The article that the first sentence here will lead you to, provides adequate information on this disorder. Along with lipedema, and lymphedema it’s been a “large” life for sure.
Changing my nutritional intake has done more for me than any information provided e by the medical experts I traveled so many hours to see. No way of knowing when I began eating Whole Food Plant Based, Low Glycemic Index, no oil, low fat, and low sodium that I would see any relief from these disorders. Just goes to show that each day there is a new chance for miracles.
Will always have Dercum’s Disease, lipedema and lymphedema, but this has helped. Based on the work of Dr. Michael Greger and his Daily Dozen, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn Jr, and Dr. Neal Barnard from Physicians For Responsible Medicine. I was introduced to these men and their views by watching Forks Over Knives.
Inspite of having three fat disorders ( lipedema , lymphedema 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.
Here are the foods that made it all happen.
Bean Steak On Rye w/Kale
Cucumber Carrot Citrus Salad
Busy day? Black beans on greens with melon
Hummus Topped Veggie Burger On Greens With Citrus
Dr. Greger’s inscription after hearing of my success treating lipedema, Dercum’s disease using his suggestions for. Plant-based diet.
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.
We keep a large container of deep colored greens, cruciferous, root veggies plus other veggies and mushrooms in the fridge. I make a fresh salad to keep at my disposal every 2-3 days. It’s just so easy to dish it out and eat it when busy.
So the trend of Breakfast Salads is right up my ally. The concept is to take the nutrition of the fiber and all those fresh vitamins and minerals and breakfast-fy them. Here is a way to add in some protein that may make whole food plant based protein sources more palatable in the morning. As the saying goes, the secret is in the sauce.
The Amazing Garbanzo Bean-Fresh Orange Salad Dressing
1 average size fresh orange, peeled and sections pulled apart.
1 cup of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
1/4 cup plant based milk (unsweetened and minimal ingredients)
1 tsp of rice or apple cider vinegar
a dash or to taste of any of the following
dried crushed red pepper
Simply process in 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 dressing you can get creative and use other fruits as well or instead.
For the Breakfast Salad itself, for the cereal layer, I use the recommendations of Dr. Esselstyn and stick with Ezekiel or Grape Nuts. Whatever you use, read the package. Keep it minimally processed and as few ingredients as possible. No added sugar or oil.
For the salad shown, I used spinach, fresh cauliflower, snow peas, celery, carrots, mushrooms and fresh sliced strawberries. Blue berries or sliced apples are great too with it. If you use apple, consider adding some cinnamon to the top.
It’s amazing how it doesn’t weigh a person down, and that fiber keeps you full all morning and with nice steady energy that can help keep you focus.
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.
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…
The problem with having chronic illness and trying to eat healthy is that the chronic illness can keep you from being well enough to put together healthy food. I’m lucky I have a husband and some very helpful convenience appliances that make it more doable. Still there are times I need to do this on my own. Almost always I can barely make it across the room.
Best suggestions I can give is to always keep a covered container of greens and chopped veggies and fresh fruit in the fridge so all you have to do is dish up.
Busy day? Black beans on greens with melon
Cucumber Carrot Citrus Salad
Have canned beans that you can drain and use.
Whole grain bread (egg free is best) to make veggie open face sandwiches is good.
Batch cook on your good days. Even if you have one or two reasonable days a month, it can make a huge difference.
Here are other possibilities to have on hand with the right planning.
Homemade bean burgers made on a more doable day
Frozen brown rice and a bag of frozen peas tossed together with light seasoning. Some raw carrots and a few grapes. No fuss meal
old world pumpernickel bread is good to keep on hand. Topped with homemade bean burger from freezer
Here is a recipe that literally just happened today. I managed to toss together on a so-so day that is my norm. Couldn’t stand over a stove. Number of variations possible are limited only by your imagination. Took less than 5 minutes to toss together and then it got tossed in the oven where it baked while I sat on the sofa with my legs up and felt miserable (aka typical day).
Whole Food Plant Based Pointer: Using Parchment Paper means you can keep
Cindy’s Plant Based Mexican Bake Casserole
2 cups garbanzo bean flour ( Bobs Red Mill found with that line of products).
I tsp baking soda
2/3 cup salsa
2/3 cup water
1 cup of favorite Mexican friendly veggies (riced or finely chopped or chunked onions, peppers, tomato, cilantro, cauliflower, greens…corn and black beans)
Mexican seasoning of your choice…
Chili powder, cumin, turmeric, low sodium chili or taco seasoning. Curry seasoning is good too.
Possible toppings for after baked…
Shredded lettuce, Miyoko cheese, addition chopped veggies and or salsa….
Combine ingredients except toppings. Pour into lasagna pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 until cake like (approx. 20 minutes).
Serve in squares and top as desired.
Mine looks boring compared to how colorful you could make it look. It’s just what I had on hand.
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.
