I'm still struggling with the fact that my body has become sick.  I know diet isn't the cure all, but this last bit of kidney stones and pulmonary embolism really has shot me down.  I have had bouts of crying and feeling sorry for myself.  Not hard to do when you feel so crummy.  I have left work a lot because of shortness of breath, or cramping from the kidney stones.  Yesterday I went to the doctor in hopes they would help me after a CT scan.  Come to find out I passed a large stone and now this one that is smaller is a bit stuck.  It's sitting in my ureter just hanging out.  The doctor doesn't want to do surgery, and wants to give this a couple more days to get the heck out of dodge.  Ugh!  Keep me in your prayers that it passes!

     A couple of weekends ago, I was cruising around Youtube like I normally do to see what new things I can learn.  I came across this lady.  Her name is Brooke Goldner MD.  I have seen her before, but haven't paid too much attention to her ideas, until now.  I gave her a listen.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okThbAAS4pY&t=23s  She talks about autoimmune problems, specifically Lupus.  She totally got rid of her Lupus.  Now to someone that isn't on a whole foods plant based diet that may seem a bit out there and just a bunch of hype, but for me it was interesting and intriguing! 

     When I first became ill with this pulmonary embolism I had a blood test because they had no idea where it came from.  I didn't have the normal symptoms of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in my leg.  This was an unprovoked clot.  So I had a bunch of tests run, and I had to insist that I have them done.  My doctor said that it wouldn't change my treatment, but really I wanted to know!  Who wouldn't!  At any rate the blood test came back that was positive for APS Antiphospholipids Syndrome in other words an autoimmune issue, and it just floors me that I had to do my own research into this problem.  The doctor didn't tell me that it was autoimmune!!!  What does it mean to have an autoimmune?  Your immune system is supposed to take care of intruders i.e. colds, flu etc.  In other words it fights off infections.  If you have an autoimmune, your immune system attacks your body.  Just dandy! 

     Now this test doesn't exactly tell me for certain that I have this issue.  I have to have the same test again 3 months after having the first, and if that one comes back positive then it will be real.  It's a hurry up and wait game.  Ugh, but really all the other tests were negative like Factor V Leiden, and a couple other ones that I can't remember so it makes me think that this is what is going on. 

     Now back to Dr. Goldner.  I listened to her on youtube, and then I went to her website and signed up for her 3 day free webinar about fighting autoimmune problems.  This webinar was PACKED with great information!  If you can, and are having issues with autoimmune issues then sign up for these classes.  She had Lupus for 12 years being diagnosed at 16, and almost died.  Her story is amazing!  Here is her story.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeuYpsnqcSw&t=6s  She talks about hypernourishing your body with the right fats will help lose those unwanted pounds.  She attributes this to her green smoothies.  In essence it is 1 pound of greens, put in a high speed blender, with a bit of fruit on tops, and 1/4 - 1/2 cup of whole flax or chia seeds.  I know, I know, I freaked when she said to consume that much fat, but it's a good fat, one that helps your cells to get rid of toxins which if they aren't pliable because of the wrong things we eat keeps us from releasing those toxins and keeps us fat.    She explains it soooo much better than I do!  She also said by hyponourishing your body, giving it the right nutrients will heal your body!

     At any rate, I have decided to give this a go.  What have I got to lose?  My body weight is still an issue.  I still have 50 pounds to lose, and I think by drinking these smoothies and drinking a gallon of water everyday will indeed do the trick, and hopefully that next test that I take will be negative, and I can get off of these blood thinners.  Blood thinners are life saving, but the side effects will make your hair stand on end.  I'm willing to do what it takes to get my life back. 

     Something else I have learned along the way, is doctors don't tell you everything.  You have to do your own research into your own health.  Doctors have their purpose, don't get me wrong, but if you don't insist on things, if you don't stay abreast on your own health then you will never get better!  The big pharmaceuticals are in a huge business!  Do you know that my blood thinners would cost 900 per month if I didn't have insurance?  Totally ridiculous, and scary if you don't have insurance! 

     Hypernourishing is what I will start doing.  Everyday, greens and fruits.  I want so much to get better and have my life back!  Cheers!

How To Be A Shinning Example

     Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.  Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.  "T. S. Elliot"

     I saw this quote on facebook this morning, and thought it was a grand quote for my plant based way of life.  Actually a person could use this quote for a great many things in life.  Religion, work, goals, anything! 

     How was your Thanksgiving?  I worked on Thanksgiving Day, but we as employees still had dinner.  Our unit secretary brought in the dinner with all the fixings.  She brought in a roasting pan to cook a turkey and we all chipped in with sides.  The turkey smelled heavenly, and brought back many memories of my childhood.  I work at a hospital, and a lot of our patients made mention that the halls smelled wonderful. 

