Nuts & Bolts of a CRAN Diet — November 1996

by Ben Best

(See also Nuts & Bolts of a CRAN Diet — October 1996)


                            CALORIES PROTEIN SUGAR  FAT   FIBER 
PUMPERNICKLE RYE SLICE        12831  381.9   45.8  152.8  397.2
CHEESE (CHEDDAR 1% FAT)        4293  658.3   28.6   57.2    0  
CEREAL #2                      3834  120.6   23.4   99    244.8
POTATO                         2974   77.7    3.4   64.2    0  
TOFU (NUTRASOYA)               1980  222.2  103.4    6.6    0  
PEPPER, SWEET GREEN/RED        1945   64.8   32.4  210.7   97.3
TOMATO                         1789   82     22.4  171.4   74.5
VEGETABLE JUICE                1375   41.3   11    195.3    0  
CAULIFLOWER                    1368  114     11.4  136.8    0  
LENTILS (DRY)                  1272   98.5    3.7   19.7   43.6
ONIONS                         1240   41.3    9.2  229.6   27.6
CABBAGE, GREEN                 1095   54.8   13.7  177.9   54.8
CELERY                         1040   52     17.3   69.3   69.3
CEREAL #1                       864   26.8    4.4   23.2   46  
SPELT BREAD SLICE               808   31.2    1.6    8     44  
CUCUMBER                        796   34.1   11.4  136.5   34.1
MUSHROOMS                       674   82.4   15     37.4    0  
BROCCOLI                        374   40.5    6.2   21.8   18.7
BEETS                           319   11      0     67.5    0  
LETTUCE, ICEBERG                307   20.5    0     51.2   20.5
BACON BITS                       44    3.8    1.3    0      1.3
EGGPLANT                         40    1.8    0      4.4    2.2

                            CALORIES PROTEIN  SUGAR     FAT    FIBER 
TOTALS                       41262    2261.5  365.6   1940.5  1175.9
DAILY AVERAGES               1375.4    75.4   12.2     64.7    39.2

                            CALORIES %WATER
CUCUMBER                     0.135     96  
CELERY                       0.15      95  
LETTUCE, ICEBERG             0.15      96  
VEGETABLE JUICE              0.159     94
TOMATO                       0.195     94  
CABBAGE, GREEN               0.229     93  
CAULIFLOWER                  0.24      92  
PEPPER, SWEET GREEN/RED      0.24      93  
MUSHROOMS                    0.257     92  
BROCCOLI                     0.273     91  
EGGPLANT                     0.268     92  
BEETS  (BOILED)              0.306     91  
ONIONS                       0.338     91  
POTATO                       0.786     79  
TOFU (NUTRASOYA)             1.324      X   <-- "X" means unknown
CHEESE (CHEDDAR 1% FAT)      1.429      X
SPELT BREAD SLICE            2.02       X
LENTILS (DRY)                2.39       X
CEREAL #2                    3.55       X
CEREAL #1                    3.6        X
BACON BITS                   4.375      X

November was the second month in a row that I practiced Caloric Restriction with Adequate Nutrition (CRAN) by setting a daily calorie-ceiling of 1,400 -- and weighing my food every time I did not know the calorie content ahead of time. My consumption of pumpernickle rye was as great as it was partly because it was easy to carry-around, and its calorie-content per slice is known. More often than not I would calculate my remaining calories for the day, and ensure that I got nearly 1,400. And it was often the pumpernickle that took up the slack when I was not at home. I also use pumpernickle for my sandwiches and cheese-melts. I am going to cut-back, although I am not ready to ration myself as I have had to do with cereal (maximum 60 grams per day).

The anti-cookers got through to me about toasting bread, because I had long had some concern about burnt protein. I constructed a cardboard holder for my rye bread, which allows me to put slices vertically in the microwave and be well-ventilated. The cross-linking of the microwaving makes the bread strong enough to hold my sandwiches, yet there is never burning. I am getting rid of my toaster, not my microwave.

By the use of salt I have made cucumbers appetizing enough to eat in quantity. I have healthy kidneys so I have no worries about the use of salt -- and there is little salt in any of my other food anyway. I am more willing to eat celery because I no longer try to eat the bitter outer stalks. I am trying to eat more cherry tomatoes, but they are not sold at my local convenience stores. Cauliflower, sweet red peppers and mushrooms are quite filling and all seem to reduce my starch-cravings. I cut the cauliflower 3-heads at a time and don't worry about getting the pieces too small. I put the pieces in a plastic bag and find them to be a handy "snack food". The main drawback to these foods is their high water content -- and the fact that I do most of my eating in the evenings. This means I accumulate a lot of urine in the night, although I generally have no trouble getting back to sleep after a quick pee.

By the end of November my weight was 117 pounds, 2 pounds shy of my 115 goal. I lost about 4 pounds in the month. Moreover, I have been bench-pressing 115 pounds quite regularly. Nonetheless, on December first I went on a conscious eating-binge. I ate a can of tuna, lots of cereal, lots of tofu and lots of fruits. I had already decided that I was going to slack-off in December. I gained 2 pounds in 4 days -- am 119 currently. I had a great deal of pride in keeping my calorie commitment in November, but I took a defiant pleasure in my days of "anarchy" -- eating on impulse and not worrying about calorie-counting or weighing. I now feel more sobered and it may have been something I needed to "get out of my system". (I see no need of a "12-step program" for CRAN).

My commitment for the rest of December is to eat no more than 1,600 calories on most days. But I am going to allow myself to binge on a few selected days, and I am not going to weigh my food when I travel to A4M or go to parties. In January I am going to restrict myself to 1,400 calories per day again and try to achieve my goal of 115 pounds. Then I will concentrate on trying to maintain that weight at whatever calores-per-day is necessary.

I believe that weighing food and counting calories is a better feedback device than just weighing myself (although doing both together is best). By calorie-counting I find it easier to lose weight more gradually. I am worried that I may have harmed myself (undermining the value of CRAN) by losing weight too quickly. If Dr. Walford and other scientists hope to see CRAN practiced on a more widespread basis, I think they should do some objective studies on the effect of weight-loss rate on the longevity benefits of CRAN. As far as I can tell, all claims about the health effects of weight-loss rates for CRAN have been guess-work, not science.