Feb 27, 2011

Cycling Retro. So Colourful.

Since loosing 7kgs I decided to dig out my old cycling tops. They fit!
These are a selection from the storage bin and all have been well worn.
Now they look a little retro but all represent a professional team from years gone bye.
Note the size XXL on the Selle Italia top. Just shows you how small these Italian professional cyclists are. This would equate to one of our NZ medium sizes.

Feb 24, 2011

Rock with a History

Fifeshire rock off of Nelsons Rocks Rd has a history (Link)
Previously known as Arrow Rock.
The bollard in the foreground will be well recognised by anyone that has walked the Rocks Rd where there are about 1200 of these. I counted them many years ago! (Idiot)

Food Matters

Nutrient Density

Feb 21, 2011

60 Days Plant Based Diet. New Bloods.

60 days now. To keep it brief my blood results are shown below with the latest high lighted with the orange arrow.
Our  mission started on the 23rd of December 2010.
Since then we have eaten an exclusively plant based, no oils and fats and whole grain diet.
Our targets were to achieve a total cholesterol of 3.88 or below and an LDL of 2.07 or below.
This has been achieved and maintained over just under two months so it looks like we are well on the right track.
If you look at the results between 19/01/11 and 16/02/11 there are a couple of significant numbers that need investigation. HDL and Triglycerides. The latter increased 60% within a month!
So in regard to Tri's I need to research the reason for this and it may be due to too much sugar intake even though I am not aware of doing this. However I am still within the limits set not only by the chart below but by Esselstyn and Ornish. So I am not too concerned about that but I will be looking closely at my sugar and refined foods aspects. The HDL change from 1.32 to 1.09 was a concern as I have always believed a high HDL to be a good thing and a protective situation.
On consulting Esselstyn and Ornish I am relieved to know that HDL will drop as cholesterol drops.
Here is an extract from The Spectrum by Dean Ornish, MD states "Your HDL level may stay the same or even decrease because there is less need for it". Ornish explains that HDL is made by the body to deal with damaging LDL levels and as these decrease HDL is not needed at the higher levels. From further reading I suspect this is an area of knowledge that is evolving.
So how is progress aside from the numbers? 
General Health = Good high energy.
Exercise = Walking hard and biking moderately with no chest pain.
Weight = Now lost over 6 kgs (In 60 days) without this being a focus of what we are doing its just happening.
Other = In the past week or so my breathing and recovery has improved during and after exercise. Not that I was aware of a problem but I can feel an improvement.
Otherwise we are trucking on with our new way of life.
Rob has been amazing. She is at the frontier for us in regard to meals and shopping. Its early days yet. Back to the Cardiologist tomorrow. That will be interesting to see what he thinks of the progress. I need to explain why I never took his prescribed drugs and if he agrees with what we are doing.

Feb 20, 2011

Feb 19, 2011

Plant Based Diet. Lunch.

All ingredients fresh from the market this morning. A green & red salad with a bean side.
But the best bit was the oil free dressing. We got the recipe from Rip Esselstyn's book 'The Engine 2 Diet".
Its called the E2 Basics Dressing.

Paul's Wedding Day (With the family) 2004

Kids update. Grace & Thomas

Feb 18, 2011


Mt Maunganui, The Mount or Mauao a New Zealand icon landmark. This view is from the south side or  Tauranga harbour side. The northern side of Mauao faces the Pacific Ocean and this is our beautiful white sand beach that runs for many kilometers toward the east. The Mount is well known by many of us for fun times (Summer fun, surfing, cafe's, parties, camping, fishing, walking and sunshine). Note the large slip on the bottom right hand side which resulted in the closure of the walking tracks. We had two cyclones pass through each dropping at least 200mm of rain in 24 hours.

Cover your Cabbages

Cover those cabbages as these white butterfly's are on the loose. This shot taken on the roadside in the Waikato yesterday. I have never seen these creatures on such an industrial scale.

Feb 15, 2011

Swan Plant Seed Pod (Tennis Ball Bush)

This milkweed family member which is toxic to humans is the top dish on the minds of Monarch caterpillars.
It came to New Zealand from places like Africa, Arabia or the Mediterranean.

Feb 13, 2011

More Diet Stuff. Books of Value

Here are the books that we have that support the approach we are taking and are a good source of information, guidance, advise and great recipes. Click on the photo for a larger version. Hopefully you can read the titles.

