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Friday, July 31, 2009

End of July the 31st, 2009 Last Ditch Effort

My wife, my oldest son, and I just returned from a lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA). There were two lectures, one about the history of machine guns and one about the great experimental filmmaker, Stan Brakhage. Stan Brakhage was my late father's mentor and life long friend. I remember visiting Stan and his many kids from my own childhood. When art people think of avant-garde and experimental films they first think of Stan and then my father, Paul Sharits. The Brakhage lecture was incredibly enjoyable. The machine gun lecture was led by a historian from the Air Academy. He gave the history of the machine gun. It was also very informative and also interesting. It was very funny when both lecturer's were teaming up on questions from the audience. It was a sold out event.

Final day of July. I thought it would be great if I lost 20 pounds in July. I weighed in at 331.6 this morning, but around 328 when I returned from my last bike ride. Tomorrow morning is the final tally, but I'm sure I made it. Thursday was a challenging day as far as exercise, but today was insane. First, I went to the pool and swam 55 laps (1 hour), then lifted weights for an hour, and then, I rode from Morrison to downtown Denver. We refilled our water at MCA and got to meet and take pictures with the Denver Nuggets' "Birdman" (Chris Anderson). He is totally cool. He even stopped his giant vehicle to say goodbye to me. I'll post pictures on FaceBook. After we met Birdman, we headed back to Morrison. In all, it took Greg and I 3.45 hours to travel the 35 round trip miles. Boy, I am sore (mostly saddle sore). When we got home, but then I took a couple of Tylenol and took a half hour nap before the lecture and I felt much better. Along the way, I developed a wobble in my rear tire that was hitting my brake pads. It added to challenge. So did the rain and wind, but it is an excellent series of trails. While my mountain bike is in the shop, I am going to pull my very favorite road bike out of storage.

In the past week I rode 80 miles, swam for 5 miles, and lifted weights for 4 hours. Not a bad week. I hope to top that in the coming weeks. I am setting my goal for 20 more pounds in August. I figure that if I'm eating well and exercising like a mad man I should be able to reach it. I want to thank all of you that visit my blog. I had over 400 page impressions (visitors) in my first month online. Thanks; tell your friends, and visit some of the Google ads. I do get paid for click throughs.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday July 30th, 2009 One more day left

I suppose I'll take my final end of "July" weight on Saturday. It will be okay if I miss 20 pounds because I am in so much better shape, I'm eating healthy, and I've lost inches anyway. I was thinking that I should set a modest goal for next month, but that just wouldn't be me. I know that I can increase my exercise and I'm in a real nice groove with my calorie intake. Sooo, we'll set a goal of another 20 more pounds in August.

Yesterday, I had my first "5" on my calorie scale. I ate all my meals, but they were completely within my calorie intake goal and my calorie burn rate was awesome. This morning I weighed in at 332.8. That's down from 350 at the beginning of July. I tend to be very muscular and I like that, so my ideal weight is 200-210. If I reached that goal in one year, it would be the same as the bariatric surgery claims of weight loss. And, that would be 250 pounds from November 2007. My calorie burn rate surley out paced my calorie intake by more than 3,500, but I did eat well today. Try Red Robin's veggie burger. It's that best I've tasted and they serve it on a whole wheat bun. Yumm.

This morning was rainy, so I held off my bike ride with DW. Around 10am I felt guilty and went to the gym. I will now try to hit the gym everyday or as much as humanly possible. While at the gym, I rode this "virtual" bike that had a screen in front of you and you get to ride with other virtual rider on different courses. It is so cool that it has horses, birds, and all kind of realistic scenery. It has different skill levels. When I used to ride it, I usually killed myself on "moderate." Today, I was feeling gutsy so I went for an "extreme" 10 mile ride. It was 80% up hill. Every time you thought you were at a crest, more hills would appear. I was completely drenched with sweat when I finished and thought I was done for the day. However, the sun came out in the afternoon and I called my buddy DW and scheduled a 4pm ride. We did 11 miles of up and down, but not as silly as the virtual bike. So, I rode 21 miles today. I need to use longer trails. If time permits, I would like to start hitting 40-50 mile trails this month.

I remember when I started this quest in April. I could barely make 5 laps in the pool and I could only ride about 2 miles. Now, I'm going to beef up and do no less than 66 laps in the pool, increase my weights and sets, and increase the miles on the bike. I am also going to start playing Frisbee golf up in the mountains and probably sneak some basketball in. And, of course, stay on the vegan diet and watch my calories. Soon, it will be football season and I can go out and "play" with my friends.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29th, 2009 Mid-day

This morning's weigh in was great. 333.6. I found an awesome calculator for calories burned. It counts every thing from exercise to house chores to sex (I think that one's off a bit). You can find it at http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc . I figured out yesterday's bike ride and such and came up with 6,985 calories burned. You need to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat to lose one pound. That would explain the weight loss. Having been boosted by this morning's weigh in, I went for the monkey at the gym. I swam my first mile in about 46 minutes (fair), but I swam the second mile in 44 minutes. I guess I caught my stride. Afterwards, I lifted weights for an hour. Combined with the other daily activities, I should burn 7,479 calories today. So far, through lunch, I've eaten 1,200 calories. I feel confident that tomorrow's weigh in will be great!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday July 28th, 2009 redemption

This morning started out well with a scale of 334.6. I did go on my 12 mile bike ride. There was a lot of mud in the beginning, but it was cloudy and cool. It makes a huge difference. Not only was the ride easier, I did the weigh in after thing and I only lost one pound of water as opposed to two pounds when it's hot and sunny. Tomorrow is swim and weight day. Thursday, I'm planning on riding with my friend DW on a new trail. Maybe Conifer, Waterton Canyon, or something fun.

I will have lost at least 15 pounds this month and maybe I can lose another 4.6 pounds and close out the month at 20. Considering how hard I've been working out and the subsequent muscle build up, I pretty satisfied with this month's weight loss. I am particularly happy that I only had to change to vegan and watched my calories. I did not miss a meal and I've never eaten this healthy in my life. It really beats changing the size of your stomach and only being able to eat 1/4 cup of food three times daily for the rest of your life. I do like food and I love cooking and the vegan diet gives me the chance to eat well and be happy. Of course, like any successful diet for an obese person, the vegan diet has to be for life.

Sunday the family had hamburgers and I had a grilled portobello sandwich. I always eat with the family. I just eat some of the food or I substitute. On Monday I made vegan chili con chili and it rocked. Tonight, I made four calzones; ham-pineapple, pepperoni, veggie, and vegan. They were good, but I may have over cooked the whole wheat crust. Today, I ate granola cereal (with soy milk), had a small vegan sub, ate some fruit and nuts, and then the vegan calzone. Great healthy and satisfying food. The vegan diet really is not bad; low fat, low cholesterol, no antibiotics, and less pesticides (if you wash well and buy organic). I feel great.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday July 27th, 2009 "Back on Schedule"

I weighed in this morning at 339.2 which I knew was wrong. Too much beer and salt over the weekend. I went and swam my 33 laps (1 mile) and worked out with weights. I felt like I had cleared a lot of the garbage through exercise and water. When I got back from the gym my weight was 335.3. Somewhere in there is my accurate weight. Tomorrow's weigh in should be accurate. I'm planning on taking a nice long bike ride tomorrow. Over the weekend, my food and calorie quality was a 2. Today looks like a 4. Mental health good; give it a 3. I'm still tired from the weekend.

I'm starting research on my next article about bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor said to leach from polycarbonate plastics (typically marked with the recycling code #7). The BPA from most water bottles may interfere with hormones and nervous system. Maybe I'll call it Bad H2O or Bottled Water: Dangerous?.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The morning; no, the afternoon later 7-26-09

Went to my little brother's bachelor party yesterday after noon and just got back late this afternoon. It was a good thing I took some vegan snacks. They had fried chicken and a very big sub. I don't think Guinness is on my diet, but it was for the last 24 hours. We'll have to see how it affects tomorrow morning's weigh in. And yes, we had fun, we had drama, and we had more fun.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quick post July 25th 2009

Yesterday's calorie count must have been good. I weighed in at 336.2. This morning I swam my mile and rode my 12 mile bike ride (1.12.33 hours). I lost 2 POUNDS of water. When I got back I weighed 334.2! Much easier to exercise with a light fruit breakfast.

