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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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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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
Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

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.