Self-Care Nutrition In The World Of Chronic Illness

 

In our household. we take care of eachother. Doesn’t matter who the caregiver or the one needing taken care of is. We look out for eachother. Hey we are a family of adults making it work!

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Anyone with a severe chronic illness or the caregiver of someone who is chronically ill, knows that self care is both a must and many times the hardest to provide oneself.

There isn’t anything more basic in self-care than good solid nutrition. The less hassle the better too. The less hassle. the more likely it’s going to happen. The less hassle, the kinder you are being towards whoever is responsible for making it happen.

When dealing with chronic illness, it can be our biggest weapon to ease our suffering and even in some cases reverse the chronic Illness. Good nutrition can help slow down some chronic condition’s advancement and prevent new ones from taking hold.  It can allow our medications a chance to work better, or if lucky, it can replace the need for prescription medications all together.

Living off store bought frozen entrees with less than healthy ingredients like high sodium, animal products and non whole foods, for me would never help. Fast food will make most people’s health more complicated. So the sooner any of us in these sorts of shoes can figure this out for ourselves, the better.

With Dercum’s Disease, Fibromyalgia,and Lymphedema, Lipedema and Diabetes and low grade start to coronary disease, it has come down to me to figure this out. How to eat to not make things worse. What can be healthy to eat, inexpensive, and easy enough to prepare that my husband can manage along with all his other responsibilities. If it can be easy enough for me on a good day to prepare and toss individual servings in the freezer, that’s great too.

This week I am recovering from the Plant-Based Nutrition Summit last Saturday, and one grocery run on Monday. (Dercum’s Disease is like that, overdo it and you are down for the count. It doesn’t take much). Even a motorized scooter couldn’t save me from being a pain filled zombie on Sunday, part of Monday, and  bed bound on Sunday and part of Tuesday and all day Wednesday through Thursday morning.

Yet unlike the past when this would start to happen, I’m not eating greasy cheeseburgers my husband is bringing home, or processed foods on white bread, or even sodium filled frozen entrees. We aren’t going broke from food either.

Now that we are established in a plant-based diet as a household, we have kept it easy to manage and afford.

The easy sandwich/pesto recipe:

Aldi sells frozen peas 79 cents a bag. Trader Joe sells Miyoko Vegan Crème cheese $5.50 a container. Broccoli is cheap everywhere fresh or riced.

in a freezer bag, we combine frozen peas and riced broccoli (or riced cauliflower). Keep it in the freezer.  Defrost half per batch you are making. Place in food processor or high power blender, can be somewhat lumpy. In a bowl, stir in garlic, onion chopped or onion powder, some crushed red pepper if desired, and 2 Tbl of either Miyoko Vegan Cream cheese or no-oil hummus.

It will keep for a few days in the fridge and makes a great sandwich spread, or on whole grain toast in the morning for breakfast. Very good as a type of stir in for whole grain pasta. You can add basil and oregano and lime juice to liven it up. Put cucumbers on top of it or tomato.  Add some shredded carrot to it.

Or forget the grain pasta and use a peeler or veggie noodle maker and stir it into veggie noodles for a 100% vegetable dish.

Pea Broccoli Spread
Broccoli-Pea Salad on No Wheat Rye
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Broccoli-Pea Pesto using same sandwich spread but adding basil and oregano plus a splash of lime

 

You Can’t Go Wrong With A Great Salad

Never underestimate the power of a good salad. Never over estimate how much it cost to eat salad. These days even Aldi can keep you fresh organic greens and other produce for very little money.

I try to follow the daily dozen  rules of Dr. Michael Greger to keep my nutrition well rounded. Gone are the days of ice berg lettuce being sufficient. Now it’s 2 servings of greens a day along with a serving of cruciferous vegetables and two serving of “other vegetables” that are low glycemic index. Also I need to get two servings of fruit and a serving of berries. In addition to all that, three servings of beans/peas and three whole grain servings. One serving of seeds and nuts and I’m also suppose to have flax seeds once a day.

