually sleeping without meds. I haven’t used Lunesta since starting The Reset. Now, don’t misunderstand — I’m not sleeping like a normal person by any means. I still wake up 3-4 times per night — mostly to pee, because of all the damned water I’ve been drinking — but I do actually fall asleep when I go to bed, and spend more of the night sleeping than thrashing around chasing sleep, as I was before. Steve, I can’t stress enough how HUGE this is! I feel better about myself and my health than I have in years. I have an appreciation for healthy, clean food that I all but lost as a busy adult in a processed food world. I owe you a debt of gratitude. Thanks for turning me on to The Reset!”

These are real results from real people. What are you waiting for? Give The Ultimate Reset a try.

END OF ARTICLE, START OF ME TRYING TO GET YOU TO HELP YOURSELF BY LETTING ME COACH YOU THROUGH THIS THING, BECAUSE I’VE BEEN THERE.

If you are not already a Beachbody customer and you purchase The Ultimate Reset through links on this website, I will be your Coach through the program and beyond that.

Remember, I am no gym rat! I am just a regular guy who was 5’10″/235 and is now 5’10″/160, so I understand the struggles of trying to lose weight.

In fact, it’s taken me 5 years to lose that 75 pounds, and I believe I can help you do it faster, because I took some wrong turns in there that I can help you avoid.

Btw, if you are already a Beachbody customer, but you don’t even know who your Coach is, because they’ve never contacted you to see how your are doing or to offer advice, you can switch over to me as your coach. Just ask Beachbody Customer Service to switch you over to Coach #51742.

Take control of your fitness. Get started on The Ultimate Reset today.

The Ultimate Reset – Tips

Once you order and receive The Ultimate Reset, you may be overwhelmed by the complexity of some of the menus. I know I was.

Now that I’ve gone through it, though, I have learned some helpful things that I thought I’d pass along.