I have to run to setup my brother's bachelor party. I got a hotel room for my brother and me. No DUI's here. Besides, I'll probably milk a beer for a few hours.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Friday before the party July 24th 2009

Tomorrow is my little (6'4") brother's bachelor party. I'm going to have a good time, but I also want to keep him safe. Tomorrow night's post will most likely be through a text message. If I can get up early enough tomorrow, I'll try to swim and then I have a 10am mtn biking date. Today, I swam a mile (33 laps) in 45.2 minutes. It was after lunch and I just couldn't get my groove on. I really want to break 40.

Yesterday started out as a 4 on the food scale, but ended up a 3. I weighed 337.4 this morning. Again, either I'm retaining water from the nuts I ate yesterday or it's new muscle weight. My wife keeps telling me that my body is rapidly changing shape and I am losing inches from my waist, but I'm not losing as much weight as I wanted. I was hoping to lose 20 pounds this month, but I'll probably only lose 15. Of course, that's okay especially if I lose 10 to 15 pounds a month until I reach my goal weight. Once, before children, I was at my "ideal" weight (somewhere around 180), but I felt horrible. I tend to be pretty muscular, so I prefer 200 pounds. The most important thing to remember is a diet should be a change in thinking; a change in life style. I have to remember to look at my weight loss over the long run. I am determined to remain vegan for the rest of my life. Hopefully, it will be longer life than my life expectancy as a fat man.

I've done some research on vegetarians and vegans. Who said, "Nothing will benefit health or increase chances of survival on earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."? Answer: Albert Einstein. So was Abe Lincoln, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Doctor Benjamin Spock. Their are literally hundreds of famous vegetarians. However, vegans take it one step further and abstain from dairy products as well. Many stars and athletes are vegans. Just to name a few...Paul McCartney, Carl Lewis, Carrie Anne Moss (Matrix chick), Ellen Degeneres, Grace Slick, James Cromwell, Joaquin Phoenix, Moby (musician), Vanessa Williams, Pamela Anderson, Lenny Kravitz, Bryan Adams, and Weird Al Yankovic are all vegans. Side note: I actually met Weird Al in a vegan restaurant in Buffalo, New York. One of the "cheerleaders for the vegan diet is Kansas City Chief Tony Gonzales.

Final Draft of "Milk: The Perfect Food?

This article has gone through many changes and edits. This is the final draft that was submitted for publication.

Milk: The Perfect Drink?
by Christopher Sharits
re-submitted on 7-24-09

The one phrase that adults always tell children regarding strong bones, healthy teeth, and strong bodies is "Eat your vegetables and drink your milk." From the Food Triangle to high school health sciences, milk is pushed without question. "Milk; it does a body good" is a highly orchestrated myth. While milk may have been considered a wholesome drink around the turn of the 20th century, draconian advances in hormones and the institutional mechanized dairy farms of today have mutated a perceived staple. The dairy products of today likely contain a wide variety of harmful contaminants. The masquerade begins with the USDA recommendation that people drink three one-cup servings of dairy per day (that includes cheese and butter that have a concentrated equivalent). In the U.S., the average person drinks 23 gallons of milk per year (that does not include cheese and other dairy products). With a U.S. population of over 300 million people, that's more than 7 billion gallons per year.

In the early 1980's, the production of milk exceeded our demand due to competition from soda and bottled water, decreased consumption, and inflated government price support. In an attempt to correct the surplus, the Government passed the "Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983" that required milk producers to allocate 15 cents per hundred weight or $75 million dollars for a national campaign to teach and promote milk consumption. In 1990, the Government passed "The Fluid Milk Act" which increased the generic marketing campaign to around $200 million per year (Blisard, 1999). The most successful generic milk ad campaign, and what is possibly the best ad campaign ever, is the "Got Milk?" campaign created by Jeff Manning from the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners ad agency in 1993. The campaign was originally targeted towards the California market, but it quickly went national, international, and even won the 1994 Cleo "Best in Show" award for advertising.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, today's U.S. dairy market is estimated to be $70 billion dollars per year. In an attempt to protect that market, most commercial milk is pasteurized in order to kill off harmful bacteria like Campylobacter, E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. The heating and cooling process of pasteurization, first developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, should kill most of the harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis. Still, there is a strong potential for cross contamination from unsanitary production and packaging facilities.

Even with pasteurization, U.S. commercial milk still contains dangerous contaminants . In 1937, the bovine hormone was recognized as an agent to increase a cow's milk production. In 1993, the FDA approved the sale of the synthetic bovine growth hormone, rBST (aka. rBGH), to increase milk production by 10% to 15%. The U.S. Dairy Association and U.S. Government agencies argue that the cows that are injected with rBST still produce safe milk. While independent tests have been inconclusive, it is widely believed that rBST may increase the risk of mastitis and foot problems in cows and certain cancers in humans. Many insightful countries including Canada, the European Union, Australia as well as New Zealand have outlawed the sale of rBST. In addition, Dean Foods, Kroger (parent of King Soopers), Kirkland (parent of Safeway), Lucerne, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Costco, and even Starbucks have discontinued the sale of rBST milk. In an attempt to turn the tide on the resistance towards rBST, Monsanto, the producer of rBST and rBGH, has, up to this point, successfully lobbied and curtailed the labeling of dairy products containing the synthetic hormone, thus, making it impossible for consumers to distinguish between rBST dairy or non rBST dairy products.

According to the USDA, today's dairy farms have to use antibiotics to protect their herds from mastitis and lameness. The USDA's list of various antibiotics used to treat dairy cows include Aminocyclitol, Aminoglycoside, Noncephalosporin beta-lactam, Cephalosporin, Florfenical, Lincosamide, Macrolide, Sulfanamide, and Tetracycline (Antibiotic Use on U.S. Dairy Operations, 2002 and 2007, 2008). Regardless of a dairy cow's health, it is fed antibiotics through the cow feed. While the FDA claims that the antibiotic traces in milk are at acceptable levels, opponents fear that this practice may also increase human resistance to antibiotics and result in increased allergic reactions. In regards to dioxins, a 2003 USDA research project concerning polychlorinated dioxins, furans, and biphenynls, reported that these toxic contaminants are concentrated in animal products and ultimately consumed by humans. The study determined that dairy cows fed contaminated feed excreted 30% of the digested dioxins in their milk (Dioxins and Other Environmental Contaminants in Food, 2003).

Milk can be contaminated with a variety of environmental infectious microbes including Bacillus cereus, Brucella, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetii, E.Col 0157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Samonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and Yersinia enterocolitica (Koo, 2008). While pasteurization kills most of these microbes, cross contamination, process packaging, confined and horrid dairy cow living conditions can contaminate the general milk supply.

Clearly, our idealistic visions of happy fat cows grazing in rolling hills of tall grass, has been shattered by the horrendous living and sanitation conditions on the vast majority of dairy farms. In the early 1900's, over half of the dairy milk was consumed on the dairy and most, if not all, lacked the artificially injected bovine hormones and didn't have the need for so many antibiotics. Today, only 3% of milk is consumed on the host dairy. We are so disconnected from the realities of milk production, that we have turned a blind eye to the truth. Much like meat or poultry products, we prefer to purchase these nicely packaged foods without thinking about their origins. The contaminated dairy milk is basis for many foods like dry milk, butter, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, and many manufactured baking goods. One important point that people tend to overlook is the fact humans are the only species to drink another species' milk and we are the only species that consumes milk beyond infancy. Our delusional desire for milk is not only un-natural, it's dangerous.

