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

20181126_131433~2.jpg

 

 

Reality Of Trauma And Regaining One’s Power

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.

Oh well.

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.

 

Find a wuiet Sunny spot in yourself where you feel safe.
Appreciate each stage of life
Hold close to good memories
Peace is the center of healing.

11% Of Women Have “Big” Issues And Counting Calories Has Zero Impact.

In the past I’ve shared what the loss of weight through a plant-based diet has meant for my physical size. What I want to show you today is how such eating impacts the obvious issues associated with lipedema and Dercum’s disease.

It’s estimated that 11% of women have lipedema (estrogen plays a role so it is mainly women who suffer from this). Dercum’s Disease is very rare, but it is impacted by the ongoing swelling of lipedema. Both of these disorders puts considerable swelling and large amounts of non-calorie based weight on people. For someone with Dercum’s Disease it gets dicey because there are so few treatments and so patients end up trying whatever is suggested by the few doctors who work with dercum’s disease.

Before going to a plant-based whole food diet with no added sugars or oils that is low glycemic index, I use to put on 10-14 pounds in a day from lymphatic fluid swelling all parts of my body especially if I over-extended myself. By next morning it may or may not be back to where it was.  Since starting the whole foods plant-based diet, a few months ago, unless there are other health issues going on, I put on only 4 pounds in a day. By next day it usually has gone away. I’ve lost 62 of those disorder related pounds in a few months.

Below, the unfortunate hairstyle in the first two photos is compliments of the wig I was forced to wear in the months following an unfortunate treatment for Dercum’s Disease. My hair started to fall out in chunks.An infusion of ketamine that took a couple of days time in an ICU unit to administer.  Only in the name of helping others do I share those photos. LOL.

Please note that the first photo was taken in the morning. The second photo was taken later that day at a family gathering. Notice how swollen I am in the second photo especially. Even the wig is being stretched beyond it’s capacity.

 

 

Now see the last two photos taken just after 4 months of plant-based eating. The third photo   was taken early that morning.  The last photo is of me later in the day. The swelling is easy to spot. but it’ not as prominent as the level of swelling that happened in the second photo.

Not bad or a 55 year old woman who literally just wants to be comfortable in her skin.

I just did away with animal products and kept it low fat, low glycemic index. No processed foods. I eat a bigger variety of foods now than I did when I ate animal products. Influenced by Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. T Colin Campbell, and their extensive research spanning decades, I quickly found success. Anyone can go to the library and find their books or look their work up online.

With 11% of women suffering from lipedema, yet few doctors having studied it,  many are desperate to find a way to curb the impact of this frustrating disorder.  They go through painful expensive surgeries where the problem eventually comes back.  They try all sorts of treatments such as horrendously expensive lymphatic presses that take a great deal of time to work with daily, and expensive compression garments that cover their bodies that have to be worn year around including in the hottest of summers.

Dercum’s Disease has been too painful for me to continue with those standard treatments. And as the bad wig photos demonstrate, the experimental treatments suggested by the doctors were a bust.

This style of plant-based eating while it obviously hasn’t kept me completely from being in pain or swelling up, it has been overall a successful treatment in curbing the effects of lipedema and such.  It is without a doubt the best arsenal I have ever had against the common but oddball lipedema. That puts less pressure on the effects of the Dercum’s disease.

Oh yea, and it reversed my diabetes and normalized my blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Care Nutrition In The World Of Chronic Illness

 

In our household. we take care of eachother. Doesn’t matter who the caregiver or the one needing taken care of is. We look out for eachother. Hey we are a family of adults making it work!

img_20180717_093229121~3299865720..jpg

Anyone with a severe chronic illness or the caregiver of someone who is chronically ill, knows that self care is both a must and many times the hardest to provide oneself.

There isn’t anything more basic in self-care than good solid nutrition. The less hassle the better too. The less hassle. the more likely it’s going to happen. The less hassle, the kinder you are being towards whoever is responsible for making it happen.

When dealing with chronic illness, it can be our biggest weapon to ease our suffering and even in some cases reverse the chronic Illness. Good nutrition can help slow down some chronic condition’s advancement and prevent new ones from taking hold.  It can allow our medications a chance to work better, or if lucky, it can replace the need for prescription medications all together.

Living off store bought frozen entrees with less than healthy ingredients like high sodium, animal products and non whole foods, for me would never help. Fast food will make most people’s health more complicated. So the sooner any of us in these sorts of shoes can figure this out for ourselves, the better.

With Dercum’s Disease, Fibromyalgia,and Lymphedema, Lipedema and Diabetes and low grade start to coronary disease, it has come down to me to figure this out. How to eat to not make things worse. What can be healthy to eat, inexpensive, and easy enough to prepare that my husband can manage along with all his other responsibilities. If it can be easy enough for me on a good day to prepare and toss individual servings in the freezer, that’s great too.

This week I am recovering from the Plant-Based Nutrition Summit last Saturday, and one grocery run on Monday. (Dercum’s Disease is like that, overdo it and you are down for the count. It doesn’t take much). Even a motorized scooter couldn’t save me from being a pain filled zombie on Sunday, part of Monday, and  bed bound on Sunday and part of Tuesday and all day Wednesday through Thursday morning.

