Satisfying Flavor-Festival Soups!

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Soup Season

Comfort foods that are naturally filled with flavor and nutrition are exactly what we need as cold of fall and winter looms.  Pleasant to the eyes and nose before the first spoon full lands on our tongue, and so economical and easy to prepare. I am going to share with you the keys to making a great soup.

I’m not going to recreate the wheel since there are hundreds of good soup recipes online. And I am going to be honest, I use those recipes for inspiration but do not follow any one recipe.

I purchase my arsenal of herbs and seasonings and keep them on hand. I always have frozen vegetables and odds and ends of fresh vegetables and canned beans here. That way I am always ready to cook up any soup that fits the mood and occasion. I cook up everything from pea soup to vegetable soup, bean soup, tomato soup,  cream (vegan) of cauliflower with broccoli soup, to chili.

Have you priced healthier soups at the store these days? You will easily spen $3.00 to $5.00 for a can or store made small tub of soup.  I do keep a few cans on hand but the last time I went to make use of a sale I saw advertised for Progresso soups, none of the healthier vegan ones were on sale.

I noticed there was a tremendous sale on good quality low sodium organic vegetable broth and stocked up.  There was an equally good sale on frozen organic vegetables as well. Of course I loaded up. I purchased thyme, rosemary, fennel to properly season an array of soups.

At home I already had an ample supply of dried and frozen peas. Lots of cans of organic low sodium beans and lentils. Dried lentils are always a staple as well. There was a sweet potato waiting to be used in something. I had garlic and onion at home as well. Soup is great for using up these sorts of left overs.

So a couple days later, in my multi cooker (not a presser cooker), I sautéed some cubed sweet potato until they were semi cooked. I added 64 oz of the vegetable broth, 2 bags of mixed vegetables, a can of rinsed black beans and a can of rinsed chickpeas. Also added a cup of finely/pureed tomato with garlic, onion, chili powder, fennel and thyme, crushed red pepper.

Dont ask me how much of the seasonings I used, I never measure. I taste and adjust how much is in. Since you can easily add but can’t easily remove, I would suggest layering in small amounts of seasonings and add more as you taste.

You can use the stove top, slow cooker or multi cooker. Because I can’t stand for long due to my disability, I do the fast way and just chuck all the ingredients in my multi cooker. I bring it to a boil and then I reduce it immediately to slow cook. If your slow cooker doesn’t have a way to do that in the same cooking container, just start it off on your stove top and then pour it into the slow cooker once it has reached boiling.

A really well made soup is a soup made while the cook tastes it throughout its cooking and adjust seasonings. Forget recipes and season it with what you prefer and to taste.

Once the soup has been placed in bowls that is the time to add to each bowl your choice of greens. The temperature of the soup will allow you a hot enough cooking temperature even after it is in the bowl, to cook the spinach enough to release the vitamins you can only digest from spinach when slightly cooked.

I prefer adding the greens fresh just before serving it to who eats it, instead of to the whole batch in the pot. That way I can make the dish as fresh as possible each time the left overs are served.

Other thoughts

  • Add leftover barley, farro, quinoa or brown rice to the soup to get your serving of grains as part of the dish.
  •  Use bread such as a good german make of thinly sliced dense German rye bread, as croutons or for a side sandwich.
  • Add a piece of fruit with the meal

Very little effort and you can fill your tummy with food that will nourish your body and soul.

Soup Season

 

Other Ideas For Whole Food Plant Based Meals

WFPB back in the saddle

Hospitalized: Negotiating A Whole Food Plant Based Diet No Oil, No Sugar

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Having a hysterectomy was inevitable. My mother and twin sister both needed to have one done in their 40’s. I was in the 82nd percentile for having the same issues they did..  Here I was 56 and it was time for me. I knew a few years back that I was headed that direction with the need of repeated D and C’s, due to thickening uterus walls and bleeding that should never be happening. Seemed like a crossroads.

I found it a little depressing because like for all women, my uterus and it’s attachments had been a big part of my life for many years.  A pain in the neck, yes.  Just not sure how losing those parts would impact me overall.

Then I realized how ridiculous I was being and decided to be even more ridiculous but in a more fun manner.  We turned it into a celebration! We took this life event and made it our own.   I made a meme and invited my facebook friends to celebrate the end of an era, the parting of me from my uterus. We all got a good laugh out of it.

Uterus good bye

While laughing about it helped, I also wanted to give myself the best chance of being my healthiest going into the surgery and during recovery. Maintaining my whole food plant based diet has been very important as a tool to being my healthiest.  It’s the one thing I have control over.

One would assume that since a hospital is a place of healing that they would serve healthy foods. Reality is that in the mix are class one carcinogen. Translation would be to say that it’s the same as smoking cigarettes. Sausage is considered a processed meat so picture them being sold in cigarette cartons as well. Then there are eggs which I simply refuse to eat.

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Eek! Avoid The Processed Foods!

 

So seemed counter productive to have my uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix removed and enduring a hospital stay to improve my health, but at the same time eat the typical hospital food offerings.

My healing depended on continuing to eat whole food plant based no oil, low fat, low glycemic index, no added sugar low glycemic index. So no white flour, no animal product and no processed foods.

I phoned  in advance the dietician responsible for the meals served to see what was possible. There were some great options they had available. They invited me to bring any shelf stable foods of my own to use with what they could provide. I took them up on their offer.

I brought in some foods from home including fortified nutritional yeast, brown rice, a pull top can of chick peas, an envelope of prepared, shelf stable baby beluga black lentils, and WASA crackers.  I used them with a modified version of a couple of their menu selections they prepared without oil and other items I asked them to alter.  I enjoyed delicious water sautéed stir friend vegetables with black lentils. Their pasta with marinara sauce and chickpeas, broccoli,cherry tomatoes and spinach with a side of orange sections was lovely.

Mercy Hospital even sautéed  vegetables for my breakfast

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Hospital dinner
Mercy Hospital in St. Louis Missouri water sautéed a mixture of vegetables and then I added black lentil and nutritional yeast to make it balanced. Very healing.

My surgeon, Dr. Cory Wagner did a wonderful job on my surgery and fully supports my eating Whole Food Plant Based Oil Free and Low Glycemic Index.  My labs were perfect for surgery and all went well.

I am now home and have a freezer and fridge filled with my favorite berries, greens, fresh vegetables, apples and oranges, homemade bean burgers, a shelf with my favorite crackers, rolled oats, garbanzo beans, black beans, lentils and dried peas.

As I continue to recover I won’t stop continuing to evolve as a healthier person. Each chapter of life is ours to safeguard and enjoy. We have power in selecting what we eat and to work with the world around us to make it happen.

I want to thank ‘St. Louis Mercy Hospital for being open to bending their menu selections to meet my needs. It kept my blood sugars level, my blood pressure healthy, and kept me from blowing up like a balloon.

I also want to thank my husband Tim for coming up to the hospital at night and rubbing my feet and making me feel like a special woman. He even made a special trip just to bring me an apple to snack on.

 

Thank you to my son Eric who held down the fort at home so well and gave me such a wonderful homecoming.

I love my family and I love my life, every stage of it and every challenge I come across. Lots of changes for the better. I am grateful.

 

Healthy “Fried” Cauliflower W/ Dipping Sauce

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air friend cauliflower in oven
Air Fried or Oven Fried, No oil needed for a delicious result
cauliflower air fried
Whole Rye, oil-white flour-sugar free breading that is held to the cauliflower by a light coating of salsa. Dipping sauce in the top left corner uses garbanzo beans, salsa, garlic and salsa with crushed red pepper.
Air Fried Cauliflower zoodles with lentils and mushrooms berries
Jazz up any meal . Dipping Sauce used with Air Fried cauliflower for a delicious Au Gratin style dish minus the cheese! Served with left over zoodles with mushrooms, black lentils and oil free sugar free marinara sauce.

People who still include animal products in their diet have this pre-conceived notion that either all Vegans are “fat vegans” meaning they eat unhealthy…or that my eating whole food plant based (WFPB) must leave me starving or eating salad all the time.

Well what if I told you that the photos you saw above are examples of a way of cooking and eat that have helped me eat healthy. Do you see any salads? I never go hungry. My husband and son both help with meal prep which is great. But it’s simple for even one person to pull off. I am disabled so sometimes I do need assistance by them doing the cooking for me.

First of all, Everything about how I eat is satiating because of all of the fiber in the food. My meals are never sparse, they are filled with delicious, colorful and enjoyable options.

Not all vegan food especially in restaurants is healthy though, so I prefer our family make our food at home. It’s not difficult to make our favorites in a way that is healthy without losing the textures and tastes we love.

Recently for our anniversary we ate at a vegan restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cauliflower sounded delicious but it was coated with white flour and not at all crisp. It was soggy from both the oil it was cooked in and the oil based buffalo sauce it was doused in. I did not enjoy it. The endothelial cells of my lymphatic and cardiac system didn’t need all that fat and overly processed grain.

So we came up with this way of making the dish so that it is low glycemic index,  oil free, low sodium, low fat Whole Food Plant Based.  All it takes it takes is typical, homemade or store bought oil-free salsa is used to coat the cauliflower . Then coat it with 100% whole grain crumbs. Bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet or use an air fryer.

Because I try to keep it low glycemic index, I prefer using authentic, European style whole rye bread or crisps. I use a hard dark version and a light softer version. I keep it no oils or sugars white flours in the ingredients, lower sodium. Whole rye breads down in our system slower, giving a slow steady stream of energy without spiking blood sugars.

Dipping sauce is easy and can also  be used as a sauce for macaroni and un cheese or as a hummus like dip.

Healthy “Fried” Cauliflower

cauliflower air fried

1 smallish head of cauliflower or  12 oz bag of fresh cauliflower florets

1/2 cup salsa or hot sauce of your choice

2/3 cup whole rye/pumpernickel bread or crackers/crips crumbs(oil free, sugar free, no white flour)

optional to taste :garlic powder, onion powder, low sodium curry powder, turmeric, dried crushed red pepper

Directions:

Step 1: If using traditional or toaster oven, preheat at 425 degrees.