References:

"Antibiotic Use on U.S. Dairy Operations, 2002 and 2007." (November 2008). USDA/APHIS: info sheet PDF. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ceah/ncahs/nahms/dairy/

Blisard, Noel. (July 1, 1999) "Advertising's Influence: The Case of Dairy Products." Frozen Food Digest. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://www.allbusiness.com/manufacturing/foodmanufacturing-fruit/286506-1.html

"Dioxins and Other Environmental Contaminants in Food." USDA/ARS 2003 Annual Report. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects/projects.htm?ACCN_NO=404375&showpars=true&fy=2003

Koo, Ingrid, PhD. "Got Milk Microbes." (2008). About.com: Infectious Diseases. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://infectiousdiseases.about.com/od/g/a/milkborne.htm

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday July 23, 2009

Today went well. I finally submitted my "Milk: The Perfect Drink?" article. It should be published next week. I believe I updated the previous post to the submitted state. I had some good help editing and formating the article until it really conveyed my hypothesis.

Every once in a while I run into friends that don't really understand vegan. It is a very strict diet, but not as bad as the post-bariatric surgery diet. The vegan diet is a little different than the vegan "life style" which includes a lot of political activism against cruelty to animals. It's not that I like what happens with farm animals, but it's just not my focus. My vegan diet consists of no meat of any kind including my favorite, Lobster. As opposed to vegetarians, vegans do not eat any dairy or byproducts. I also severely restrict my caffeine and alcohol. I don't eat anything with processed sugar or corn syrup and I don't eat bleached flour. Sounds strict, but it's actually quite easy if you shop at a good health food store. You would be surprised at how many vegan foods you can find in King Soopers. I do take special vitamins aimed towards vegetarians and vegans and I monitor my food ingredients closely. For instance, today I had fruit and nuts for breakfast; pinto beans, salsa, and corn chips for lunch; and finally, for dinner, a lot of veggie rich salad with vinaigrette, some rice, and lots of broccoli. No butter; however, I do have some vegan butter that is quite good, but it doesn't melt as easily as dairy butter. If I really need desert, I have some vegan oat and raisin cookies or even a vegan "ice cream" sandwich. If I want milk in my cereal, I use regular soy milk. It's all vegan and it makes you feel great.

This morning I had my oncologist appointment. I had some time before the appointment to workout. I knew I was going to cut it close, but I rode my bike on my favorite BC reservoir loop. I really put the metal to the peddle to make sure I could get back on time to take a quick shower. With that motivation I rode as hard and as fast as I could. I believe my previous benchmark for this ride was 1.22.24 hours. Today, I plugged out a 1.04.10 hour time. It was a pretty serious 11.13 miles of hills and I feel it now. Tomorrow morning I'll swim some more laps and work out my upper torso with weight training. The oncologist appointment went as well as could be expected. My platelet count still hovers around 70-80,000. No real problem as long as I stay above 50,000. I did get my monthly B-12 shot.

I was tired this afternoon and needed to chill (aka. nap) for about an hour. I would still say my mental health is good. Probably a 4 out of 5. My calorie intake was fair yesterday. I'd give it a 4 out of 5. This morning I weighed in at 337.2 before my bike ride. As usual, I lost 1.2 pounds of water weight on the ride. I suppose that you could double that if I didn't push water so much during the ride. Boy, it was hot out there this morning. I have lost about 14 pounds this month, but I'm as concerned with my weight because I'm still building some great muscle tone. I'm actually caught up tonight. Maybe I'll watch an hour of "on demand."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Late in the day. Wednesday July 22, 2009

Finally ready to submit the Dairy sucks article below. With constructive criticism, I think I have revised the article so it flows better.

Yesterday turned into a great day. Due to extreme fun at Eliches, I didn't get to write much and I didn't get to exercise. Well, maybe walking around all day counts for something. My food calories was good. Maybe a 3 on the food quality/quantity scale. My mood was stable and I was energetic until I fell asleep in Ice Age the movie. This morning I weighed in at 336.2.

Today was exhausting. I wrote in the morning and did laundry. After I dropped my son off at work, I headed to the Carmody rec center. I swam 66 laps in 1.25.29 hours. The first mile was done in 40.14 minutes. After swimming, I went to lift weights concentrating on my torso and arms. Pretty tired; might be real sore in the morning. I hope to ride in the morning and swim after my oncologist appointment. I'm trying to get as much swim time in as possible before they have to cut away more skin from the melanoma. One other note: I haven't drank in some time, but tonight I decided to have one glass of red wine. Unfortunately, it had sulfides and I got a raging headache. Live and learn. Be sure to check out my dairy sucks article previewed in the previous post. thanks.

Milk: The Perfect Drink? preview July 22nd, 2009

Hello,
The following article is one that I am about to send to the publisher's. Regardless of your political view, I would deeply appreciate your opinion on the piece. My goal was to write a truthful research article on U.S. milk and dairy. If you find grammar errors or parts that don't flow, please either post a response to the blog or email me at csharits@comcast.net.


Milk: The Perfect Drink? (revised 07-23-09)
July 22nd, 2009
By Christopher Sharits

Milk: The Perfect Drink?

One phrase that adults always tell children regarding strong bones, healthy teeth, and strong bodies is “Eat your vegetables and drink your milk.” From the Food Triangle to high school health sciences, milk is pushed without question. “Milk; it does a body good” is a highly orchestrated myth. While milk may have been a wholesome drink around the turn of the 20th century, draconian advances in hormones and the institutional mechanized dairy farms of today have mutated a perceived staple. The dairy products of today likely contain a wide variety of harmful contaminants. The masquerade begins with the USDA recommendation that people drink three one-cup servings of dairy per day (that includes cheese and butter that have a concentrated equivalent). In the U.S., the average person drinks 23 gallons of milk per year (that does not include cheese and other dairy products). With a population of just over 300 million people, that's almost 7 billion gallons of milk alone (Allshouse and Putnam, 2003).

In the early 1980's, the production of milk exceeded our demand due to competition from soda and bottled water, decreased consumption, and inflated government price support. In an attempt to correct the surplus, the Government passed the “Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983” that required milk producers to allocate 15 cents per hundred weight or $75 million dollars for a national campaign to teach and promote milk consumption. In 1990, the Government passed “The Fluid Milk Act” which increased the generic marketing campaign to around $200 million per year (Blisard, 1999). The most successful generic milk ad campaign, and what is possibly the best ad campaign ever, is the “Got Milk?” campaign created by Jeff Manning from the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners ad agency in 1993. The campaign was originally targeted towards the California market, but it quickly went national, international, and even won the 1994 Cleo “Best in Show” award for advertising (Holt, 2002).

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, today's U.S. dairy market is estimated to be $70 billion dollars per year. In an attempt to protect that market, most commercial milk is pasteurized in order to kill off harmful bacteria like Campylobacter, E. Coli, Samonella, and Listeria. The heating and cooling process of pasteurization, first developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, should kill most of the harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis (The Dangers of Raw Milk, 2006). Still, there is a strong potential for cross contamination from unsanitary production facilities and multi-use packaging systems.

Even with pasteurization, U.S. commercial milk still contains disturbing substances. In 1937, the bovine hormone was recognized as an agent to increase a cow's milk production. In 1993, the FDA approved the sale of the synthetic bovine growth hormone, rBST (aka. rBGH), to increase milk production by 10% to 15%. The U.S. Dairy Association and U.S. Government agencies argue that the cows that are injected with rBST still produce safe milk. While independent tests have been inconclusive, it is widely believed that rBST may increase the risk of mastitis and foot problems in cows and certain cancers in humans. Many insightful countries including Canada, the European Union, Australia as well as New Zealand have outlawed the sale of rBST. In addition, Dean Foods, Kroger (parent of King Soopers), Kirkland (parent of Safeway), Lucerne, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Costco, and even Starbucks have discontinued the sale of rBST milk. In an attempt to turn the tide on the resistance towards rBST, Monsanto, the producer of rBST and rBGH, has, up to this point, successfully lobbied and curtailed the labeling of dairy products containing the synthetic hormone, thus, making it impossible for consumers to distinguish between rBST dairy or non rBST dairy products (Fox, 2008).