     Lunch was served around 1:00.  We each took turns going into the conference room to eat.  As I went in there were many other colleagues present.  Was I even tempted to eat turkey?  Actually no I was not.  There were many sides, and of course I brought in the veggie tray.  I filled my plate with veggies, and some of the salads.  They were not all too healthy though because they contained jello, and cool whip.  Even when I went into that room to get a piece of pie later, and no one was around I didn't partake of the turkey.  It really didn't even appeal to me. 

     The next day didn't go as smoothly.  Because I worked Thanksgiving Day, my family had Thanksgiving with me the day after.  My children are not fully plant based and neither is my husband, so again I had to smell turkey for the day.  I did succumb to temptation.  I had a little bit of turkey.  (No one is perfect)  I have to tell you though, it didn't taste as good as I once remembered, and giving thought of eating a dead animal kind of made me sick to my stomach.  That day I spent in the kitchen making yummy sides to go with this turkey dinner.  Everything else was plant based, and those recipes are on the recipe side of this blog.  So my dinner again was pretty much plant based. 

     There are so many vegans that are in your face about this lifestyle.  It's such a turn off to me.  We need to leave a trail or be an quiet example to those we love and associate with.  It goes a lot farther than getting into a yelling match on who is right or wrong. 

     At this holiday season, make goals to be a better person.  Reach for the sky!  Blaze your own trail, and be brave enough to stick to it.  Remember it's okay to flub up once in a while, but try to remember those things that you have learned.  Help those around you see how this lifestyle has changed your life.  Treat them like you would want to be treated. 

   P.S.  As far as my pulmonary embolisms are going, I can now breath without too much trouble.  I'm still having issues with kidney stones, but I think that is getting better as well.  Hope your holiday season is wonderful!

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Almost Decided to Give Up!

     Yesterday I went to work as normal.  I arrived at work at 645 am and picked up my shift assignment.  I felt a bit short of breath, but thought nothing of it.  My shift assignment was relatively an easy one.  I just had one patient that was a bit more work than the other ones. 

     As the day progressed, the shortness of breath became worse.  I was having a hard time catching my breath, and when I did I felt relieved and carried on with my day.  Then it became a lot worse, so I went to my nurse and asked if she would do my vitals.  Turns out that my blood pressure was 165/95.  It alarmed her, and she asked me to talk to the charge nurse.  He told me to go to head over to employee health after I spoke to the other charge nurse and he said I can't tell you to go to the emergency department, but I would strongly advise to.  Needless to say he drove me there. 

     After an EKG, an x-ray, some blood tests it was determined that I had suffered a pulmonary embolism or blood clot to my lungs.  REALLY?  Not again!  Yes it's true.  I had suffered this same plight almost 6 years ago, but with that one I had warning.  That one started in my leg, and then went to my lung.  My poor husband was despondent, and we both shed some tears while in the ED.  Needless to say it was a very scary awful day.  On top of this, my poor husband lost his job. 

     Wait a minute!  I'm eating a whole foods plant based diet!  Isn't that supposed to help with all illnesses?  Isn't that supposed to make us feel like we are on top of the world, and exempt from things?  Well that's what I thought until I started talking to people, and digging for answers.  I was ready to throw in the towel and go back to eating a SAD (standard American diet).  Why not, I got sick, and this sickness has killed people, what did I have to lose really!

     There are some illnesses that diet just isn't going to help.  I may be very well predisposed to getting blood clots.  It might be a genetic problem.  I will see a pulmonologist tomorrow and talk with him about why in the world I'm getting these.  Eating this way did not cause my blood to become sticky.  It couldn't have.  There has to be another reason.  Many of my siblings have had them, and my father died from one. 

     Just because we eat this way doesn't mean everything will be peachy.  We all have trials and complications.  There will always be something that diet alone cannot cure.  That doesn't mean though that this diet or lifestyle rather is not a good one.  It truly has changed my life.  It has saved some innocent animals, and made a difference on this good planet we call earth.  We just need to hang tight, continue what we are doing and push forward. 

     Now there are some things that I think I'm going to tweak a bit.  My family likes to go out to eat, but now that my husband lost his job we won't be doing that.  That alone will help to get the oil out of my diet, and since I will be cooking whole foods and I don't have money for processed then I should be able to be SOS (salt, oil, sugar) free.  Okay, none of us are perfect and I have cheated a lot with sugar.  It's truly my downfall.  Now is my chance to really get my butt in gear.  I guess my point to all this is to never ever ever give up.  I wouldn't recommend doing it this way, but it is what it is, and we all get to a better lifestyle one way or another. 



I Just Don't Understand People!