Step 2: Divide the clean cauliflower into reasonably small pieces. (make sure pieces are not wet)

Step 3: With your clean hands, toss together the cauliflower and salsa until thoroughly but lightly coated.

Step 4: Sprinkle crumbs over the coated cauliflower, and toss with your hands until thoroughly but lightly coated.

IF BAKING:  Place cauliflower pieces on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, bake for 15-20, turn each piece over and rotate pan at the 10 minute mark.  Each oven varies, keep an eye on it the first time so you don’t over bake.

IF USING Air Fryer: We have owned two different air fryers. My first one was a basket style air fryer and the one we use now is like a small toaster oven but it is an air fryer as well (Black N Decker).

-Air Fryer that looks like oven style 10-15 minutes, no flipping needed. One single layer, the pieces can be close together.

-Basket style air fryer may be better to keep it one layer, but experiment.
air friend cauliflower in oven

Dipping Sauce:

Play with this. You can create whatever suits you.

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup unsweetened plant based milk

2/3 cup salsa or 4Tbl or more or less hot sauce (depending on your preference)

1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (I like B-12 Fortified and Trader Joes is very tasty)

Garlic Powder to taste plus others you may like to add (suggestions would be same as the cauliflower coating)

optional: add 1/8th cup ground cashews with a splash of lemon (cashew cheese base for added creaminess)

Also a splash of apple cider can make it tangy.

We use a high power blender (Vitamix) to blend all ingredients until smooth. Feel free to add enough liquids to make it blend smoother.

The Dipping sauce can be added directly to the cauliflower or used on the side just for dipping. Great on pasta or for dipping fresh veggies, or used in burritos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Food Takes On The Wrong Role

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silhouette photography of people on theater
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Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the role of Cinderella in “Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”.  Meryl Streep cast in “Grease” as Danny Zuko.

Can you imagine going to a play and being handed a playbill and seeing that level of miscasting?  I would find it fun at first, but personally I would want to see more logical choices or the roles.

I would be asking myself, “With the means to hire a well known actor to play the lead, with so many other options available, why make such a poor choice?”

The producers and directors have a list of parts to cast and a list of available options for actors to play those parts. Auditions are many times held, trying to find the right one for each role.

We make “casting choices” in the form of life choices every day. Imagine each day we get out of bed, we walk out onto Life’s Stage in a production of “A Day Of Living”  Each of us are our own producer and director of a significant part of our own story.  

 What options are  you going to select in your life today?

I speak from experience like so many others. Foods can be so addictive especially  chocolate, cheese, meat, plus other processed sugars and animal proteins.  Many of us are taught from a young age to have these and similar addictions to help us deal with our needs. Those serotonin levels rise with all of it. Life can be complicated and eating processed sugar and fats are so very easy and handy. All that immediate gratification is enticing and potentially life shortening.

I use the analogy of a stage production and the playbill that is the official accounting of each day’s “performance”. The playbill shows who plays what role.  For me it’s helpful to be able to visualize and pinpoint the questionable “casting”, if you will, of how by habit in the past I coped with life. It keeps me on top of things. Many times food is the go to for needs that really are better handled by other options. Sometimes we learn it young.

 

I still remember to this day being 4 years old and it was a miserable time in my family with deaths, stress, my grandparents being in the hospital for months due to severe injuries from a car accident. My mother, sister and I lived with them.  My poor Registered Nurse mother had to work some horribly long hours and oversee the care of my grandparents. They had different people taking care of my sister and I. Those caring for my sister and I would give us ice cream at night as something in which to look forward.

An evening snack was called “a party” and it was always something wonderfully sugar and fat filled.

The pattern had begun.

To make things more annoying I have 3 fat disorders that, since childhood , made me large and misshaped. What I eat and how I exercise had made no positive impact on those. No doctor realized I had those. Dercum’s Disease, lipedema and lymphedema went overlooked and mistaken for obesity for decades.

I was so worn down as I struggled with the lack of impact of dieting and seeing that it made no difference if I ate or starved myself. Those fat disorders are fairly painful.  I was in misery for decades. I remained large and misshaped, it made it easier to make some pretty unhealthy choices. Why not have a piece of Dove Chocolate when anxious? Why not eat a Big Mac when hungry?  

Playbill Chocolate red flag

After decades of feeling helpless, and low carb diets doing nothing for me,  life handed me the path I had sought my whole life. Over a year ago I got violently sick on animal products with horrible blood sugar and cardiac related lab results. I discovered WFPB No Oil, Low Fat, Low Glycemic Index, Low Sodium. I started to see better labs, weight started dropping.  There has also been a bit of a budge on some of the symptoms associated with my fat disorders. 

Sure I will always have three painful, annoying fat disorders. That’s how the ball bounces. I have fibromyalgia and like all other humans, I have a variety of stresses. I can’t do a whole lot to change some things, but I can empower myself and do what is possible. Some of those symptoms for those health issues have improved. Some remain the same. I enjoy taking far fewer medications than before.  I enjoy having heathy coronary and blood sugar numbers. I find joy in what is possible as I continue to learn to coexist with the rest.  The power is in making good choices and lovingly holding myself accountable.

As I sit here finishing this, my husband came home from the grocery store. To this day my mind wants to ask him if he brought home chocolate. I have to remind myself of that playbill. Chocolate is no longer a regular on my playbill. It’s been replaced by strawberries or an apple or watching a good movie. 

Playbill Healthy Blue
I don’t do all these, but it gives you an idea. When I struggle, I literally picture someone announcing a change in who is playing what role.
Before After 3
It’s worth it.

 

 

 

 

Empowerment Doesn’t Mean A Cure. It’s Hope. Mine Has Been WFPB.

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My experience has been that there is nothing  like a rare disease to make a person feel helpless. It doesn’t matter how many miles you travel (for me it was 7,000) to find expert treatment.  Over time I know I lost my hope and sense of empowerment. Then last year I learned that empowerment sometimes can be found again in the simplest of ideas. My regaining my sense of empowerment had been 10 plus very painful, long years in the making.

Before After 3
Before and after shots show the visible change since going on a whole food plant based diet. Has it cured all that ails me? No it hasn’t but that is ok. I still am significantly disabled, I am not cured. But I have something almost as valuable that I never thought possible, Empowerment! Empowerment isn’t about discovering a magic wand. It’s about finding hope that you yourself can depend on. I didn’t find hope with the “experts”. I found it through WFPB, no oil, no added sugar, low fat low glycemic eating.  Yes! I have some power over my own health!

Dercum’s Disease sufferers like myself face the same obstacles Too few doctors know about it and there is no known cure.  Also, there are really no reliable treatments. I had just gotten married when it set in with a 60 lb weight gain,  numerous painful lumps, brain fog and increased immobility.  My physician had one other patient who in the past had the same symptoms. In the years to come I saw doctors from one side of the country to the other multiple times where Dercum’s Disease and other associated illnesses were diagnosed. Dercum’s Disease and two other of the disorders  can put considerable non calorie based weight on a person.  I likely had some of these disorders since childhood. All those years and no one knew why I was as I was.  Having names for what was wrong with me helped, but there were no answers. 

In spite of  seeing the country’s top experts, I found zero relief. I still didn’t give up easily. I did both the standard and out-there treatments. I heard through a friend that she found hope spending a few days in an out of state University  hospital’s ICU getting round the clock Ketamine infusions. Fearful of my husband losing his job, my husband had to drop me off at a homeless shelter- in that community. That is where I stayed until a bed opened up in the intensive care unit.  During the treatment I went through a 2 day psychedelic trip. Ketamine can do that.  It did not benefit my health, but I did though, acquire a small collection of wigs because of the hair loss. I tried.

As is the case with many with Dercum’s Disease, the weight kept coming on and my diabetes and coronary labs got worse. Tachycardia joined the mix.   To make it harder to combat, Dercum’s Disease and physical workouts do not go together. There is a problem with the lactic acid that lingers around the Dercum’s Disease lumps.  The only physical activity I can tolerate is in the pool and that is not easy for me to access.

I kept doing what the rest of the people in the Dercum’s Disease crowd were doing and whatever doctors said to try. My physical and mental state worsened as I appeared destined to live in an ever-growing painful shell where I would die young from cardiac and or diabetic health issues.  That is what people with Dercum’s Disease usually die from.

Doctors told me that restricting calories would not help my disorder. My disorders kept the weight piling on. So  like any other red blooded American woman, it didn’t keep me from trying. Is there anything we deem worse than being large? It’s how we are socialized.  I  followed  Weight Watchers, RAD, Paleo, KETO, Low carb, the American Heart Association Diet, South Beach Diet, The American Diabetes Association diet. . It all combined had minimal positive results.  Some had horribly negative results. 

Every six months or so I was traveling to see one of the national experts on Dercum’s Disease and the other disorders commonly associated with Dercum’s Disease that I have.  I would arrive with some hope. Sometimes I would be understood and sometimes I would feel not understood.  They would put a hoop up for me to jump through, I figurately would jump it with bells and a smile. My Dercum’s Disease continued progressing. My health got worse.

Then I just could do it no more. I traveled out of state once again and was honest with my doctor.

“I’m ready to stop chasing the unicorn”, I believe were the words I used.

I do believe that there is some empowerment that can be found in accepting reality. The doctor that day told me to just accept it all as it being what it is. I have to admit that I was at the time relieved to hear that because I really could not handle trying anything else. Really had tried more ways of getting better than most. My family had sacrificed so much.  All those miles and dollars spent on improving my rare condition and everything associated with it, and nothing worked. 

