the following is reprinted from a 2015 blog as I recorded mine and Sue's experiences on the 20 Day The Plan -
“The Plan”, the book, debuted just over two years ago. My association with Lyn-Genet, the author, goes back a little longer, back to when Lyn traveled to Bloomsburg in 2010 along with a mutual friend who had introduced her to my version of the flax granola that we currently make. Lyn-Genet was looking for a supplier of flax granola and I was playing around with something close enough to catch her attention so we sat down and reviewed the recipe.
“No salt. No refined sugars and, most of all, no oats,” she insisted then said, “don’t worry about the fat and calorie count. When you get your nutrition facts label those numbers will be high but people will lose weight eating this granola because calories don’t matter.”
It was a stunning statement and one that flew in the face of every diet guru and governmental brochure produced in the last twenty years. Want to lose weight? Count calories. And here was Lyn-Genet telling me it simply wasn’t true.
In the intervening four years, I have heard from hundreds of women who have gone on The Plan and significantly benefited from it.
They’ve lost weight or reduced inflammation or eliminated expensive drug regimens by simply being given a set of tools that helps restore digestive health while offering real insight into identifying foods that are either reactive or restorative. That information is huge. But, curiously, I have seen very few men ordering our granola suggesting that relatively few men are going on The Plan.
Until recently. The percentage of men ordering our flax granola has suddenly skyrocketed. When I talk to these men, the reason they state for going on The Plan is much the same for the women I have talked to. To lose weight and repair digestive health. But I have yet to see the kinds of support systems geared toward men on The Plan that are available to women. Hence this blog. My interest in going on The Plan goes back at least two years, however, at that time, I found the program too complicated and too demanding. Now, however, with Lyn-Genet’s introduction of “The Plan Cookbook” along with a series of workbooks including one specifically for men, I have come around and decided I need to do this plan, and, I can do this plan.
For myself, in recent years, I have developed the kind of digestive issues that The Plan seems specifically geared toward; gas, bloating, unexplained weight gain and an increased incidence of acid reflux. I know I’m reacting to something I’m eating and yet, I eat well, mainly whole foods that I cook myself. But something is wrecking havoc on my digestive system and I don’t want to suffer anymore. I don’t want to go on Prilosec. I gotta figure it out. So that’s why I’m going on The Plan and I will document the process, the successes and the frustrations. Also, I’ve signed on with a “Team Plan” a more affordable program where you join a group with a single coach. Althea White, my assigned “Plan Coach” will be available to answer questions that arise. The pic shows an array of items I purchased today from the grocery store along with the men’s workbook. For those interested in learning more about what that specific grocery list looks like, I’m attaching a link to Lyn’s own webpage that lists what is needed for the first seven days. It’s not that tough. I’m looking forward to the menu plan beginning tomorrow. That and the likely ten to twelve glasses of water I’ll be drinking everyday.
So follow along as I take to The Plan and hopefully find the kind of success so many others have found with this remarkable program.
DAY ONE ON THE 20 DAY PLAN
First thing you do before you even get out of bed is to check your Basil Base Temperature (under arm). Mine is low. 94.5. This indicates an under-active thyroid. I push Sue around and jab at her arm pit with the thermometer. She knows what’s up but she’s not completely on board and in no mood to be jabbed about. She tells me she’s had her thyroid checked by her doctor and was told it was functioning just fine. I pluck the thermometer out from under the sheets and tell her that her BBT says not so fast. A higher number than mine but still well below what they want to see on The Plan.
Next up is to check my weight. Ugh. Horrid. I’ve put on 15 pounds in the last year. Stress. I’m a stress-biter. Pile on the stress and if food is within reach, it’s gunning for my mouth. The term "Stress biter" is my own derived from hanging out with dog people. “Fear-biter”, “hand shy”, Alpha-dog"… Dog people had a way of categorizing every dog in the park. At the moment, I don’t have a dog and that probably accounts for the rise in stress since dogs are great stress relievers. We have cats and, if you ask me, cats all fall into the same “neurotic” category. Well, maybe add to that “controlling” and"dictatorial" but I seem to be living with some pretty demanding cats.
