Lab Results After Eating Vegan for 4 Months – Was it worth it?

I think the answer will be obvious.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for my complete lab results to be taken. But then again, I have anxiety so I’m pretty much anxious about everything.

Nearly four months ago my gf and I decided to embark on this journey of going vegan. For me, it was all about my health and wanting to see if I could get off of the dozen pills I take every morning.

So before starting, I went to the VA and had my blood work done.

I’d love to say that I was shocked by the results, but in all honesty, I knew that I hadn’t been taking care of myself for years, so I went in knowing they would be bad.

And they were.

But more on that in a sec.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we decided to do this after watching the Netflix show “What the Health.”

Yes, it was over the top dramatic. Yes, there were some things we didn’t quite believe. But it still planted the seed. So we did it.

For the most part, I have been completely vegan the entire time. There was one time where I was inadvertently eating egg, and then there was a week where I did have cheese while on vacation.

I also tried some buffalo wings that week and could only stomach one and a half wings before giving up.

But other than that, I have been strict.

And it has been so much easier than I thought it would be.

A couple months after going vegan, I went to the VA for a follow-up, thinking that I was having a full set of  labs taken, but that wasn’t the case. So I had to wait until last Friday for the results.

The negative – weight loss. More specifically, the lack of it.

I’ve actually gained a few pounds.

I think that I’m eating too many nuts during the day. Yes, they are vegan, but also high in calories, so I have given up my daily routine of snacking on pistachios.

Now the results.

Four months ago (actually three and a half), I had the following results:

Fasting Glucose – 430

A1C – 14.1

Cholesterol – 292

LDL – 253

Blood Pressure – 141/100

So yeah, not good…at all.

Here is where I am now:

Fasting Glucose – 81

A1C – 6.5

Cholesterol – 178

LDL – 95

Blood Pressure – I’m going to use my two month reading since I am battling a cold and it was slightly higher than at two months, but it was 117/77.

Those are HUGE improvements, especially in just under four months!

My doctor was very proud to announce that they must have my diabetes meds on point. He was shocked when I told him I had only been taking half the dosage because my blood sugar was dropping below 70.

According to him, he had never seen such a dramatic improvement with diet alone.

So, is it working? I think the answer is clear.

I go back to the VA in four months for more blood work and to see if I can start coming off of some of my meds.

What do you think? Have you had similar results by adopting a vegan lifestyle?

Skipping Funerals

There are many things that my wife, the hippy, does as an extrovert that I just don’t understand.

Last week there was a fatal crash in town where a teenage female lost her life.

Tragic, no doubt.

I didn’t know her, nor do I know any of her family members that I know of.

She was the daughter of a friend of a friend of my wife. My wife had never met her. May have never met her parents either…she’s not sure. But when the name was released, my wife went into full emotional crisis mode.

She was calling up friends of hers to let them know the news. She was trying to find out when the funeral was going to be. She was doing everything someone would do who had ties to the family.

But she really doesn’t.

And this is not a unique circumstance.

She attends more funerals each year than I have attended in my entire life. It’s not that I don’t care; I just don’t want to go to a funeral for someone I don’t know. They are sad enough as is.

Plus, being the introvert I am, I don’t want to have a conversation begin with a family member or someone who truly cared for and loved the departed where it becomes obvious I didn’t know them.

I am uncomfortable attending birthday parties for people I don’t know. I am uncomfortable attending weddings for people I don’t know.

There should be no doubt that I would be uncomfortable attending a funeral for someone I don’t know.

Instead I will be leaving work early to pick my son up from school since my wife will be going.

Reflecting on the “what ifs” in life

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After a week in Washington DC, and then a week in Dallas, I decided to take back-to-back four day weekends.

It was VERY needed.

Too many after-hours “get togethers”, hot temps, high humidity, and airports.

One thing that I completely enjoy living here in Montana is the ability to go fishing for some massive trout.

Fishing is an interesting activity, especially when doing it by myself. Each day I spent at least four hours out on the water with nothing to do but think…and recharge.

After the mandatory thoughts about if my bait is still on after casting, do I have enough leader, is it the right bait, and if I should put on bug spray, my mind started wandering to more reflective thoughts.

Mostly I spent many hours thinking about “what if”.

Having just recently turned 42 and dealing with depression, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my life, and how it would have been different with some of the decisions I made through the years.