Fast forward a year later. It took a weekend of endless vomiting, where I found myself in the hospital and received the lab results for me to finely listen to my body. It was the spring of 2018 when all that happened and the only logical conclusion was that I had to change my way of eating. I had been on the same way of eating everyone else in my shoes had been told to follow. I had been eating low carb and focused on proteins. From that point forward, I had to do something different.   The only reasonably healthy foods left for me to eat were the foods I had been told would be bad for this condition.  Sure they were the same foods I grew up eating from our garden, but they were considered to be “high starch” by current popular recommended diet standards.

I did some research and sure enough, there were studies done that for my overall health I could eat the garden delicacies such as basic vegetables and fruits. I could even eat beans!  I felt I had nothing to lose. I would start eating this way, get labs done and then talk to my doctor.

 I indeed did start  to eat that way and within a month had labs drawn to make sure the change agreed with me. That cardiologist appointment to discuss the results was the best doctor appointment of my life. His receptionist asked me if I had gone through bariatric surgery.   My cholesterol had dropped  57%, my A1C dropped 3 points, and I had dropped a couple clothes sizes and quite a bit of weight. The cardiologist  told me to continue eating that way. He even cancelled some of the cardiac testing he had jotted down before seeing me.

That was the moment I felt empowered for the first time in years. I made a decision for myself, sought medical labs and advice at the onset and found my own way to make a positive difference for my health. . One by one, my doctors all were in agreement that I should continue eating this way. From Ohio State University to my  cardiologist to my primary care doctor to my cardiologist, everyone was amazed with the results.

I just passed the 1st year anniversary of empowering myself through intuitive measures for my care. I have gone from a  size 32 to a size 14. I’ve gone from 13 pills a day to one prescription and a supplement. I am no longer on  diabetic or cardiac related medications. I have no more IBS symptoms or year round allergy concerns. My legs that had been miss shaped with one leg larger than the other, are now the same size and shape. I’ve lost 60% of my Dercum’s disease tumors in my stomach. For the first time in my post pubescent life, my top half and bottom half are the same size.  

It’s’ true I still have Dercum’s tumors in my stomach, arms, along both ribs, along my spine and the base of my back. They are in my neck and head legs and feet. I still have difficulty sleeping, being comfortable, and the misery can be considerable. I have brain fog, but it’s improved some. I still have to spend my day with my legs up and spend more days in bed than I want to but there is no choice. I still am forced to use a wheelchair in the house when in the kitchen. A motorized scooter is how I manage myself out in the community. I average once a week getting out if my husband drives. Every now and then I can pull off driving if it’s just in the neighborhood. Sometimes a little further than that, but we don’t count on my being able to do such things. I am still significantly suffering from Dercum’s Disease. 

But I use to have surgeries to remove Dercum’s Disease tumors. Now without surgery, 60% from one area have vanished and I possibly added 20 years to my life by improving my overall health. What is not to love about that? I wake up every day with hope. Hope is a powerful commodity not to take for granted.  My finding my empowerment didn’t find a cure but it did find a useful treatment for Dercum’s Disease, Lipedema and Lymphedema . Those disorders have not advanced. They have improved in ways that shouldn’t have happened through just nutritional changes. .  It also reversed my cardiac and diabetic numbers so I could get off all that medication.  So while there is suffering, to have any positive change, I am so grateful.

Empowerment isn’t about suddenly being handed a magic wand and all your problems are solved. Empowerment doesn’t mean what works for one person will work for another.  Empowerment for me is that I can count on myself to make decisions and to think for myself.  You never know what might change your life.

 

Cindy 10 month photo comparrison meme

affection appreciation decoration design
Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com

 

 

A Year Without Animal Products And The “Unlikely” Woman Is “Glad”

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Last year I started this blog. I felt at that time that the most honest title I could give it would be “The Unlikely No Meat Please Gal”. Meat and animal products had been the center of all my meals for 55 years.

I grew up in the Ohio farmlands and there were a few decades where very few vegetables were consumed but many, many meals of meat, eggs and dairy. So the chances of ever saying, “no meat please” were practically non existent. So that was the title of this blog,”The Unlikely No Meat Please Gal”

After more than a year of not eating meat, dairy or eggs, I felt that it was time to change the name of this blogging effort. I thought about why my commitment to not eating meat and other animal products was strong, and the new title was easy. I thought about the reversal of my heart and diabetic issues. I thought about how the dress I wore when I married my husband 10 years ago is now way too big for me and yet a year back I couldn’t have squeezed into it. And just the hope it all has brought to me.

I am indeed “The Glad To Not Eat Meat Gal”: A fat girl  from St. Louis, Missouri who is now at a much healthier weight and better lab results. All of that inspite of 3 fat disorders (lipedema, lymphedema, Dercum’s Disease) that makes it very difficult to lose weight. Am I cured of any of them? I stand firm in saying that it has reversed some of the symptoms. I would not say that I am cured, but I’ve changed the quality of my life and I no longer feel helpless. So in addition to everything else, less depression that comes with being diagnosed with a rare disorder that had taken over my life.

From 13 pills a day to one prescription and a selenium supplement, down in clothes sizes and up in hope,, I am forever The Glad To Not Eat Meat Gal. I am forever no animal products or oils, period.

 

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Thank you to my friends, family, doctors, Forks Over Knives community, the STL Veg Girl, Dr, Joel Kahn’s publicly shared information on this topic, nutritionfacts.org , Clayton Medical Associates and my fellow members of the Lipedema, Lymphedema and Dercum’s Disease communities who have supported me on my efforts.

Pasta With Naturally Low Fat Light Vegan “Cheese Sauce”

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Cannelli Bean Pasta Sauce Mac On Greens

Lunch today. It was a “make it work” moment. I had to use what I had for the non dairy cheese sauce. It turned out great.

Fresh spinach with 1/2 cup of whole grain pasta with a whole food plant based sauce, peas and tomato. Fresh veggies including chopped broccoli. Garnished with a a fresh mandarin orange.

A healthy dose of B12, ample protein, iron, calcium, vitamin k, vitamin C, protein, Folic Acid, vitamin A, potassium, lipocine, phytosterols which lower cholesterol, B complex, copper, zinc and manganese.

Also contains lutein, kaempferol which is linked to decreased risk of chronic disease and cancer.

And lots of nitrates which promote heart health. Also quercetin which fights inflammation and heart disease reducing pain, and fighting stress.

But isn’t what is shown in the photo above and  at the end of the article considered to be high carb?

how to do low glycemic index

See the two side photos? Looks to some I bet like a giant pile of high carb. But in honesty, it is a half cup total of half whole grain pasta and half peas. Then that little half cup you see in the photo on the left is put on top of a cup of greens and a cup of riced vegetables. Ta-Da!

Any food less than 55 on the low glycemic scale is considered to be low glycemic index. It means that it will release the natural carbohydrates into your system slowly and evenly.

Some of us are diabetic and some of us are not. For the sake of our endothelial cells which we need to keep our cardiac and lymphatic blood vessel walls strong, having a lack of blood sugar spikes is important.

Our bodies also need the nutrition of foods including fruit, grains, vegetables, greens, legumes. So a careful balance throughout the day of these foods are mostly naturally low glycemic index,

I have never counted a carb or calories in what I eat on this way of eating, but I have to be focused in keeping in mind how many servings of what foods I have during the day as well as serving size of the foods that I know for me will spike blood sugars if I eat too much of them. (because of my diabetes, others who are diabetic don’t even have to measure it out, it doesn’t bother them).

So for instance, I measured out 1/2 cup of the 100% whole wheat organic pasta combined with peas. The Glycemic index is an 20 for a half cup. Combine that with a cup of raw greens and that (3 glycemic index) And a cup of chopped cauliflower with carrots ( 3 glycemic index) And a half of a tangerine (20)

That comes to a grand total of 46. Couldn’t find the Glycemic index of a small sprinkle of sundried tomatoes but there is room for them.

Nutritional Yeast has the glycemic index of 0

Calories on this plate 400

Makes 4-6 servings

For cheese sauce,
In high speed blender blend until smooth:

-1 cup unsweetened plant milk (I went for one that has calcium, B-12, 8 grams of protein).
-6Tbl B-12 fortified Nutritional Yeast
-1/2 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder
-Two shakes of dried red crushed red pepper
-dehydrated tomatoes

Optional:
-1/4 cup cannellini beans (optional, it just added thickness)
-additional fortified Nutritional yeast and seasonings to taste.
– 1/2 tsp or to taste of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl of oil free hummus such as Engine 2 brand (it’s fine without it too).

With drained organic whole wheat or lentil pasta, in a 2 quart pan and on low to medium heat, pour the sauce over the pasta and stir frequently as the sauce thickens and clings to the pasta. Sprinkle additional seasoning on it if desired and stir in peas and whatever else you like.

Served on top of fresh greens.

 

Cannelli Bean Pasta Sauce Mac On Greens 2

Celebrating 10 Months Of Low Fat, Whole Food Plant Based Healing

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Inspite of having three fat disorders ( lipedemalymphedema and  Dercum’s disease ) that are progressive in how large they can make a person appear, and have zero to do with calorie intake or exercise…I have managed in the past 10 months to do this.

What is important to point out is that having had these disorders all my life, my hips and legs were always larger than the rest of me. One leg has always been larger than the other. My arms became heavy and large over the years. My stomach, arms, neck, back, hips and legs filled with Dercum’s Disease “tumors”. Lipedema and lymphedema causes swellings that would increase at the drop of a dime. I could put on 12 pounds from these lymphatic fluids in a day or two. I could start off the day at one level and end the day looking 20 pounds heavier just by moving around.

So look at these photos and see that now my hips are in proportion to the rest of my body, my arms have slimmed down, my face has deflated, my torso is smaller. My legs are within reasonable limits. One leg is stil slightly larger than the other, but not overly noticeable.  I went from a size 32 to a size 14.

Throw in the use of a box of Miss Clairol for my hair and bam! I look so different! Another thing that this style of whole food plant based, low fat, low glycemic eating has done for me is whip my diabetes, my blood pressure, my cholesterol in shape. That happened in the first month of switching for KETO to this style of eating. So I likely have added years to my life.