     Since working at the local hospital, I have come in contact with a great many people, and I have talked to many of them about diet.  I am a CNA, so we do so much for these people that I see all day long.  There are so many cases of strokes, heart attacks, and broken bones.  Some people are so sad! They have so much to deal with after a stroke.  Some have what is called aphasia.  People that have left sided weakness sometimes struggle with aphasia which is the inability to speak or sometimes understand what is being spoken to them.  A stroke on the left side causes aphasia because your language center is in the left side of your brain.  Sometimes an arm or a leg are often affected to the point of being in a wheelchair the rest of their lives.

     A great many of our patients have diabetes.  Finger sticks are a common occurrence with every meal served and sometimes before bed.  One patient sticks out in my mind.  He is one of our bigger patients.  His numbers fluctuate all day long.  His wife (bless her heart) brings in all kinds of goodies for him.  LOTS of fast food, but he has told the nursing staff that as long as he can take his insulin, it's all good!  Excuse me what????  He has cancer, and we all know that sugar feeds cancer.  I don't understand!  His life is on the line!  He could rid himself of diabetes if he would change a few things. Get rid of the soda for one!  Then all animal products!  I chatted with him about a plant based diet, and he had no interest.  If my life was on the line, I would do everything I could to change the outcome.

     I have sent out articles to friends about all kind of diseases, and I get the cold shoulder.  Now I know not everyone agrees with my weird ideas.  Not everyone is ready to give up their hamburgers, milk shakes, and CHEESE!  After all a bit of olive oil, or a smidge of dairy isn't going to hurt once in a while.  A youtuber whom I love dearly, Jill McKeevor with Simple Daily Recipes said on one of her films, "well I will eat just Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Easter or birthday dinners, or an Uncle's dinner, but it all adds up!"  It all causes issues!

     What is it about people, what are they afraid of?  What drives them to continue to eat until they are sick and dying?  I have started to read The Pleasure Trap by Doug Lisle.  It talks about why we do the things we do.  It's because of that dang dopamine in our brains the feel good hormone.  When we eat things we shouldn't, it causes us to want more and more.  I think I have touched on this before.  Great read by the way!

     At any rate, I'm so thankful for the research I have done.  For changing my diet and feeling soooo much better!  It's a trade off like my husband says.  You either eat garbage and feel terrible, or you eat food that might take some getting used to, and feel 100% better!  I belong to an osteoarthritis group on facebook, and many times have told them if they will just change their diets things will improve.  It takes a bit for your body to detox so that you will feel better, but it will!  Most people just give up. Back to their crummy way of eating.  Isn't there a saying eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die?  I would rather live a healthy life filled with family and friends and die from old age in my sleep then die from some disease that will ravage my body.  When things get tough, just keep swimming.  You may fall off the wagon from time to time, but just climb back up!

Thrive Market

     I watch YouTube a lot!  I have been seeing a lot about Thrive Market, and people will say how great it is.  I went back and forth trying to decide if this would be worth it to try.

     Well this week I finally gave in, and Thrive did not disappoint!  I got all this, and started my membership with a free month.  This cost me 40.00 but I saved 50.00.  My first 3 orders I get 20.00 off.  Shipping was free, and always is if you order 49.00 worth of items.  Totally worth it when you think you don't have to go to Whole Foods or any store for that matter.

     Another perk to belonging to Thrive is for every membership, Thrive will donate to a family or a person in need.  For instance, they will give a free membership to those that qualify.  It's a win win for everyone.

     If you want to get your first 30 days free and 20 off your first three orders, use this code http://thrv.me/YzfREK  Don't wait like I did, I'm so happy I joined!  Let me know what you think!

Sugar! Huge Addiction

    The definition of addiction is:  the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.  

     Who has an addiction?  None of us are exempt.  Weather it's pornography, alcohol, cigarettes, food, tanning, exercise!  There are a ton of addictions out there.  I work at a hospital, and a patient that I worked with was addicted to keeping a oximeter prob (measures the amount of oxygen in your system) on her finger.  Also keeps track of heart rate, and she would not take it off.  She was obsessed or "addicted".  

     So why are there things we are addicted to?  Wait!!!  I forgot to tell you, that my addiction is SUGAR!  I continue to try to rid myself of the stuff.  Why are we addicted?  What causes us to crave these things?  One word.  Our brain!  Actually that is two, but you get the picture.  

     Our brain produces a chemical called dopamine.  It's the feel good hormone.  When we are addicted to something, weather it be alcohol, drugs, sex, or food that hormone is triggered.  It's the feel good hormone, or reward and pleasure center of the brain.  

     When I eat sugar that dopamine is released.  It's a reward for me, and the more I eat the more I want.  This past year Americans have eaten more sugar than ever before, 160 pounds to be exact per person per year. Think about it though sugar is in everything!  From ketchup to bread, potato chips, canned soups etc.  It's hard to get away from sugar and the industry knows that if they put it in everything, you will buy more of their products.  Why, because it's addicting and you will end up buying more and more.   

