YUM! Healthy Vegan / WFPB Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes on rye

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

 

A Year Without Animal Products And The “Unlikely” Woman Is “Glad”

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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.

 

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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.

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

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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: Pain Level “10”. I Want Chocolate But Sticking With WFPB

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.

Am trying CBD oil capsules today for the pain. Also going to read Dr. Neal Barnard’s book on pain relief

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.

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Here’s Why The Goal Is Health Not Skinny

Cindy selfie photo

Societal expectations on weight are not something I can afford to give much consideration.  I have three “fat disorders”. If you are not familiar with fat disorders, let me give you the basics: One is Dercum’s Disease, which is very rare and out of nowhere put piles of lipomas and 60 lbs. of non calorie based fat on me in the 2000’s. The other two, lipedema and lymphedema, looking back I know that I had them growing up. We didn’t know what it was called but I always had one leg fatter than the other and was always pudgy with out of portion fat arms, legs and a huge hips.  A veteran dieter by the end of third grade. Typical dieting had no impact. If I had known that, I would have been spared two years as a child eating nothing but tuna fish sandwiches. I grew up always sick because of lipedema and lymphedema.  I struggled to know as a girl that my value and beauty couldn’t be based on societal expectations.

I know many of us who have had any of these conditions, because of the ignorance of the medical profession and general public, have suffered misplaced blame for what the world sees. Since learning from researchers what my misshaped, painful swollen body really is from, I have gone through a myriad of emotions. 1) Relief that it wasn’t a character flaw that I was fat. 2) Anger that for decades doctors who I trusted, knew nothing about fat disorders. They didn’t treat me with respect.  3) Gladness that I now knew what it all was and could learn to work and live with it.

The best day was years later when I could just accept my health circumstances and focus on what I could control.  I started to notice I had lost the desire to eat animal products. They slid off my list menu of menu options one by one.  Around the same time, I got my lab work done and my cholesterol was 300 with an LDL of 184. My blood pressure was high. With a family history of heart problems, my cardiologist put me on medication. There was far more I could do for these issues than I could do for the fat disorders.

I watched documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, read some books and pursued health through 100% low fat and glycemic plant-based eating. I have since eaten beans,whole grains, legumes, greens, root and cruciferous veggies. I really enjoy fruit too.  Many in the fats disorder community are riding the KETO diet wave, and to be honest I use to do the same, but it made my cholesterol numbers ridiculous. So I listened to what my body was telling me. I took my eating to the appropriate direction.

Several weeks later, my LDL had dropped from 184 to 79! My blood pressure returned to normal. My blood sugar was greatly reduced.  I also noticed that while this sort of eating didn’t cure me of the 3 fat disorders, it did greatly reduce the inflammation of my body. Between March 29, 2018 and June 3rd, 2018 besides dropping my LDL 57%, and other positive outcomes, I lost 34 pounds! (actually 62 lbs as of 7/28/2018.

I looked at full body photos of me from before and after the weight loss. Understanding where each pound came from as I saw the swollen face and large hips in both photos, I felt pride.  There I was at two different degrees of fat disorder pudginess and I noticed that I looked healthier now. It was an accomplishment especially under my circumstances to lose such weight. Someone on the street wouldn’t know that, but who cares? I know!

I can swell up in the same day, like in the first two photos here, And the other two show even more drastic changes over months. But I can still swell up at any weight as shown in the first two photos.

I’m taking care of the rest of my body beyond the fat disorders and it’s greatly adding to my quality of life. At the end of the day, no one can ask for more. If I do lose enough weight to be smiled upon by those who walk by me on the street, that’s great, but my happiness isn’t dependent on that.

My final words today are to my sisters and brothers in the fat disorder community.  I see you doing a lot of KETO. I know that you are losing weight, but please realize that I’ve lost weight and controlled the inflammation at least some, by eating the exact opposite of KETO.  I know how KETO works, I tried it myself and it was dangerous to my body. Don’t forget that you being around for a long time matters. The qualities you and I both bring to this world isn’t dependent on what size we are. But cutting your life short by a decade or more because of ignoring things like cholesterol is foolish.   Some people end up dying young or worse, having a stroke and being a vegetable for the rest of their lives in a nursing home where you know what is going on around you but you have no ability to communicate. No matter what your size would be, death is death and crap existence is crap existence. So think beyond the fat disorders once in a while.

Also, remember it is possible to gain weight that is not fat disorder related. At some point many of us still have to face discussions about food addictions and weight loss just like anyone else, and for valid reasons. Only each of us can do that for ourselves and keep our minds open to reason. We can do that without degrading ourselves.