Anyway, Sue’s convinced the bathroom scale is inaccurate. “The Plan” recommends a digital scale to get tenths of a pound. We have one, somewhere in a closet, the battery long dead. I dig it out but it means a trip to the store cause it’s the kind of watch battery you won’t have a replacement laying around. But I gotta go back to the store anyway to try to find fresh beets, brown basmati rice and a half dozen other items that didn’t make my initial list and, it seems, I didn’t get nearly enough carrots, zucchini, kale and apples. There’s a lot of food to prepare when you’re on The Plan and I’m already hearing it from Sue, “Do you have the time to prepare all these meals,” she asks pointedly, “because I sure don’t.” I assure Sue that I will take care of it but I know she knows I’m lying and, sure enough, she begins rescheduling her day so she can help with meal planning. “I won’t be able to this everyday, you know,” she says under her breath.
Next up is lemon juice and dandelion tea. This is clearly not something I’m looking forward to but it’s just for three days while we detox. Sue and I are tea drinkers. Black tea. Caffeinated tea. She warns me that we’re both going to experience caffeine withdrawal and I say let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.
A half hour later and we’re bickering about nothing and it gets worse as the day goes on. Breakfast on The Plan means a heaping bowl of flax-granola and a cup of blueberries (half a cup for Sue) and coconut milk. Sounds good to me but Sue wonders if the blueberries are organic. They aren’t. She rips thru The Plan book and finds a page that lists Blueberries on the dirty dozen list of fruits and veggies you have to buy organic. I tell her I know that. I get defensive. I tell her the dried blueberries we buy for the granola mixes are organic but I really wanted fresh blueberries to kick off The Plan and finding fresh organic blueberries on the last day of February in a rural town like Bloomsburg is just not going to happen. “Did you try Weis or did you just go to Giant?” she asks. I don’t respond. It’s an academic question. She knows I only carry one store's key fob and it’s to Giant.
The flax granola tastes great (you might think I’m required to say this but I’ve grown very fond of our granola) however, it tastes a lot sweeter than usual. Sue asks if I’ve read the ingredient list on the coconut milk then pulls her glasses down from atop her head and saves me the trouble. Cane sugar is the third ingredient. Okay, I say, and wonder for the first time how critical caffeine is to our relationship.
By noon we reconvene to prepare lunch - ginger carrot soup and a pear salad. Sue has arrived ahead of me and already made a mess of the kitchen. “You’ve never used a food processor before in your life?” I shout, astonished. I’m about to go off on how preposterous this is when I get a look from Sue that tells me to shut up. I do.
I take over on the food processor and puree what’s left. Sue steams the broccoli and readies the pear/mixed green salad. I sprinkle sunflower seeds on everything (having forgotten to buy pumpkin seeds) but it all tastes great. Well, okay, really surprisingly good. Around three o'clock I come home from the office. I’ve done nothing but drink glass after glass of water and write a few emails and I’m dead tired with a ticking migraine in my head. I’m going to make a cup of caffeinated tea. I walk in and find the remains of a completely desiccated, thoroughly squeezed dry tea bag in a cup in the sink and I’m comforted. Sue is almost always one step ahead of me on everything and there it is, yet again. She comes downstairs all smiles. We chop up an apple for a snack and I’m off again to the office.
Home for dinner. Sue has The Plan Workbook, the original The Plan book and The Plan Cookbook all laid out and is pointing out various inconsistencies. I shrug and say the workbook and the cookbook are the most recent so let’s follow them. Sue makes the sauce while I rinse then chop the veggies and shitake mushrooms and saute them all in a large pan, big enough to hold everything. It all comes together nicely and we sit down to one of the most satisfying meals we’ve had in a long time. I cannot believe how much I enjoyed a salad of grated beets and carrots. Wonderful.
From then on, you’re cut off. No drinks. No snacks, early to bed. We even skip our nightly game of cards and, of course, the glass of scotch that normally accompanies any game of cards. I gotta say, I feel pretty good. No tummy distress. I get another hour of work in then go upstairs to bed and I see Sue has left my nightstand light on for me. I get it. A courtesy. All is well.
End of Day One on The 20 Day Plan
Day Two on The 20 Day Plan
Woke up early and laid in bed awhile cringing, thinking about my BBT. In yesterday’s post I referred to BBT as Basil Base Temperature. As in, what, Doug? Are you pressing some basil leaves up into your armpit because that’s what it sure sounds like you’re doing.
Basal Body Temperature would be the correct reading of BBT I have since discovered..
S’okay, BBT is a new one for me but then I’ve never ovulated nor have I been in a relationship that would require close scrutiny of someone’s BBT.