According to the USDA, today's crowded and unsanitary dairy farms have to use antibiotics to protect their herds from mastitis and lameness. The USDA's list of various antibiotics used to treat dairy cows include Aminocyclitol, Aminoglycoside, Noncephalosporin beta-lactam, Cephalosporin, Florfenical, Lincosamide, Macrolide, Sulfanamide, and Tetracycline (Antibiotic Use on U.S. Dairy Operations, 2002 and 2007, 2008). While some cows may be healthy, they still receive the antibiotics because they are in the cow feed. While the FDA claims that the antibiotic traces in milk are at acceptable levels, opponents fear that this practice may also increase human resistance to antibiotics. In regards to dioxins, a 2003 USDA research project concerning polychlorinated dioxins, furans, and biphenynls, reported that these toxic contaminants are concentrated in animal products and ultimately consumed by humans. The study determined that dairy cows fed contaminated feed excreted 30% of the digested dioxins in their milk (Dioxins and Other Environmental Contaminants in Food, 2003).

Milk can be contaminated with a variety of environmental infectious microbes including Bacillus cereus, Brucella, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetii, E.Col 0157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Samonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and Yersinia enterocolitica (Koo, 2008). While pasteurization kills most of these microbes, cross contamination, process packaging, confined and horrid dairy cow living conditions can distribute these microbes back into the general milk supply.

Clearly, our idealistic visions of happy fat cows grazing to rolling hills of tall grass, has been shattered by the horrendous living and sanitation conditions on the vast majority of dairy farms.In the early 1900's, over half of the dairy milk was consumed on the dairy and most if not all lacked the artificially injected bovine hormones and didn't need so many antibiotics. Today, only 3% of milk is consumed on the host dairy. We are so disconnected from the realities of milk production, that we have failed to conduct our own due diligence process. We simply see milk and dairy as cleverly packaged groceries. Our dairy cows are so contaminated and weak that we need to pasteurize their milk, genetically increase their production, and fill them with antibiotics. Opponents to todays milk production claim that the increased antibiotics in cow feed will create our own resistance to those antibiotics. Keep in mind that dairy milk is also used for cream, butter, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, and too many manufactured foods to list. Also, consider some simple logic; humans are the only species to drink another species' milk and we are the only species that consumes dairy beyond infancy. Need milk? Try organic soy milk.

References:

Allshouse, Jane and Judy Putnam. (2003). “Trends in U.S. Per Capita Consumption of Dairy Products, 1909 to 2001.” Amber Waves. Retrieved July 18, 2009. From http://www.ers.usda.gov/Amberwaves/June03/DataFeature/

“Antibiotic Use on U.S. Dairy Operations, 2002 and 2007.” (November 2008). USDA/APHIS: info sheet PDF. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ceah/ncahs/nahms/dairy/

Blisard, Noel. (July 1, 1999) “Advertising's Influence: The Case of Dairy Products.” Frozen Food Digest. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://www.allbusiness.com/manufacturing/foodmanufacturing-fruit/286506-1.html

Fox, Colette. “Got rBST-Free Milk?.” (February 28th, 2008). ABC's Channel 7 News NYC's Green Living. Retrieved on July 20, 2009. From http://www.greenrightnow.com/wabc/2008/02/28/got-rbst-free-milk/

“Dioxins and Other Environmental Contaminants in Food.” USDA/ARS 2003 Annual Report. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects/projects.htm?ACCN_NO=404375&showpars=true&fy=2003

Holt, Douglas. “Got Milk?.” (2002). Advertising Educational Foundation. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://www.aef.com/on_campus/classroom/case_histories/3000

Koo, Ingrid, PhD. “Got Milk Microbes.” (2008). About.com: Infectious Diseases. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://infectiousdiseases.about.com/od/g/a/milkborne.htm

“The Dangers of Raw Milk: Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk.” (October 2006). U.S. FDA. Retrieved July 20, 2009. From http://www.foodsafety.gov/~dms/rawmilk.html

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Six Flags "Eliches" July 21, 2009

We survived the tornado last night, but there were branches and leaves stuck to our cars and the walls of the house. We, meaning my aunt and middle son, had a lot of raking to do this evening. People were out raking and sweeping the streets because they were covered with debris. We faired better than some of the neighbors that had their windows blow out. People tell you about the strange roar that a funnel makes, but words really can't describe it, but I'll try. It sounded like super high winds that were making a freight train-jet engine roar. It sounds like a pun, but it really did sound like something metal was twisting. I never actually saw the funnel because it was pitch black and the hail was too big and furious to go outside.There was a tornado warning for our area. No duh. We did go down to the basement.

Today was fun. I took my two younger "men" and one friend to Six Flags Eliches today. It has been a very long time since I was on roller coasters. There was one I could fit on because I'm still too big. That was sad. Also, went to down town Denver's 16th street mall and saw "Ice Age." Actually, I kept falling asleep. It was a great movie like the previous one's, but I was tired. I ate fruit for breakfast, small veggie sub for lunch, and vegan spaghetti for dinner. My mood was great today. The day started out great when I weighed in at 336.0. I didn't work out today, but I'll double up tomorrow. I would rate my mood a 4 and my calorie intake a 3. We'll see.

I've said before that mental health is extremely important, especially when you're dieting. I may not have mentioned that I am bipolar with a sleep disorder. My meds have been very balanced for the last year and I am sleeping. However, the vegan diet, like any other, requires regular vitamins. I spoke to my doctor about the vegan diet and he suggested certain food groups and mineral replacing supplements. I went to GNC and bought a couple of months of these veggie/vegan vitamin packs. They are from Maximum Greens and they are called the "Ultra Mega Green." They are jammed packed with everything except for iron which suits me fine because I get monthly B-12 injections anyway. Some of the main vitamins and minerals are flax seed oil (high in Omega-3 fatty acid), calcium citrate, and digestive enzymes. Later this week I get to visit my Oncologist and find out how my platelet count is doing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

TORNADO! Monday July 20, 2009

Well, that was scary. About a half hour ago I was just sitting here writing an article when there was an instant downpour, continuous lightening, quickly followed by marble sized hail, and whipping winds. The TV showed the heart of the Tornado warning right over our neighborhood. The tornado siren went off and the hail beat on our windows. I don't know how bad the damage is on our cars. They look okay now, but we'll have to wait until daylight. Now, we can see the stars and the storm went southeast.

Today was a great day. Swam the mile; 42.56 minutes. I got a lot of writing done. This morning I weighed in at 337.4. Today's diet consisted of muslix cereal with soy milk, a black bean burger for lunch and wild rice and salad for dinner. Looking for some end of the month results.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday July 19th 2009: Larry & Pam BBQ

This was another beautiful day in the rockies. Sunny and hot during the day and cool and cloudy this evening. I went on the reservoir ride this morning with my oldest son. then I quickly showered and went to Larry and Pam's BBQ in Castle Rock. It was nice to the Romeo side of the family. I weighed the same today; 338.4, but I can tell my body shape is still changing. I am losing more inches than I am pounds. The funny part is that as I build up muscle in my torso, the fat seems to be gravitating down my belly. It's starting to look like I have a kids life preserver on.

This evening I tried to work on the "dairy" piece, but I didn't complete it. One of the problems I had with yesterday's work was using PETA as a resource for mega-dairy living conditions. They just go a little too far to be considered reputable. I'm trying to keep the resources restricted to U.S. government and university articles. I'm also trying not to politicize the article too much, but it's hard when you find the vast amount of information is inflammatory. Maybe some of the problem is that there is so much information out there that it is hard to stay focused. Tomorrow, I should have time for the gym, a swim, and completing the article.

