Category Archive for: ‘Diets’
The Elephant In The Room
Big boy in the room

The elephant in the room

The elephant.  Ever been in a room full of people and everyone there knows they have a “big” something to talk about but no one wants to be “that guy” who first mentions “the Elephant in the Room”?

I have come to the point where I am both “that guy” and I am also “the Elephant in the Room”, quite literally.

Recent Past

I have been posting this blog for over 3 years.  My posts have been health and quality of life related for the most part.  I have tried not to be preachy, choosing to take the high road and “suggest” that we as a group or generation, or even society, are slowly killing ourselves with our food choices and dietary habits.  I’ve tried to locate alternative choices and explore diets ranging from vegan to the South Beach diet.  I have never asked you to do anything that I haven’t tried first.  I have dug deeply into any possible side effects or physical changes that might result from maintaining any type of diet.  I have shed light on food additives such as HFCS, flavor enhancers and color additives.  I told you that if you avoid these things you could not only live a healthier life but enjoy your remaining time on earth more.   Now it is time for me to pay the piper.

hospital photo


I am not going to labor on my various physical factors that may or may not have gotten me to the point of being the Elephant.  Doesn’t matter.  I am the result of what I have eaten and have not burned off over a period of years.  Yes I, as most people in the world, have challenges that make my path to a leaner me more difficult, but that only makes my choices more interesting.

human with head in sand ostrich with head in sand

Ostrich Inflicted People Stop Here

If you have the ostrich syndrome and have your head buried in the sand or even live on the Egyptian river De-Nile, Stop reading now.  BUT before you do, take off your clothes and stand in front of a mirror and ask your self  “self, is this the way I want to look for the rest of my life?


Note To Friends and Family

If you are still reading then there might be hope for us yet.

I have to say that as I have been getting larger not a single person has given me grief about my weight.  Honestly, I don’t remember a single negative remark, which tells me three things.

  1.  Either I am such a mean SOB that people are afraid to make suggestions to me of that nature
  2. My friends and family don’t care about me.  (I know for a fact this one is not true, in fact I feel that they love me very much)
  3. My friends and family see a broken, fat, old, once at the top of his game, man and feel sorry for him.

Personally I’m pretty sure it is a combination of #1 and 3.

Not a single person in the world (correct me if I am wrong) looks in the mirror and can see the real image being projected.  I’m not sure why that is, but we all tend to see ourselves as we would like us to be, with a little fudge factor thrown in.

Please don’t read into this that I am blaming my friends and family for not telling me I was getting fat.  I don’t.  In fact I totally believe in taking full responsibility for, not only our own actions, but the results of our inaction.

The Piper To Pay

My piper weighed 308 lbs as of December 11, 2013.  Yep, that is one hell of a piper and he now has his hand out and wants to be paid!

elephand eating


As a result of my 3 years of blogging about diets ranging from no meat, no carbs, no protein, no soda, no starches to all soup, all protein, all carbs, all water, and many variations in between, I have become completely convinced  that the diet that will work best for all of us is a balanced diet, mostly vegetables, avoiding additives, processed food and drinking lots of water.  Ever heard that before?  One thing I feel is very important to our digestive tract is to vary our diet.  This is important because our system can adjust to almost anything and in order to flush the toxins we take in we need to surprise our system with different food on a regular basis, lol.


Keeping Track

So, all of that said, I will be eating any food I would like but in balanced amounts.  I will regulate and lose weight by limiting my intake to between 1890 and 2240 calories per day.  Of those calories, 50-60 percent will be carbohydrates, mostly complex carbs.  12-20 percent will be protein and 30 percent will be fat, mostly unsaturated fats.

I will use a free on line program to track my food, water and exercises called


Goal – Stage 1

Sparkpeople has calculated, that for me to lose down to 250 lbs, my stage 1 goal by July 1, 2014, I need an in-take of between 1890 and 2240 calories per day.  That shouldn’t be hard.  If I crave things, I will eat them, but only under my limits.

Elephant-with ball

Join Me – or Not

This is for me.  Join me, I’d love it.  Tell me your problems, challenges, successes.  Or Not.  You can blow this off as another lame jughandle blog.  (then why are you reading this)

If you see me, make fun of me, congratulate me or ignore me.  Your choice.  A ride is always more fun with a companion.