Cindy 10 month photo comparrison

Here are the foods that made it all happen.

Here is what I have followed that has worked.

3  one half cup servings of dark beans.

2-3 servings of fruit including one serving of berries. Fruit is fresh or frozen

3 servings of whole grain

a serving of cruciferous vegetables

2 servings of “other” low glycemic index vegetables

2 servings of dark greens

flax seeds or chia seeds

Limited avocado (1 total a week)

limited nuts ( 0 to 2 Tbl a day)

No animal products (no dairy, no meat, no fish, no chicken, no eggs, no dairy), no junk vegan food, no highly processed foods. No oils of any kind. no added sugar or artificial sweetners

I love the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr,  Dr. Neal Barnard from Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, and Dr. Michael Greger who runs Nutritionfacts.org and The Daily Dozen Phone app.

Best documentaries include: Forks Over Knives, Diet Fiction, Eating You Alive, and What The Health.

Best Facebook groups for those like myself who have lipedema, lymphedema or Dercum’s disease interested in doing this sort of eating? Those associated with what is listed above as well as Improving Fat Disorders Using Low Fat Low Glycemic WFPB Eating

In the group for Improving Fat Disorders Using Low Fat Low Glycemic WFPB Eating, no one associated with the group makes a dime off of any participant of the group and you are asked to work with your own doctor and make sure your own medical team is on board, get blood levels done on a regular basis, and other measures to assure you are taking responsibility for your own health decisions.

It’s not about being skinny, it’s about being healthy. If looking smaller ends up being part of it all, then great.

Here is a link to an article I wrote last year on how to approach changing your life with food.

This link is to an article to help you approach this way of eating

It’s Simple: Get Yourself Some Plants & Eat Them

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Grilled Mushroom Steak marinated oil free, on top of brown rice and peas with curry seasoning. baby spinach and baby kale on the side with lemon juice.

Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) eating isn’t nearly as difficult as some fear it to be. It’s simple, you get plants and you eat them. You try not to process them more than you have to  you eat as much of the whole plant as possible and no oil or sugar and keep it low glycemic index and low sodium.  In other words, just eat plants or a combination there of.

It’s all mental. I now routinely pop into my mouth greens with nothing on them at all.   A little lemon or lime or squeeze half of an orange onto greens, sure.  That’s a far cry from my youth.

I’m part of the original Golden Arches generation back in the tiny town in Ohio where I grew up. We were the first batch of youth in that town to have a McDonalds at their disposal. Getting food from McDonalds was a treat in those days.  It was reserved for an occasional Friday night or after church on Sunday, or to celebrate something special. I remember fantasizing before I discovered boys,  about being living at the McDonalds and being allowed to eat all the cheeseburgers I wanted.

Even mentally back then, food was a reward and part of the celebration and all of it was about meat and dairy and eggs. (it’s so stupid, but I remember the first time I had an egg McMuffin).

So you mentally have to give up that notion of the very food that has made you sick being worth it to you to eat. It’s all an addiction and you need to get refocused on living instead of contributing to an early death.  You are hearing it from the horses mouth here. LDL dropped 57% in the first month while cutting my blood sugars in half, and no more blood pressure issues. Boy oh boy did I lose weight! After a few weeks people thought I had weight reduction /bariatric surgery.

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Left April 2018. Right June 2018
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Me November 2018

All I am saying is Give Plants A Chance!

My suggestions and resources I used

I did it cold turkey. Others have to ease into it in their own way. In the end you just have to say, screw it and know that the anxiety you feel about eating plants is based on bad information. Face your fears and stop putting  the animal products for a week and give it a try. Just eat the plants!

You acquire the plants and you eat them. What can be easier?

Black beans and salsa, whole grain tortillas, sweet potatoes, peas, lentils, greens of all varieties, squash, and on and on and on. Fresh, frozen, even sometimes canned if low sodium, it’s fine. You can combine those things as you wish, but try to keep the whole edible plant in what you eat.  Let your body digest the whole plant. It helps to stabilize the blood sugars which impacts the condition of our endothelium cells on the walls of our blood vessels throughout our body.

 

 

Avoid using oil, salt, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and overly processed foods like white rice and white flour. Keep it to actual plants and low sodium herbs and seasonings.

To this day, I stagnate in my progress if I give in on the oil and sugar or I eat processed foods including processed vegan foods. It’s just not worth undoing the good that I’ve done over the last nine months.

And to my friends with chronic health conditions and those who care about them:

Try to remember that this is a wonderful tool and it’s possible to see some reversal of symptoms but not a guarantee of a cure. Even if you lose weight, losing weight isn’t the end all with some chronic conditions. It looks more attractive and it feels good to look good. BUT that doesn’t mean that the person is magically cured of all chronic issues. But I know in my case it sure has likely helped to add to the length and quality of my life.

Work with your medical team, remember animal products is a head game and not really necessary to survive and oh yea one more thing…

Just Eat Those Plants!

 

 

 

 

A Meat, Eggs and Dairy Lover’s Guide To No More Animal Products

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How lucky for me that I puked my guts out. When I ended up in the hospital, deathly ill after over two days consuming a fish sandwich and I turkey sandwich Easter weekend 2018, I never thought of myself as lucky. Really though it gave me a good opportunity to walk away from meat, dairy and eggs and never look back.

Top row of picture were taken that weekend when I got so sick from meat. Bottom row taken several months later, still animal product free.

 

 

Had it not been for the taste and smell of those products repulsing me, I would have had a harder time giving it all up.  I’ve watched my husband long for an Arby’s Roast Beef and pepperoni pizza dripping with thick slabs of  cheese. He had a harder time, but he managed.  I could see it was a thought process for him.

So much about our lives have been wrapped up around animal products.

What holiday or family event doesn’t have animal products as the centerpiece of the associated feast? I can’t think of any.  Traditions, holidays, early childhood memories, all of that is very powerful.

 

 

So it’s a week before Christmas and you are trying to gain control of your health. With the guidance of your own doctor of course,  you have chosen to eat whole food plant based which means all  animal products, sugar and overly processed foods are banned.

Some people can go cold turkey in avoiding turkey and gravy over the holidays. They can even drive past a fast food drive thru and never get a burger, fish or chicken or even a taco with cheese. If they eat animal products it’s only because they didn’t know it was in the food they were served to eat (and yes that is going to happen  especially at family gatherings).

Then there are people who genuinely feel giving up animal products is like pushing away the love of their lives or an dear friend. It’s anxiety provoking.  The fear of living without animal products means for them that they break up with animal products in steps.  I call this the process of Burger and Human Uncoupling.

Would Shakespeare have written verses about the despair and feeling pulled between lusting for cheese burgers and possibly deflating backed up lymphatics and staying alive an extra 10-30 years? 

 

Ode To Animal Products: My Mind’s Tears I Weep For Thee

(spoken tenderly with great drama)

Verse I

“Oh Cheese Burger, Pepperoni, Chicken and Eggs…

In my mouth you delight, but  inflate my legs.”

Verse II

” So Cheese is dairy, so is yogurt and Butter.

I loved you before, but now must love another.”

Verse III

“Endothelium,  walls of arteries and veins you line.

So no animal products I eat or carbs refined. “

 

It’s only slightly an overstatement to say that for many  to give up that relationship with animal products is very imposing..

So let’s be reasonable. So much of this is mental. You have to have courage to turn away from all meat, dairy and eggs as well as processed foods. While it is for health sake better to just cut off all animal products, it may not be in the long run productive. You may be one of the people who may give up for good the first time you cave.  So if you must,  take steps to prepare yourself to gain that needed confidence that you can live without animal products.  Start introducing what others call “transition foods”. These are foods that can give you a sense of having some of the textures and tastes you are in the habit of eating, without them actually being animal products.

Vegan food has come a long way. Please note that I use the term Vegan food instead of Whole Food Plant Based. Processed vegan foods many times are not that healthy. I would never suggest eating processed vegan foods on a regular basis over time but there is no crime in using them initially on occasion. Will they make you blow up like a balloon if you have soy and or sodium sensitivities? Maybe.  before going 100% without meat dairy and eggs or not, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it not to eat soy filled and high sodium foods. Read the labels and weigh it all out.

Another way to approach it all is if  you cease eating one product at a time and adjusting to that before removing the next product that is ok too. And like I’ve pointed out throughout this piece, eating processed vegan food at times in the start, is fine too as long as you keep your eyes open to it temporarily making symptoms for things like lipedema, lymphedema and other disorders worse.

And even once you make the clean break from animal products, don’t be stunned if you still feel the need for a burger sometimes or cheese. It’s ok to ocassionally indulge in a Beyond Meat Burger (sold in many stores and some restaurants) or Impossible Burger (served at White Castle, and some restaurants  and coming to stores in 2019). There are also several other brands of non animal product burgers you can indulge in.

Just make sure that the majority of the time, you are eating actual fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, fresh greens,  unprocessed grains,  fresh or dried beans, peas, lentils, and a few unsalted nuts here and there. Some flax or chia seed for good measure, and take a good B-12 suppliment.  Have some blood work done to see if you are lacking in anything else.

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Black Bean Chick Pea Salsa Burger w/ lemon spinach and Orange Sections

I am just going to drive this point home one last time… better to eat whole foods that are plant based, without added oils, sugar or processed ingredients. Try for example, bean burgers or use lentils in place of ground beef in sloppy joes. They are better for you than the mass produced, pre-prepared vegan burgers and so on. Let me tell you, it can be pretty tasty.

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Need a chance to wrap your brain around the notion of no animal products? Here are some suggestions.

Miyokos Cashew Based Cheeses

Beyond Meat Burgers, Sausage, Chicken and Crumbles

Impossible Burgers

Just Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couldn’t Reduce Size Until Lymphatic Disorders Were Treated Through Food.