Late post for July 18, 2009

Yesterday's food quantity index was a 3 because I enjoyed a large roasted vegetable, black bean, and salsa burrito for dinner. This morning I weighed in at 338.4. Today, I made a better attempt at maintaining a more realistic quantity of food. I also recognize that I need to watch the sweet "vegan" snacks because they are sabotaging my efforts.

I spent the larger part of today researching and writing my article on America's milk industry. I hope to send it in for publication on Monday. I didn't exercise today. Tomorrow morning I will ride again!

Friday, July 17, 2009

TGIF July 17, 2009

Busy day. Started out the day with the "reservoir" bike ride with my 20 year old. Oh, how nice it would be to be young and skinny. It killed me that he was able to keep up with me. He rarely rides his bike. We both came back hot, sweaty, and happy. I weighed in at 340.00 before the ride and 338 when we got home. Either I'm still building muscle or I still had too much sodium yesterday. I really should be taking measurements. My shirts are more loose and my shorts need a belt now. Still on a pure vegan diet.

After the ride and cold shower, I took my wife to see Harry Potter (my boys are too "cool" for HP). Long, but enjoyable movie. It's about time those HP kids got hormones. After the 2 plus hour movie, I had to race home in Friday traffic to get home and quickly throw together a Power Point Presentation on Fractals and the art work of Vance Kirkland for my Friday night "mixed kids" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA).

I only had seven kids tonight, but I was the only one there. They range from four to twelve. When you write out the lesson plan you have to make sure it works for all of the kids. I didn't mind being alone because I wrote the lesson plan and it's fun to watch it turn out so well. We had a blast. Even my favorite little four year old grasped the concept of fractals. We made 3D fractal creations using card board, glue, and sugar cubes. They loved it. We also made "Vance Kirkland" style water color paintings on paper plates. It's just so cool when you can sit back and watch them concentrate so hard on their own work. I really enjoy teaching kids.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

End of Day Post- 07-16-09

First, the doctor said my melanoma wasn't too serious, so she will excise some more skin around the original biopsy. Just a 30 minute procedure, but it will keep me out of the pool for a while; bummer.

Today was a pretty good day. Survived the bike ride and still made it to the gym, but I am a bit sore. I'm kind of surprised that I'm sore. You get sore when you stress out and stretch out your muscles. You actually get small microscopic tears. You usually get real sore when you start a new program, but I'm pretty used to mine. That's why it's good to mix up your routine. It lets the tears heal and builds your muscles. I usually do weight lifting one day, swimming the next, and mountain biking on the third; rinse and repeat :-) However, now that I can't swim for a while, I've had improvise. I need the cardiovascular workout at least every other day, so sometimes I do both the bike ride and the weights. I have to ride tomorrow with my friend, but I won't lift again until Saturday or Sunday. I'll ride both days. It seriously gets you pumped to sweat that much.

Early Afternoon Post 7-16-09

Woke up and weighed in at 338.4 pounds. I knew I shouldn't have eaten so many salty pistachios and last night's salad bar my have been too much. All vegan, but still. My new scale for food quality and quantity is still 1 to 5, but now the bar has been raised due to the vegan diet. Taking for granted that I'm eating vegan, the new scale will measure volume. Yesterday was a 3.

This morning's bike ride was intense. Assume you're ideal weight; now strap on or pull an extra 150 pounds. That's me. The sun was blistering bright, but the temperature was only a dry and windy 85 degrees. I rode to and around the 11.38 mile Bear Creek Reservoir trail. Deadly lifts, but rewarding downhills. Earlier this morning, I ate a bowl of bran cereal (with soy milk) and drank some water. I drank a bottle of gaderaid and some water on the ride and weighed 337.00 pounds when I returned home. I set the benchmark for the ride time at 1.22.24 hours. An average speed of 9.3 MPH. I can live with that. I may go lift weights with my son after I return from the doctor.

I'm going to add a new measurement here. I think mental health is so important that I will rate my mood on a 1 to 5 scale. Considering the pending doctor's visit, I would still give me a 4. I feel pretty darn good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The end of a beautiful Colorado day 7-15-09

What a beautiful day for mountain biking. Sunny and fairly cool and very good company. It would seem that my blog visitor's have really increased. Thank you. For those of you that are new to my blog, let me summarize what you'll find here. For one thing, this is a brutally honest site about my struggle with obesity, but it's really more than that. I believe we are the whole package and if you want to be healthy you need to pay attention to everything. You should be well versed on mental health because low self-esteem and depression run rampant in obese people. You not only need to have good health care and doctors that genuinely care about you, but it is also your responsibility to know what they are talking about. Nobody, even the best doctors, knows your body better than you. You need to know what all those test results really mean and you need to know your medications as well as the pharmacists. Fortunately, we have the internet, but that can sometimes turn you sideways. Always pay attention to who owns the site and their biases. Do a little research on reputable sites before you dive into any health changes. I'm a new convert to the vegan diet and I not only work with my primary care physician, but I also read and research. Any diet can be dangerous without knowledge.

In a nut shell, I am a 44 year old husband, father, vegan with bipolar disorder, a fluctuating low platelet count, and now, a melanoma. As if you couldn't tell, I love to write. I write classroom curriculum, articles, "blogs," and I'm now working on a book about... you guessed it, obesity. I am also the only child of the late filmmaker and artist, Paul Sharits. With the help from some very good friends in the art world, I try to manage his thriving career.

In March 2009, I was admitted to the hospital, again, for a variety of weight related issues. I had lost a lot of weight through a very poor diet, but I had hit a wall. Something needed to change right then and there. I started working out like a mad man and was seriously considering bariatric surgery. I do believe that many obese people, particularly the super morbidly obese, should have this life saving procedure, but I've personally converted to vegan because I believe it's a more healthy diet and because it's helping me lose weight. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I exercise everyday. If you're interested in the vegan diet, try reading "Skinny Bitch" or "Skinny Bastard." I'm sure you will see food in a new light. Tomorrow I see the dermatologist about the melanoma issue and I'm going to try to duplicate today's bike ride and hit the gym. I really miss swimming, but I have to abstain from the pool until my melanoma is healed.

Melanoma: first of two post's today

I've calmed down about the skin cancer thing. It's probably just a case of removing more skin and getting a graph. I can handle that. There was two other "moles" on my back. I guess they'll have to check those out now. At any rate, when I called the dermatologist they were going to set me up for August until they found out what's going on. Now, they'll fit me in tomorrow. I'm not really clear as to the treatment if it is more progressed. I'll cross that bridge when I need to.

Apparently, I was stressed out after the news, so I went to the gym and worked real hard. Now my upper body is sore. In a few minutes, I'll start out on today's growling bike ride. Yesterday I ate fairly good. I went to meet some friends for a BBQ and they had veggie burgers for me. How sweet is that! I would give yesterday a "4" (out of 5) on the sticking to the diet. My weight this morning was 338.6. I'm sure I'll make it to my goal of 20 pounds by the end of July.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Life can throw curve balls

My doctor called. My biopsy was positive for melanoma. Having a very low fluctuating platelet count and an enlarged spleen was enough to convince me to get as healthy as I possibly could just so I could handle these curve balls. I did get a little upset, so I hit the gym for an hour.

Dangers of Diet Pills- published 07-14-09

Yesterday was a fairly good day. Worked out in the gym with my oldest son. I'll try to get back today if I have time after writing this Friday's lesson plan for MCA Denver. I'm looking forward to a 11 mile ride with my good friend David Woodacre tomorrow morning. My leg has gotten much better. The doctor said I could return to the pool on Friday. I would rate yesterday's vegan diet a "4." My weight didn't really change from yesterday to today; 339.4 pounds.

