When Food Takes On The Wrong Role



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 10 Months Of Low Fat, Whole Food Plant Based Healing


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


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




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.

Preparing Yourself For Healthy Whole Food Plant Based Eating


To get continued insight beyond this article, and if you have lipedema, lymphedema or Dercum’s Disease, please join our Facebook Group

I wrote this last May and so I have reviewed this and updated it. I must have been so overmedicated and lethargic from my health that I never realized how poorly written it was. I have since whittled down my medications from 13 pills a day to one prescription plus a suppliment. I re-wrote it.

Here is the low down what I have learned in the last 11 months as someone who has been eating Whole Food Plant Based,  Low Glycemic Index, LowFat, No Animal Products, added products and nothing overly processed.

Getting The Right Information On What To Eat And What Not To Eat

When anyone mentions a whole food plant based way of eating, people assume it’s a vegan diet as long as it’s not animal products that you can eat what you want as much as you want.  You do have to tailor it to your health needs and goals.  You need sound medical advice. You need to work with your own medical team as well when starting this. Nothing here or anywhere else on the internet should be considered medical advice. This is just based on my experience.

There are so very many people trying to make a fast buck off of the public’s quest for information and support as they try to heal their bodies using food. Go for quality information relevant to your health.

My bathroom scale, my lab results, my doctor’s glowing approval and how I feel are what tells me that I’ll gladly be eating like this the rest of my life. FOR ME this has been the best way FOR ME to eat. There are many variations.

whole food plant based list

Before starting your plant whole food plant based diet, the ideal is to talk to a plant based diet experienced doctor about that.  In addition, if you take medications your doctor may change or discontinue your prescriptions. If your doctor doesn’t seem familiar with this way of eating, you may want to do some exploration of the topic and then bring that information with you when you talk to a doctor.

Visit your library, bookstore or online resources for any of these:

The biggest, most comprehensive nutritional study ever done was The China Study. The book on the subject by doctors T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell, is pretty eye opening. It talks about government corruption as well that has kept the public unaware. I found it to be fascinating that a book about such government corruption over the past decades is now recommended on camera by ex-President Clinton as his own personal nutrition guide.

One your doctor may recall hearing about is Dr. Dean Ornish Lifestyle Medicine.

There are several Netflix and Amazon Documentaries that feature Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. He is from The Cleveland Clinic, he is a total joy to listen to.  He raised farm animals with his family as a child. His research though changed his opinion on animal products.  Dr. Esselstyn’s website

My suggestion to go to the website or on Netflix or YouTube, watch the documentary, Forks Over Knives . I’ve watched most of the different documentaries on different eating styles. This one has turned out to be the tried and true for me.  There are credible experts with a half century of overwhelming research in that documentary that are also listed in the book of the same name.  They each have written books. and conducted studies. When you see their level of expertise and decades and decades of studies, it’s hard to argue with them. What is fascinating is that they helped their families work the family farms as they grew up. Their studies though proved that animal products are directly linked to many health issues.

On Amazon watch What’s Eating You and Diet Fiction. Very informative.

Books written by one featured doctor,  Dr. Neil Barnard , from The Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine out of Washington D.C. are wonderfully helpful,. He is also an adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine  at The George Washington University School Of Medicine. His material explains how to change your overall health plus books focused topics such as loss of weight, and different disorders and how diet can improve or reverse them.

Another website option to start with is the Nutrition Facts by Dr. Michael Greger .

Being Prepared Leads To Success

It is without doubt, a big deal for a dairy and egg loving carnivore to cease being one.  You are at an important cross roads and it requires you to be prepared.

Be the person you can depend on. You can do this.

Example: Use Dr. Greger’s  Daily Dozen app you can download on your phone to keep track on what you should be eating.  Even if you don’t start actually eating the way it says right away, it will get you thinking how to integrate what he says to eat into your day.

It’s going to take information, understanding what your barriers might be so you can be prepared.  Be honest with yourself but never doubt yourself for a moment. Never consider anything but success as you problem solve one challenge at a time. If you have to watch Forks and Knives  once in a while to keep your spirits up initially, do it.

That moment you realize that you can’t hide your feelings behind the foods you’ve been addicted to.