In hospital bed Easter 2018
3/18 Size 24
Me November 2018
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)
“Oh Cheese Burger, Pepperoni, Chicken and Eggs…
In my mouth you delight, but inflate my legs.”
” So Cheese is dairy, so is yogurt and Butter.
I loved you before, but now must love another.”
“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.
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.
Need a chance to wrap your brain around the notion of no animal products? Here are some suggestions.
My ultimate black bean burger here is topped with fresh mushrooms, red sauce, and a schmeer of some additional Miyoko’s garlic and herb cashew cheese. Fresh spinach below the burger and on the top bun.
I’ve been making different bean burgers for several years. This is by far the best tasting and satisfying of my bean black bean burger recipes ever. You want to impress your beloved? This will do it. Now you can make these without the cashew cheese, but sometimes you have to jazz things up to keep your family interested. Miyoko’s makes their cheese with pure ingredients, just like we would make it here. ( I say we because my husband assists or full out cooks most of our food).
It’s so easy, it’s so delicious and relatively inexpensive, If you don’t already have access to Miyoko’s delicious cashew cheese products, put in a request for your store to start carrying their line.
My Ultimate Black Bean Burger Recipe
1 bag of dried black beans (1 lb) cooked per directions and partially mashed
1/2 wheel of Miyoko’s Kitchen garlic and herb vegan cheese (they make it exactly as we do at home)
2 “eggs” worth Bob Red Mill’s Vegan Egg Substitute (follow directions on bag) (or flaxseed)
1 cup almond meal or oat flour
Tablespoon or more of lime juice
To taste as desired:
-crushed dried red pepper
-turmeric , cumin, whatever you like
-onion powder or finely chopped
Directions. Think of this as making a meatloaf but messier. All the ingredients or soft so wash up those hands and prepare to get messy! Once you have squished together all the ingredients, let it set for 5 minutes so that it gives the egg replacer a time to thicken it all up. If you need to add more dry ingredients to make it meatloaf consistency, then please do.
Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and without adding oil or “grease”, form and place on the cookie sheet the bean burgers.
Bake in preheated oven (375 degrees) for 30 minutes, my oven has a turbo setting that allows it to cook both sides at the same time, if you don’t have that, consider making your burgers an appropriate size to be easily by carefully flipped half way through.
Burgers will be soft but crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Allow 10 minutes before serving or 40 minutes or so to fully cool before placing in the freezer. Consider putting wax paper between burgers for easy removal.
My ultimate black bean burger here is topped with fresh mushrooms, red sauce, and a schmeer of some additional Miyoko’s garlic and herb cashew cheese. Fresh spinach below the burger and on the top bun.
Moist on the inside but holds together. Easy to reheat in microwave or oven for up to month.
Oh and this IS whole food plant based cooking. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. If the products you use are like you would make it at home, then there you are.
Here we have one of the black bean burgers taken from the freezer and reheated, placed on a bed of beet noodles and baby kale. topped with carrot shavings and mushrooms.
As long as you follow the formula, these veggie balls are full proof.
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 I 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 over dry. In the center place a dollop of vegan cheese (best is a cashew cheese) or if you are feeling naughty, add Aldi’s vegan shreds and mix them in. 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.
Let it sit for 5 minutes after removing from oven. Remove with spatula.
Many people who have the physical diagnoses of fat disorders such as Lipedema, Dercum’s Disease are said to have trauma in their history. Many with eating disorders have a similar background.
I’ve come to know many, many people who are in this circle of physical health and emotional concerns with that history.
Trauma if left as it is, can make one’s life less than it could be. It can ruin a life. It can shorten a life. It can impact future generations.
Don’t throw away the power you have by allowing yourself to linger in a life that isn’t all that it could be.
I learned this mostly by taking myself by the hand and pulling and pushing myself forward. Sometimes through therapy sometimes in having my life move forward. all on my own.
Life has a way of taking that blank slate of a precious baby each of us once were and puts emotional dings, scrapes, dark marks and dents into our sense of self and world view.
Many of the world’s ills are passed down from one generation after the other. Humans are the most capable creatures we know of on the planet, yet we seldom seize our own power we have to heal ourselves. If we can’t heal up some of the junk we emotionally carry around, the world is having to live without all the positive we have to offer it.
If we aren’t careful, we can end up knowingly or unknowingly wallowing in the muck of other’s dysfunction and take on a confused toxic world view.
Is this really a social issue?
1 in 3 children are abused physically, sexually or emotionally by age 14. Then consider how many young adults are abused by significant others physically, sexually or emotionally in their 20’s 30’s and into the twilight years. It’s not uncommon for people to have layers of abusive experiences that puts them in a mental haze and inner physical turmoil that changes even their brain chemistry.
The important point I wish to make is don’t shy away from doing the work needed to rebuild yourself. Your value and my value is not based on the attitudes of those who in the past have harmed us.
I have had to rebuild myself and when I was up and running again, even though still in the process of repair, some people would say they didn’t know me anymore. I was nothing like the girl who would roll over and play dead on command.