     However, there is one way to rid yourself of sugar.  Learn to read labels.  Sugar has a lot of names, 56 to be exact.  For a listing of these sugars check out this link    https://www.thecandidadiet.com/56-names-sugar-eating-realize/  Truly blows my mind.  So here is the thing.  We all need to educate ourselves to reading labels.  The two most important things I look for when buying a processed food are oil, and sugar.  

     What exactly does sugar do to our bodies?  Whenever I have a nutritional question, I head over to nutritionfacts.org.  Dr. Gregor can answer almost any question you have about nutrition.  Here is a video about sugar, and how it affects our bodies.  None of it is good.  https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-much-added-sugar-is-too-much/  Nutrition Facts.org has a whole slew of videos about sugar.  

     What about natural sugars in fruits?  This brings me into another subject.  Eating a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet is one of the best ways to nourish our bodies.  If we just eat the whole food, and steer clear of processed foods, we can overcome so many adverse affects from sugar. 

     Why is it so hard to give up?  Well here comes the dopamine thing again.  It makes us feel good!  Right this minute, I'm trying so hard to rid myself of sugar.  I haven't succeeded very well.  There was one week where I didn't have any.  Then I went to work, and the nurses had brought all kinds of junk food.  I guess I need to stay out of the break room.  

     If anyone has any ideas on how to get rid of a sugar addiction, I would appreciate feedback on this article, and if you could comment below so that everyone in this discussion can benefit.  

     Have an awesome week with NO sugar!   

Preparing for Vacation

     It's summer and you have so many plans to get away for a break from the norm.  This week we are leaving for a dream vacation with a couple of our dear friends.  We have been planning this trip to Hawaii for a whole year, and it's finally here!  Tickets are bought, condo is rented and we are so excited!

     This morning, I decided to look online to see if vegan options are available in Hawaii.  Last year at this time, when we originally decided to do this, I didn't give it much thought to the food situation because I wasn't really a strict eater, but now the thought of eating meat turns my stomach.  It doesn't even taste good anymore.  So I decided to look into the food that most Hawaiians eat.

     The traditional food in Hawaii is Poi.  It's a starchy vegetable.  Have you ever experienced Poi?  When I was a young girl, I was invited to a Tongan Luau.  That was my first experience with the infamous Poi.  It wasn't a great experience.  It is a grayish green glop and really didn't have much flavor.  I know my tastes have changed, but we shall see!  I guess I'm willing to try it again!

     I looked at a site online to see what the top 13 dishes are in Hawaii, and let me tell you it doesn't look very promising for a vegan diet.  Take a look.  Poi is listed!  https://www.buzzfeed.com/mbvd/ono-hawaii-foods?utm_term=.kfOQzjKXqr#.mjpr0DvGEP

     Then..... I looked to see what vegans are eating on the island.  Fruit!  Lots and lots of fruit!  Rice, sweet potatoes, shaved ice, and of course pineapple!   I love Sweet Simple Vegan YouTubers, and I knew that they had just got back from Hawaii so I checked them out.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iat6FH4i3lc  I guess I won't be buying a watermelon for 27.00!  Yikes!

     For all those that don't know, there is also an app that you can get called Happy Cow.  You can get it for your smart phone, or just look them up online.  It's 3.99 for your phone, but well worth it!  https://www.happycow.net/  In this app, you can type in the city or zipcode, and it locates all the vegan restaurants in the area!  Very helpful!

     I will be posting to my facebook page, A Plant Friendly Diet for Better Health my experience in Hawaii.  If you are interested.  Come on over there and like my page!




     My husband and I went to Whole Foods today to get a salad.  (I think it will be a while before we do that again)  Dang expensive!  It was very good though!

     I just like to walk around that store, and look at all the fun things.  It's amazing to me, that food has changed since I was a kid.  I remember eating bolony and cheese sandwiches, and at that time we didn't know anything about nitrates, which is the big proponent of cancer.  We didn't think at all about how cheese affects your body.  The science wasn't there.  I also remember how cheap it was for my parents to by halibut, and oh how I loved that fish!  Again no science.

     As in a lot of grocery stores they have tables set up to sample new products.  We talked with a lady selling a new bar made with dates.  Nothing can replace my Lara Bars!  Anyway...... we got to talking to this lady about our plant based diets.  She said I'm mostly plant based, but I eat fish.  "How can you not eat fish" she says.  "It's so healthy!"  She talked about being vegan, but in the same breath said that fish was good for you.  Is it?

     Okay, I will admit when we lived up in North Idaho we did consume fish as we thought it was the healthier alternative to red meat.  I also ate a lot of fish growing up, because we were led to believe that it was healthly!   As I have come to find out through research, it is not a healthier alternitive.  Fish has just as much saturated fats that any other meats do.  The other problem with fish, is it also has high levels of mercury, and pollutants from our oceans and lakes.  We just watched What The Health on Netflix, and they talk a great deal about fish.  I highly recommend watching this film. So informative!