I will post pictures and stories about things I discover.  It will be another adventure!

herd of elephants

Day 1 Results

Calories – 1097

Carbs – 146 g

Fat – 38 g

Protein – 41 g

8 oz glasses of water – 5

Weight gain or loss – Lost 3 #

Current weight of Piper – 305#








Kidney Stones

Some of you are aware that I have been suffering from kidney stones for the last 2 years.  I also have a birth defect where I only have one functioning kidney.  When I get a stone that achieves sufficient size to become lodged in my ureter, or urethra, I am in serious trouble.  Different pain for each location, but the result is always the same – 4 to 12 hours of intense back and stomach pain followed by a rush to the hospital ER almost always at night and/or on the weekend.  Then CT scan (I’ve had 38 in my life) followed by a visit by the attending only to tell me the stone size and location and that a nurse will give me pain meds until my doctor can perform a scope procedure in the morning some time.  By the time I get to the OR the next day I’m willing to do anything.  The pain meds don’t do crap.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  Even morphine only lasts minutes at best.  Really the only relief I get is to induce vomiting, I don’t know why.  This has happened 6 times in the last 2 years.  4 times this year alone.  Oh yeah, I’m self insured, which is another story for another day.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Oh by the way.  If you do happen to have two functioning kidneys, chances are the ER will just send you home until you pass the stone if it isn’t too big to pass.

hospital photo   scope

The Procedure

My urology group has 12 doctors practicing, all of which I would trust with my life (I’ve used 6 of them).  They range in age from just out of school, I’m guessing 30-32 to about to retire, 60-65.  I mention their age because interestingly enough the younger doctors are usually better at this video game like procedure than the older ones.  They have to be able to remotely search for  any problem and grab the stone(s) with the tong and either remove the stone or use a laser to break the stone up into more manageable sizes.  All of this has to be done quickly, because the activity causes the ureter to swell around the tool.  Finally, prior to exit, because of the swelling, a stint, roughly 20 inch long is placed in the kidney to extend down the ureter into the bladder to keep the ureter open while it heals.

Now if you are following me and are quick, you might be thinking how the heck are they going to get that stint out?  Ah yes, turns out there are two ways.  One way which I have experienced 5 times, is to have a string attached to the stint that continues from the bladder out the urethra and is taped to my privates.  After 3 or 4 days I go back to the doctors office and the PA (physicians assistant), un-tapes the string and pulls like crazy to remove it.  Believe me it is a rush and not in a good way.  The second way, which I recently experienced, is to have no string but to be scoped again with another device in an outpatient procedure, while NOT under sedation, to grab and remove by pulling everything out.  I had the stint in my kidney for 5 months.  I couldn’t do anything but lay flat on my back and stare at the ceiling.  The pain of the removal was short comparably.

I usually awaken to the smiling face of the recovery nurse telling me to take deep breaths.  The anesthesia doesn’t make me as sick as it used to.  I’m close with a first rate anesthetist.

I am writing this blog not to complain about my pitiful plight, but to tell you about the cure that my doctor and I discovered, at least for me.

The Cause

There are at least 5 different types of kidney stones that form in different sizes and shapes.  No one really can put a finger on what happens to the body to trigger this situation other than the body chemistry changes.  In my case, we have found that I had been screwing around with my diet to try and improve my health and did just the opposite.  I made my blood and urine pH (potential hydrogen), which is the measure of acid or alkalinity, to become very acidic (pH of 5)to the point of acidosis .  This condition caused the balance of oxilate, calcium and uric acid to be completely thrown off in my blood and urine.  Instead of combining with the calcium in my body to be removed in my stool, the extra uric acid, in my case, formed stones in my joints and kidney.  In extreme cases stones can also form in your brain.  In the joints its called Gout.  In the kidney it causes back pain (that’s were the kidneys are) and radiating stomach pain.  It’s when the stones break loose that the real trouble starts.

phtestigenstripsph - ion

The Solution

During my last procedure 5 months ago, the doctor broke up 2 large stones which he couldn’t remove because of their size and location.  He thought the stones looked like uric acid stones.  That was the good news.  Uric acid stones can some times be dissolved if the urine pH can be consistently maintained at 7 pH or above.  I took potassium citrate pills for 5 months and eventually a CT showed that the stones had indeed dissolved.

water from the tap

Long Term and Prevention

I know much of what I post falls on deaf ears.  This will never happen to you, will it?  I continue to post for the same reason that I would yell a warning at some one who was in the path of an approaching bus.