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It’s really important that you know you are a worthy human being no matter your size, genetics, or how even family members might treat you. I have spent several years in the online company of many wonderful people who like myself have had lymphatic challenges and will likely never be the vision of thinness (and in our society thinness is associated with health). I see every day in the comments from these dear people what they put up with from strangers, family members and even doctors.

Make sure that you do it for you and do not expect untrained medical professions, family and friends to respond as you would like. People are odd even the ones people love.. Don’t do it for THEIR approval. Do it because you know you matter and are worth having around even if they don’t get it. I see it too many times where someone feels their value is based on their appearance. You can’t keep the rest of the world from being like that, but you can control YOU from thinking that way.

I have suffered from lipedema and lymphedema from the time of being a child. A doctor working with my mom at a hospital saw a photo of my twin sister and I and stated that given the fact that my sister and I were so different in size, we would have made a great study in metabolism.

Of course what the doctor didn’t understand was that in reality was that I had more issues with the veins in my body allowing lymphatic fluids to not evacuate my body properly and so parts of me were swelling up.

I always had one leg that was larger than the other, and I was from infancy larger than my sister.

Always known as the “fat one”, I just hated it. There is always a tendency to compare twins so that made the comments more frequent and with no regard that I was standing right there. It was one heck of a way to grow up. Back then no one knew anything about lipedema or lymphedema. I was accused of not trying to control my weight by multiple doctors over the year.

Whole Food Plant Based eating that is focused on low fat, low glycemic index foods with no added oils or sugar has benefited everything. I look better now than I did when I was 29!.

How many women can say that?

I Look Better Now Than I Did At Age 29

The photos in the center are from when I was 29. The larger photos on tbe two ends are from the past week. I am now 56.

Inner photos are 1992. Ouside photos from now.

I Improved My Health And Appearance.

Below the center photo is me almost a year ago. Outside photos from now.

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Improved Health: I Have Arrived!

 

Take a gander at me last spring on the left quite a few pounds heavier than I am now. Then take a look at the photo next to it. Miraculous change! I suffer from Lipedema, Lymphedema and Dercum’s Disease.  In laymen’s terms, that means limiting calories and increasing exercise doesn’t impact the weight. The lymphatic system backs up lymphatic fluid into my tissue. I have large lumps of whatever throughout my body.

People with my issues typically look extremely bottom heavy, with large bat wing arms, and necks and faces that can swell up at the drop of a dime. It’s nothing to gain poundage in the double digits in a day’s time from the lymphatic back up. 11% of women deal with such issues. I was diagnosed at two different university clinics in two different states.

So most of my life, I avoided having photos that showed my hips and legs. This morning my hair still hadn’t been managed for the day so for the first time ever I asked my husband to aim the camera for the stomach on down.

See those leggings and boots? It’s common for those with my diagnoses to not even be able to zip up those boots. And compression leggings are a popular treatment for those disorders, but I would never allow myself to be photographed in them.  They are 3 sizes smaller than what I use to wear.

I’ve had people online and in person tell me, ” You are on the right track, keep going”.

Let me publically say that considering lipedema is only suppose to make a person larger and larger over time, I managed to make myself smaller inspite of it. So not only am I on the right track, I crossed the finish line!

Whether I stay at this weight or lose more, I am VERY SATISFIED. My labs are improved greatly,  and still am crippled by the combination of some of the disclosed and non disclosed disorders. But even during the stretch of days I am bed bound, my quality of life has greatly improved.

In the big picture people are having surgery done to temporarily reduce the lymphatic based “fat” in their legs and hips. Thanks to the way I am eating, that likely will not be needed. Also I’ve been taken off  medications because of my change in eating.

Whole Food Plant Based Low Glycemic Index, Low Fat,

No Added Oil, No Added Sugar

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62 lbs Finally Gone. Spreading Awareness Goes Both Ways

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So how goes it in your life? Did you have a good weekend?

Saturday, I got out of bed with one set of measurements, and came home later that day with a larger body. No I didn’t don a fat suit at the end of the day. It’s just another day in the life of someone with Dercum’s Disease, Lipedema and Lymphedema. Before taking on a Whole Food-Plant-Based Diet it use to be far worse. No complaints from me. In the end I still reached the lost 62 pounds mark.

I don’t get out much. Swelling up that bad is the price to pay for just walking out my front door to do literally anything. It’s painful. Saturday I was just too enthralled with the line up at our local Plant-Based Nutrition Summit to not attend the all day event. I would get around by way of motorized mobility scooter and figured if it got bad, I would leave early.

The St. Louis Plant-Based Nutrition Summit held at Washington University on Saturday, July 14th, 2018 was sold out and a very happening event. This was no small venue, it was huge with people coming from all over the place to hear some of the brightest and most revered minds in nutritional, science. I saw it as a chance to not only learn but to also share with others when appropriate, about the oddball disorders lipedema, Dercum’s Disease and Lymphedema.

All three disorders can add non-calorie based weight gain. Lipedema, 11% of women have it and it makes them look bottom heavy and the weight just can’t be lost easily through traditional dieting. Dercum’s Disease Disorder is also stubborn when it comes to losing weight. Additionally, Dercum’s Disease is associated with a long list of other health issues that can shorten your life. Things such as diabetes and cardiac issues.  Because it’s so rare, most doctors know very little, if anything about it. Yet Diabetes and Heart Disease would be explored at the Summit. So I brought some awareness business cards with me and my before and after losing 50 pounds shots, and a one sheet explanation.

So I figured while I got a couple books signed, I would thank the doctors and  slide to them some information on it all regarding the disorders themselves and how in my case the positive impact this way of eating has had.

Well I later swelled up big because of the disorders. The pain got worse and the lumps (Dercum’s Tumors) got big enough to be seen from a few feet away..

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Early in the morning and minimal swelling from not getting much sleep, but not bad.
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Please note that I used a filter to show more contrast so you see what my body was going through. Later that day, overdoing it brought out the start of massive swelling in my neck, and in my arms. Also notate where in my arms I look lumpy. Those are Dercum’s Disease tumors. My stomach started to swell up as well as my hips and legs. Lipedema rears it’s head. . I didn’t look or feel like this that morning.

As much as I wanted and needed to go home and get to bed I chose to stay. These doctors may not have heard of some of these disorders. If they had heard of any of them, they may not know that Whole Food Plant Based eating did the unimaginable, it helped some of my symptoms that I was told to give up on.

So I stuck it out on my mobility scooter and was first person in line for the book signing. The book signing was at the very end of the day.

Dr. Michael Greger was pleasant from start to finish, as was Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. I shared with them the information I brought with me.

Dr. Greger also made the point of saying that it was important for me to make sure those similar to myself know that eating like this has in my case, had a positive impact on some of the symptoms.

 

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You see Dr. Greger reviewing the information I provided them.
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Dr. Greger’s inscription after hearing of my success treating lipedema, Dercum’s disease using a Whole Food Plant-Based Low Fat Diet.

I went home and got in bed and stayed in bed through all day Sunday. My husband was fantastic serving me food in bed.  Roasted brussel sprouts and brown rice with watermelon were delicious!

brussel sprouts and watermelon

 

My body slowly on Sunday deflated. I stepped on the scale and since a week ago, another 8 pounds lost. 62 pounds gone now. 40 more to go.

It’s been a great weekend. I highly recommend all books written and any public appearances made by Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr.  If there is a documentary they are in, watch it.

My Body’s Fight For A Plant Based Diet

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This is NOT a typical weight loss journey you hear about. I didn’t decrease calories and then started to jog in the mornings or joined a gym.   I am one of a significant number of women who look large because I have  lipedema. You will learn more about that as you read my blog.

I wrote this entry months ago. Please work with your doctor and check out the resources to get more precise details on the doctors whose research and books in the end has helped me calm the beasts known as lipedema and lymphedema. Also it’s helped with my diabetes and even at times my dercum’s disease and fibro.

There are great resources listed below. And if you want to get a feel for it all watch Forks Over Knives on YouTube or Netflix. It will give you a general idea. (note…there are other food selections you can use besides what you see on that program, so no worries)

              Super easy, homemade tasty veggie burgers, stuffed mushrooms, cashew cheese

Mutiny Of The Body

For the first time in 55 years, my body took control of itself and that meant only food it needed crossing my lips. I had not planned on ever being what some would call vegan or plant-based.  My body staged it’s own mutiny and took over the ship, so to speak.  It had quite a foe to defeat, the destructive monster my memories and habits had become surrounding food.

Without me even thinking about it, meat became intolerable to me, and then fish and dairy did the same thing.  So I embraced what my body was insisting and committed to a plant-based low fat diet.  I did this without reading anything about it. I became a fast student in learning all I could after that.  30 days later I’ve lessened inflammation, weight, and unhappiness.

My Body’s Opponent

I was raised on rump roasts, noodles, potatoes and gravy. eggs and bacon,  pizza with mounds of sausage, pepperoni and animal fat cheese on Friday nights , lots of bread made with white flour. The vegetables were there but usually from a can.  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ,with that glow in the dark powdered cheese that would be combined with margarine and milk to make the cheese sauce, was served a few times a week as a side dish usually with meatloaf. My dad would pile his plate high with food. My grandfather, mother and father were all overweight.  Night time was a time for sweet snacks and my mom called it “a party”.  If anyone was sad, well there was always ice cream and lots of wonder bread waiting for them. All get togethers and visits included food, rich delicious foods that were meant to spread the love.  By age eight, I was a fat child who had been taught that food is comfort and comfort is food. Family and friends meant food too, and lots of it.

Also added into the mix and unbeknownst to me, I was predisposed to appearing large and blimp like even as a child. I have a condition known as lipedema as well as lymphedema. Even as a child that made one leg larger than the other. fat arms, and put a tummy on me. No matter what I ate or how much exercise, I was a big girl. They didn’t recognize such things back then about that non-calorie based weight gain disorder. Inflammation was terrible in someone like me. Extremely painful.