 According to Dr. John McDougall:

      Fish is high in animal protein and the kinds of protein that make up fish are very acidic in nature. The high acid load caused by the ingestion of fish results in bone loss, which eventually leads to osteoporosis.7  Eskimos are among the highest consumers of fish on Earth; they also have the highest rates of osteoporosis of any people on our planet.  After the age of 40 years, Eskimos of both sexes have from a 10% to 15% greater bone loss than do whites in the US of the same age.8  The Eskimos consume up to 2,500 mg of calcium a day, mostly in the form of fish bones – this large calcium intake is offset by the high protein content (250 to 400 grams a day) – much of this coming from fish.

The complete article, https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2003nl/030200pufishisnothealthfood.htm

     I have learned so much over the last year and a half about how this lifestyle is so much better than how I was eating as a kid, but again the science wasn't there when I was a kid.   There was no education about things we put into our bodies.  It makes perfect sense to me.  It's like putting the wrong fuel in a car!    I'm so thankful that now we have cleaned up our diets, and are becoming healthier and healthier.

Intuitive Eating

     Do you ever eat when you are bored?  Do you eat when you are watching a movie?  Do you eat at specific times during the day?  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  I have been and still am guilty of doing this!  

     I remember when I was raising my three children.  At times I would place food in front of them when the clock struck 12:00, and was very worried when they didn't eat or they just ate a bite or two. Then during checkups I would mention it to the doctor, and she said, kids eat when they are hungry.  How did we get on the band wagon of eating during certain times?  Maybe because that's what our parents did, and their parents etc?  Seems like it's a culture thing.  The American diet has taken a turn, that I'm not sure will ever get rectified.

     When I started this lifestyle, I still went along with 3 meals a day, and 2 snacks.  I often still, when I'm not at work eat 3 meals a day.  This is a hard habit to break.  

     Okay, but I still haven't answered the question of what is intuitive eating.  Intuitive eating is eating only when you are hungry, and stopping when you are full or satisfied.  Intuitive eating is listing to your body, feeling those hunger pains in your stomach.  I have noticed that some days I'm hungrier than others.  Some days I eat when I'm bored. With all my children far away in college, I often find myself in the pantry trying to see what there is to munch on.  I need to find a hobby, and now that the weather is nice I need to venture outside.  

     On days that I work at the hospital, I wake up at 4:50, and hurry to get ready.  I have to leave at 6:10.  At that time in the morning I'm not hungry at all.  I drink a liter of warm water with 1/2 of a fresh lemon squeezed into it.  I still have to take my Celebrex for my knee, so I generally eat a cracker of sorts so my tummy doesn't get upset.  Later on in the morning when things have quieted down at the hospital, I feel my tummy start to rumble, and I take a quick break to go eat some oatmeal that I prepared the night before.  That seems to help, and off I go for another few hours.  

     Our lunches don't start until after our patients have eaten.  Generally around 1-2.  Some days, I don't get hungry again until 3 in the afternoon, and depending on what is going on, or who has had lunch I can get away with eating that late.  Then when I get off at 7:00 pm, I'm not hungry at all, or I have a light snack when I return home.  Sometimes just a good drink of water is all I need.  Then I'm off to bed so I can get up for another long 12 hours shift at the hospital.  Generally I can go 16 hours without eating again.  This is intuitive eating.  I just struggle with it at home, and probably because I'm home with my hubby, or just don't have enough to do to keep me out of the pantry.  

     Benefits of eating this way are you really become in tune with your body.  You don't over eat, and you lose weight.  I am still hanging on to weight, but I know if I just eat intuitively that the weight will come off.  I have over eaten when I go out of town, and then when I come home I eat this way, and the weight comes off again.  

     Here is a video from High Carb Hannah.  She makes a lot of great points for intuitive eating.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nar9BXTBK0  I do know that if we fall off the wagon, we just need to pick ourselves up and keep trying.  It will all be worth it in the end!

The Difference Between V and V

Image result for whole foods plant based diet

     My hubby and I came back from Salt Lake City this past week, and we had lots of discussion about the way we have chosen to eat.  We always have great discussions, and we always read
from some of my favorite books like The Starch Solution, The China Study, and How to Reverse  Diabetes. We always learn something new.
     One question that my husband asked and one that others have asked is what is the difference between vegans and vegetarians.  This is my understanding.  Vegetarians eat lots of veggies and fruit, but they also consume dairy and eggs.  Which I don't totally understand, if you are going to give up things why not just give up everything that is bad for you, but..... to each their own.