My doctors never mentioned Plant-Based eating to me. I did it on my own terms based on my own research.  It wasn’t until for my check-ups with two of my specialist that they told me that I was doing exactly the right thing for my overall health and for the health issues they were assisting me with. That includes my Dercum’s Specialist.  I believe that some of our doctors are scared to talk to us because they know it’s a touchy subject.

So do it for yourself. Go for health, you can never go wrong doing that. You are wonderful and more than good enough no matter what weight you are. You are not a clothing size or weight number, but you would be horribly missed if you died before your time.

 

 

Easy Enjoyable Travel And Still Lose Weight And Manage Chronic Illness

Wrote this in May of 2018: For the first time since I can remember, this past week I traveled and came back home weighing less than when I had left on the trip. I had more energy to endure the trip as well. I want to thank the guidance I have received from the books of Dr. Neal Barnard to help this miracle happen.  Saying it was a “miracle” is no exaggeration. Sticking with a low fat, 100% plant based diet with no added sugars or oils  has made it possible.

Everyone worries about gaining weight when they travel. For those of us with Dercum’s Disease, Lipedema and Lymphedema, where it’s common to gain 12 pounds of lymphatic inflammation weight in ONE DAY, we typically dread traveling. It’s not because of calories, it’s because of too much activity, our legs being down too much, stress, lymphatic issues and eating inflammatory foods common to most people’s way of eating. For me it takes time off my feet and bed rest to lose those 15 lymphatic fluid pounds. It’s horrendously painful.  (Thanks Dercum’s Disease). How Someone Can Gain 15 Pounds In One Day Stanford Video

On this recent trip my husband had to drive us nine hours through three states, for me to see a specialist at the Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio for my Dercum’s Disease. Having just lost 32 pounds, lowered my LDL cholesterol 57%, and finally reduced my swelling and inflammation a bit from the lymphatic problems, I was dreading the problems a trip like this could cause.

Traditionally, my husband and I would eat fast food by frequenting drive thru places.  We wouldn’t have time to seek out places that served the foods I would need. If my appropriate dining options only offered ice berg lettuce in a dish, I would be driven back to eating what I simply couldn’t do again.  If I brought anything with me it would have to be raw. If the “raw” was not as tasty as I managed to make my food at home, I would be tempted to  eat forbidden food.

As it turned out, I found a way to stick to the foods that would allow me the energy to enjoy the trip AND keep that pesky 15 pounds of lymph weight from piling on. I even lost weight.

This is what worked for me and could work for you:

 1) For car trips, bring  your own food.  It was very easy  to stock our cooler with individual meals that included unsalted raw and roasted nuts, nutritional yeast, greens, riced cruciferous vegetables, meaty high fiber black beans, salsa and luscious strawberries.  The idea was to have them handy incase at any meal situation there were no appropriate food choices over the following 3 days.  The idea was also to make sure that there was joy in the meal through textures, flavors and color. My food was overflowing with life, balanced nutrition, and flavor.  I was happy to eat it. Never deprived.

Summer Strauberry salad

 

2) If you must eat out, look for places with at least a veggie burger and/or good fresh salad bar. Never did find a veggie burger but we did find places serving salad and fruit. If there isn’t a non animal protein source on the salad bar, have some nuts in a baggie at your disposal to toss on.  Here, fresh peas are the perfect protein. Most places have lemon slices and  that is perfect to use in place of salad dressing.

Summer Vegetable Fruit Salad

 

3) Be willing to be reasonably flexible when traveling with others.  The trip can’t be about just your needs, it has to respect the others traveling with you as well. Being able to compromise is key. For us the trade off was that my husband wanted to eat a certain style of food that I could not. I did the plate of vegetable toppings at a sub shop so he could get a sub. A man has to eat and on his own terms. I can still reasonably take care of myself and eat as well.

Another meal I ordered in a restaurant was a small pizza with no cheese but with a pile of mushrooms, side of roasted, with no butter or oil, carrots.  It was not 100% on target for how I usually eat, but it was a reasonable choice so my husband could at least eat something he preferred.  It was important to watch the size of the portion of the pizza that I ate for one that meal.  It was good to see my husband happy with what he ate. And I really enjoyed one bit of a diet splurge on eating part of the pizza for that meal. I could still enjoy the social aspect of eating in a pub with my husband.