  • Drink lots of neutral clean water (I drink a gallon a day)
  • Eat mostly green vegetables or other alkaline foods (limes and lemons are surprisingly processed in the body as alkaline)
  • When you eat protein eat a little dairy with it, but limit proteins to 3 or 4 meals per week.
  • Test your urine with pH test strips weekly to avoid problems.
  • Learn about how to maintain a body and diet that is above 6.5 pH
  • Don’t eat sugar, sugar and anything else results in an acidic pH
  • most of all don’t believe me – do the research yourself


Neutral pH is the sum of all things Healthy

Neutral pH

I’ve been exploring the healthy life style for several years now.  Until now I’ve mostly learned what NOT to do.  You know, the same things that religion teaches.  Don’t do these 10 things and have faith.  Unfortunately I was raised to question authority and find the answers myself.  That one lesson makes my life much more difficult, but also more interesting.

Don’t eat too much protein, don’t drink too much alcohol, don’t eat too much starchy food, drink lots of water, etc. etc.  but WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

During the last 2 years I have had 6 operations to remove kidney stones from my 1 good kidney.  I’m not enjoying this procedure which requires cameras and tubes being forced into tiny orifices of my body leaving behind pain and damage.  I will do almost anything to stop the process.  I’ve been tested, probed, questioned, stuck and drained.   I’ve changed my diet 4 times.  I drink more water than an aquarium fish.  Still, doctors can’t tell me why or what to do, just a lot of “try this, try that, have you done that.”  Not good enough!

I have drilled down to what I believe is the lowest common denominator for our health. Neutral pH.  Simple as that.


What the Heck are you saying Jug?

What? You may ask.  Good, at least you are asking questions.  To explain Neutral pH, or pH at all, with out boring you I’ll keep it simple.  pH, or Potential Hydrogen,  is a logarithmic measure of hydrogen ion concentration.  The pH scale measures how acidic or basic (alkaline) a substance is and ranges from 0 to 14.  With 7 being neutral and 0 very acidic.  Most life on this planet lives in the middle around 7.  Of course, even with in our own body pH can and does vary from a low of 1.5 to a high of 8.5.  All of that is part of the process of digestion and healing.

Short and Sweet

I’m going to stop right here.  I truly believe that this is the most important thing I’ve ever posted and I want to keep your attention.  Remember this for next time.  Protein foods metabolize as acidic in our bodies and our body can only heal itself in an alkaline environment.  Our kidney(s) eliminate acidic waste from our body, trying to reach a neutral pH. Acid in = acid out.


You Can Be 90% healthy too!

Can any one be 90 percent health?  I believe you can, but my point here is to make living a strict life style, such as vegan eating, easily attainable.

The art of the cheat

I never really liked the word “cheat”.  It implies that you’ve done something wrong.  In this case, lets do something right.  Let’s call it the “10 percent solution”.  For me, and I think, one of my failings in life, I have a strong need to keep my options open. I believe there are way too many rules in life already, why self-impose more. When I’m restricted I have a strong desire toward that restriction.  Weird?  What you resist you get?

So, I came up with a personal solution that might serve you as well.  I use a “10 percent solution”.  It’s easy doing something for a short period of time, am I right?  I make available to me the possibility to eat anything and everything I want at any time.  I can dream about the food, I can plan menus with it, I can even cook it.  I know that if I really want to, I can partake of the forbidden.  But I don’t 90 % of the time.  I leave the door open to eating meat and/or dairy and eggs, one day per week.  Funny thing is that by making it possible, I don’t want it as often.  Only about 10 percent of the time, not even once per week.

Removing the NO-NO

If you remove the forbidden, amazingly the deep lingering desire also is gone.  At least for me.  Since starting this plan around mid December (yes I know that it’s only been a month) I have planned to eat meat every weekend only to find I didn’t really want it.  In fact, I’ve exercised the 10% rule only twice this month.

Conclusions and recommendations

I concluded long ago that if I eat a 90% vegan diet, I will clean the plaque from my arteries and in turn lose the 100 pounds I’ve gained from having no testosterone in my body. I’m a two time testicular cancer survivor.  The goal is to accomplish this in the year 2012.