My article on the "Dangers of Diet-Pills" was published today on Ezine Articles. It's kind of an Associated Press online. While it may take 48 hours to hit the search engines, you can read it and share it with someone you care about.
http://ezinearticles.com/?id=2571489

Monday, July 13, 2009

Obesity may increase your risk for Swine Flu

There have been some disturbing news articles about the obese and the H1Ni Swine flu. On May 20th, 2009, the Washington Post reported that "a survey of people hospitalized because of swine flu in California has raised the possibility that obesity is as much of a risk factor for serious complications from the flu as diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy, all known to raise a person's risk... They also quote Anne Schuchat, one of the CDC epidemiologists managing the outbreak, stating "We were surprised by the frequency of obesity among the severe cases that we've been tracking." She said scientists are "looking into" the possibility that obese people should be at the head of the line along with other high-risk groups if a swine flu vaccine becomes available.

Today there were numerous articles published about a Chicago outbreak. The Associated Press' Mike Stobbe today ran an article titled "Obesity a Risk Factor in Swine Flu?" In the article he reported that "a high proportion of those who have gotten severely ill from swine flu have been obese or extremely obese, but health officials have said that might be due to the fact that heavy people tend to have asthma and other conditions that make them more susceptible. Obesity alone has never been seen as a risk factor for "seasonal" flu.

But in a report released Friday, health officials detailed the cases of 10 Michigan patients who were very sick from swine flu in late May and early June and ended up at a specialized hospital in Ann Arbor. Three of them died.

Nine of the 10 were either obese or extremely obese. Only three of the 10 had other health problems. Two of the three that died had no other health conditions.

This hardly settles the question of whether obesity is its own risk factor for swine flu. It’s possible the patients had undiagnosed heart problems or other unidentified conditions."

While the prospect of contracting the "Pandemic" swine flu is worthy of concern, I also see the potential for an "obesity" backlash. It's clearly true that obese people are ridiculed and discriminated against, but these new articles may spur further isolation. If fat people are equated to a higher risk, then it is conceivable that thinner people may over react to the obese that may have any flu like symptoms. While it is important to report the increased risk, I think they should consider the issue with greater compassion towards the obese.

Early post: July 13th, 2009

The biopsy infection has slowed me down a bit, but I still went and worked out my upper body this morning. Knee is a little stiff. I'm not sure why, but I have to see the doc for a follow up tomorrow anyway. Yesterday was a bit better with diet. Definitely a "4" on the 1-5 diet quality scale. My family had kind of a New England clam and crab bake last night and I did try one mussel (I won't miss them). I did eat a healthy portion of corn on the cob (no butter, but I could have used the soy butter) and some small potato's.

I realize that it's possible to deprive the body of nutrients with a vegan diet, so I'm carefully monitoring my food and vitamin intake. I am consulting with my primary care physician, cardiologist, and my oncologist. Between the three of them, I have fairly regular and frequent blood labs. If you decide to try vegan, do your homework. Don't let a new life style derail your progress.

My weight this morning was 339.6 pounds. I have lost 10.4 pounds in the last 15 days. Prior to starting the blog 15 days ago, I was on a regular "count calories" diet and I was already exercising and very slowly losing weight, so I know my continued weight loss is not water or muscle. The vegan diet is not only shedding the weight, but I also physically feel better. I'm burning pure fat baby!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 12th 2009 IV Antibiotics and milk

Well, my biopsy infection got worse yesterday, so I had to go to the ER and get IV antibiotics. Had to return today for round two, but the infection is much better. Due to circumstances, I couldn't workout today and I can't swim until this wound heals completely, but I will go for a bike ride and the gym tomorrow.

Yesterday's meal at Sweet Tomato's may have been too much of a good thing. Either that or I'm retaining water. Either way, I weighed in at 340.4 today. I have faithfully adhered to the vegan life change since the 7th of July. I know I feel better intellectually having made the switch, but I wonder if I'll feel even better in a week or so.

In preparation for an article I'm writing about Milk Advertising, I'm doing research which includes the following notations: In 2005, the estimated dairy market in the U.S. alone is 70 billion dollars. In "A Bigger Bang for the Milk Advertising Buck?" by James G. Pritchett, Donald J. Liu, and Harry M. Kaiser ( http://commodity.aem.cornell.edu/nicpre/newslet/vol3no2/index.htm ) states that in 1997 "The national dairy promotion program (1983) raised about $200 million per year, the assessment funds activities such as nutrition research, education, promotion, and fluid milk advertising."

In "COW'S MILK IS FOR CALVES," Michael Dye writes, "Doctors say cow's milk can lead to iron deficiency anemia, allergies, diarrhea, heart disease, colic, cramps, gastrointestinal bleeding, sinusitis, skin rashes, acne, increased frequency of colds and flus, arthritis, diabetes, ear infections, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and more, possibly even lung cancer, multiple sclerosis and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma." Got Milk?
"...in 1974 the Federal Trade Commission felt compelled to take legal action against advertising claims made by the California Milk Producers. The ads claimed "Everybody Needs Milk." The FTC prosecuted the milk producers for "false, misleading and deceptive" advertising. A 1992 report in The New England Journal of Medicine also notes that cow's milk can contribute to juvenile diabetes and autoimmune diseases by impairing the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin."
http://www.all-creatures.org/cb/a-cowsmilk.html


According to an article on dairy, "Advertising's Influence: The Case of Dairy Products" By Noel Blisard, found at http://www.allbusiness.com/manufacturing/food-manufacturing-fruit/286506-1.html , stated... "In the early 1980's, dairy farmers were producing more milk and dairy products than Americans were consuming. Part of the surplus was due to high Government dairy support prices which kept milk production high, and part was due to declining consumption of dairy products among consumers... To stem the continuing decline in dairy product consumption, many dairy farmers participated in local advertising campaigns to promote the positive benefits of dairy products. Generic advertising is used by a cooperative, or group of producers.

... Congress passed the Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983 (known as the Dairy Act), which established a national program to increase consumption of milk and dairy products and reduce milk surpluses. This self-help program is funded by a mandatory 15-cents-per-hundred-weight assessment on all milk produced in the contiguous 48 states and marketed commercially by dairy farmers. It is administered by Dairy Management Incorporated (DMI), which is run by a board made up of dairy farmers to oversee the generic advertising campaigns. In 1996, $76.5 million was collected under the Dairy Act--a substantial increase over the $18.5 million spent on generic advertising in the year prior to the Dairy Act. The Fluid Milk Promotion Act of 1990 (called the Fluid Milk Act) established a second and separate dairy promotion and education program. In 1996, approximately $100 million was collected for the milk moustache campaign. Together, the Dairy and Fluid Milk Acts accounted for an estimated $179 million in additional fluid milk advertising expenditures in the 12 regions from September 1984 through September 1996. Generic advertising under the Dairy Act increased total U.S. retail cheese consumption by approximately 562 million pounds, or about 2% of total sales, from September 1984 to September 1996."
* The author is an agricultural economist with the Food and Rural Economics Division, Economic Research Service, USDA.3

Got Milk? Campaign history:
got milk? By Douglas B. Holt, L'Oreal Professor of Marketing, University of Oxford
http://www.aef.com/on_campus/classroom/case_histories/3000

In June 1993, Jeff Manning, Executive Director, was hired by the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) to revive sagging milk consumption in California. A month later, he hired San Francisco ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to create a new ad campaign for milk. "We weren't going to turn around a 15-year decline in per capita in one year, but we did believe that at least for certain portions of the population, we could flatten it out and start to move it up," said Manning. Following Manning's lead, Jeff Goodby, the agency's co-founder and chief creative, had worked with a team of planners and creatives at his agency to create got milk?, a campaign that became one of the decade's most popular and critically-acclaimed ad campaigns.

