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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Rare Disease Day With A Win!

Please work with and get advice from your medical team before making any decisions that could impact your health.

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The left side is before when I was bed ridden much of the time. . The right side is me today with 60% fewer Dercum’s tumors in my stomach and lymphatic backup has subsided. From size 32 to size 14 (XL)

Dercum’s Disease can force large amounts of weight on the body that mimics obesity. It’s rare and extrenely painful. Deemed almost impossible to treat.

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.

whole food plant based list

I highly recommend those who have any of those disorders and want more information to join us at Improving Fat Disorders Using Low Fat Low Glycemic WFPB Eating 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Cindy 10 month photo comparrison

Here are the foods that made it all happen.

Here is what I have followed that has worked.

3  one half cup servings of dark beans.

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

3 servings of whole grain

a serving of cruciferous vegetables

2 servings of “other” low glycemic index vegetables

2 servings of dark greens

flax seeds or chia seeds

Limited avocado (1 total a week)

limited nuts ( 0 to 2 Tbl a day)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many women can say that?

I Look Better Now Than I Did At Age 29

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

Inner photos are 1992. Ouside photos from now.

I Improved My Health And Appearance.

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

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.

 

 

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Improved Health: I Have Arrived!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whole Food Plant Based Low Glycemic Index, Low Fat,

No Added Oil, No Added Sugar

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