I recommend that if you have dietary health issues that are causing you to be uncomfortable or to worry about your longevity, join the fun.  We’ll work through it together, it really isn’t that hard.  It can even be fun watching people squirm when you tell them you are a vegan. Tell them you are a member of  Jughandle’s Fat Farm and start a conversation.  What can it hurt? – Jughandle

Bill Clinton – the Vegan

Yes, the former President of the United States is a vegan.  He once stuffed himself with barbecue, chicken enchiladas and he loved his hamburgers.  President Clinton like myself has a family history of heart disease.

Bill Clinton declares vegan victory

The former president, known for his love of burgers, barbecue and junk food, has gone from a meat lover to a vegan, the strictest form of a vegetarian diet. He says he eats fruits, vegetables and beans, but no red meat, chicken or dairy. continue

The Los Angeles Times

Bill Clinton talks about being a vegan

  • Former President Bill Clinton during a recent visit to Haiti. Clinton says that his vegan diet is improving his cardiovascular health.
Former President Bill Clinton during a recent visit to Haiti. Clinton says… (EPA / Andres Martinez Casares)
August 18, 2011|By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / continue reading

Bill Clinton a Vegan? Now we’ve heard everything

August 19th, 2011 from Healthy Living
Read the complete article

What is a typical vegan meal?

The following is a typical 2300 calorie vegan meal plan for 3 days from








This diet is roughly 53% carbs 15% protein and 32% fat

Day 1


  •  1 serving scrambled Tofu
  • Whole wheat bread – 2 slices
  • 2 medium wedges of cantaloup
  • 1 T margarine spread

Morning Snack

  • 6 oz cup of Soy yougurt
  • 2 T Flax seed


  • 1.5 servings of Black Bean and sweet potato salad
  • 1 whole grapefruit

Afternoon Snack

  • 2 oz trail mix snack


  • 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 serving of grilled vegetables
Evening Snack
  • 1 cup of fruit salad

Day 2


  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 8 oz green tea
  • 1 cup Kashi breakfast pilaf
  • 4 T english walnuts
  • 1 cup of soymilk

Morning Snack

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 T almond butter


  • 1 orange
  • 2 cups raw lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp flaxseed oil
  • 1 T balsamic wine vinegar dressing
  • 1 non-dairy burrito
  • 1 oz no salt sunflower seeds
Afternoon Snack
  • 4 T hummus
  • 8 medium baby carrots
  • 4 slices crisp rye bread


  • 2 cups whole wheat spaghetti, cooked
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 7 vegetarian meatballs
  • 1 cup broccoli, boiled with salt

Day 3

This day is 66% carbs 14% protein and 19% fat


  •  1 cup vanilla soymilk
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup raisin bran

Morning Snack

  • 2 medium wedges of cantaloupe
  • 5 whole wheat vegetable crackers, nonfat


  • 1.5 servings of vegan chili
  • 1 serving dry salad
  • 1 piece of cornbread

Afternoon Snack

  • 6 oz of orange juice with calcium
  • 3 T mixed nuts


  • 1.5 servings of brown rice and lentil pilaf
  • 1.5 servings of broccoli with garlic and olive oil


I conclude that we can make a better menu than that and I’m going to get a jump on next year by working the rest of this year on it.  Stay tuned Fat Farmers, this won’t be as hard as you might think (he said with a shaky voice) – jughandle


Year in Retrospect from a food standpoint

This has been an interesting year.  I’ve posted nearly 160 posts in 6 months averaging around 26 posts per month in addition to 60 of my favorite recipes.  The blog started in July and now has 72 subscribers averaging over 450 hits per week.  Personally, I’ve gone from a  morbidly obese meat eater to a obese Flexi-vegan.  I’ve learned that there are others out there that care about the quality of their food as I do.  I’ve identified the major problems with our eating and dieting as well as things to watch for in our food chain, food labeling and food additives. We’ve talked about nutrition and diets.  I’ve tried to pin point what to do and what not to do to the point of outlining what should be stocked in our pantries, refrigerators and freezers.

We’ve identified the problems, suggested solutions, provided direction on improving our techniques and offered some fool proof recipes. – NEXT

Next year

This coming year is 2012.  Amazing. 2011 was the worse year of my life in many ways.  2012 is going to be a rebirth, a revival of the economy, my business, my direction of my life and health and the way I approach living.  It’s time for a change.  I’m digging my heals in and I’m not looking back.  Will you join me?