     Vegans on the other hand are a bit more complicated.  When I started this whole adventure, I was considered to be plant based, meaning I didn't give up meat and dairy for the animals.  Being plant based is mainly for health reasons.  As a plant based eater we also try, (notice I say try) to not eat anything processed like oils or junk food.  Vegans eat oils, and junk food.  Vegans can and will eat oreos, potato chips, coke, etc.  They are PETA people, and I don't mean people eating tasty animals. They will fight to the death to save animals which after I started this I learned so much about the cruelty that happens to the animals people eat, and I have to agree that what happens is awful.  I don't think I would protest a farm though as I'm kind of a chicken.

       I have been on facebook groups where stanch vegans will get into arguments about leather and handbags.  I can say this, that I don't agree with what goes on, but arguing and carrying on gives people the hebbie jebbies.  To me it's a big turn off.  I would rather educate people and lead by example.  Just the way I am.

     I have also been kicked off a McDougal group for asking a question about oil, and why a tsp would hurt you.  This to is an insult and a turn off.  When people ask for help, why not offer all you know without getting your undies in a twist.

     I'm happy and proud that I am a whole foods plant based eater.  This lifestyle has changed my life and the lives of my family.  Really that's all that matters.


Keeping it Simple

Image result for food pyramid 1950s     When I first started this lifestyle (notice, this is not a diet) I was soooo overwhelmed!  I had grown up in a house that where meat, dairy, eggs, sugar were used all the time.  Food back then (man, that makes me sound old) was a lot cheaper.  Meat didn't cost an arm and a leg.  I remember eating halibut all the time.  Now it's 10.00 plus per pound!   This is what the food pyramid looked like when I was a kid.  I'm sure the meat and dairy industry had something to do with it.  Yikes!

     When I was in high school, I took Home Ec  and we learned how to bake goodies and had a restaurant at school where we served all the "wrong" foods that we cooked in class.  I loved that class, but it taught me to eat the wrong things, and I was chubby in high school!

     It wasn't until after high school that I started to thin out.  I had friends that I would go to the gym with, and I tried to eat healthy. Still there was always dating, going out with friends and binging on all the wrong foods for sleepovers and movie nights.

     Then I got engaged.  I slimmed right down because I wasn't hungry at all!  I fit into a size 12 wedding dress with no problems.  Okay, now I know what you are thinking, that size 12 is pretty big in our minds these days, but guys I'm 6 feet tall!  I'm not a little girl, and never will be.  Size 12 for me is awesome!  I chunked right back out when I started having a family.  I yo yo dieted a lot!

     Well, I sure got off on a tangent!  I started saying that when I started this, I was overwhelmed with the cooking style of this lifestyle.  It can be so overwhelming at times, and sometimes you just want to cook something fast.  I also have a ton of recipes on my blog, but really they are time consuming, and working full time at the hospital leaves me tired and I just want to do nothing.  Even though I eat right, and have a ton of energy, I just want me time.  12 hour shifts 3 straight days in a row, you understand right?

     Anyway...... what I'm getting at is we need to simplify our lives so we can enjoy life.  I do batch cooking with beans, rices, oats, and potatoes.  I also LOVE mexican food and always have salsa or pico on hand.  Instead of cooking all these fabulous meals, why not just throw all this stuff together! Beans go on rice with pico or salsa, beans go on greens with rice and pico, beans go with frozen corn, rice with pico or salsa.  Do you see a pattern here?  LOL   Will I tire of this?  I highly doubt it!  If I do, then I will have sweet potatoes with cinnamon (which I discovered yesterday for breakfast) OOOOOOO it is soooooo good and....so  simple!  Find things you love to eat, and repeat.  

     Summer is here and there is too much to do outside than to be stuck in the kitchen cooking up fancy dishes.  It's my goal in the next couple of months to just keep it simple.  I won't be posting a ton of recipes this summer, as I'm just going to throw things together.

     If you have questions make sure to find me on my facebook page!  I love a good discussion!


Vacation! Continuation

     This past weekend we went to my son's graduation from college, and had to stay in a hotel as he and his wife live in this tiny, on campus apartment.  We love this trip to northern Idaho because the scenery is gorgeous!  It gives us a chance as well to relax from all the stuff that has to be done on the home front.  

     What do you do about the food!!!  How does one eat whole foods plant based?  Let me tell you, it's a bit of a challenge.  My son and his family eat this way as well, but this weekend was a free for all!  They just had a baby 2 months ago, and still are adjusting to that.  

     The hotel that we stayed in didn't have a breakfast bar (the last one did) so I bought a mini rice cooker from Amazon before our trip and I packed some oats and flax and cooked it in the rice cooker. We also took along a cooler and packed lots of fruit.  Most mornings when I first wake up, I'm not hungry so I eat a banana or some melon, and then by around 9:00 am, I'm starving.  However, we had to be at the stadium at 7:30 am, so I had to make oats early to hold me until we got something else. Let me tell you, it was a lifesaver to have that because at least I got one good meal, and we didn't have to stop at McDonald's for a gross egg mcmuffin!  