There is something emotional that goes on initially. You realize that you depend on food for comfort more than you realize. Not being able to swallow your feelings with a fast food cheeseburger, means you have to deal with feeling, sad, bored, perhaps angry, and so on.  You find that you survive. You also start to see not only your own eating issues, but everyone’s eating issues in a much more understanding light. You gain mastery over it all, if you allow yourself to struggle with that a bit.

What if your spouse won’t eat a plant based diet? 


My husband HATES most vegetables and most of what I eat. So with a little creativity we do things like make a dish but in a way that he likes and I like, such as this his and hers casseroles, Mexican night where people can assemble their own tacos and burritos. When we do burgers. my houshold is welcome to put on the grill whatever they like and I eat what I need to eat.  We eat out sometimes at places like Taco Bell where it’s not a deal killer for us both to have something close to what we like.  Make your own pizza night is popular too. I keep around the vegetables and greens that I know he will eat. And never do I tell him what he can or can’t eat. I wouldn’t put up with him doing that to me, and I won’t do that to him. Mutual respect.

This is very common and it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for you eating a plant based diet. Cooperation and mutual respect is key.

Be honest with your spouse as to why this new way of eating is important to you. Share the information you have gathered.

If you want him or her to respect your right to do as you must for your health, then you have to respect their right to eat the diet of their choosing. So your household may very well have to prepare more food options per meal.  No worries, and who knows? You may over time inspire your family to eat more like you are wishing to eat. That is happening in mine.

What about if the children in your house don’t like eating only plant based foods?

It’s very controversial about children eating only plant based foods.  Your health may depend on going to 100% plant based, but you will want to work it out with their pediatrician on what is best for your kids. I say this because as a writer, I’m not trained on child nutrition and will never pretend that I have been.

You can read opinions from doctors on both sides of the controversy.  Here in the Midwest, meat dairy and eggs are king so not many doctors are going to tell parents to avoid giving those foods to kids.  You may be able to do some research and find a doctor who is willing to supervise your attempt to get your kids to eat a primarily plant based diet.  Make sure you and your spouse though are on the same page. You don’t need the stress of needless marital tension. Your spouse has the right to be part of that decision.

At the very least, even if your pediatrician says, sure give your kids a plant based diet, there is likely going to be a transition period. Forks Over Knives has a book on families transitioning to a plant based diet.    Check to see if your library has it. My 22 year old checked it out of the library for his own use.

For a household that is food divided

I can tell you from experience that it’s possible to serve flexible meals that offer enough variation that it’s not big deal. Also, you can batch cook so many foods so that freezing a number of servings and then pulling out what you need for this or that person at meal time, is not difficult.

Think too of plant based foods you and your family can already enjoy together! Chili with no meat but lots of healthy beans in a rich tomato juice seasoned with garlic,  onion, crushed red pepper, pizzas that can be with or without cheese and meat depending on who is eating it.  How about bowls of oatmeal in the morning or simple non sugared cereal, offering either milk and non dairy milk both in the mornings.

Regardless, you can plant some great attitudes in your family by being a great example.

Isn’t it expensive to have to accommodate more than one person’s eating preference?

Compare the price between a pound of ground beef and a pound of dried peas or black beans? In addition, aren’t all the prescription drugs required from not eating a plant based diet even more expensive? How expensive is a hospital stay from health issues that can be potentially avoided by eating a plant based diet?

I myself have whittled down my pills from taking 11 a day to now one prescription plus a suppliment.  Huge savings on meds that now I can spend on smaller size clothing was the joke around here.

Accessibility to your foods is everything

If you can’t imagine living without meat or your spouse can’t, you can consider using the new Vegan convenience foods (Beyond Meat, Impossible Burgers, Just Eggs) once in a while, but I can NOT emphasize enough that those will not be the answer to health concerns. It’s what we call Vegan Junk Food. If you want to test out if you can feel ok without meat and animal products, then sure let it be a TEMPORARY as in you give yourself a definite date that you stop eating those foods. There is nothing to be gained by getting off meat and then depending on unhealthy vegan junk food.

I don’t have to tell you how busy your life is, or what happens when the food you need to eat isn’t easily accessible. If it is inconvenient, too expensive or doesn’t taste good to you, then it’s a no go from the get go.  Whole Food Plant Based Eating is not drastic or difficult. You buy low glycemic index and low fat whole grains, legumes, greens, fruits, berries and vegetables plus if appropriate enough low sodium nuts to have 2Tbl worth daily.  Buy them fresh, frozen, washed and in bags with good expiration dates.  Even Aldi and Walmart carry such items. For beans and things like pineapple with no sugar added, it’s fine to buy canned.


