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Sick while on Medifast

So, the Medifast continued. Here were some of the more interesting “meals” I’ve had:

First were the Medifast pancakes. As usual you start with a packet of powder. This was the first change I got to use their “shaker jar”.

medifast pancake powder

I kept trying to think of why the shaker jar looked so familiar to me. Then it struck me. It’s exactly the same kind of plastic container that, um, you might use at a doctor’s office when sharing a little bit of yourself with the doctor. Let’s put it that way so as not to gross everyone out. Still, by now I’ve grown used to Medifast being more a series of medical experiments anyway than actual food, so I didn’t mind.

They tell you to put a couple tablespoons of water into the cup and shake it 5 times. That’s right, not 4 times, not 6 times, but 5 times. The result was something that kind of resembled pancake batter.

medifast pancake mix

Next, I fried it up in a skillet.

medifast pancakes

The batter was so thin that I thought I was just making boiling cloudy water. But eventually it started to thicken. Or should I say thin-en. The “pancake” ended up being thinner than a crepe and impossible to flip. So instead of something like this lovely picture on the box…

medifast pancake box

I ended up eating this.

medifast pancakes

As bad as it looks, trust me when I say it tasted even worse. The “pancake” had no taste except for the tiny number of teeny tiny chocolate chips. I’d say it was like eating paste, except at the time I would have longed for a nice big bottle of paste. Still, as we established we’re not doing the diet for the culinary delights.

The next interesting scientific experiment was mixing a strawberry shake. This one was pretty cool. I opened the package and poured what looked to be whitish-yellowing powder into my Fiji water bottle. I filled it with a cup of cold water and shook. Magically, the concoction turned pink!

medifast strawberry shake

I’ve said it before, but the shakes are probably the best-tasting thing on the menu. They’re grainy, they have incredibly artificial flavor, but they’re easy going down and the really do satisfy your hunger.

The last interesting Medifast meal I’ll share with you today are their brownies. Now I thought, as in Nutrisystem, that I’d open the box and find actual brownies to warm up. To my surprise, they provide powder (no surprise) and trays in which you can “bake” your own brownies. Okay, I thought, this ought to be interesting.

The first step is, as usual, pouring the powder in the tray.

medifast brownie mix

Then, you mix it with water.

medifast brownie mix with water

After stirring, it looks something like this.

medifast brownie

Now again, judging from the box cover art I expected something like this to turn out:

medifast brownie

Yum yum, right? Well, after sticking it in the microwave (you also have the option of baking it, but I don’t think it would have made a difference), here’s what I got:

medifast brownie

It was a LOT of work for a few bites of brownie, but I have to say the brownie was not half bad, relatively speaking.

Now, all was going well. Very well. So well that when I last checked by weight I was already at 219 pounds, that’s 9 pounds lost in about a week. And so as painful as eating the food was, I was pretty happy with Medifast.

Then a few days ago something went really wrong. I developed a small cough. Within two days, it became a terrible cold/flu, complete with sore throat, fever, and  a terrible hacking cough that wouldn’t subside. In fact, my cough got stronger and stronger, so much so that I had to take the last few days off from work because I was hacking so hard and so frequently that I couldn’t sleep through the night. As I write this now, I’m still coughing every few minutes, so much so that my whole body shakes when I cough and I have a horrible headache (I finally went to the doctor today and he prescribed antibiotics for me).

Now before Medifast’s lawyers start knocking on my door, I should say that I don’t believe that that the diet caused the cold–for that I’ve got to thank the good folks on the New York City subways whom I wish loved to share their seats as much as their germs. On the other hand, it’s a strange coincidence that in the middle of summer when the weather is 95 degrees that I’d develop a bad cold, with the only difference in my life that I just started this diet two weeks ago.

After Googling, I noticed that other bloggers who are or were on Medifast have had similar experiences (see here, here, and here). I’m thinking this can’t be a coincidence.

My unscientific conclusion is that there’s a certain shock to the system when your body is used to eating certain things, and then it’s deprived of those things. As much as I appreciate that Medifast is full of vitamins and minerals, bottom line is that those are in chemical form and not from fresh fruits, meats, and vegetables. And while I appreciate that Medifast cuts down on carbs, I wonder if reducing carbs in my body to the extent I did ended up stressing it to the point where my immune system was compromised. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t tell for sure. But one thing I know is that this is by far the worst cough I’ve had in my life.

And despite the 9 pound weight loss,  I’ve taken myself off Medifast for the time being and am trying to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, even if they aren’t on the “approved” list of low-carb vegetables. The good news is that I am still trying to keep the good habits, such as the regimen of eating more small meals every day rather than gorge on big meals.

Another bad thing about getting sick is that I really can’t exercise, as doing so would probably divert resources my body needs to shake this bad cold. As soon as I’m back to health, I’ll resume again. But I think the greater priority for me for the moment is to stop my cough before my head explodes.

 

 

 

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