Concerned with long-term declining milk sales, California's largest milk processors voted to fund a marketing board that would be charged with creating advertising dedicated to selling milk. The processors agreed to finance the California Milk Processor Board (2) by contributing three cents for every gallon of milk they processed. This assessment allowed for a $23 million/year marketing budget. On a per-capita basis (California's population was roughly 20% of the US), this budget approximated those of the largest national auto, beer, finance, and pharmaceutical brands. Manning 's research showed that 88% of milk was consumed in the home. He and Goodby agreed that their milk deprivation ads would incorporate this reality. The ads would show people running out of milk when they needed it most, in their homes. "The whole campaign was based on somebody sitting at home thirty feet from the fridge with the TV on," said Manning. "We wanted them to feel the pain."

Market research confirmed what Goodby and Manning had hoped for. Respondents indicated that drinking milk was becoming a fashionable thing to do. "Suddenly, drinking milk was cool," recalled Manning. Manning and Goodby were as buoyed by their campaign's popularity as they were with milk's improving sales. "The response came in waves. The advertising community was first and they loved it. Aaron Burr won the Best in Show award at the 1994 Clio Awards, the advertising industry's equivalent of the motion picture industry's Academy Awards, or Oscars. In 1994, California's milk sales increased for the first time in over a decade, to 755 million gallons from the previous year's 740 million. Within months, the "got milk?" advertisements became famous. In 2006, the Got Milk? campaign went after a new demographic with a series of Spanish-language ¿Toma Leche?




Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11th 2009 Daily notes

After eating a banana and a pear, I hydrated as much as possible and hit the trail up to the reservoir. It was one of those Rocky Mountain sunny hot days and very beautiful. I rode around Bear Creek reservoir and then back up and over. The ride was 11.38 miles and it took 1.28 minutes. I drank two full water bottles; around 50 ounces and scaled in when I returned and found that I had lost almost a pound despite the water. I rehydrated and went to eat at Sweet Tomato's for lunch. Yumm! Before the bike ride I weighed in at 340.2. I'd give Friday a 4 on the food scale. Oh yeah, my biopsy infection has gotten worse. I have only been on K-Flex for 30 hours, but, due to my low platelet count, I think I may have to go back in. It just looks nasty.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday July 10th 2009

Today was a productive day. I got an infection in my biopsy wound, but I went and got some antibiotics, so it's fine. Managed to finish my writing with time to hit the gym for an hour and then rush downtown to teach the mixed kids lesson. It was fun as usual. It's nice to see your work in action. After the museum, I went with my son to Quizno's and had a small veg sandwich with JalapeƱos and vinaigrette on whole wheat bread. Tasted great and no dairy, no meat. This mornings weight was 341.2.

As each day passes, I start leaning away from surgery. I am still a strong proponent of bariatric surgery because it literally saves lives. Super morbidly obese people wear out their organs and bodies because of the strain of all that weight. They need the bariatic tool to be successful in the long run. Maybe I'll need to reconsider it, but for now I think I'm eating great; feeling great; and losing lots of weight quickly. Personally, I find the idea of being a vegan for the rest of my life more appealing than my diet after surgery. I'm fairly confident that I will lose 20 pounds this month. I think I can lose another 40 before the holiday's. That's better than I expected from surgery. I will continue this vegan journey until I'm sure it will stick and, in the mean time, I'm going to delay my surgery.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9th 2009 quick notes

I should have rated Tuesday and Wednesday as 4's on the food intake quality because they were pure vegan. Today will also be a 4. A 5 may be achievable when I get used to the new diet. However, maybe yesterday was a 5 since I ate every meal and had fruit snacks and still lost a pound! That may sound like a lot, but it's only .0029% of my body weight. It would be real cool if I lost 20 pounds in July. Especially because it would be done without diet pills or starvation. Speaking of exercise, today I only swam the mile, but did it in 41.28 minutes! Very tired now. The pool will be closed for three days for a big swim meet, so it will be biking and weight lifting for the weekend. This mornings weight was 342.2.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Super killer day

Kind of quick notes: Slept good last night. Today was marathon day. I am genuinely exhausted. This morning, in 90 degree sunny weather, I rode my bike up BCR, then down the mountain trail and back up to the top. 9 miles that felt like 20. I was out riding for 1.45 hours. Did some chores, wrote July 10th's lesson plan for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, then went swimming. Swam a mile in 44 minutes flat. Very tired. Second full day of vegan. It's really not that hard. It maybe an alternative to bariatric surgery. I won't schedule a surgery date until after the end of the month. I want to see how much I've lost by then. The restrictive diet you have to be on for the rest of your life with the surgery is harder than vegan. I prefer the soy milk, fake cheddar, yummy bread, and the ??? butter. I've used agave nectar as a sweetener for a long time, so that's not hard. I ate three great meals and had some fruit in between. Drank lots of water and one non- sweetened Gatorade today. Weighed in at 343.2 this morning.

I think I'll do so more research and write an article on dairy products. The "Skinny Bastard" book was a grizzly start, but I want to explore the benefits of a dairy free diet. Other than animal flesh and fat, dairy seems to be my personal weakness. Not milk. I hate milk. But cheese, sour cream and, OMG, ice cream! After reading their book I realized how horrible my "healthy," balanced diet was. I feel like I will greatly improve my weight loss with this vegan life change. My PCP said he tried to be a vegetarian when he was in Berkley (ha, ha, ha) and he said most of his veg friends were not thin (munchies), but the elimination of dairy is the key... I think After all, I am the Obesity Warrior! I need a chant or something. Like Tim the tool man. Huh, huh, huh. Not very convincing. Ho ho ho. Now, I'm Santa.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

First Vegan day

Quick notes: Had mole removed this morning. Could not swim and it got too hot to ride, so I'll have to make up for it in the morning. Yesterday should have been a 3, but it felt like a 2 on the quality/quantity scale. Weighed in at 344.4. No biggy.

Stayed up and read through most of the "Skinny Bastard" book. It is the strongest argument I have ever heard for Vegan. In a nutshell, due to the horrible steroids, antibiotics, other crap they give animals, and the way meat for mass consumption lives and dies, you should NOT eat anything with a face or it's byproducts. Also, quit caffeine, processed sugars, and all liquor except for the occasional red wine without sulfides.

That's really not too hard for me. I don't drink caffeine (other than the occasional iced tea), and I hardly ever drink. I've never liked milk. But I do love butter and sweets, so those are areas of concern and diligence. I was so horrified and upset about what I read in the bastard book that I went to the book store for a vegan cookbook (the one for dummies) and bought vegan supplies at the health food store. I was 100% vegan today and I liked it! Can't wait to see how it effects my weight.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Catch up Monday

Weighed in this morning at 343.6. That's 6.4 pounds in the past week. I'm NOT skipping meals or taking diet (death) pills. Just watching it. Yesterday was a "3". Made it to the gym today and lifted weights for an hour and then swam a mile in 42.24 minutes. Ate a very small bowl of Muesli this morning and had a pork sandwich for lunch. Tonight is green chili which will be okay if I don't eat very much.

Re-wrote the "Dangers of Diet Pills" article and submitted it to Ezine Articles for publication later this week. Also, went to book store and bought a new exercise/nutrition book called "Skinny Bastard" by Freedman and Barnouin. It's about getting smok'in hot bod, but not really skinny. They just named it that to go with their other book "Skinny Bitch." It is a smack down, locker room language, "get off the damn couch" kind of book. Sounds fun.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday; beautiful Sunday July 5th, 2009

Took it easy today. Read outside in sun for a while. Took the wife and youngest, 13, out for a Sunday drive. Ate a nice lunch at the Blue Bonnet (mexican). Took a short nap. Scaled in at 344.6 this morning. Yesterday's calorie intake was pretty good for a holiday. Score 3.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bonus bike ride

Got board. Went with my 18 year old son on a killer mountain bike ride. Mud, rocks, serious down hill, sweat, and a sore butt. Happy and finally a little tired.

My dad


I'm going to have a great holiday for my dad! Paul J. Sharits (1943-1993)

Best swim EVER!