In any event, I check my BBT and I am thrilled. Way up from 94.6 to 96.5! That’s nearly two degrees overnight. I can practically hear my thyroid humming, ready to start the day.
I roll Sue over and check hers. Also up from yesterday but not quite as high as mine. I gloat a bit and wonder if a two-point drop in BBT will translate to pounds off on the scales.
No such luck.
Yesterday we replaced the analog bathroom scale with the battery powered digital scale and so now the digital scale says I’m up two pounds. Ugh. Sue says the digital is more accurate and proves it by pointing to her eighth of a pound weight gain. Considering our respective body weights, that would correlate right in line with mine.
I go downstairs and bring up tea and lemon juice for the both of us. Yesterday, Sue rummaged the pantry and pulled out a huge glass jar – the sort you get from Costco when bulking up on mayo. I look at what she requires at her weight and tell her I’ll need a rain barrel.
She doesn’t laugh. “You better drink your water,” she admonishes me and I’m wondering if she’s been corresponding with Althea, my “non-resident” coach who has been telling me the same thing.
It’s a lot of water, I want to complain, but I don’t because I’ve got a cup of dandelion tea in one hand while guzzling lemon water with the other.
Breakfast is granola again w fresh blueberries. Yum.
Off to work where I retrieve a message from a man who is on The Plan and has some questions about his order for granola. Excellent, I think, I really want to commiserate with another guy.
We don’t connect until nearly noon and we talk for a half hour. I’m a little antsy because I’ve promised Sue I will be home to help with lunch and now I have an elderly gentleman on the phone (he’s 83) and he’s a talker.
But, hey, here’s a guy on the phone with me who is 83 years old and he’s going on The Plan. Wow, you gotta love that. And he says he’s doing great. We’re pretty much at the same early stage – cup and a half of the granola, cup of blueberries, he’s on almond milk – I’m doing coconut milk.
He asks about the bread. I say it’s sprouted, etc. He says he buys a sprouted variety from Trader Joe’s but has been looking at ours online and has decided he wants it. I tell him he should toast our bread. He says not only will he toast it, he’s fond of a particular brand of almond butter he’ll spread over it then top it w blueberries.
We laugh and I find I’m enjoying this conversation but suddenly remember the time. We say our goodbyes and I rush home.
Lunch is waiting but it’s mostly a reheat of leftovers from yesterday’s lunch so I don’t feel too bad. Sue wants to modify the ginger carrot soup recipe. “It needs more zucchini,” she says. “And maybe less ginger.” I shrug, whatever. I slurp thru the rest in record time, loving it, then Sue sends me off with a pear, a paper towel and a little baggie of almonds. How Mom of you, I want to say but don’t because well, it’s so… thoughtful. Especially the paper towel. “Those are your snacks,“ she says. "We’re testing almonds today. And don’t forget to drink your water.”
I love pears but they are sloppy/juicy and I don’t like eating something like that in front of people and we have an open office. Luckily, we share our office space with a home nursing care company and at about the top of every hour, they all rise to take a smoke break outside. Kristen and Fancy Dave both get up to join them so I pull out my pear and chomp away, making a small mess of it but loving every bite and very grateful for the paper towel. The almonds go down easy – no reaction so far as I can tell.
Meanwhile, the weather outside is turning to crap. Snow to ice and back again all night. We’ve got a bread bake scheduled this evening up at the kitchen and I have to go up and see how everything is going but with the roads the way they are I’m going to have to take it slow and that means I’m going to be late for supper which means I won’t be able to help do any prep or cooking meaning I’m passing that all off on Sue which is entirely what she predicted I would do so I suspect she will not be happy about this.
Fortunately, the weather is so bad, the roads SOOO treacherous, Sue is as happy as can be when I get home safe and sound. Me, I’m ticked because one of my windshield wipers popped loose in the freezing rain which means I’ll have that to deal with that in the morning. Ugh.
Dinner is fantastic.
Seriously, Lyn-Genet…. Sue and I look at each other and I’m thinking we’ve entered an entirely new world of food. This meal is delicious, filling and seriously healthy. And it’s not like we’re coming at food from a life of dining out at Applebee’s. We never eat frozen crap or pre-made junk. It’s always something freshly prepared but the dinner tonight has something to it that I find indescribably delicious and I say indescribably because there’s no sauce to this meal and yet, I don’t miss that at all which was my first thought when I loaded everything onto my plate. Where’s the sauce?