If I know I’m going to be down for the count in bed for several days possibly, I direct my husband or try to plan myself to throw together salads that will incorporate a little of everything to make a salad. Dark greens, riced cruciferous veggies of some type, brown rice or barley,  well rinsed and drained black beans, sliced cucumbers and shredded carrots.  I’ll put fresh fruit around the sides such as something easy to rinse and use like fresh blueberries and easy to peel like orange sections. Then just some lemon or lime juice.

Black Bean Burgers Too

The sandwich spread mentioned above and one or two varieties of salads that are kept on hand and prepared, can keep well rounded nutrition within easy reach. I also keep black bean burgers in the freezer that we make. There are many recipes online and in plant-based cook books. Here is one of my favorites

 

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From Scratch Black Bean Burgers

 

food salad healthy summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Roasted Cauliflower: Yum

Roast a head of cauliflower in the oven and slice it when it’s cooled. Very easy to keep for a few days and eat from as needed. It freezes well too.

cauliflower cooking pot delicious food
Skip the boiling or steaming. Just dry rub it with your favorite seasonings, bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. You will have a very slight satisfying crunch. Frozen riced cauliflower or broccoli is an easy alternative too. Let it defrost on top of  salad in the fridge.  Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

No Cook Over Night Oats

Overnight Oats are wonderful too. I’m not talking about the Overnight Oats you see on the grocery shelves. This is like a breakfast oatmeal and fruit custard without eggs though. No cooking involved either. You can find the recipe online by looking it up, but basically, it’s one part old fashioned oats and two parts non dairy milk of your choice, and a tablespoon or two of chia seeds stirred in. Oh and also you can put in the fruit of your choice, any amount you want.

I like using a one cup storage container to make it in and eat it from to keep the portions reasonable. I use berries, but apple slices are good too with some cinnamon mixed in. I tend to use more fruit than oats. So the oats and non dairy milk are a sideline, but that is just my preference. The chia seeds make a gel that helps to solidify the entire dish into pudding sort of combo, if you will.

The gelling process happens as it sits airtight/covered in the fridge overnight. When you get up, it’s ready to eat.

You can make a few of these overnight oats up at one time and eat off of them for a few days for breakfast. Adding nuts or sliced banana is good too.

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Photo by THE 5TH on Pexels.com

Nothing wrong with some herbal tea, but you will find that eating this way will replace your need for caffeinated coffee.  Your mind may become better focused and you will know you are doing all you can for yourself and those you care about.

Well nourished people are healthier and more content in life. Take care of eachother and help it happen.

Why do I eat a plant-based diet?

 

 

 

 

 

My Sideshow Career Over: Morbidly Obese No More

Photos coming soon.Cindy selfie photo

I have always been a fat girl. Accomplished, success driven, but always large. Raised and fed like my twig of a fraternal twin sister, I always have had chubby cheeks and arms, stomach, hips and legs as well. So being fat has been my life long identifier. If I ever forgot, the world was always there to remind me. I just coexisted with it while doing every diet in the book.

My identifier the past decade has been that I’ve been a member of the Fat Disorder community. Many of us are much larger than our calorie intake would indicate and most of us are considered by people who pass us on the street as morbidly obese.

Most picture us sitting all day eating bon-bons and ordering in pizza and devouring massive amounts of foods.  Actually those of us in the fat disorder community have been dealing with disorders that create size issues based  on genetic lymphatic problems. Our lymph fluid fills our tissue and also some like myself have fatty tumors that are so painful throughout our body. (Lymphedema, Lipedema and Dercum’s Disease)

As we all know the pressure to be thin especially for women, is pretty strong and we’ve all read over time or known people who suffered from eating disorders because of that pressure. Now can you imagine walking around looking “circus lady fat” or people assume you are lazy and eat too much?