Having yourself blimp up when you are trying to live on soggy tuna fish sandwiches 5 days a week (my mom put me on weight watchers at age 8, really makes a kid insecure. Not talking calories, I’m talking about how the wrong foods, lack of nutrition, and inflammation  inducing foods made me balloon up even when eating lean fish and vegetables 5 days a week.

That was a great deal of inflammation swelling up all parts of my body. It put both traditional and lipedema fat on my body, dragging me down, and by more than a decade ago, making my rare disease Dercum’s Disease, worse to the point of disability. I was since, diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and always struggling to keep my sugars in control.

Thanks to my stint on the high animal fat  KETO diet, my cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rhythm suddenly required medication I had never needed before. (Don’t get me started on KETO. If you are doing KETO, get your labs done every couple of months at least).

I saw vegans and vegetarians over time and admired them. I always knew it was healthier but in no way could I have seen myself giving up the foods I had grown up on.  A change of eating like that would change how my household would handle social eating and going out to grab a bite. It would change a way of life I felt. So I refused to do it.

But then my body threatened to vomit if I didn’t change and it made most of the foods I grew up with pretty unappealing to me. It spoke and I listened.

The Fruits Of Going With What Your Body Tells You

In 24 days I’ve gone down 20 pounds exactly. The painful swellings have been greatly reduced. I’ve gone from being this nervous, confused, hungry woman going to stores grabbing processed vegan burgers and fake chicken to answer my mind’s need for a meat fix, to taking fresh whole foods and creating my own black burgers.

I had to eat at a diner and managed to make a meal out of oatmeal with nuts and sliced apple, and ate it with a side salad.  I’ve created vegetable non-meat meatballs, to have with zucchini spirals and fresh tomato sauce. Baked spaghetti squash,  pizza crusts with so many fresh veggies in it that it was green and tasty!

I turn down chocolate because I have no cravings. I have no desire for drive thru foods. I’m still in considerable physical pain from Dercum’s Disease. I’ve been depressed for moments when I’ve had to face my feelings instead of eating to hide them. The sun has always risen the next day. I don’t expect foods to taste like food use to taste.  Just because I’m not comfortable emotionally sometimes doesn’t mean that it’s wrong what I am doing. It’s all new to me and it’s an adjustment. I stand a chance to see how my body is suppose to feel so it’s worth it. I’m getting more nutrition than before. I will be getting blood work done.

So stay with me as I blog about this journey.  Below are the resources that started me on my way.

The actual book that started me on this journey. No counting carbs or calories! Yet it works on lipedema and diabetes for me!

 Dr. Neal Barnard, Washington D.C. Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine

The Daily Dozen check list you can use online or on your phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Food Plant Based Please (That Doesn’t Include The Impossible Burger)

WFPB back in the saddle
Examples of Healthy Whole Food Plant Based Foods that help me be at my best. Low Glycemic Index grains, vegetables, and fruits, minimally processed. Just keep the typical fast food version of vegan food away please!

I had amazing success going Whole Food Plant Based, Low Glycemic Index and Low Fat. in 2018. Then during 2019 life garbage hit the same time all these trendy vegan fast food options hit and I only half heartedly followed the WFPB plan. I packed on 20 lbs because of that mistake.

In June I had a hysterectomy and I even brought my food with me to the hospital so that I could eat clean.  I started off with no weight gain at all.

Once home, there was no peaceful recovery awaiting me. Life just isn’t like that sometimes. All the cooking fell into the hands of my husband. When he would ask me what we should eat, I would look at his stressed out, exhausted face  and here the suggestion of him just going through a fast food drive through for the Impossible Burgers and I would just nod my head.

“Tomorrow will go better and then we will eat better,” I would think to myself.

But life demands didn’t run smoother for a long stretch.I went from over a year of solely eating beans, greens, vegetables and fruit,  to the last few months dining on Beyond Meat Burgers, Impossible Burgers and vegan Big Mac’s at a wonderful local vegan restaurant.

Not only did my symptoms of my chronic illness worsen, I regained 20 lbs in a few months time. I avoided my scale and all mirrors.  I really think something happened in my head after surgery that I doubted I was worth the effort.

It all changed when I woke up recently in the middle of the night and snapped out of it. I got online and placed an order to be delivered to our home from a couple of local groceries.

I pictured in my fridge my large Tupperware container stuffed with fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, fresh vegetables. I pictured fresh low glycemic grains, a couple types of fresh fruit. I pictured my pantry filled again with all varieties of bean and lentils.  Then I made it happen.

From the delivery services for Aldi, Target and Whole Foods came the bags of leafy green and beany redemption. My husband was all for it. I told him no more of the stuff we had been eating. No more Impossible Burgers. He could bring into the home whatever he wanted, but no more fast food versions of vegan foods for me.

Day one: did fine but had a bowl of cereal that evening, shredded wheat. That was one more serving of grain than I needed. Still woke up the next day with a four pound loss *I have lipedema, lymphedema, and Dercum’s Disease and they all cause as one of their symptoms, rapid gain so if treated right you can lose some of it fast too.

Day two: lost another pound!

Day three: lost two more pounds

Day five: lost another two pounds!

In vegan circles the Impossible Burger, and other similar sorts are being declared the salvation of those who wish to eat less meat and to protect animals. There is merit to that. All I want to add is that for some of us, it is harmful as are many ultra processed, mass produced vegan foods. Once a month and special occasions, eating those tasty treats isn’t going to hurt anyone, but the average American tends to eat fast food more than that. Talk to your medical professionals and get their take on it. I just know what such food did to me.

My non medical advice? When you talk to your doctor, ask about Whole Food Plant Based.  Maybe find a good bean burger recipe (I list a few of my own in this blog if you search the archives) and make them. If you are lucky to have a Whole Foods Market close by, Engine 2’s Black Bean burgers are also really very good.

 

 

When In Hospital, Advocate For The Way Of Eating Your Health Requires

There are many like myself whose daily functioning depends on sticking to a specific WFPB way of eating. In my case I have a combination of disorders that not eating in my prescribed manner can instantly mean: gaining 4-12 lymphatic weight pounds in a day, escalating blood sugars, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, lymphatic weight gain of several pounds, increased pain from rare disorder, brain fog, and my chin so large it hits my chest plus clothing suddenly not fitting. That is no exaggeration. (look up Dercum’s disease, lipedema, lymphedema )

Obviously it’s not out of pickiness that I eat what I eat. It’s the only way I have to be as comfortable as possible. No pills do what this way of eating does for me. I just posted how I handled my recent hospital stay but felt an additional write up was warranted on how I handled sticking to my Whole Food Plant Based No processed foods, no animal products, no oils or added sugar way of eating. Whether it’s in restaurants, hospitals, people’s homes, and so on, there are ways to make to make it work.

So when I had a run of the mill hysterectomy on the horizon, I knew I would have to maintain this way of eating going into the surgery as well as after, and especially in the hospital itself. I couldn’t imagine the initial swelling and pain from the surgery with the unnecessary other possible issues that wrong eating can cause me.

So I reached out to the hospital’s dietician’s office and spoke to their supervisor.  You can employ the same idea when working with nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, eating establishments hotels and possibly when staying in people’s homes as a guest for a meal or more.

At all times you need to remember that you are a guest in someone’s home or establishment. They may not fully understand or grasp the severity of your nutritional needs. Insisting and demanding isn’t going to help them understand. So your choice of words, your tone, and keeping your explanation simple can go a long way in both them being treating with the respect they deserve and you getting the consideration you deserve.

  1. There is more than one way to address each dilemma. So don’t get discouraged as you identify the issues to be resolved.
  2. What is the reason for the occasion the overall goal through their eyes verses your eyes. In a hospital it would be the health and nutrition of each and every patient. Your own goal would be the same but for  yourself. There is  an important difference, they have an enormous responsibility that you have to respect.  They are there for everyone not just you. So as you discuss options you must respect that.
  3. Pay close attention to their meal, snack and drink options. Do you see any options/ingredients you can root your own meal through?  Here is an example of what I saw on the menu of the hospital’s listings that gave me hope.. In the end with some modifications and some items from home, I made entire meals from the following:

 

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4)  Express appreciation for their offerings and ask if the following is possible:

  • Can the chef prepare yours without oil?
  • Can you ask for things you can’t eat to be left off?
  • Is it ok to bring things they don’t offer along with you so you can stick with your meal plan?
  • If they seem hesitant: Explain what your immediate risk would be if you eat what you are not suppose to eat.

Here are some of the items I was allowed to bring with me. Note it was all prepackaged and sealed, shelf stable. Nothing cooked from home.

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From Target: Beluga mini black lentils and a can of easy open chickpeas. From Trader Joes, Fortified Nutritional yeast, from Walmart WASA crackers and from Aldi, ready to serve brown rice.

 

So in the end if you added together the modified versions of what the hospital offered on their menu, and what was brought from home I was able to eat like this:

Hospital dinner
Along with some strawberries, this has fresh green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, red peppers, carrots, a half cup of black beluga lentils, and B-12 fortified nutritional yeast. For whole grains, there is a 100% whole grain WASA cracker. This dish contained tons of protein, iron, fiber vitamins A, B vitamins  and C, Vitamin D. 

When you are staying in someone else’s home of course, it is different. You just have to level with them and explain that you are willing to take responsibility for purchasing and preparing your own foods. If you are open and honest with them ahead of time and explain they risk having a very ill houseguest otherwise, then you should be fine.

Restaurants, you need to call them in advance and see how flexible they will be.

Airlines: Don’t even count on them accommodating you. All their meals are prepared and wrapped up in advance. Find out what is currently allowed and not permitted to be brought through security and onto the plane. Take into account  the number of hours without access to a refrigerator and remember ice packs likely not permitted on the plane.

Just size up your situation, your options, and figure out how to make it work for you while being a team player with the others directly involved in the situation.

Always remember to be gracious, flexible and if there is something they can’t do for you, remember likely there is more going on than just your own needs.

