Posted by: jility | January 10, 2011

Excess Baggage

It has been three days since I left home to come to the McDougall 10 Day Program at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California. Even though I have been vegan for more than 20 years, I needed a tune up in my diet. I had fallen into the fake meat trap and needed a program to break that addiction! I LOVE fake meats and fake cheeses. Unfortunately, they are not much better for you than the “real” thing. They are full of fat and other awful crap and not something I want in my diet but I was addicted! My name is Helen and I am a Tofurkeyholic… The food here is simple. It is fat free/oil free low calorie dense whole foods. They encourage you to eat all you want and get FULL! I CAN DO THAT AND THEN SOME! So I eat… and eat…and eat… I get full and feel full, yet, I can feel the pounds leaving my rotund body. The lectures are as good or better than I remember them from all the vegan trips we went on with the McDougall Adventures. We did some incredible things in those days. We went down the Amazon River on a big barge with rooms to places I had never even dreamed existed! We saw things I never thought I would see and we ate the great vegan food prepared on these trips just for the adventurers. Besides chugging down the Amazon on that aging barge, we went SCUBA diving in the Galapagos Islands and climbed around Machu Picchu and up Wainu Picchu. We spent the night watching the Carnival in Rio, visited Guatemalan ruins with an armed guard escort! We snorkeled in Belize and swam with sharks in Costa Rica. We landed on a 12,000 foot high airstrip and rode an old train through the mountains of Peru. We are blessed to have had the opportunity to do all those things with the McDougall Adventure Trips! Now they only go to Costa Rica. It is still a fabulous trip but not nearly as exotic as those we did 10 or 15 years ago. I used to write poems for each trip and publish a brochure for everyone who went along.  WE HAD SOME FUN!!! Here is a link to the one I wrote for the Amazon You have to click on page one then you can navigate from page to the next page. So here I am, ten years later trying hard to get healthy and lean. We are immersed in the program and the information is spectacular! The presentation of the information is incredible! The food superb (and TONS of it). I am RElearning why I shouldn’t eat all the fake meats I love so much and why I need to be more careful when I eat out and a NEW way to read labels (and I thought I was pretty darn good at label reading but, it turns out, I am not)! So all the nutritional and dietary information lectures are by Jeffrey Novick He is a super speaker and funny as hell. The medical information and data to back it all up is presented expertly by Dr. McDougall (a Board Certified Internist). You can find ALL of the information we get here for FREE on his website. Just dig a little if you are interested. He even has some videos up there of his lectures. The psychological stuff is presented by Dr. Doug Lisle, author of The Pleasure Trap and the how to food prep duties are split between Mary McDougall (Dr. McDougall’s wife) and Miyoko Schinner (author of MANY cookbooks and former owner of the great vegan food company Now and Zen (unfortunately, it no longer exists). So the second day we went on  field trip to a Chinese restaurant and they made McDougall legal food for us. It was awesome! After lunch we piled in a bus and has a tour to the Coast with a few stops along the way, including a Redwood forrest and woodworker/windsurfer friends of the McDougalls. They were a KICK!!! It was a husband and wife woodworking team who used to live in Hawaii for many years. They moved back and work in their shop but when the wind comes up, they are off to surf! They were incredibly delightful! Here are some photos of our field trip.

Armstrong Forrest Sonoma County California

Shallow Roots of a Fallen Redwood Scorched by Fire

This is the Parson Jones Redwood, 1,400 years old and over 310 feet tall!

The Base of the Parson Jones Redwood

Looking to the Parson

Parson Jones Redwood

Ths was taken just north of Bodega Bay

The Incredible California Coastline

If you look closely, you will see homes falling into the sea. Some places are still occupied!

Falling Dreams

I thought these old stairs leading down to the beach were cool

Crumbling Stairs to the Beach

Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay

The woodworkers/wind surfers

Woodworkers Jerry and Deborah Kermode

Turned bowls sit on the shelf for a year waiting to dry before the final polishing

Turned Bowls Dry on the Shelf for a Year Before Polishing

Jerry, turning a little piece of wood into a mushroom

Jerry Explains the Fine Tuning of the Mushroom

And here is the finished product. I have a feeling this ain’t the ONLY “SHROOM” Jerry has polished off.

The Finished Mushroom

Here is a photo of the huge pool they have here for water aerobics!

The BIG Ass Swimming Pool

And this is what I saw when I reached poolside!


So after all the humiliating searching for the Miracle Suit that removes 100 pounds , there will be no swimming. Remember, it was in the 20s her at night and the 30s and 40s during the day! I think my suit will not be tested to see if it truly takes off 100 pounds! Oh, and if you are wondering about my luggage, IT FINALLY ARRIVED!!!! No more undie washing!


  1. Cool! Good for you. The woodworkers and surfers are AMAZING!!

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