There are eating disorders that eventually blend in for many with such disorders.. Nothing creates misunderstandings more than someone being very large but calories having nothing to do with that largeness. The more one feels like an outsider, and nothing does it quite like being very large can,  the easier it is to limit your calories for yourself to unhealthy levels or go the other direction. Some people decide why care about the number of calories since they will look large anyways. They eat quite a bit for comfort.  When the latter happens, then more weight piles on a body already overwhelmed with disorder related weight gain.

No one should sit in judgement. The world is not kind to those with fat disorders.

The world didn’t like my being large. I didn’t care for it either, but after dieting since I was a child and learning what was what regarding my weight, I learned to accept my largeness and high level of disability as did my now husband and others who love me.

So having had fat disorders starting in childhood, imagine my personal euphoria when seeing how physically and emotionally healing the correct plant-based diet can be.

The big moment was after this last bit of weight loss, I refigured my BMI for the first time in ages. . I am no longer morbidly obese!

My labs show the healing power of a low fat, low glycemic index, low sodium, no processed food, no animal products of any kind, plant-based diet. No counting carbs, no counting calories. A totally new relationship with food and my body was put in place three months back.

It will only work if I could accept myself as someone deserving to be healed physically and emotionally. Meal time has become not an experience where I numb out, but instead I now know exactly what the food I eat is going to do for my body and life.  My level of gratitude is enormous. There is peace in such healing and gratitude.

I still have my fat disorders and technically diabetic.  I don’t know when the weight loss will stop.  My blood pressure is normal, blood sugars are normal, and my LDL cholesterol dropped 57%.  By month two I had dropped from a 3x to a 0x in a plus size women’s boutique.  I was still swelling up from the fat disorders but the swelling was not the rush of 14 pounds coming on me at the drop of a hat. It was a weight fluctuation of just few pounds.

That horrible term, “Morbidly Obese”  no longer applies to me. Onward I go. These disorders I’ll likely carry the rest of my life, but eating to heal my body, I stand a fighting chance not to be viewed as a side show attraction any more. If however, people still do see me as a side show attraction, I’m charging admission and doing a tap dance.

*For my sisters and brothers in the fat disorder community, give plant-based eating a try. No counting cabs, no counting calories. It will help to better regulate your body. It will help diminish inflammation.  You stick with different non animal product food groups and keep it low sodium, unprocessed and low glycemic index. Read some of my prior writings and start with looking up either the app for your phone or tablet, or look online for Dr. Michael Greger’s Daily Dozen   

 

Note: You can come and hear Dr. Michael Greger and others speak at the STL Plant-Based Summit on July  14th, 2018  Get information here

STL Plant Based Summit

 

 

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

 

My Body’s Fight For A Plant Based Diet

This is NOT a typical weight loss journey you hear about. I didn’t decrease calories and then started to jog in the mornings or joined a gym.   I am one of a significant number of women who look large because I have  lipedema. You will learn more about that as you read my blog.

I wrote this entry months ago. Please work with your doctor and check out the resources to get more precise details on the doctors whose research and books in the end has helped me calm the beasts known as lipedema and lymphedema. Also it’s helped with my diabetes and even at times my dercum’s disease and fibro.

There are great resources listed below. And if you want to get a feel for it all watch Forks Over Knives on YouTube or Netflix. It will give you a general idea. (note…there are other food selections you can use besides what you see on that program, so no worries)

              Super easy, homemade tasty veggie burgers, stuffed mushrooms, cashew cheese

Mutiny Of The Body

For the first time in 55 years, my body took control of itself and that meant only food it needed crossing my lips. I had not planned on ever being what some would call vegan or plant-based.  My body staged it’s own mutiny and took over the ship, so to speak.  It had quite a foe to defeat, the destructive monster my memories and habits had become surrounding food.

Without me even thinking about it, meat became intolerable to me, and then fish and dairy did the same thing.  So I embraced what my body was insisting and committed to a plant-based low fat diet.  I did this without reading anything about it. I became a fast student in learning all I could after that.  30 days later I’ve lessened inflammation, weight, and unhappiness.

