A healthy and prosperous start to 2017

It’s been an interesting start to the year.  Or maybe interesting is entirely the wrong word.  Perhaps boring will better describe my experience of January 2017.

January 1st saw me returning to Spain from ten days with my family over Christmas which included a fabulous surprise visit from my oldest daughter so that we were all together for a few hours over Christmas eve and Christmas morning.

Meanwhile, during the last couple of months of the old year I had latched onto two particular ideas that sparked my interest.  The first was to resolve not to buy any clothes during 2017.  This wouldn’t be much of a hardship as I have more than enough clothes to last me a decade, let alone a year, but nevertheless I have made an exception to the rule with regard to camino related necessities.

The second idea was likely to be more of a challenge.  A camino facebook friend of mine posted a link to a Rich Roll podcast of an interview with Andrew Taylor.  Andrew is an Aussie who, at the end of 2015 was suffering clinical depression relating to weight/food issues.  The second he started talking I recognised and resonated with what he was saying.  He explained that he had a food addiction and although he had been a vegan for years, he was making bad choices around food and found it impossible to lose weight.

Someone who is addicted to drugs, cigarettes or gambling (or buying clothes) can stop that activity entirely.  It might not be easy, and withdrawal symptoms are likely to be hard to cope with, but having made the decision to quit, no further choices have to be made.  With a food addiction it is not so straightforward.  You cannot quit food and decisions about what you eat have to constantly be made.  For someone with a bad relationship with food, this makes keeping to a strict eating regime fraught with the possibilities to make bad choices.  Andrew Taylor knew that he needed to take decision-making out of his eating regime and decided upon eating only one food type.  After a lot of research he decided to eat solely potatoes and nothing else for the entire duration of 2016 (with the exception of vitamin B12, potatoes provide all the minerals and nutrients to sustain a healthy body).

I’m sure many of you will have seen news items over the new year when Andrew (Spud Fit) Taylor was interviewed worldwide about his year-long challenge, during which he lost a third of his bodyweight and came off his medication for depression within a couple of weeks of starting.

I have also had a bad relationship with food for most of my adult life.  For the most part I eat fairly healthily, a great deal of fruit and vegetables, but also meat or fish every day.  But my body seems to have forgotten to acknowledge when it has had sufficient sustenance and I am in the habit of grazing and overeating.  My weight usually varies by 6-8 kilos during the year and it is a regular pattern.  I want to reset my body mechanisms to reliably advise me when I am hungry and when I am full.  And that is the whole point of this potato only diet.  To make eating so boring that you do it purely to refill the tank, not for enjoyment.  You eat to live, not live to eat.  You get your enjoyment from activities other than eating.  A lot of people who have taken up the ‘spudfit’ challenge are reporting huge improvements in their health after a very short period of time, relating to blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels and inflammatory problems.

On day 17, as I am writing this, I can report success.  I have lost 4 kilos and am not thinking about food and have no cravings.  I am only planning to continue this regime for 4 1/2 weeks when I have a function that I am looking forward to.  But I am seriously considering eating a great deal less meat in the future.

I am very fortunate that I don’t have any health issues (that I am aware of) other than slightly raised cholesterol level.  Hopefully this will have dropped by the end of the month along with my weight.

Oh, and my third challenge was to forego alcohol for the month, which has also been relatively easy.

I wrote the above three weeks ago now and at the end of my 32 day potato only diet, have lost a total of 8 kilos, with which I am absolutely delighted.

I have transitioned onto a ‘sort of’ vegan diet, eating only whole-food, plant based foods.  So lots of legumes, rice, vegetables and fruit (with no added sugar, oil or salt) and no alcohol.  I say ‘sort of’ because I have decided to eat ‘normally’ when out of the house at a dinner party or in a restaurant and I will certainly enjoy a glass of cava on such occasions – probably around 3 or 4 times a month.

Thus far I am enjoying doing lots of reading on the subject and searching out tasty recipes (and for someone who has always hated beans that is quite a challenge!).  It would be nice to lose a little more weight, but the main point of this new eating regime is to boost my health.  I have become very aware recently of my good fortune in being relatively healthy all my life, and I would very much like to stay that way.

I am not so rash as to state that I will become 100% vegan in the future, I may well lose the impetus that I feel at the moment, but I owe it to myself and my family to make the effort and give it a go.

And there is a bonus to my new life style – steering clear of the January sales and eating only spuds for a month has had a very beneficial effect on my purse!

If you have taken the trouble to read this post to the end, then I think you deserve something nice to look at – and rather than show you some photos of various ways to serve potatoes, here are a few views from my January walks…

blog-pic-2 blog-pic-3 blog-pic

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
This entry was posted in A view of life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to A healthy and prosperous start to 2017

  1. Margaret Gardner says:

    Great blog but I do think you should have shared some potatoes pictures/recipes in case there are others out there wanting to try this diet. So pleased you are going to eat normally with friends as it did restrict invitations to dinner. I couldn’t get my head around a potato starter, potato main course then finishing with a potato desert!!


  2. Henk Slabbekoorn says:

    My dog, who is by birth a carnivore as far as I know, developed a taste for potatoes too. Not that I ever give them, cooked, baked or whatever, but when he finds them along the road he eats them as a delicacy, raw or rotten. He also loves sugar beets, carrots, apples etc etc, so if such an animal tries to eat like a vegan, why shouldn’t we, humans, be able to do so?
    Best wishes to all your good ideas for 2017–but be sure to stay healthy and strong!