 

 

 

 

Life Rescuing Meal Savers

Prologue

Whole Food Plant Based, No Oil, Low Glycemic Index and Low Fat And Sodium. No Added Sugar Or Overly Processed Foods.

Apples, black beans, spinach, tangerines, brussel sprouts, oats, beluga black lentils, zucchini, strawberries, garbanzo beans, carrots, garlic, lemons, radishes, kale, peas, barley, dried crushed red pepper, black berries, mushrooms, green and red lentils, broccoli, turmeric, peaches, limes, artichokes, blueberries, spaghetti squash, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, mustard greens, onions, melon, ginger, mung beans

I grew up in a household where beef was king, Wonderbread was a staple, and processed foods were on the table every night. Both parents worked full time and people didn’t know any better. Both pairs of grandparents did have gardens though and I was in 4-H where I became a state champion bread baker. I loved cooking from early on.

My rare disorder and health issues leading to profound levels of disability (discussed further in the Epilogue), gave me years (and 7,000 miles of travel to see experts) of frustration with zero answers. The only answers for me have been found with this way of eating.   So in the kitchen and eating simple wholesome foods has helped enough to give me hope.

It is because of the assistance in the kitchen for those activities I can no longer do, from my loving devoted husband, Tim, that we eat so well. My son, Eric, he is the one that has taught me by example to ask “what if”. So I still do what I am able to with my family to support me. I love you Tim.  I love you Eric. very much. I dedicate this ebook to you both.

This book is just a project of love and no one should mistake it for medical advice. Work with your doctor before changing your way of eating.  Do what works for you. Check out the Epilogue  for the list of resources that have influenced me.

 

 

Air Fried or Baked Cauliflower with Dipping Sauce

cauliflower air fried

  • 1 average size head of cauliflower or 12 oz bag of fresh cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup salsa or hot sauce of your choice
  • 2/3 cup whole rye/pumpernickel bread or crackers/crips crumbs (oil free, sugar free, no white flour)
  • optional to taste: garlic powder, onion powder, low sodium curry powder, turmeric, dried crushed red pepper

 

  1. If using traditional or toaster oven, preheat at 425 degrees.
  2. Divide the clean cauliflower into reasonably small pieces. (make sure pieces are not wet)
  3. With your clean hands, toss together the cauliflower and salsa until thoroughly but lightly coated.
  4. Step 4: Sprinkle crumbs over the coated cauliflower, and toss with your hands until thoroughly but lightly coated.

IF BAKING:

Place cauliflower pieces on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, bake for 15-20, turn each piece over and rotate pan after 10 minutes.  Each oven varies, keep an eye on it the first time so you don’t burn.

IF USING AIR FRYER:

10-15 minutes, no flipping needed. One single layer, the pieces can be close together. Watch closely the first time.

Dipping Sauce:

Play with this. You can create whatever suits you.

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plant based milk
  • 2/3 cup salsa or 4Tbl or more or less hot sauce (depending on your preference)
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (I like B-12 Fortified and Trader Joes is very tasty)
  • Garlic Powder to taste plus others you may like to add (suggestions would be same as the cauliflower coating)
  • optional: add 1/8th cup ground cashews with a splash of lemon 
  • Also a splash of apple cider can make it tangy.

We use a high power blender (Vitamix) to blend all ingredients until smooth. Feel free to add enough liquids to make it blend smoother.

 

Black Beans w/WFPB Spinach-Artichoke Dip Burgers

Makes 7-9 large burgers or 14-18 smaller burgers

 

Bean Burger ala Dippy Plate 2

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed..
  • 1 can of any kind of lentils OR my favorite, 1 packet of Target’s Simply Balanced black beluga lentils (if you can’t find these and don’t want to cook lentils, just skip them and maybe use less of the dip sauce)
  • 1 cup of Vegan Oil-Free Spinach-Artichoke Dip (the recipe for this follows this recipe) combined with 1/3 cup salsa of your choice
  • 2/3 cup or more compliant crumbs, 100% oil free white flour free, 100% whole grain options such as whole rye crackers, whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 tbl. garlic powder

Preheat Oven 400 F. Combine the ingredients in the order listed. Will be meatloaf consistenc. Make them in shape of burgers, place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and stick them covered, in your refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Remove and allow them to cool enough to be easier to flip over. Then bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 15 minutes. Serve or cool off completely and freeze.

 

Vegan Oil Free Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

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  • 3/4 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 1/2 small diced onion or onion powder to taste
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1/8th cup (or more) nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbl lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cup loosely packed fresh spinach
  • One 14 oz can oil free artichokes

Preheat Oven 425 Combine all the ingredients except vegetables in a high power blender and pulverize until very smooth. Add the vegetables and blend until smooth (If you are making this as a dip only, you may want to leave it chunky).

Pour into a small baking dish, sprinkle if you desire a little additional seasoning or nutritional yeast on the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until browning and thick.

 

 

 

The Amazing Garbanzo Bean-Fresh Orange Salad Dressing

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  • 1 average size fresh orange.
  • 1 cup of garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp of rice or apple cider vinegar
  • Consider crushed red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

Use a high-power blender until smooth. Store in airtight container. Can stay in fridge for a few days without issue. Shake before using.

For the Breakfast Salad itself, for the cereal layer, Which ever you use, read the package. Keep it minimally processed and as few ingredients as possible. No added sugar or oil.

 

 

Protein, Fiber and Iron-Filled, Easy Lentil Sloppy Joes

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  • 3 cans of whatever variety of lentils and beans you like.
  • One small can of tomato paste
  • A can of water
  • Chopped Vegetables of your choice
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
  • Fennel to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Onion Powder to taste

Combine all ingredients and simmer until heated. Do not overcook. Great as leftovers.  Serves 4-6

 

 

Veggie Balls

 

As long as you follow the formula, these veggie balls are full proof.

As part of a main course topped with a sauce, a side dish, floating them in soup or topping a salad, these are great to keep on hand

The formula = riced veggies and a grain of your choice +binding vegan egg substitute + flour or crumbs of your choice

You can interpret these any way you want and we never measure a darn thing except the vegan egg replacer.

If you read my blog much you know that I have disabilities in my arms, legs and pretty much every other part of my body. My husband assists me, so if you wonder why I take short cuts, that is the reason. So if you want to go a different path, terrific, go for it. We are blessed with a Trader Joes and a Whole Foods, and the latter delivers, so we have wonderful access to whatever we want to experiment.  This buys us convenience that not all stores would afford us.

We buy fresh riced carrots-broccoli-celery-onion-cauliflower. In water we par-cook in a skillet the vegetables.  Trader Joes also sells delightful frozen brown rice that can be easily defrosted. We combine all that with garlic powder, dried crushed red pepper, sometimes a pinch of salt. sometimes curry seasoning.

Add in two eggs worth of vegan egg replacer (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill). Follow the package’s directions. Then add in enough bread crumbs of your choice or “flour” of your choice and additional seasoning if desired.

It should be enough without making it overly dry. In the center place a dollop of cashew cheese or tomato sauce. Consider the recipes in this ebook for dips to place in the center or to pour on top.

Feel free to as an option to roll the balls in favorite stuff such as crushed cashews, almond meal, or bread crumbs.

If the ball slightly crumbles, if it won’t hold together, add a bit more water and no worries. Gently reform the ball and place it with the rest on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

In  preheated 400 degree oven, bake for 25 minutes.  Air fryer can be used too. Make sure to not burn.  Let them sit for 5 minutes or until they can be moved without falling apart.

 

 

 

Light Macaroni and Cheese With Vegetables

Cannelli Bean Pasta Sauce Mac On Greens

Makes 4-6 servings

Cheese Sauce Recipe: In high speed blender blend until smooth:

  • 1 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 6Tbl or more B-12 fortified nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder

  • Two shakes of dried red crushed red pepper

  • dehydrated tomatoes
  • Optional:
    ¼ cup pureed white beans
  • 2 tbl. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

With cooked drained organic whole wheat or lentil pasta, in a 2 quart pan and on low to medium heat, pour the sauce over the pasta and stir frequently as the sauce thickens and clings to the pasta. Sprinkle additional seasoning on it if desired and stir in peas and whatever else you like.

 

 

“Orange You Glad” Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato served as side

 

  • Just pour enough orange juice to cover fresh cubed or frozen sweet potatoes, (you can even them as frozen and cubed at places such as Whole foods).
  • Stirring frequently over medium heat, let the liquid reduce to a sauce and the cubes partially cook.
  • Line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper Pour the cubes and reduced sauce in the dish. Sprinkle desired seasoning if desired.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Potatoes should be cooked thoroughly without being overly mushy. Each cube (if you are using frozen) should keep it’s shape but be cooked through

 

 

 

Vitamix Vegetable Soups

Use 1 cup of either freshly par cooked vegetables (or fully cooked sweet potatoes) or leftovers along with a cup of unsweetened plant milk, and with the seasoning of your choice make it savory or sweet and sour. Garnish as you wish. You must taste it to make sure it is tasteful and to your liking. Feel free to add garlic, onion powder, curry seasoning, nutritional yeast.

sweet potato served pureed with protein milk

 

Healthy Multi Cooker Pea Soup (non-pressure cooker)

 

  • 1 bag of dried split peas.
  • 3 times the amount of split peas in water/low sodium veggie broth
  • Feel free to taste along the way
  • ½ Tbl dried parsley
  • ½ Tbl garlic powder
  • ½ Tbl onion powder
  • ½ Teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp salt optional…best to add to taste.

 

Directions:  Use the bake feature for 45 minutes then switch to high slow cook. Add more water or low sodium veggie broth if needed. Will be done within 1 to 2 hours.

