High in protein, fiber and iron, lentils are wonderful. The key to a great healthy whole food plant based sloppy joe is a combination of meat-free meaty textures and low sodium spicy tangy seasonings. 10 minutes is all it took and the leftovers tasted even better than it did first time around!
Use in sandwiches, on top of low glycemic index grains, whole grain organic pasta, in whole grain organic wraps, taco shells, or on top of salad!
It’s fine if you use only one type of lentil or bean, but for a meatier texture you want to use a combination of two different size cooked or prepared lentils/beans. Finely and coarsely chopped vegetables can also be great in the mix. Taste along the way to get it seasoned just how you like! (Something you can’t do that with meat!)
Easy and Delicious Healthy Whole Food Plant Based Sloppy Joes
-2 cups of black mini lentils I believe they’re called Beluga lentils. In this case they were already prepared with no added salt and so I just reheated them in the microwave I purchase them from Target.
-One can of red lentils already prepared no added salt I purchased them from Whole Foods.
-One small can of tomato paste
-A can of water using the can of tomato paste was in
-optional ingredients 1/2 cup of any chopped sautéed in water vegetables such as onion, celery, tomato, peppers, mushrooms and zucchini.
Here are the seasonings that you could possibly use any combination of
-Splash of apple cider vinegar
-Fennel to taste
-Garlic powder to taste
-Chili powder to taste
-Onion Powder to taste
-Garlic Powder to taste
-Oregano to taste
-Dried crushed red pepper to taste
-Turmeric to taste
Instructions: Combine all ingredients and simmer until heated. Do not overcook. Great as leftovers. Serves 4-6
Last year I started this blog. I felt at that time that the most honest title I could give it would be “The Unlikely No Meat Please Gal”. Meat and animal products had been the center of all my meals for 55 years.
I grew up in the Ohio farmlands and there were a few decades where very few vegetables were consumed but many, many meals of meat, eggs and dairy. So the chances of ever saying, “no meat please” were practically non existent. So that was the title of this blog,”The Unlikely No Meat Please Gal”
After more than a year of not eating meat, dairy or eggs, I felt that it was time to change the name of this blogging effort. I thought about why my commitment to not eating meat and other animal products was strong, and the new title was easy. I thought about the reversal of my heart and diabetic issues. I thought about how the dress I wore when I married my husband 10 years ago is now way too big for me and yet a year back I couldn’t have squeezed into it. And just the hope it all has brought to me.
I am indeed “The Glad To Not Eat Meat Gal”: A fat girl from St. Louis, Missouri who is now at a much healthier weight and better lab results. All of that inspite of 3 fat disorders (lipedema, lymphedema, Dercum’s Disease) that makes it very difficult to lose weight. Am I cured of any of them? I stand firm in saying that it has reversed some of the symptoms. I would not say that I am cured, but I’ve changed the quality of my life and I no longer feel helpless. So in addition to everything else, less depression that comes with being diagnosed with a rare disorder that had taken over my life.
From 13 pills a day to one prescription and a selenium supplement, down in clothes sizes and up in hope,, I am forever The Glad To Not Eat Meat Gal. I am forever no animal products or oils, period.
Thank you to my friends, family, doctors, Forks Over Knives community, the STL Veg Girl, Dr, Joel Kahn’s publicly shared information on this topic, nutritionfacts.org , Clayton Medical Associates and my fellow members of the Lipedema, Lymphedema and Dercum’s Disease communities who have supported me on my efforts.
The article that the first sentence here will lead you to, provides adequate information on this disorder. Along with lipedema, and lymphedema it’s been a “large” life for sure.
Changing my nutritional intake has done more for me than any information provided e by the medical experts I traveled so many hours to see. No way of knowing when I began eating Whole Food Plant Based, Low Glycemic Index, no oil, low fat, and low sodium that I would see any relief from these disorders. Just goes to show that each day there is a new chance for miracles.
Will always have Dercum’s Disease, lipedema and lymphedema, but this has helped. Based on the work of Dr. Michael Greger and his Daily Dozen, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn Jr, and Dr. Neal Barnard from Physicians For Responsible Medicine. I was introduced to these men and their views by watching Forks Over Knives.