    • magwood says:

      Lovely to hear from you Henk. I have to say Roly (the dog) is much less interested in what I am eating now I have moved on from potatoes only to a more varied plant-based diet. He keeps nagging for tidbits and when I succumb he spits them out in disgust. I think your dog would be much better suited to me at the moment!


  3. June Pettipas says:

    I just had the thought this morning that I had not received a post in a very long time and low and behold today it arrived. Love reading them. I am very intrigued about the potato diet and will research this further. I have not heard of it before. So happy to hear all is well and thanks for the lovely pictures as we are in deep winter here now.


  4. caminojakke says:

    You’re lucky if you can eat red meat now and then. I left out red meat and lost much weight. However, I cannot take a day off and enjoy a steak. My stomach will react very negatively. I wish you all the best on that Spud Camino!


    • magwood says:

      It remains to be seen as to how I get on with a plant based diet. Thus far I am really enjoying it and learning to cook lots of new dishes. I fear it may be necessary for me to avoid alcohol though, as after a few drinks my resolve seems to dissolve!


  5. Luba says:

    Wow! Are those avocados? It looks like they’re hanging on strings.
    Bravo on your résolution to change your life. I’m curious about your energy levels throughout that programme. Did you eat any particular species of potato? And what happened to you appetite during that time?


    • magwood says:

      Hi Luba. Yes we have a lot of avocados growing hereabouts, the area between the mountains and the mediterranean apparently has a micro-climate very conducive to growing avocados and mangos.
      The potato diet was very easy for me to stick to. I didn’t feel hungry although I was actually eating very little. And no sugar cravings at all. Lots of people report a surge of energy on this diet, which I didn’t feel, but neither was I particularly lacking in energy. My muscles were a big achey in the first week or so when walking strenuously (which I have never felt before) but that eased off quite soon. Definitely worth a try if you have some stubborn weight you wish to lose, or suffer with diabetes or blood pressure issues.


  6. alan says:

    Another fun,informative and well written post Maggie. I too will check out this regime.x


  7. Anni Turnbull says:

    Congratulations on your success! There is a common misunderstanding about veganism. What you are eating now is a plant based diet, not a vegan diet. Veganism is an ethical way of living that includes eating plant foods but also living in such a way as promotes respect and compassion for all animals without harming them. I started out eating plants for my health too, and that opened my eyes to the plight of animals. It is their welfare that keeps me eating just plants when cravings threaten to overwhelm me. Potatoes have been a great tool in that regard for me too. My instagram @vegananni records my own 3 month Spudfit Challenge from Sept to Dec when I lost 9kg and lowered my cholesterol too!
    So welcome to plant based eating and the wonders it produces in a strong healthy body and a peaceful compassionate mind.


    • magwood says:

      Hi Anni. Thanks for your comment – I really appreciate you taking the time to point out that I have a way to go before becoming a vegan. It is very early days and I have had a few occasions when I intentionally ate ‘normally’, but I am finding it very interesting to try out new food and recipes. I shall take a look at your link – and congratulations on three months of spudfit and your weight loss.


  8. Well done Maggie. I am not sure I could handle the potato diet but have had similar results with the Blood Sugar Diet. 2.5 weeks in and 4kgs down and starting to get a handle on my sugar addiction! It is a nice feeling.

    On another note – I have given up buying clothes for 2 years!! I had an epiphany over the Christmas holidays, reading the book – To Die For? Is Fashion Wearing out the World by Lucy Siegle. I am no environmental evangelist but this just opened my eyes to the impact of ‘fast fashion’. I recommend it if you are up for an interesting read.

    What is on your walking agenda this year? Thanks for sharing. Mel


    • magwood says:

      Great minds Melanie! I did stock up on tights before the new year but I’m getting a bit anxious about underwear now that I have lost some weight, I may need to buy some new pants or use a pair of braces!


  9. Lucymi says:

    Lovely photos, especially the oranges and lemons growing in January. Do the oranges and lemons grow all year round? It would be interesting to know.
    Are the other dark green things avocados??
    Regarding potatoes, I love them, can’t imagine a life without them. My cat eats potatoes too and he’s 14 yrs.


    • magwood says:

      Hi Lucy. Lemons can grow throughout the year, but the oranges are ready now for a couple of months. The ripe fruit is on the trees at the same time as the blossom for next year’s fruit. The scent is wonderful. Yes, avocados are a popular crop in this area where there is a micro-climate between the mountains and the Mediterranean creating the perfect conditions for avocados and also mangos. I don’t think they are grown in any other areas in Spain.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mary Lynch says:

    I love spuds also Maggie but I can’t imagine surviving on them alone. Great to hear from you and congratulations on the weight loss. Giving up the alcohol has to have helped a lot or maybe you don’t drink as much as me! You haven’t given us an insight into your plans for this year yet I’m looking forward to hearing what this year’s challenge will be. Much love xx


    • magwood says:

      I have to say Mary that I am enjoying a bit of variety in my food now the diet is over. I’m also enjoying experimenting with a plant based diet. I never thought I would like it, but so far, so good xx


  11. Jenny Corney says:

    Mm — food for thought


  12. keith889 says:

    Well done Maggie. I am not sure that I will be tempted onto the spud diet though 🙂


  13. cphilippen says:

    Hey Maggie,
    that potatoe-only diet won’t be mine, but your text gave me a welcome, motivating a**-kick to think again about a raw-food only Camino!
    And: welcome to our (extended) vegan family!! 🙂

    Counting down the days,


    • magwood says:

      I’m counting on you to keep me on the straight and narrow – as far as eating is concerned. I know I don’t stand a change of not drinking if I am walking with you!


I would love some feedback - tell me what you think.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.