  1. Join the Facebook groups. There is a lot of help and support in them, and Beachbody reps, as well as Reset veterans, are there to answer questions. You will need to be added to the group by an administrator.
  2. Watch the videos with Carl & Isabelle Daikeler. They are extremely informative and provide a lot of information you won’t find anywhere else. You can find links to them under the FILES tab at the top of the page in the Facebook groups.
  3. Check out the other stuff under the FILES tab at the top of the Facebook group pages, as well, because there are tips, recipes, all kinds of useful information.
  4. Vegan Shakeology was added to the Reset after Reset was developed, because people really wanted it. While people on the Reset have reported great results using more than what you see below, currently the official line is that you can have Shakeology:
    • In place of breakfast during Phase 1, with a full scoop (using approved recipes)
    • In place of breakfast during Phase 2, with half a scoop (using approved recipes)
    • As a snack during Phase 3, with half a scoop (using approved recipes)
  5. The booklet that came with the Reset is very good, but there are some errors. Two of the biggest ones are:
    • Mentioning green tea as an okay thing to drink. It’s not, because it has caffeine. Only one cup of caffeine-free (not decaf) herbal tea is allowed per day (officially).
    • Including black pepper in one of the recipes. Black pepper is specifically excluded because it tends to contain microtoxins and can mess with your digestion.
  6. Because there are errors in the booklet, be sure to check the Facebook groups for the latest information.
  7.  The Ultimate Reset website has all the recipes, including vegan substitutions and nutritional information. It is not as up-to-date with information, though, as the Facebook groups.
  8. Unless you are curious and just want to try them, don’t worry about the millet or farina, and skip the ground flaxseed. They were hard to find for me, and as it turns out, millet is optional, oatmeal can be substituted for farnia (hot rice cereal), and the flaxseed was only used once, so now I’m stuck with the rest of the $6 bag. On the other hand, when I did find and try Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Farina, I really liked it, and I still eat it now.
  9. I shopped around and found a lot of the less common items for The Reset reasonably priced at Vitacost.com.
  10. Don’t be afraid to play around with the recipes. I did this routinely, using the basic ingredients that I was presented with and preparing them the way I wanted to. Just don’t add things that don’t belong, like mushrooms, which were specifically excluded because of their fungal nature.
  11. Beets, the red ones, can make colors appear in your toilet that may cause you to worry. Don’t worry — it’s just the beet juice!
  12. Mixing the Alkalinize packet in a shaker cup is a lot easier than trying to stir it into a glass of water.
  13. Also for Alkalinize, use a large amount of water, like 16 or 20 ounces. That dilutes it enough to make it taste okay. That worked for me. Others recommended doing it as a shot and following up by sucking on a lemon wedge.
  14. Oxygenize can cause headaches. I put my drops into water and was fine. Others report that putting the drops directly on their tongues stopped the headaches. Try both methods, see which works for you. I think it’s easier to count the drops, though, when you put them into a glass of water.
  15. Don’t worry that much about portion size. If you are really trying to lose weight, maybe you should watch it, but I was trying to simply detoxify my body, so I didn’t fret much if the recipe said 1/3 cup and I used 1/2 cup. These are all pretty lean and low-calorie items, so I figured that, for example, an extra 1/4 cup of blueberries was not going to kill me.
  16. Speaking of trying to lose weight on the Reset, remember, as with any short-term weight loss, once the short-term behavior is changed back to normal behavior, you will gain the weight back. I know some people just have this thing about reaching a certain weight and will starve themselves to get there. But don’t be disappointed when you gain it right back, zallimsayin….
  17. Oh, and also, about your weight, don’t weigh yourself every day! I do, but I understand that my weight can fluctuate by +/- 2 pounds depending on how hydrated I am, so don’t get wrapped around what the scale says. Weigh yourself once at the beginning and once at the end, at the same time of day.
  18. The Mineralize ingredient is simply Himilayan sea salt, so if you run out, use that.
  19. Also, a “pinch” of Mineralize = 12 shakes from the Mineralize container.
  20. You may feel really terrible at times. The book said Days 3 to 5 would be bad. I only felt terrible on Day 1. It was so bad, with a huge headache, that I felt like quitting. I did not. On Day 4, I woke up with a really bad sore throat that was caused by post-nasal drip. The sore throat abated after a few days, but the drip stayed with me, diminishing daily, until the end of the Reset.
  21. Wean yourself off caffeine before embarking on The Ultimate Reset, especially if you are a heavy coffee drinker. I only ingest a moderate amount of caffeine (about 125mg daily), but I had a really bad withdrawal headache the first day. Try moving to half-caf, then decaf before you start the Reset.
  22. Eat the allowed snacks only if you have to. I never did, but, as I said above, I probably had a bit more food than the program called for during the regular meals. The snacks are supposed to be for emergencies only, although I see a lot of people eating them routinely.
  23. My experience with kale was that it tastes like spinach, but is a lot tougher — I did not care for it. I saw baby kale at the market, perhaps I should have bought that. However, I just used spinach wherever kale was mentioned.
  24. Tempeh isn’t good. You can substitute black or pinto beans, if you like. Fwiw, I am determined to figure out a way to like it, because it’s an excellent source of plant protein.
  25. Remember, it’s your Reset, so feel free to adapt it as you need to. You have to be able to fit The Ultimate Reset into your life. Stick with the primary principles, but if you need to drink a cup of coffee every so often, or have a snack at night, well, then, do it.

Have a great Reset!

The Ultimate Reset – Week 3 Recap

I made it all the way through the 3 weeks of The Ultimate Reset. Yeah!

It wasn’t that hard, to be honest with you. This was something I really wanted to do, and that took a lot of the difficulty out of it, especially because I felt that I was doing something good for my body.

Let me make this clear. The Ultimate Reset was not only about dropping some fat pounds for me. Sure, it worked that way, but it was quite nice to clean out my body and challenge myself with a new way of eating.

I mean, let’s face it, I was eating lots of meat, lots of fat, only a few veggies, not too much fruit at all, and I just didn’t feel 100%. I felt good, but not as good as I thought I should feel for my level of overall fitness. I have mentioned before that my eyes burn a lot — that was a big driver for me. Burning eyes are really annoying and mood-altering. Actually, I don’t know if my moods changed because of the burning eyes, or if the burning eyes were caused by whatever made my mood change, but I didn’t like it.

That’s really why I went on The Ultimate Reset.

For the record, I had a couple days during The Ultimate Reset where my eyes were burning, but nothing like before. I am eager to see how I feel in the next few weeks.

Okay, I know you really just want to know the results, so I’ll skip the Week 3 food report, except to say the food was good, but pretty much the same as Week 2.

FINAL RESULTS

I’ll have blood work done sometime very soon, but here are the final results of the other stuff I measured.