My Body’s Opponent

I was raised on rump roasts, noodles, potatoes and gravy. eggs and bacon,  pizza with mounds of sausage, pepperoni and animal fat cheese on Friday nights , lots of bread made with white flour. The vegetables were there but usually from a can.  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ,with that glow in the dark powdered cheese that would be combined with margarine and milk to make the cheese sauce, was served a few times a week as a side dish usually with meatloaf. My dad would pile his plate high with food. My grandfather, mother and father were all overweight.  Night time was a time for sweet snacks and my mom called it “a party”.  If anyone was sad, well there was always ice cream and lots of wonder bread waiting for them. All get togethers and visits included food, rich delicious foods that were meant to spread the love.  By age eight, I was a fat child who had been taught that food is comfort and comfort is food. Family and friends meant food too, and lots of it.

Also added into the mix and unbeknownst to me, I was predisposed to appearing large and blimp like even as a child. I have a condition known as lipedema as well as lymphedema. Even as a child that made one leg larger than the other. fat arms, and put a tummy on me. No matter what I ate or how much exercise, I was a big girl. They didn’t recognize such things back then about that non-calorie based weight gain disorder. Inflammation was terrible in someone like me. Extremely painful.

Having yourself blimp up when you are trying to live on soggy tuna fish sandwiches 5 days a week (my mom put me on weight watchers at age 8, really makes a kid insecure. Not talking calories, I’m talking about how the wrong foods, lack of nutrition, and inflammation  inducing foods made me balloon up even when eating lean fish and vegetables 5 days a week.

That was a great deal of inflammation swelling up all parts of my body. It put both traditional and lipedema fat on my body, dragging me down, and by more than a decade ago, making my rare disease Dercum’s Disease, worse to the point of disability. I was since, diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and always struggling to keep my sugars in control.

Thanks to my stint on the high animal fat  KETO diet, my cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rhythm suddenly required medication I had never needed before. (Don’t get me started on KETO. If you are doing KETO, get your labs done every couple of months at least).

I saw vegans and vegetarians over time and admired them. I always knew it was healthier but in no way could I have seen myself giving up the foods I had grown up on.  A change of eating like that would change how my household would handle social eating and going out to grab a bite. It would change a way of life I felt. So I refused to do it.

But then my body threatened to vomit if I didn’t change and it made most of the foods I grew up with pretty unappealing to me. It spoke and I listened.

The Fruits Of Going With What Your Body Tells You

In 24 days I’ve gone down 20 pounds exactly. The painful swellings have been greatly reduced. I’ve gone from being this nervous, confused, hungry woman going to stores grabbing processed vegan burgers and fake chicken to answer my mind’s need for a meat fix, to taking fresh whole foods and creating my own black burgers.

I had to eat at a diner and managed to make a meal out of oatmeal with nuts and sliced apple, and ate it with a side salad.  I’ve created vegetable non-meat meatballs, to have with zucchini spirals and fresh tomato sauce. Baked spaghetti squash,  pizza crusts with so many fresh veggies in it that it was green and tasty!

I turn down chocolate because I have no cravings. I have no desire for drive thru foods. I’m still in considerable physical pain from Dercum’s Disease. I’ve been depressed for moments when I’ve had to face my feelings instead of eating to hide them. The sun has always risen the next day. I don’t expect foods to taste like food use to taste.  Just because I’m not comfortable emotionally sometimes doesn’t mean that it’s wrong what I am doing. It’s all new to me and it’s an adjustment. I stand a chance to see how my body is suppose to feel so it’s worth it. I’m getting more nutrition than before. I will be getting blood work done.

So stay with me as I blog about this journey.  Below are the resources that started me on my way.

The actual book that started me on this journey. No counting carbs or calories! Yet it works on lipedema and diabetes for me!

 Dr. Neal Barnard, Washington D.C. Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine

The Daily Dozen check list you can use online or on your phone.