     After the graduation, there was a reception for students, parents and professors.  They had a spread of cake, and lots of cheeses, crackers and a few veggies.  I didn't partake of any of it because of that, and also it was hard to get to with all the people.  After that was done, we went to our church building to be with family to have lunch.  Pizza was on the menu, and by this time I was starving!  So yes I had some pizza and cake later.  Sometimes there are no choices, and for me I didn't want to make a big deal about it.  This celebration was for my son, not my diet.  I gained 2 pounds over the weekend, but now those 2 pounds are now gone, and I'm back on track.  

     We did go to a restaurant the next evening, and there were vegan choices, but I could have kicked myself because my wrap had cheese on it.  As I'm learning, I need to remember to be more vigilant of ingredients.  There is nothing I can do about the oil that restaurants cook with.  Dr. McDougall says you can talk to the chef, but there again bringing attention to myself is not really what I want to do, so I eat it and move on.  


Let's Talk About Poop!

     If you are squeamish about poo, don't read any further!  LOL  It's a part of life, or at least it should be!  Okay, this is where it's going to get personal.  How often do you poop?  Once a day, once every other day?  Two to three times a day?

     Before I started this lifestyle, it was maybe once every three days for me, and now...... 3-5 times a day!  And when it was so infrequent, it was so hard to pass!  Yeah, I told you if you can't handle the subject, just don't continue reading.

     In all seriousness though, pooping, bowel movements, are important!  I work at a local hospital, and when a patient doesn't have a bowel movement, stool softeners, prune juice are given and then if that doesn't work, they give a suppository or do finger stimulation!  YIKES!

     A lot can happen if we don't consistently have a BM.  Cancer for one is a big concern for many Americans.  According to Dr. Michael Gregor breast cancer in woman is cut in half by having a normal daily BM.  He says that chemicals that are in the colon can get into the blood stream and then reach the breast tissue.  He goes on to say that the acids that are not flushed out of our colon with plant foods can be absorbed and enter the blood stream.  Watch the complete video.

     Have you ever heard that if your gut is healthy, everything else is healthy?  This is what Dr. McDougall says about our guts, and this is so fascinating to me.
Approximately 28 feet of digestive tube, known as the gut and intestine, processes our foods into life giving nutrients. The first 23 feet, which include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine mechanically divide the foods we eat, mix them with digestive enzymes, and then break them into microscopic particles ready for absorption into the body. The last five feet, known as the large intestine, or colon, works as a microbial factory. More than 400 different species of bacteria have been identified living in a single person. These bacteria are not distributed randomly throughout the intestinal tract, but are found in different numbers and kinds in different regions of the gut. The stomach and small intestine contain low numbers, the last part of the small intestine contains many more organisms. Within the colon their concentration reaches 1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion) per milliliter of feces. On the typical American diet one-third of the dry weight of the feces is bacteria. (On a healthy diet, dietary fiber dilutes the concentration.) Although the bacteria are the predominant microflora, protozoans, yeast and other microorganisms are also present.

     WoW!  From the time we put something in our mouths to the time it exits our bodies it either nourishes our bodies for good or bad.  Here are some reasons to have a healthy digestion.

Benefits of a Healthy Gut Microflora
  • Increase the natural resistance to infections from bacteria, yeast, and viruses
  • Prevent traveler’s diarrhea
  • Speed healing from diarrheal diseases and relapsing colitis
  • Improve digestion
  • Relieve constipation
  • Stimulate the immune system
  • Lessen symptoms of inflammatory arthritis
  • Suppress cancer development and growth
  • Reduce sex hormones
  • Reduce cholesterol and triglycerides
     Since eating this way, I don't get sick as often.  I remember every winter before becoming plant based I would get a horrific cold.  I sometimes now get a feeling of a cold coming on, but it will only last a day.  I had a super bad sore throat a couple of weeks ago, and thought oh boy here it comes, so I bought cough drops and such.  I woke up the next morning with not even a sniffle or a memory of a sore throat!  I know how we eat can help our immune systems.  I work with many very sick patients, and between washing my hand off, drinking a ton of water, and eating a stellar diet is why I'm relatively a healthy person.  I have had my challenges with kidney stones, blood clots, and arthritis, but since going plant based the kidney stones are non existent, I take an aspirin every day and am active to ward off a clot, and now I have really cleaned up my diet to hopefully help my arthritis.  I have also reversed my diabetes.  Life is good, and so is a good poop!  

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Lentils and Legumes

     How many of you eat lentils and legumes?  I think out of all the legumes, black beans and lentils are my most favorite.  I like them all, but lentils are so versatile.   They can be used in chili, salads, lentil loaves.  You can eat them cold or hot.  Another thing that I love about lentils, is they cook up so quickly.  If you have ever rehydrated beans, it's an all day, all night affair unless of course you use an Ipot, but lentils cook up within 20 minutes or so, and if you are anything like me who doesn't plan your meals or think something sounds good and you get a wild hair you can do a pot of lentils within minutes.