Inspite of having three fat disorders ( lipedema , lymphedema and Dercum’s disease ) that are progressive in how large they can make a person appear, and have zero to do with calorie intake or exercise…I have managed in the past 10 months to do this.
What is important to point out is that having had these disorders all my life, my hips and legs were always larger than the rest of me. One leg has always been larger than the other. My arms became heavy and large over the years. My stomach, arms, neck, back, hips and legs filled with Dercum’s Disease “tumors”. Lipedema and lymphedema causes swellings that would increase at the drop of a dime. I could put on 12 pounds from these lymphatic fluids in a day or two. I could start off the day at one level and end the day looking 20 pounds heavier just by moving around.
So look at these photos and see that now my hips are in proportion to the rest of my body, my arms have slimmed down, my face has deflated, my torso is smaller. My legs are within reasonable limits. One leg is stil slightly larger than the other, but not overly noticeable. I went from a size 32 to a size 14.
Throw in the use of a box of Miss Clairol for my hair and bam! I look so different! Another thing that this style of whole food plant based, low fat, low glycemic eating has done for me is whip my diabetes, my blood pressure, my cholesterol in shape. That happened in the first month of switching for KETO to this style of eating. So I likely have added years to my life.
Here are the foods that made it all happen.
Bean Steak On Rye w/Kale
Cucumber Carrot Citrus Salad
Busy day? Black beans on greens with melon
Hummus Topped Veggie Burger On Greens With Citrus
Dr. Greger’s inscription after hearing of my success treating lipedema, Dercum’s disease using his suggestions for. Plant-based diet.
In the group for Improving Fat Disorders Using Low Fat Low Glycemic WFPB Eating, no one associated with the group makes a dime off of any participant of the group and you are asked to work with your own doctor and make sure your own medical team is on board, get blood levels done on a regular basis, and other measures to assure you are taking responsibility for your own health decisions.
It’s not about being skinny, it’s about being healthy. If looking smaller ends up being part of it all, then great.
Here is a link to an article I wrote last year on how to approach changing your life with food.
The problem with having chronic illness and trying to eat healthy is that the chronic illness can keep you from being well enough to put together healthy food. I’m lucky I have a husband and some very helpful convenience appliances that make it more doable. Still there are times I need to do this on my own. Almost always I can barely make it across the room.
Best suggestions I can give is to always keep a covered container of greens and chopped veggies and fresh fruit in the fridge so all you have to do is dish up.
Busy day? Black beans on greens with melon
Cucumber Carrot Citrus Salad
Have canned beans that you can drain and use.
Whole grain bread (egg free is best) to make veggie open face sandwiches is good.
Batch cook on your good days. Even if you have one or two reasonable days a month, it can make a huge difference.
Here are other possibilities to have on hand with the right planning.
Homemade bean burgers made on a more doable day
Frozen brown rice and a bag of frozen peas tossed together with light seasoning. Some raw carrots and a few grapes. No fuss meal
old world pumpernickel bread is good to keep on hand. Topped with homemade bean burger from freezer
Here is a recipe that literally just happened today. I managed to toss together on a so-so day that is my norm. Couldn’t stand over a stove. Number of variations possible are limited only by your imagination. Took less than 5 minutes to toss together and then it got tossed in the oven where it baked while I sat on the sofa with my legs up and felt miserable (aka typical day).
Whole Food Plant Based Pointer: Using Parchment Paper means you can keep
Cindy’s Plant Based Mexican Bake Casserole
2 cups garbanzo bean flour ( Bobs Red Mill found with that line of products).
I tsp baking soda
2/3 cup salsa
2/3 cup water
1 cup of favorite Mexican friendly veggies (riced or finely chopped or chunked onions, peppers, tomato, cilantro, cauliflower, greens…corn and black beans)
Mexican seasoning of your choice…
Chili powder, cumin, turmeric, low sodium chili or taco seasoning. Curry seasoning is good too.
Possible toppings for after baked…
Shredded lettuce, Miyoko cheese, addition chopped veggies and or salsa….