 

 

4) Location, Location, Location .   Do a little research and see if a plant-based diet friendly store such as Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, or even Aldi is somewhere close to where you will be staying.  You likely will have to replenish your fresh food supply even if it’s just finding a package of raw nuts to toss on a simple salad you pick up on the way home.  We lucked out. There was a  Whole Foods store directly across from our hotel. Also a couple vegan friendly restaurants literally just feet away from where we stayed.

 

Summer Traveling Healthy Food Access

 

5) Build in time and opportunities to mentally and spiritually find joys that are not food related. This is important for those who feel they are giving up the fun food they equate with road trips. People tend to allow themselves foods that typically they wouldn’t normally eat. Gas station foods such as candy bars, soda pop, chips, and other road trip staples you want but say no to yourself regarding, can make it more likely that you will finally will give in. Find a different trade off. We were just an hour from my most favorite place while I was a student at Miami University. We took a detour to spend a few moments there. It helped me to stay connected to joys in life. It was an emotional spiritual luxury to spend time there.

Miami University Boat House At Duck Pond

 

6) Honor what you know to be true about your chronic illness. For me it means using a motorized scooter so that I don’t build up too much lymphatic fluid and lactic acid.  I didn’t over schedule myself.  There was rest and down time.

The medically successful visit to my specialist had a lovely time with my husband and enjoyed the food every step of the way. It was all so relaxing for us both.  I still got to celebrate that moment of victory when I weighed myself the first morning after returning home. Who says you can’t have it all?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life Is Like An Infomercial, And It’s Pretty Darn Amazing!

Really, I have written and re-written the headline for a few hours on and off and it kept coming off as the title of an infomercial. Annoying for me at first, but there are some wonderful reasons why today’s topic sounds like something that everyone wants, because it is what everyone wants. No I’m not trying to sell you anything.

As a matter of fact a  billion dollars a day is spent on trying to avoid heart attacks and strokes. People do try to change their diets but the typical diet changes only alters their numbers downward by 10% on average.

What I did is being done more and more by people from all walks of life. For the last six weeks I’ve eaten a 100% plant based diet. No meat, fish, dairy or eggs, No added sugar or fake sweetners, and no wheat.

All I did was change my diet to a plant based diet for six weeks and there was a 57% drop in my bad cholesterol numbers, Also my high blood pressure normalized  and my blood glucose levels are now cut in half.  I also dropped 30 pounds.  All of that  is without exercise (nothing against exercise, in my case I’m disabled and unable to exercise).

Below is a plant based crust with no oil, topped with vegetables and homemade vegan parmesan cheese. Plant based means be creative. 

Pizza Good

 

“But”, you say, “what about your protein and calcium levels?”

The blood work after 6 weeks of eating like this shows that my protein and calcium are firmly in the normal levels. So I’m doing great. Between the beans, nuts, grains and greens, I get plenty of both protein and calcium plus iron as well.

I am both surprised by this and relieved. Would have been a bummer to see that LDL drop 57% and other positive changes, but for the plant based eating to turn out to be unhealthy.

I’ll be honest I had to really do some serious research.  I was forced to find a new way of eating.  I credit information found in documentaries and books written by researchers for helping me make sense of it all so I kept it healthy. (Would 6 weeks of eating nothing but Swedish Fish candies have been as effective? I doubt it).

Some of my favorites include the book and documentary “Forks Over Knives” that is on Netflix and I believe YouTube.  Books and studies written by Ornish, Dr. Neal Barnard, and those other doctors/researchers associated with “Forks Over Knives”.

It’s been like a rebirth.  The icing on the cake is that it’s improved my memory and ability to focus.

When you are disabled, and start qualifying for Senior Discounts, what more can an old lady ask for? I walked out of that doctor’s appointment yesterday as if I were selected to be Miss America. It was like winning the lottery.

Removing animal products from your diet, when you’ve done your homework, can be  safe and can possibly help to improve your physical and mental health.

It’s not hype. It’s just vegetables, fruit, beans and grains and whole lot of research and praying.

Below can you spot my before (April 2018) and 30 pounds lost  after (May 2018) photos? Hard to believe they are the same person, but they are. The rest are the foods that I came up with to enjoy. Recipes to come in future write ups. Note I have disabilities that make me swell up. The diet has helped to reduce the inflammation quite nicely.

 

Never Give Up On Your Health.

 

I’m not affiliated with any of this, but I want people to know about this. If you are around St. Louis, MO  on July 14th, 2018, please consider registering and attending the St. Louis Plant-Based Summit. Register Here

STL Plant Based Summit