Day 50 Plant Based Diet

50 days now without animal protein, fish, oils, avo, nuts and with refined foods kept to an absolute minimum.
Reason = Halt and reverse cardiac artery disease. General well being.
The Data.
Weight now = 73.4kgs (Lost 6.5kgs without trying)
Blood pressure = 111/66 (Spot reading yesterday) see post LINK A significant drop.
Exercise = No pain on bike even after 1 hour or average HR of 72% with Max HR of 88%
Key Supplements
Multi Vitamin (Includes RDA of Vit D and Folic Acid)
Multi Mineral
Vitamin B12 (1000mgm's)
Ground flax seed
Calcium 500 (Mg's)
Statins (Been on these for years and want to get off them)
Aspirin daily
Losec (Gut meds)
OK so how's it all going otherwise?
Food prep is more of a big deal. Rob said she now spends more time prepping our food. Lots of chopping and crushing etc.
We think about food now more than ever and this is a bit of a pain. I guess this will easy once we get really used to this new way of life.
Many people are very interested and can't believe you can even live without all the stuff we don't eat. Common questions and comments are "what do you eat then?" followed immediately by "what about protein where does that come from?" Also people often say "we would like to do more of that kind of eating" and from the girls its "I would do that tomorrow if my man was not such a committed meat eater"
Eating out is hard, well in Tauranga at least. Otherwise we are happy, adapting and healthy.
Always shopping, thinking about what to eat next, studying labels, avoiding oils (they are so prevalent) we even found safflower oil in dried Cranberries!
Upset guts when trying new dishes (not a major).
The unknown effects of this approach long term so we need to be sensible and keep monitoring and researching.
Thanks to all our friends and family who are so supportive. We are most fortunate.

Feb 12, 2011

No Face No Mother

Just found someone else in New Zealand that is starting on a Plant Based Diet program.
The guys name is Mike and if you look to the left side of this blog under "Check this site out" you will see a site link called No Mother No Face. Click on it to go to Mike's site. He started on the first of Feb.
Should be interesting to compare progress. Although he is young and does not have health issues. Non the less we will be keen to read his comments and how he copes.

Something For Everyone

Part One

Part Two

Thomas Durham

This is a strange story and I had mentioned it before. But thanks to my friend Graham Whitt (Australia) we are slowly getting some clarity.

For most of my life I thought that my grandmother's (Agnes Leahnora) father (GG Grandfather on mums side) was Antonio Wet (From Italy). But it's almost certain now that this is not the case.

Agnes Leahnora looks to be the daughter of Lydia Durham. Lydia's mother, Felista (Antonio Wets wife)  was previously married to Thomas Durham and Felista and Thomas and children (Including Lydia) came to NZ where Thomas later died and Felista remarried Antonio. We think Antonio and Felistea must have adopted Lydia's child. (Father unknown as yet)

Graham has been researching Thomas's background and we have various bit of information.
He was in the English Royal Navy and served in several important and well known campaigns.
  • The Crimea 1854-55 (Against Russia) see LINK for background. He was on board the HMS Apollo and was awarded the Crimea medal.
  • India. Where he was awarded the India medal with clasps for the relief of Lucknow in 1857 and another for the capture of Lucknow in 1858. He served on the HMS Shannon for these.
All of these campaigns make for interesting reading if you look them up. Of course the Crimea is famous for the battle of Balaklava.
Click on the list pages to view a bigger version. Then the back button to return.
HMS Shannon

Lively Class Frigate (Left) same as HMS Apollo

Crimea Medal listing (Thomas is near the bottom)

India Medal Listing (Thomas is near the top)

Feb 10, 2011

Cancer & Exercise

News out today confirms the importance of exercise for your health including cancer prevention. Click on the yellow link to read a PDF.

Feb 8, 2011

Someone else doing it by the numbers. Plant Based Diet

The blog Happy Healthy Long Life was influential in the changes Rob and I made in our diets over the past month or so and has lots of interesting info and discussion around real life experience of the author as she goes down the same road. She has been fortunate enough to have a close association with the originator of much of the research behind the diet.
This link to an older post shows how she started off and the results she got. But more it answers some of the questions that we have been asked by people who know what we are doing.
Here is the LINK

My Priorities Triangle at 60+

I was talking to a friend the other day and life's priorities came up in the context of ageing (or in other words now that you are an old guy what are the important things in life and how would you rate them now?)
Well thanks a lot....friend. But when I tried to explain my thoughts it came out a little garbled so I made this triangle to explain my thinking.
I am never popular when I explain my family does not come first.
The logic goes like this.
I am no use to anyone if I don't have my health.
I need my health to work and I need my work to provide for my family and our future.
Then comes family and their needs and our relationships.
Then its play time.
This has been my thinking supported by Robyn for most of our married life.
I hope I got it right!
When I was a kid this thing was probably inverted if it even existed and later in those teenage years, my guess now, is that it was more like a ball with all this stuff mixed up in a slush of beer, cars and parties!
Ain't life grand?

Feb 6, 2011


You lay in bed, the nights hot and humid and then there is that extremely noisy buzzing sound that just adds to your summers night pain. Unlike Crickets they don't make their racket by rubbing external body parts these guys make it internally and do it well. 120dB is not unusual apparently. I have been known to rush outside on a hot night and shake the trees close to our bedroom to make the little bu**ers fly off.
The males are the ones that we hear. Cicadas live 30cm to 2.5m below the ground as nymphs for 2 to 5 years and then emerge, shed their shells (see post pic below) and start life.