Meal over, we watch a few minutes of TV, something recorded from the afternoon and the screen keeps flashing more schools closing early. Well, okay, guilty confession, we’re watching “The Young and the Restless.” Sue watches because her sister watches and I watch because Sue watches but it is an idiotic show with maybe five plot lines that recycle constantly. I think about the horrible weather outside then think, how great it would be if Y&R was set at the weather channel and they did the show live. They could still have all the affairs and betrayals and people coming back from the dead but they’d also have segments where they report the actual weather. Victor Newman can own one weather channel and Jack Abbot can own a competing weather network. Phylis and Sharon could be competing for reports in the field and Nick could still operate the bar where they all hang out. All that and weather too.
I volunteer to clean up the kitchen (of course - I mean, seriously, this whole thing with dragging Sue along with me into The Plan requires consideration on my part. A foot massage, maybe?) Later, after we’ve settled into bed, Sue decides she wants to peruse The Plan books so we can find out when we can test for wine and I’m beginning to see she’s very much into this. She isn’t just appeasing me. She’s into it. "Thursday night,” she says. “One glass of wine." Mmmm, can’t wait. But then, Sue adds “you’ll have to drink more water if you’re going to drink wine you know…”
Due to the horrid weather, a colleague of Sue's from the university calls late and asks if he could stay the night. We live in town and he lives some distance away. Of course, we say. He arrives weary and ready for a beer. This was not his first sleep over so he knew where to find the beer, grabbed one and joined us in the living room and looked at the two of us. “You guys aren’t drinking?” he said, genuinely astonished.
I looked over at Sue. Did you just get that, I say silently. He’s telling us we’re a couple of lushes.
But Sue ignores me. She’s all smiles, albeit awkward-host-like-smiles.
“Well, yes,” she says and launches into the many key points of The Plan… Lots of water… Lots and lots of water… No alcohol… Very strict regimen… Basal Body Temperature…
And I nodded right along with Sue with, I’m sure, the same idiotic smile on my face.
Our guest polished off his beer and recalled some crazy diet regimen he had once been on years ago as if to say, hey, we all have some crazy diet regimen story to tell and now you guys have yours.
Sue saw our guest to his room and I slipped off to bed.
End of Day Two.
Day Three on The 20 Day Plan.
I wake up early. The clock says five. My alarm doesn’t go off till six but my bladder was telling me I had to get up to pee. Badly. Like, now. Normally, this would be an automatic. Climb out of bed, go pee, come back to bed, get another hour of sleep. But it occurs to me, if I get up to pee, would I be coming back to bed for that last hour of sleep or was I getting up for good because if I was getting up for good then I better do my BBT right now. But if I did my BBT right now, I may as well just get up. I mean, let’s be honest, BBT is a rigmarole. I’d have to turn on my light, pull the thermometer out of its case, do my BBT, strain to read the tiny numbers, then log into my iphone and tap the results into the app where I record these things. You know, I thought, that’s not the sort of routine one does then rolls over and falls back to sleep. Plus, I still have to pee. Badly. I turn on my light and do my BBT. The number is low, lower than the day before. I go pee, check my weight and it’s… unchanged. Ugh.
I open my laptop and start on my blog notes from yesterday but my computer is slow to do anything. I reboot and it’s still sluggish. Frustrated, I run downstairs to set up lemon water and tea. Our houseguest meets me in the kitchen. He’s all geared up and ready to leave. I ask if he’ll text road conditions once he gets to school and I watch him leave. The walk is all slushy, wet snow and it takes him a good five minutes of clearing windows and side mirrors and it suddenly dawns on me that my windshield wiper blade popped off last night and I’m going to have to deal with that. Ugh.
Back upstairs with lemon water and dandelion tea. I find Sue awake and pondering our digital thermometer. “It says ‘lo’, what does that mean?” I tell I think it might mean a low battery. “I don’t trust it,” she says. “I was reading that we really should be using a mercury thermometer.” She looks up at me and asks, “what’s that on your nose?”
I feel about my nose and discover I have giant zit forming. “Are you kidding me,” I blurt out.
Sue shrugs. “Your body is releasing toxins. It’s all part of the cleanse.”
She sounds so nonchalant like she’s been doing The Plan for years now but I feel my stress level rising. I check the mirror then the clock and calculate all I need to do before I leave the house and I have about an hour to get everything done plus I’ve added posting to a blog as part of my morning routine. What was I thinking?