On July 1st, I swam the mile in 50.55 minutes. Today I swam the mile (33 laps) in 43.48 minutes! Personal best! And, it improved my attitude today. I know they have ribs and potato salad for tonight's BBQ. I need to go out and buy some turkey brats and something else healthy, otherwise, I'll blow another "4" potential.

Star Date 7-4-2009; daily post

Well, it's the 4th of July. Big holiday for my boys. BBQ; Apple pie; the works. And a big challenge for dieting. I stole this funny post from a friend on facebook...
"guzzle. whee! Bang, pow! ooh, aah, whee, guzzle, chomp-chomp, slurp. bang, pow! whee! ooh, aah! guzzle, guzzle, guzzle. vroom! whoo-oo-whoo-oo-whoo-oo, "sir, may i see your license? How much have you had to drink tonight?" clang." LOL

This day is mixed for me. If I drank, this would be the day. On July 4th, 1993, my dad, the filmmaker Paul Sharits, killed himself. He was bipolar and not very good about abstaining from anything. I'm bipolar, but I have many many things I love about life and I'm really fond of good health. I plan on living for a very long time. While my disorder is balanced by meds, it brings up two very important points. Mental health is extremely important when losing weight. So much is going on, it's easy to forget depression. Get depressed; eat. Second, one of my criteria for picking a surgery was my meds and vitamins. With the bypass, meds kind of fly through you. With the "realize band" you can take your meds as usual. Talk to your doctor about this one. Also, I add a link to "Everyday Health." I strongly suggest you sign up for their daily emails. They have relevant health articles as well as easy to find information on "Top health conditions" (bipolar, ADD, ect) and they have quick links to the "Top 40 Meds."

Daily update: yesterday was good until the evening. I have a hard time controlling my hunger and sweet cravings. It's okay to have sweets, but instead of a nice big bowl of ice cream or pie, have a couple spoons, charish the flavor and walk away. Don't spit out food. That's gross. Anyway, back on topic. After I finish writing, I'm headed out to the pool. Like I said, I kind of blew it last night and had a sandwitch and a cookie way later than I should have. My weight was 345.0 again this morning.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Accountability for july 3rd, 2009

Yesterday was nearly a 4 before I went up for a small midnight snack. Make it another 3. Maybe today will be a 4 (calorie quality count between 1 and 5). Completed today's bike ride to Bear Creek Reservoir; 10.1 miles in 1 hour 15 minutes. The uphill trails were brutal and hot. My weight this morning was 345.0. Feeling very good today.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2, 2009 Personal stats and accountability

Yesterday was good, not great. Swim was great, but I had a few extra ribs at dinner so I would call it a three not a four. Nonetheless, I continue to lose weight. Today I was 345.6 and lifted torso and upper body for an hour. I think today will be a four. Met with PCP. Physical went well, except for the platelets. They were still at 80,000 (better than the 40,000 in March). Looking forward to bike ride tomorrow.

Dangers of Diet Pills

American's spend more than 6 Billion dollars a year on diet pills. There are literally 100's of diet pills. At any given time there are dozens of "lose weight quick" schemes in the media. They usually involve some "miracle" drug or supplement foods. Whether the pills or ingredients are over the counter or prescription, they can be very dangerous to your long term health.

Remember fen/phen or Ephedra. Both caused heart trouble and were banned by the FDA. That's two out of hundreds of pills, many of them unregulated. Most diet pills contain caffeine (a stimulant added for that "burst of energy"). While almost everyone drinks or takes caffeine, it can be dangerous in large quantities. Caffeine stimulates adrenaline which increases blood sugar and begins to emit cortisol which destroys the nervous system. Imagine a person who drinks coffee all the time and takes diet pills. Other common ingredients are Xenical (which can cause unexpected fecal discharge; pleasant), Adipex, Phentermine and Merdia. The side effects from these drugs can be chest pain, racing heartbeat, depression, heart problems (even failure), high blood pressure, dizziness, tremors, diarrhea, and nervousness. Even "organic" diet pills are dangerous and unregulated.

If you still believe in these "short cuts" you should consult your doctor (especially if you are taking prescription drugs). If you insist on taking diet pills you will probably need to stay on them for a long time, if not forever, to keep the weight off AND you will increase your risk of long term damage. There is simply no substitute for a balanced diet (in moderation) and exercise. Forget about the ingredients in foods and watch your calories. As I continue to argue, morbidly obese people need to have a balanced diet, exercise, and strongly consider bariatric surgery. It won't damage your organs and it should safely give you back your life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fattest State - Mississippi

Excerpts From Comcast news 7/1/09- (the study featured in this article suggested new nutritional standards. While I agree, I strongly believe that the morbid obese need far more.)
Mississippi's still fattest but Alabama closing in

By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP

WASHINGTON —
Mississippi's still king of cellulite, but an ominous tide is rolling toward the Medicare doctors in neighboring Alabama: obese baby boomers. It's time for the nation's annual obesity rankings and, outside of fairly lean Colorado, there's little good news. In 31 states, more than one in four adults are obese, says a new report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

It's a national crisis that "calls for a national strategy to combat obesity," added Robert Wood Johnson vice president Dr. James Marks. "The crest of the wave of obesity is still to crash."

While the nation has long been bracing for a surge in Medicare as the boomers start turning 65, the new report makes clear that fat, not just age, will fuel much of those bills. In every state, the rate of obesity is higher among 55- to 64-year-olds — the oldest boomers — than among today's 65-and-beyond.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long said that nearly a third of Americans are obese. The Trust report uses somewhat more conservative CDC surveys for a closer state-by-state look. Among the findings:

_Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity, 32.5 percent, for the fifth year in a row.

_Three additional states now have adult obesity rates above 30 percent, including Alabama, 31.2 percent; West Virginia, 31.1 percent; and Tennessee, 30.2 percent.

_In 1991, no state had more than a 20 percent obesity rate. Today, the only state that doesn't is Colorado, at 18.9 percent.

_The South is the fattest region. The Northeast and West are slightly slimmer than the rest of the country.

_Mississippi also had the highest rate of overweight and obese children, at 44.4 percent in total. It's followed by Arkansas, 37.5 percent; and Georgia, 37.3 percent.

_Following Alabama, Michigan ranks No. 2 with fat boomers; 36 percent of its 55- to 64-year-olds are obese. Colorado has the lowest rate, 21.8 percent.

July 1, 2009 Truth's and Encouragement

Personal note to self: Today, I swam the mile (33 laps) in 50.55 minutes. I weighed 347. Yesterday was a 3 on the good diet scale. I'll try for a 4 today. I'm not sure I want to rate anything a 5 until after surgery.

Okay, Bandstand...
I'm not sure if people get this whole obese thing. Obese people are usually experts on different kinds of diets. They probably have been very successful... while they were on the diet. If you want to keep the weight off, you must change your life for good. When discussing bariatric surgery, many normal people say "why don't you pull away from the table and eat less" (I stole that from my doctor). I say, why don't you quit smoking; why don't you quit coke; why don't you quit drinking? I mean really. If it was that easy why would we be fat. Do you think it's a life choice. I can tell you from personal experience that the most discriminated group is obese people. We get treated differently. We don't get the promotion because we don't promote the "image".
Some people may even suggest that obese people are failures. I beg to differ. I read in the current issue of Psychology Today that "Some psychologists, like the University of Virginia's Jonathan Haidt, go even further, arguing that adversity, setbacks, and even trauma may actually be necessary for people to be happy, successful, and fulfilled." Just look at some examples; J.K. Rowling was almost homeless, Steve Jobs dropped out of college and got fired from the company he founded. Just ask Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. They've failed more than they succeed. The July 6, 2009 Time magazine's article about "What Barack Obama can learn from FDR" states that the "Chinese word for crisis is spelled using the characters for danger and opportunity." I argue that obese people can succeed with the extreme life changes from bariatric surgery better than any other part of the population would be able to.
GO OBESE, you can do it!