Probably the most important decision I made early on was to join the Army. I joined the summer of my senior year in high school, mostly because I really didn’t have any plans for when I graduated. I wasn’t the best student, and honestly I never really considered what was going to happen when I was no longer in school. College wasn’t an interest, but neither was working in fast food.

It’s hard for me to imagine my life had I not joined. The Army allowed me to travel the world. It allowed me to see how my life growing up was really sheltered to the struggles people in other nations suffered. This was way before the Internet age, so the only real knowledge I had about poverty and suffering was the commercials about the drought and starvation happening in Ethiopia. That was basically it.

I knew nothing about Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, or any other war-torn country. Terrorism was something that was happening in Ireland. Racism and gangs were newspaper articles.

But much of my time reflecting on the “what if” goes back to the day I decided not to reenlist. Where would I be in life had I decided to stay in? As much as I struggled in High School, once I was out I became a sponge for knowledge. I re-took my ASVAB and scored very high. In fact, when it was time to reenlist the recruiter told me that I could have nearly any job I wanted in the Army and could choose whatever base I wanted.

I was seriously considering becoming a combat photographer. But I was too young and dumb and figured I could just get out and become successful wherever I landed.

It was a major wake-up when I landed here in Montana with no skills, no job, and no money.

That was 20 years ago.

A lifetime ago.

Where would I be had I stayed in?

We have been in war forever. People I served with have died in battle. Would that have been me too?

Would I be married? Would I have children?

I know that I wouldn’t have the son I have now. Wyatt is the most important thing in my life. Yes, he even rates above my wife. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. I think she would say the same about me.

That’s one thing that I always thought about in the movie “The Family Man” with Nick Cage. He ends up with the woman he should have, but the children are not there. Yes, they will probably have them, but would they be the same?

I always think back to that time in life when I made that big decision. Many times I think my life may have been better, but a major piece would be missing.

I think I made the right choice.

Those exhausting social events

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The past two weeks were exhausting for me. Too much output, not enough recharge.

First I had a trip to DC to work on a project with a group of people who have never met each other before. The weather was in the upper 90’s with high humidity. Keeping in mind I live in Montana, it sucked.

I was the only person who was familiar with DC, so I became the appointed travel guide.

Awesome.

The week wasn’t actually too bad since the rain kept people somewhat close to the airport. Plus I used the “jet lag” excuse to get back early.

Saturday we went to a wedding so we didn’t get home until late, and then Monday morning I was back on a plane. This time heading to Dallas.

More heat.

A lot more energy.

This was with our region. Except for management, most of the people haven’t met each other in person, so this was a big deal.

So big that every single night after our meetings there were social events planned.

EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

And being management, I was expected to be there.

Sometimes in life you just have to bite the bullet and do things that are not comfortable.

The first night we all got in was a get together at the hotel bar.

I’m not much of a drinker. Especially when it involves work. Not only was my boss there, but so were my employees. Just not an environment I like to put myself in.

Unfortunately within minutes I had three beers sitting in front of me.

Great.

The next night’s event was a Texas Rangers game. I am a big baseball fan, but I was not looking forward to being in a group in the 100 degree heat. When I go to a baseball game, I am there to watch the game.

I was the only one wanting to watch the game apparently.

The next night was dinner at a fancy steakhouse. Me traveling to another state for steak is like me traveling to another state to look at the mountains. Just doesn’t make much sense…but I sucked it up and had an overpriced steak which I could have cooked better on one of my grills.

Oh well. Only one night left.

This was the worst.

For one, I was on my last leg. I didn’t feel very well and was totally exhausted from not having been able to recharge at all.

The last night was bar food and karaoke.

Yeah, karaoke.

No, I didn’t participate.

Yes, I was asked…and asked…and asked.

Anyway, I am finally back home. I got some fishing in over the weekend which helped refresh myself a bit. I am taking two four day weekends off…so that should help too. My son had his first pitch baseball game last night and got his first hit of the season. That was awesome.

Aerosmith still hasn’t contacted me.

Odd.

Bucket list item completed: Publish a book

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Well, I can gladly say that I have now placed a check mark next to something on my bucket list: Publish a book.

Yesterday evening it went live on Amazon and starting today I am in the process of setting it up to offer it for free for the next few days. It’s a nice short one, so if you have a few minutes please check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Professional-Introvert-Dan-L-Bernhardt-ebook/dp/B00ZDXH24G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1434034314&sr=1-1