Sue’s phone chirps. Our houseguest is checking in. Roads are sloppy but drivable.
“I have to print some labels,” I tell Sue and disappear into my office where I try to multitask. Print labels, check orders, write blog. Would if I could but my laptop freezes up again and I can’t do anything. Sue pokes her head in and asks if I can clear the walks before I leave. It’s a standard request but where will I find the time? Meanwhile, my nose is throbbing. It’s all I can think about.
I shower and get dressed then check my computer. It will allow me to print labels and check orders but every time I try to write to the blog it just spins. Time is running short. I run downstairs and think about what I need to do and it suddenly occurs to me I have to eat a freaking bowl of flax granola. That’s a cup and a half of granola with a cup of blueberries. I pour it all into a bowl add the coconut milk and think, wow, this is a huge amount of food. It feels like a chore. Every spoonful, every chew and swallow feels like a massive undertaking. Okay, I’m just annoyed, I tell myself. Relax and take it one step at a time.
I look at the clock and make the decision to put off shoveling the walks. Sue will understand, I think, but I feel like a heel. After all, she’s the one doing all the heavy lifting with The Plan.
I yell upstairs that I’m leaving and will get to the walks later.
I fuss and fumble with the wiper blade but can’t make head nor tail of it. I say screw it and swing by the garage but there’s a line of cars so I drive on. Fortunately, I get a text from Jimi, our shipper extraordinaire and all around Mr. Capable. With Jimity Shippit closing, he’s offered to meet me at the school so we can talk about doing all our shipping out of there. I figure I can get him on the wiper blade and when he pulls up, he sees what I’m about and pops it back into place with a snap. I’m realize I’m sneaky in this way but then I’m realizing a lot of things about myself writing this blog about being on The Plan.
I rush off to the café to deliver bread then over to the office to return calls then make a loop thru town dropping off checks. When I get back to the house, Sue arrives moments later from another trip to the grocery store to buy more food for The Plan plus a side trip to the Health Food store for more obscure items like almond flour. As she starts putting things away she says, “this is a full time job you know.”
I sit down to work on the blog but I’m feeling incredibly guilty so I tell Sue I’m going to shovel the walks. She says she’ll start on lunch. A cream of broccoli soup that sounds complicated.
The snow has hardened and takes a lot of chopping. Ugh. Why didn’t I do this when it was all sloshy?
I walk in and the soup smells great and is great. We both love it but we can’t help but wonder how other people do this. “Household staff,” I say. “A personal chef,” Sue thinks.
I promise to make dinner. Italian spiced chicken and roasted veggies. I run to the office and write the blog and post it then return calls and make a quick trip to the restaurant supply store. We need to replace all our sheet trays over at the kitchen with brand new ones. We’re getting Kosher certified and it’s the one big requirement Rabbi Bleh insisted on. Apparently, nearly everything we use to make our bread and granola is “inherently kosher.” The only exceptions are things like cranberries that have been sweetened, however, the Rabbi points to a symbol on the box that indicates Kosher certification. Cool, I think, soon enough, our packages will have their own Kosher symbol.
Back home I get started on dinner but Sue decides she wants to pitch in. I’ll do the chicken and she’ll do the veggies. At first I think she’s being super supportive but later I decide she’s been looking for an opportunity to point our various inconsistencies with The Plan. “Look here,” she says, “it says ‘don’t sauté in butter’ but, flip ahead five pages and it says, ‘sauté in two tablespoons of butter.’ Which is it?” she asks.
She has multiple inconsistencies tabbed and flips thru the book, ticking them off.
The meal is satisfying but not our favorite. Still, we’re both starved and wolf it all down. When I ask Sue what’s for lunch tomorrow she checks the book and says, "huh."
I say, what?
She says, leftover roasted vegetables.
But uh, I say, we just ate them all up.
That evening, we play cards and talk about tomorrow and The Plan. We’ve officially finished our cleanse stage and that means we can test wine either with dinner or after. Good news, we both agree. However, as our BBT readings have not gone up, Sue has decided to order kelp pills and B-12. We aren’t sure how we’re going to handle lunch since we ate it already. Sue suggests I write Althea. I will, I say, in the morning.
Lights out. We go to bed.
End of Day Three on The 20 Day Plan.
Next up -- Day Four thru Six.