Reality can be painful but it forces you to live where you have the most power in your life. Reality is where growth takes place. Where there is growth then life changing positive decisions can happen.
So if you haven’t done so already, find power and purpose in rebuilding in yourself what needs to be rebuilt.
There is no reason to apologize for believing every life has a place and deserves respect and dignity. You will be forced to include yourself in these ranks the more you understand.
Once you really learn and understand this and know that you are worthy,, you won’t settle for the dysfunction you’ve taken part in or subjected on yourself.
Be prepared because as an individual heals, those who are wallowing in the dysfunction will try to pull you back. Your health is too unsettling to their world and for them it’s uncomfortable. Pick and choose your battles. Sometimes you can maintain relationships and there are times when you have to walk away. Each situation is different. Forgiveness is fine, self preservation when based on what you know to be true, is a must.
If you have the feeling that in their eyes you are expendable, if they leave you feeling small and not worthy, and there is a long history of such behaviors and attitudes, it’s ok to walk away. They may raise a fuss through dysfunctional means, but that should only strengthen your resolve to not waste your time with them.
Oh Bother! We have all been there. Today dysfunctional people brought me face to face with the desire for emotional eating. I didn’t succumb. Being physically disabled makes it hard because I can’t just go “walk it off”. That makes me feel more helpless so I have to be more creative. Dysfunctional people’s behaviors towards me shouldn’t control what I eat or how much. Aside of making sure I don’t allow myself to be pulled into other people’s dysfunction, it’s best to keep myself occupied.
None Of These Foods Are Worth Wrecking Your Health.
No! No! No! No! Just Tell Yourself No!
So I got thinking about the movies and TV shows I gravitate towards when feeling the sting of boundary challenged extended family members and others I deal with from time to time.
So here is my guide on entertaining means of diversions when you feel driven by circumstances to self medicate with unhealthy foods.
A) The Movie Stuart Saves His Family– Al Frankin helped to write and is the lead in this 1990’s take on the dysfunctional families and 12 Step Programs. His family is classically dysfunctional and most people can relate to the situations Stewart comes across. Harold Ramis directs and there is joy as people learn to live healthy lives of recovery from their dysfunctional families of origin, Stuart’s boss, extended family and so on. I’ve seen it many times over the years and it never fails to make me feel better. Watching Stuart “shame spiral” his way through the first initial crisis with a bag of cookies is a great reminder how futile it is. Available on Stars.
B) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: This Amazon Prime series original is about a woman born ahead of her time. She is funny and intelligent. She is East Side New York from a posh circumstance until her husband leaves her and her parents decide to treat her like a child again with chores and curfews. Her escape is her sneaking out to night clubs to perform as the funny woman that she is. She’s a fish out of water willing to learn how to have legs. The one liners are endless and the show very well written. Very human characters but I warn you, when she chows on a pan of macaroni and cheese, you may have to fight the urge to make some for yourself. Just remind yourself, she is a movie character and won’t gain weight or swell up, but you may.
C) Matilda: I know it’s a child’s movie but there is so much about the movie that shows depending on yourself inspite of a dysfunctional family who doesn’t understand or appreciate you. Danny DeVito is really funny as his wife, Rhea Perhlman.
D) The Godfather: Yes it’s violent, but the writing and acting are so wonderful, the lines so memorable, it’s always a pleasure to see this work of art. Just be glad that Mama Corleone isn’t a real person and in your life, she would comfort you with a plate of meatballs and make you eat, diet or not.
E) Ruthless People: Bette Midler is so funny. It will make you laugh no matter what. As she celebrates her weight loss while in captivity,, you will think twice before chowing down during this movie.
F) Harry Potter Film Series: “The Boy Who Lived” Need I say more. The ultiment believe in yourself and see that there is power in love and never giving up.
G) Mystery Science Theater 3000 Admit it, when you see a bad movie, sometimes it’s as funny as any comedy ever filmed. Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, Gypsy, Cambot, and Joel or Mike will say lines and sing ditties you wish you had thought of. Watch it enough and the next time you have an issue with dysfunctional people you will swear you hear the MST 3000 gang giving comic commentary as you deal with it. Also check out RiffTracks.
F) The Big Bang Theory : The great thing about a well written series is that you get to know the characters for their good and their imperfections. In this show the cast is funny and like old friends I can recall knowing over the years. It’s a pleasure to watch.
G) Musicals!: I started to list my favorite musicals but the list is too long. If you love musicals, there are decades worth to pick from. If you don’t like musicals, just pass.
H) Everybody Loves Raymond: The joys of dysfunctional family life and all problems wrapped up in 30 minutes. ( making it a real modern day fairy tale). Great way to encourage yourself to laugh at dysfunction instead of abusing yourself with food.
I) And you can always watch the same YouTube Video over and over again like this classic from Frozen
And remember….Let It Go! Let It Go! Don’t let the Fat and Processed Foods flow!