Yet unlike the past when this would start to happen, I’m not eating greasy cheeseburgers my husband is bringing home, or processed foods on white bread, or even sodium filled frozen entrees. We aren’t going broke from food either.

Now that we are established in a plant-based diet as a household, we have kept it easy to manage and afford.

The easy sandwich/pesto recipe:

Aldi sells frozen peas 79 cents a bag. Trader Joe sells Miyoko Vegan Crème cheese $5.50 a container. Broccoli is cheap everywhere fresh or riced.

in a freezer bag, we combine frozen peas and riced broccoli (or riced cauliflower). Keep it in the freezer.  Defrost half per batch you are making. Place in food processor or high power blender, can be somewhat lumpy. In a bowl, stir in garlic, onion chopped or onion powder, some crushed red pepper if desired, and 2 Tbl of either Miyoko Vegan Cream cheese or no-oil hummus.

It will keep for a few days in the fridge and makes a great sandwich spread, or on whole grain toast in the morning for breakfast. Very good as a type of stir in for whole grain pasta. You can add basil and oregano and lime juice to liven it up. Put cucumbers on top of it or tomato.  Add some shredded carrot to it.

Or forget the grain pasta and use a peeler or veggie noodle maker and stir it into veggie noodles for a 100% vegetable dish.

Pea Broccoli Spread
Broccoli-Pea Salad on No Wheat Rye
img_20180717_180833206~4886828463..jpg
Broccoli-Pea Pesto using same sandwich spread but adding basil and oregano plus a splash of lime

 

You Can’t Go Wrong With A Great Salad

Never underestimate the power of a good salad. Never over estimate how much it cost to eat salad. These days even Aldi can keep you fresh organic greens and other produce for very little money.

I try to follow the daily dozen  rules of Dr. Michael Greger to keep my nutrition well rounded. Gone are the days of ice berg lettuce being sufficient. Now it’s 2 servings of greens a day along with a serving of cruciferous vegetables and two serving of “other vegetables” that are low glycemic index. Also I need to get two servings of fruit and a serving of berries. In addition to all that, three servings of beans/peas and three whole grain servings. One serving of seeds and nuts and I’m also suppose to have flax seeds once a day.

If I know I’m going to be down for the count in bed for several days possibly, I direct my husband or try to plan myself to throw together salads that will incorporate a little of everything to make a salad. Dark greens, riced cruciferous veggies of some type, brown rice or barley,  well rinsed and drained black beans, sliced cucumbers and shredded carrots.  I’ll put fresh fruit around the sides such as something easy to rinse and use like fresh blueberries and easy to peel like orange sections. Then just some lemon or lime juice.

Black Bean Burgers Too

The sandwich spread mentioned above and one or two varieties of salads that are kept on hand and prepared, can keep well rounded nutrition within easy reach. I also keep black bean burgers in the freezer that we make. There are many recipes online and in plant-based cook books. Here is one of my favorites

 

img_20180705_190614181~21948521531..jpg
From Scratch Black Bean Burgers

 

food salad healthy summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Roasted Cauliflower: Yum

Roast a head of cauliflower in the oven and slice it when it’s cooled. Very easy to keep for a few days and eat from as needed. It freezes well too.

cauliflower cooking pot delicious food
Skip the boiling or steaming. Just dry rub it with your favorite seasonings, bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. You will have a very slight satisfying crunch. Frozen riced cauliflower or broccoli is an easy alternative too. Let it defrost on top of  salad in the fridge.  Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

No Cook Over Night Oats

Overnight Oats are wonderful too. I’m not talking about the Overnight Oats you see on the grocery shelves. This is like a breakfast oatmeal and fruit custard without eggs though. No cooking involved either. You can find the recipe online by looking it up, but basically, it’s one part old fashioned oats and two parts non dairy milk of your choice, and a tablespoon or two of chia seeds stirred in. Oh and also you can put in the fruit of your choice, any amount you want.

I like using a one cup storage container to make it in and eat it from to keep the portions reasonable. I use berries, but apple slices are good too with some cinnamon mixed in. I tend to use more fruit than oats. So the oats and non dairy milk are a sideline, but that is just my preference. The chia seeds make a gel that helps to solidify the entire dish into pudding sort of combo, if you will.

The gelling process happens as it sits airtight/covered in the fridge overnight. When you get up, it’s ready to eat.

You can make a few of these overnight oats up at one time and eat off of them for a few days for breakfast. Adding nuts or sliced banana is good too.

person holding white ceramic coffee cup leaning on brown wooden table
Photo by THE 5TH on Pexels.com

Nothing wrong with some herbal tea, but you will find that eating this way will replace your need for caffeinated coffee.  Your mind may become better focused and you will know you are doing all you can for yourself and those you care about.

Well nourished people are healthier and more content in life. Take care of eachother and help it happen.

Why do I eat a plant-based diet?

 

 

 

 

 

My Body’s Fight For A Plant Based Diet

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.