If you wonder how you are going to juggle it all in the kitchen, look into what advantages there might be in kitchen appliances that make it less stressful to prepare your foods.

Quick and convenient, with easy clean up makes it all more doable. If it’s too inconvenient to eat this way, then it’s unlikely a person will be successful. We all have obligations or situations we have to juggle to make our lives work.

Even if it means picking up convenience appliances at garage sales, or getting them on installment payments on TV shopping channels, it’s worth it to get a good food processor or Vitamix style mixer that will puree some foods and help create tasty veggie burgers you can toss into the freezer, or fresh hummus perhaps.

Also a slow cooker, with adjustable settings and or a 4 in 1 or other multi cookers, or an InstantPot pressure  will make it doable to have fresh beans and brown rice available. It’s great for roasting vegetables too. I’ve heard people sing the praises of rice cookers as well.    Make sure whatever you decide to purchase is easy to clean so you don’t avoid using it. 

If You Are Disabled…

I am disabled and have pain, weakness issues that make chopping vegetables, and preparing foods, or even bending over, very difficult.  Such appliances mentioned above are the great equalizer that allows me to do more in the kitchen sometimes. The other times when my husband cooks, it allows him to be less burdened. It’s important to take care of our caregivers and loved ones any way we can.

Set doable goals. 

Make a list of what has to be in place for you to take on this style of eating and your health goals.  How are you going to measure your goals?  Can you and your doctor agree on at what intervals he or she wants you to have your labs done? What do you both think “going the right direction” would look like?

Maybe you fear that cheese or getting burgers at your favorite burger joint will be difficult for you, so you set a goal for a month from now to wean yourself.  Keep your goals in handling the barriers, reasonable. Weight loss, I lost weight fast, but each person is different.  Low expectations means happy surprises when you do better than planned.

Set mini goals so you can feel accomplished and feel encouraged along the way.

Join support-social groups who eat as you do.  

Some areas have monthly social gatherings for those who eat plant based foods. Facebook is filled with support groups for those who avoid eating meat products.

It’s important to have access to others experiencing what you so that you can ask questions, get and give encouragement on the bad days, and celebrate your successes together.

If extended family and friends are not supportive, then don’t include them in that part of your life.

Some people in this broad category equate being boundary challenged with showing love.

No one controls what you put in your mouth but you. Nobody has to put up with needless stress from others without allowing it. Take those responsibilities seriously.

Do you consult with them on what brand of toilet paper to buy? Do you only wear clothing they approve of? How about your shampoo, do you seek their approval for that?

If you don’t already have strong boundaries, then this is a good time to develop them.

When visiting, socializing  in other people’s homes DON’T make your eating style change an issue.

The drama that can happen when others don’t understand your living on beans and greens, vegetables and fruit, is never worth it.  When a guest in someone’s home, always best to be gracious guest. Don’t expect the host or hostess to gear the food they serve to be around your dietary needs.  I see people on Facebook so ticked off that Aunt Mary or their co-worker made food for a get together that they couldn’t eat. People need to loosen up. The point is for everyone present to enjoy their time together. A great deal of drama will potentially be avoided if you consider the following options in dealing with such matters.

Options In Handling Social Situations

  • Bring Food Enough To Share: Talk to your hostess or host and explain that you want to be there and take part in the get together but for medical reasons must follow a different way of eating. Offer to make a dish to bring with you that is enough for everyone. Let her know what it is so you can coordinate.   Find out how many people will be in attendance.
  • But Uncle Jack Can Be An A**. If you know that there is one or more people who will without a doubt pick you apart at the get together and can’t be reasoned with, then eat before you get there and arrive after the main meal. Let the host or hostess know you will be running late that day but will be there later and offer to bring something you can eat for a dessert or snack.
  • Eat The Food That Is Prepared, Enjoy Yourself And Call It A Cheat Day.  Call it a cheat day and enjoy the company of others without complaint. Remember tomorrow is a new day.

Here I was a year ago and here I am today.



Cindy 10 month photo comparrison meme