Yes, I know it is easy to make end of the year promises and resolutions because traditionally that is what we all do.  Not this time.  I’m determined to continue to build on what we’ve started this year and create something even better.

We are going to expand on the recipes for vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I’m going to continue to research healthy food and food preparation.  In fact I’ve got a plan in the works to put together meals, menus and shopping lists, not just recipes.  Did you know that it is important to consider the foods we combine and eat together.  Our body receives food in different ways.  We need to eat in the right combinations.

Conclusions and Considerations

I’m concluding to try harder in 2012.  I’d like you to consider participating and offering suggestions and questions for me to find the answers to.  If you are enjoying the blog, please refer us to your friends.  If you have your own blog please link to the Farm and we’ll both build readership.  Don’t forget to use the Company Store to find the products you like at great prices with quick shipping through Amazon.  Thanks for following Jughandle’s Fat Farm – jug

Vegetarianism and the path not taken

I’ve always had a tendency to embrace the different, the abnormal, the path not taken.  I’ve been called white bread, main stream or even normal by those who haven’t taken the time to know me.  I’ve always felt that it was the 1 or 2 percent of the population that leads the flock.  Not that I’m part of that 1 or 2 percent, but those people are my heros.  In a flock of white sheep, I’m not the black sheep.  God knows being an out right radical would take too much energy and I’m already working hard not to be lazy.  If you understand that sentence, you understand me.  I’m more of a grey sheep.  The sheep who doesn’t clean up with the rest of the flock, the one who says, “hey, lets take this muddy path, the grass just might be greener”.   Yes, of course, 80 percent of the time, it’s just a muddy path, but wow, those other times are what make all the difference.

Some Day

I thought that if being my own boss, didn’t work out I’d just go back to being a normal sheep and get a job like everyone else.  Life is interesting.  Life doesn’t allow me to make easy decisions  like that, something always stands in my way.  I’ve always had a fear of the end, the long nap, the transition, change.  I guess it is more of a fear of the unknown.  I’ve known many people who have gone on without me.  My Great-grandparents,Grandparents, my Father, my brother, aunts and uncles, close personal friends.  Each a every one of us must deal with death in our own way and face it alone.  I’m going to be 60 this next year, too late to go back, my path has been chosen.  Twice in my life I was told I wouldn’t live to see that birthday.  Four other times I shouldn’t have lived at all.  God must have a purpose for me.  Please God, show me what it is.

My Path

I’ve had an amazing life.  A life very few people have or will be blessed enough to enjoy.  I don’t need a bucket list, because I’ve done most everything I’ve ever wanted to do.  I was given the gift of “jump” early in my life and in a small way it allowed me to be part of an elite group.  I’ve been a winner and I’ve been a loser.  I always learn more when I lose.  I’ve made a couple of good choices but I’ve guessed mostly wrong or was not given a choice at all in most of the changes in my life.  No regrets, none.

I digress

Sorry, my first bloody mary just kicked in and I lost my train of thought.  My point was vegetarianizum

To be or not to be

Vegetarian Times shows that there are roughly 7.3 million vegetarians in the U.S.  An additional 22.8 million are flexi-tarians, which means they try to be vegetarians but eat meat every once in a while.  Of the 7.3 million vegetarians, 1 million are vegans who don’t eat any animal based foods at all.  I’ve been a vegetarian for 88 days now.  It really hasn’t been hard, I’ve even cooked meat dishes for others.  I’ve come to the point now that I need a change.  I’m finding myself eating way too much cheese and dairy, which doesn’t allow me to reach my goal of reversing any plaque or heart disease I might have.

Today is Christmas day.  My Mother, my brother and his wife and my wife are all going to cook a nice Christmas meal together.  I’m going to join in the consumption of meat.  Today will start the next phase of my plan.  I am intending to take the next step.  After today, I will become a Vegan.  Yes, I can say the word now.  I plan on eating meat or dairy only 1 time per week and transition to eating meat or dairy 1 time per month for the entire year of 2012.  But my main focus will be strictly a plant-based diet with no eggs, cheese, milk or meat.

Wish me Luck

Wish me luck, is a line for those who still don’t know me.  I believe that luck is the point where preparation meets opportunity.


I’m happy doing this,  join the 2 percent if you dare.  What do you have to lose?  You can always go back, right?  Take it one day at a time. – jughandle