Combine ingredients except toppings. Pour into lasagna pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 until cake like (approx. 20 minutes).
Serve in squares and top as desired.
Mine looks boring compared to how colorful you could make it look. It’s just what I had on hand.
How lucky for me that I puked my guts out. When I ended up in the hospital, deathly ill after over two days consuming a fish sandwich and I turkey sandwich Easter weekend 2018, I never thought of myself as lucky. Really though it gave me a good opportunity to walk away from meat, dairy and eggs and never look back.
Top row of picture were taken that weekend when I got so sick from meat. Bottom row taken several months later, still animal product free.
In hospital bed Easter 2018
3/18 Size 24
Me November 2018
Had it not been for the taste and smell of those products repulsing me, I would have had a harder time giving it all up. I’ve watched my husband long for an Arby’s Roast Beef and pepperoni pizza dripping with thick slabs of cheese. He had a harder time, but he managed. I could see it was a thought process for him.
So much about our lives have been wrapped up around animal products.
What holiday or family event doesn’t have animal products as the centerpiece of the associated feast? I can’t think of any. Traditions, holidays, early childhood memories, all of that is very powerful.
So it’s a week before Christmas and you are trying to gain control of your health. With the guidance of your own doctor of course, you have chosen to eat whole food plant based which means all animal products, sugar and overly processed foods are banned.
Some people can go cold turkey in avoiding turkey and gravy over the holidays. They can even drive past a fast food drive thru and never get a burger, fish or chicken or even a taco with cheese. If they eat animal products it’s only because they didn’t know it was in the food they were served to eat (and yes that is going to happen especially at family gatherings).
Then there are people who genuinely feel giving up animal products is like pushing away the love of their lives or an dear friend. It’s anxiety provoking. The fear of living without animal products means for them that they break up with animal products in steps. I call this the process of Burger and Human Uncoupling.
Would Shakespeare have written verses about the despair and feeling pulled between lusting for cheese burgers and possibly deflating backed up lymphatics and staying alive an extra 10-30 years?
Ode To Animal Products: My Mind’s Tears I Weep For Thee
(spoken tenderly with great drama)
“Oh Cheese Burger, Pepperoni, Chicken and Eggs…
In my mouth you delight, but inflate my legs.”
” So Cheese is dairy, so is yogurt and Butter.
I loved you before, but now must love another.”
“Endothelium, walls of arteries and veins you line.
So no animal products I eat or carbs refined. “
It’s only slightly an overstatement to say that for many to give up that relationship with animal products is very imposing..
So let’s be reasonable. So much of this is mental. You have to have courage to turn away from all meat, dairy and eggs as well as processed foods. While it is for health sake better to just cut off all animal products, it may not be in the long run productive. You may be one of the people who may give up for good the first time you cave. So if you must, take steps to prepare yourself to gain that needed confidence that you can live without animal products. Start introducing what others call “transition foods”. These are foods that can give you a sense of having some of the textures and tastes you are in the habit of eating, without them actually being animal products.
Vegan food has come a long way. Please note that I use the term Vegan food instead of Whole Food Plant Based. Processed vegan foods many times are not that healthy. I would never suggest eating processed vegan foods on a regular basis over time but there is no crime in using them initially on occasion. Will they make you blow up like a balloon if you have soy and or sodium sensitivities? Maybe. before going 100% without meat dairy and eggs or not, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it not to eat soy filled and high sodium foods. Read the labels and weigh it all out.
Another way to approach it all is if you cease eating one product at a time and adjusting to that before removing the next product that is ok too. And like I’ve pointed out throughout this piece, eating processed vegan food at times in the start, is fine too as long as you keep your eyes open to it temporarily making symptoms for things like lipedema, lymphedema and other disorders worse.
And even once you make the clean break from animal products, don’t be stunned if you still feel the need for a burger sometimes or cheese. It’s ok to ocassionally indulge in a Beyond Meat Burger (sold in many stores and some restaurants) or Impossible Burger (served at White Castle, and some restaurants and coming to stores in 2019). There are also several other brands of non animal product burgers you can indulge in.