 

Morning Bowls

 

Layered Sweet Bowl

  • A serving of old fashion oats cooked per directions
  • 2 Tbl Peanut butter Powder
  • 1 Tbl Stevia
  • 1Tbl Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (twice a week no more)
  • Half of a sliced apple or ½ cup berries

 

Layered Savory Bowl

  • A serving of old fashion oats cooke per directions
  • ½ cup of chopped veggies (whatever is available)
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • ½ cup of chopped greens

 

Breakfast Salad

  • Dark greens
  • Whatever vegetables handy
  • A serving of fruit or berries
  • The Amazing Garbanzo Bean-Fresh Orange Salad Dressing
  • ½ cup Sugar Free compliant whole grain cereal

 

 

Epilogue

Once again, never change your way of eating without getting labs done and discuss it with your medical team. This little booklet I’ve written is by no means a replacement for professional medical advice. I am NOT a doctor.

I have been juggling a combination of both common and rare health issues as I’ve gotten older. I focused way too much on the rare, the hard to find a doctor for, and the ones that make me appear large because Dercum’s Disease in particular had left me quite disabled and in very body shape.

Dercum’s Disease, Lipedema and Lymphedema are odd ball disorders where non calorie-based fat in large amounts can wind up on your body. They each are quite different from each other. I have all three and it’s required 7,000 miles in travel to see out of state experts. They are difficult to find.

I did every single treatment option offered to me except the sea snail venom  that gets delivered through a pump for pain management. It had a very poor outcome percentage speaking. Sure enough a few years later, you don’t hear about it being suggested.

Oh and WAL lipo surgery I didn’t do that either. Thanks to this way of eating I may never need to do such things.

In focusing so much on the oddball disorders, I became obsessed with it’s treatment to the point that I blew off the rest of my health. It took my body rejecting animal products and my ending up in the hospital from vomiting too much, for me to see it’s not like I had a choice. I had to figure out how to survive without animal products.

My labs were horrible. I was taking up to 13 pills a day for pain, diabetes, cholesterol, tachycardia, anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (note a year later and I’m off all but one of those medications now because of eating this way).

Watched Forks Over Knives, read up on the different doctors and researchers and their approaches and figured out which way seemed to work for me.

Results were immediate and continue now past the first year. They include: Lost weight. Cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammation, swelling all dropped within weeks. Also fewer Dercum’s Disease tumors in one area of my body, and sizeable improvement in the lipedema and lymphedema symptoms. Down from 13 pills a day to one prescription plus a suppliment

I don’t want to raise false hope. Regarding the oddball disorders, I am still disabled. But I am also so pleased with the progress.  I want the reader to understand that for me WFPB No Oil or added Sugar, low glycemic index and low fat, is a great tool for me.

So after a year:

I find that this way of eating at least has reduced pain enough or it to be noticeable. None of the treatments the experts suggested did me a bit of good.  Also my more common health issues, these foods kicked them to the curb. So for longevity and for a useful tool in my fight against Dercum’s Disease and the other fat disorders.

You are encouraged to investigate the following:

If you would like information on Dercum’s Disease here is the best place I know of.  https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/dercums-disease/

As for this way of eating, I suggest Watching Forks Over Knives. Look up the research done by those shown in that documentary and are also listed in the books by the same name.  Each approach is slightly different.

Their link is www.forksoverknives.com

So do your homework and see what you think.

I started a blog when this all began. I called it “The Unlikely No Meat Please Gal”, because it was totally against how I had been raised to avoid animal products.

I changed the name to “The Glad To Say No Meat Please Gal” after the first year anniversary.

I can be found on Twitter and Word Press

Dercums Disease: Mystery And Extremes

Dercums Disease Trio

What is Dercum’s Disease, that strange disorder I speak of sometimes? This is a great description of the range it can cover and what impacts it.

Those people like myself who have Dercum’s Disease have an immediate physical extremely painful reactions and swelling, brain fog because of:

-Certain Foods
-Too much physical activity, and that level before pain happens gets lowered more and more as the disease progresses.
-Lack of Sleep
-Stress that overtaxes thinking and focus, sensory and creates torturous pain, including:
a) happy occasions.
b) Surprises good and bad
c) Being overstimulated and it doesn’t take much…(light, noise, so on)
d) Trying to do more than you know you can do.

This rare disease can be seen in people of all sizes and shapes. Sometimes the Dercum’s tumors are so large you can see them, others can be easily felt when skin it touched, others are smaller and hard to detect. Some have a mixture of all three. Comorbid issues can include cardiac and diabetic issues, brain fog, lipedema and lymphedema,

One day you are walking 3 miles a day, working as a caseworker in a stressful field with minimal impact from the disorder and then you notice a couple of painful lumps on your ribs and you feel like you have the flu all the time. Annoying, but you assume it will go away….another day you realize you have pain and increased fatigue that is totally interfering with all parts of your life. You no longer rebound back into feeling better.

The pain you feel is traced to additional lumps along the ribs, shoulders stomach, back, arms and hips. Getting to the mailbox is the best you can manage. You swear you are in the early stages of dementia. You forget things that are scary.

I know I gained 60 plus pounds in less than a couple of months with no dietary changes.

Then you find out that driving the car is a problem many days because you haven’t the energy or focus, plus even outstretching your arms to hold the steering wheel is too difficult to do for long. You have zero endurance.

Dressing bathing, cooking, all are difficult.
You become a recluse, can make no plans, and working with doctors is difficult because what you have they have never heard of it. The options given to you by the experts you travel to see, you try but none of them help. But hey, at least they have worked with it before.

So that is similar what many with Dercum’s Disease go through. Some, the disease progresses slowly, some progresses quickly,

I think mine progressed quickly because of all the elements of years of advocacy and social work.

I believe many have it and don’t realize it.

I have had the tumors cut out, they grow back. I’ve had them removed from along my spine, my ribs, my upper stomach. Every single time they come back plus bring some new friends. They now number in the hundreds throughout my body, from feet to head. And the other symptoms that go with it besides painful lumps are ridiculous.

Whole Food Plant Based, No Oil, Low Glycemic Index, Low Fat, Low Sodium though has been the best remedy. Any relief feels like a miracle. It’s reversed weight gain from Dercums Disease. That has been a moral booster and a moral booster has been greatly needed and appreciated.

This way of eating has had a wonderful impact on my cholesterol, blood pressure, and no more suspected tachycardia. Blood sugars are pretty good too.

It also has minimized the number of tumor in my stomach area. Very happy about that.

Worse thing I ever did for this disorder? KETO. I did two variations of it and it was crash and burn.

Gourmet Black Beans Burgers Using WFPB Spinach Artichoke Dip

Bean Burger ala Dippy Plate 2

We hadn’t been there in 10 years. We went back to Fitz Root Beer Bottling Company and Restaurant as part of our 10th anniversary week.  Heard they now serve a mean black bean burger. It was delicious but when I enquired as to what was in it, I learned that the secret ingredient was their spinach-artichoke dip. Drats! It had animal products in it.

Looked online for simple spinach-artichoke dips that didn’t use oil or animal products. They may be out there, but I didn’t find any.  I have these stupid extremely painful Dercums Disease tumors all over including my arms and along my spine.  So being on me feet, using my arms for any length of time without arm rests and so on, was a no go. So that took away most options. I knew my husband and son would not be willing to do all the work on new recipe like this. Ii was going to have to wait until I had a good day and play with this and just pray it didn’t get too involved. They had enough on their plates. I would need to be the one to at least do parts of it. So it had to be simple.

This was one of those situations where having convenience appliances like a Vitamix makes all the difference. And my husband took care of the more taxing parts of it. Love, love, love the results

So with Fitz Root Beer Bottling Company and Restaurant’s bean burger as inspiration, and guidance from reading multiple recipes online, I came up with this recipe. My husband and I just love it and we swear it’s every bit as good as what we had at Fitz, but without the animal products. It is still 100% compliant to a WFPB No Oil or added Sugar, Low Glycemic Index and Low Fat and Sodium Way Of Eating.

Both recipes have also been geared to be exactly the amounts needed to make exactly 7 to 9 large burgers or 14-18 smaller burgers. If you want dip to spare for the days to come, just double that recipe.

The recipe for the dip is at the end of this article. Highly recommend it as a dip on it’s own.

Black Beans w/WFPB Spinach-Artichoke Dip Burgers (Wowzer Burgers)

Makes 7-9 large burgers or 14-18 smaller burgers

Preheaat oven at 400 degrees F

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed..

1 can of any kind of lentils OR my favorite, 1 packet of Target’s Simply Balanced black beluga lentils (if you can’t find these and don’t want to cook lentils, just skip them and maybe use less of the dip sauce)

* 1 cup of the Spinach-Artichoke Dip (recipe at the end) combined with 1/3 cup salsa of your choice

2/3 cup or more compliant crumbs, 100% oil free white flour free, 100% whole grain options such as whole rye crackers, whole wheat bread

1/2 tbl. garlic powder

Step 1. Combine the ingredients in the order listed. Will be meatloaf consistency.

Step 2. For the burgers  and stick them covered, in your refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

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Step 3. On parchment paper lined cookie sheets, bake the burgers for 10 minutes. Remove and allow them to cool enough to be easier to flip over. Then bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 15 minutes. Serve or cool off completely and freeze.

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Vegan Oil Free Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

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It gets incredibly thick when it bakes. That’s what you want so it helps the beans hold together in the bean burger recipe.

Preheat Oven 425 degrees

3/4 cup raw unsalted cashews (either soak in water for 4 hours or use quick method of bringing them to a boil in water with a good size squirt of lemon juice, then cover and let sit for 20 minutes) drained

2 cloves of garlic sliced

1/2 small diced onion (or you can add in onion powder to taste later on)

3/4 cup unsweetened non diary milk (plant milk)

1/8th cup (or more) nutritional yeast

1 Tbl lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

2 cup loosely packed fresh spinach

One 14 oz can oil free artichokes

optional vegan parmesan cheese

Combine all the ingredients except vegetables in a high power blender and pulverize until very smooth. Add the vegetables and blend until smooth (If you are making this as a dip only, you may want to leave it chunky).

Pour into a small baking dish, sprinkle if you desire a little additional seasoning or nutritional yeast on the top.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until browning and thick.

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