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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Left April 2018. Right June 2018
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Me November 2018

All I am saying is Give Plants A Chance!

My suggestions and resources I used

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Just Eat Those Plants!

 

 

 

 

Eating Healthy When Chronically Ill

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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

Serves 4-6

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….

Directions.

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.

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It tastes amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

(spoken tenderly with great drama)

Verse I

“Oh Cheese Burger, Pepperoni, Chicken and Eggs…

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

Verse II

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

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

Verse III

“Endothelium,  walls of arteries and veins you line.

So no animal products I eat or carbs refined. “

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miyokos Cashew Based Cheeses

Beyond Meat Burgers, Sausage, Chicken and Crumbles

Impossible Burgers

Just Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Black Bean Burger So Luscious, It’s Sexy

My Ultimate Bean Burger Recipe

 

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

-salt

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.

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They look like mud pies at this stage don’t they? Ready for the oven!

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

My Top Weight Pic And The Kind Of Eating That Helped Me Lose The Weight

Yea, this is me at my Top Weight and how I look now. All it took was Whole Food Plant Based eating to get my act together.  Never boring eating WFPB! Never boring getting my health together this way.

Before After Collage 2
Disclaimer: While this has helped treat some of my health issues, in no way has it cured any of them. Also different ways of eating impact different people differently. Always work with a doctor and get your labs done frequently. It’s not unusual to need to take B-12 supplements. This blog is my story only and should not be considered medical advise.

I know I thought I had burned all the photos of me at my top weight. Came across it as I sorted through family photos to make copies of to send to a relative who had requested them.

So since I just took photos this week of myself now, I thought it would make a great lead in for the next recipe I wish to share. Take a gander at the difference and then look at the photo below of this luscious recipe for Cinnamon-Ginger Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash. Step by step recipe is below photo.  It’s amazing that eating so well can help so much.

acorn squash stuffed with apples and oats

So Simple, So Healthy, So Unbelievably Delicious.  One good size Acorn squash equals 4 servings.

Recipe for Cinnamon-Ginger Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Preheat Oven for 375 degrees

I am unable to stand for long or cut and chop things easily so I purchase pre-sliced apples.

Ingredients

1 bag pre-sliced apples with or without peelings on.

1 nice sized acorn squash.

To taste and optional:

Cinnamon, Ginger, Stevia powder (or sweetener of your choice), walnuts or pecans, dried cranberries or raisons.  A dab of Miyoko’s Vegan Butter (beware that fats are considered bad for your blood vessel walls).

 

  1. Take an acorn squash and cut it in half. removing all the strings and seeds in the middle.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon, stevia, and ginger to taste on the squash halves. Bake for 40 minutes on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet or shallow baking pan.
  3. While baking the squash for the first time,  in a skillet sauté in water unsweetened apple slices, in water, cinnamon, stevia and ginger until apples are half cooked.  (you can also include walnuts or pecans, even chopped dried cranberry).
  4.  Filling the cavities of the two halves with the filling. Feel free to “heap it in”. LOL
  5. Sprinkle the top with any of the ingredients used already to layer in the flavor any way you want.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes. Cut each half in half.  There is so much fiber in this dish, just scoop it out of the skin with a spoon or fork as you eat it, or just serve the golden apple-y contents with the skin at all.

Look in the Archives for Other Articles on resources to share with your doctor to explore your options. Many of them you can find online or at your library.

 

 

Improved Health: I Have Arrived!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whole Food Plant Based Low Glycemic Index, Low Fat,

No Added Oil, No Added Sugar

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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.