Just make sure that the majority of the time, you are eating actual fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, fresh greens, unprocessed grains, fresh or dried beans, peas, lentils, and a few unsalted nuts here and there. Some flax or chia seed for good measure, and take a good B-12 suppliment. Have some blood work done to see if you are lacking in anything else.
I am just going to drive this point home one last time… better to eat whole foods that are plant based, without added oils, sugar or processed ingredients. Try for example, bean burgers or use lentils in place of ground beef in sloppy joes. They are better for you than the mass produced, pre-prepared vegan burgers and so on. Let me tell you, it can be pretty tasty.
Need a chance to wrap your brain around the notion of no animal products? Here are some suggestions.
Update July 5, 2018: I have found that I recover faster from my flare ups since starting Whole Foods Plant-Based oil free eating. So now I have to be smarter about physical activity so I don’t end up in a lactic acid attack on my muscles.
Dercum’s Disease you are a heartless wretched disorder, but nothing Plant Power can’t help to manage!
In painful moments of defeat I still remind myself of how much more hope and joy I have in my life since going Whole Foods Plant-Based (WFPB).
I am in tremendous pain throughout all of my tissue on my body and it’s because of the laws of Dercum’s Disease. Lactic Acid builds up in our muscles when we do anything physicial. Normally wouldn’t hurt anyone, but for those of us with Dercum’s Disease, it is extremely painful, EXTREMELY. I use to walk 3 miles a day and not know why I was getting fatter and feeling so sick after a brisk walk. I didn’t know I had Dercum’s Disease.
So I brazenly walked from my car into the mall to a close to the entrance store and then back out. For the last few years I have used a mobility scooter so that I can get out of the house and not risk the waves of lactic acid in my tissue. I wanted to see if I could enjoy the simple pleasure of being on foot for a short distance walk amongst other people. I also had left the battery of my scooter at home. I had no choice if I wanted to pick up a pair of pants that fit instead of falling off my hips. I could handle the over sized pants and skirts no more.
I had difficulty getting back to the car, I had to sit down. The pain was so bad I dreamt last night that I was in pain. The pain if I had to describe it is the feeling of something eating through your muscles, joints and connective tissue.
My husband helped me hobble to bed last night. I’ve been in bed ever since except when my husband drove me to get some CBD oil and fresh greens from Fresh Thyme.( You bet I used the mobility scooter.)
I actually heard myself whimper under my breath as I opened my purse to get my debit card to pay for it all. Just moving my arms and hands for that task put horrific pain through me. It was literally torture to just pay for my greens and CBD oil capsules.
There is no known cure for Dercum’s Disease and it is horrifically disabling as it progresses. But I am only 3 months into Whole Food Plant Based Eating. Anything is possible from here on in. I am not discouraged nor am I disheartened because I was told that I would be in the 300 pound range the rest of my life. It was just what it was. I look better than I have in a very long time. My mind is sharper most of the time. I am enjoying life no matter the pain level, much more. I am showing signs of everything being healthier in my blood work.
This is really 5 steps forward one big temporary step back. I’m still better off than before by eating a whole foods plant-based diet. Blood pressure normal, off blood pressure medication, blood sugars normalized, and against all odds lost 50 pounds. My LDL cholesterol is down 57% to a normal healthy level.
As much pain as I’m in, before taking the animal products out of my diet, it was much, much worse than this. I would crying on and off while sitting at home because I wouldn’t want anyone to see me like that.
So in closing, what I want people to know is,
1) Weight loss isn’t the only thing to worry about in one’s health that matters.
2) When you see someone using a mobility device in public, don’t judge. You have no idea what their health profile is.
3) If you have a chronic illness, embrace the improvements that are found, and just roll with what problems still remain. Rome wasn’t built in a day. In the mean time, the blessings are magnificent!
4) Stay the course. Self soothing with forbidden foods like chocolate has never worked. Stick with the foods you know you need to eat. It can shorten the duration of the severe pain and by reducing the inflammation it keeps the pain from being even worse. The wrong food can just add to your problems.
Thank you to Tim, my husband extraordinaire. He is the love of my life, a wonderful father, and he takes wonderful care of me when I am like this.