  • Weight: down 11.6 pounds
  • Waist: down 2 inches
  • Body Fat %: down 3.7 points
  • Visceral Fat %: down 2 points
  • Body Age: down 6 years

Body Age? What’s that? Honestly, I don’t know how it’s derived, but it’s one of the numbers on my Omron Scale. I dig that scale, which I’ve had for about 6 months, but didn’t start using until The Ultimate Reset, because it does give me those other numbers besides weight. (Well, not waist. I did that with a tape measure.)

How accurate is it? I don’t know, but I think it’s consistent, so if I weigh/measure myself at the same time of day, under the same conditions, I should get an consistent set of numbers to compare, and that is key. As for accuracy, I have a pinch test caliper, and the body fat percentage from that and the Omron are right on each other, so perhaps it is fairly accurate.

With consistency in mind, I stepped onto the Omron scale prior to The Ultimate Reset, and then at the end of each week of the Reset, about a half-hour after waking up, after having had a pint of water. Not, perhaps, the optimal time to check body fat percentage, because I’m still pretty dehydrated from overnight, but that was the best time to measure, i.e. when I would not forget.

What do I think of my results? Pretty good!

I am at a weight — 160 — that I have been trying to hit for years. In fact, when I first entered my information into the Beachbody website back in February 2010, I entered 165 as my goal weight. I have been struggling to reach that weight, stuck around 170-175, ever since. Now I am 5 pounds below that original goal, and, as it turns out, I still have a few pounds to lose. I can see them around my waist.

So, yeah, hitting that weight makes me happy, but what really makes me happy is my body fat percentage. I took 3.7 points off that number, and 2 points off my Visceral Fat number. What’s visceral fat? It’s the internal fat that surrounds your organs, bogging them down, making them work harder, so keeping that number low is good.

Even with all my hard work, however, my body fat is still higher than I want it to be. I’d like to dump another 2 or 3 points. How can I do that?

I already know that adding more exercise isn’t the way. Remember, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet, because it’s way too easy to eat more calories than you can possibly burn.

That’s not to say my diet is bad. It’s controlled. But I think it’s time for a change.

I feel so good on this vegan diet The Ultimate Reset put me on, that I’m going to switch my nutrition plan from meat-based primal eating to modified vegetarianism. That means my primary food sources will be plants, but I’ll also eat eggs, whey protein, and fish.

I am excited by this new direction! No, I won’t be adding sugar back into my eating plan. Sugar is poison, and I am glad my years of low-carb living have broken my sugar habit. I will, however, be eating a lot more fruit, which is naturally sweet, and I’ll have bread to eat again. And pasta. I hadn’t really missed those foods, but I do enjoy them, so it’ll be nice to have them back in the rotation.

And, yes, I’ll be eating only whole grains, no white flour. In addition, I am going to try to stay away from wheat, for a while, anyway, so I’ll be trying out pasta made with alternative grains. After a bit, I’ll add some wheat back in, see how that affects me.

All in all, The Ultimate Reset was a great experience. I lost pounds I had been struggling to lose. I learned about new foods. And I found a new way to eat.

I had not considered vegetarianism before The Ultimate Reset. Sure, I’d eaten like that for a few years back in the 80s, but that was just to break my fast food habit. (It worked, by the way.) I had not really thought I could eat like that again.

Why? Because I was not a fan of fruit or veggies. I eat them, but I don’t like them very much.

Oddly, during The Ultimate Reset, I learned to fully enjoy my fruit and vegetables. Not tolerate them, but enjoy them. So, here goes nothing.

I’ll give this modified vegetarianism a good year, so I can assess how it’s treating my body. That’ll give me a chance to do a lot of reading and research on the topic of plant-based nutrition. I am really looking forward to it, and I’ll keep you filled in every step of the way!

I REACHED ANOTHER GOAL

At the beginning of the year, I set what I thought was a modest goal of losing 10 pounds by June 30th. At the time I set the goal, I weighed 175, up a bit from my normal 170, so I really thought it would be a cakewalk — pardon the sugary metaphor — to get to 165. It wasn’t. The Ultimate Reset was my last hope of hitting that number, and here I am at 160. If I am still there on June 30th, I’m down 15 pounds! Pretty cool. Thanks, Ultimate Reset — Beachbody comes through for me again.

Beachbody came through for me again. Is it any wonder I don’t mind selling this stuff? These products are nothing short of great, well worth the premium you pay over others. Beachbody puts a good deal of time and effort into research and development, so their products stand out in the marketplace. They are literally lifechangers, at least they have been for me.