     Lentils have a history..... It's thought that lentils date back as far as 8000 years and have been found in archaeological finds in the Middle East.  Lentils were mentioned in the bible both as the item that Jacob traded for his birthright and as part of a bread that was made during the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people.

     Before the 1st century, they were introduced into India.  Currently, the leading commercial producers of lentils include India, Turkey, Canada, China and Syria.  It's believed they originated in central Asia.

     So how are lentils good for you?  They are heart healthy.  They have a high fiber content, significant amounts of folate and magnesium both of which are heart healthy.  Lentils also give you energy to burn while stabilizing blood sugar levels.  If you have hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like lentils can really help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow burning energy.
Iron!!!  I remember my sister was concerned that I wouldn't get enough iron if I didn't eat meat. Lentils replenishes iron levels, especially for menstruating women.

     Lentils like other legumes are packed with fiber.  Both soluble, and insoluble.  Soluble helps with cholesterol to take it out of the body, and insoluble helps us so we don't become constipated, although on a plant based diet, I don't think that is really a problem.

     Lentils also provide lots of vitamins and minerals.  B1, B6, pantothenic acid, zinc, potassium.
If you want more info about this magic bean, read the article in full below.    

     Make sure when you consume any legume if they are a dried bean to sort them and rinse them.  Often times you will find rocks in them.  Then you will find yourself going to the dentist.  I use a lot of green and brown lentils, and red lentils are great for thickening as they absorb water.

     I have a couple of lentil recipes on my blog, but I need more!  I think I will be making lentil loaf this week while the husband is gone on business.  It's not his favorite, but I love it.

     This is a picture of the lentils I have in my pantry.  I buy them in bulk at WINCO.  Experiment with lentils.  They are flat delicious!


Factory Farms

     When I started this lifestyle I wasn't doing it for the animals.  I was doing it for my health.  I was sick and tired of being on medications, and worrying what was going to happen to me if I didn't do something.  So 1 year and 3 months ago I started a lifestyle that would change my life forever.  Then I began to really look into things.  I started watching Youtube videos pertaining to a vegan lifestyle. One video lead me closer to other people's videos.  I have subscribed to so many plant based groups and people!  Some of my favorites are High Carb Hannah, Simple Daily Recipes, Happy Healthy Vegans, The Happy Pear, just to name a few.  If you want more ideas let me know, and I will post more.

     With these videos came information about factory farms.  Now I grew up in the late 50s, early 60s (yes I'm old)!  LOL  Nothing was mentioned then about factory farms.  I do remember driving by a slaughter house on the way to pick up my father from work, and I remember to this day the smell.  It didn't smell like anything else.  It smelled like death.  I never gave it much thought though, maybe because of my age, but we also ate meat in our home every night for dinner.  I remember taking tuna sandwiches in my lunch to school, and hot dogs at bar b ques.  Life then was simple and not convoluted.  My parents got Kentucky Fried Chicken on occasion when my mom didn't want to cook. McDonald's was also around back then, but all these other fast food chains were not around.  Life was a bit slower and relaxed, ah the good old days.

     As I became more acquainted with a plant based lifestyle, I also because acquainted with factory farms, and I cannot tell you how disturbing they are.  It is a horror show!  Things that I can't even bear to watch.  I was encouraged to watch Earthlings.  You can watch it on Youtube if you so desire.  I got 1/4 of the way through it, and couldn't watch anymore.  I tried again, and again.  I cannot get through it.  The way those animals are treated is deplorable. If you believe in God, like I do, you have to know that he would not approve of this way of farming at all.  Pigs and cattle are stunned with a bolt to their heads, and while still alive are hung by their back feet while their throats are slit.  Baby chicks that are male are sent through a grinder because they are no use to a chicken farm, and pigs are kept in cement crates and they can't turn around or get to their babies after giving birth.  Did you know that a pig is smarter than  your dog or cat?  Did you know they are highly intelligent?

     So what are the numbers of vegans around the world?  In the UK alone 350% have left a carnivore diet and switched to a plant based or vegan diet.  According to Raw Food World 16 million Americans are now vegan.  I have looked online to see what the number is of animals being saved lately from so many people starting to eat healthy no meat lives, but I couldn't find a number.  I'm sure every little bit helps.

     Not only are we saving lives of animals, but we are helping the environment.  There are pig farms in the US that are disgusting.  Here is a video about a pig farm in North Carolina.  There is no cruelty shown in this video, but it explains the amount of waste that this big farm produces, and the stench that people near by have to deal with.
When we lived in Utah, we lived next door to a family that were raising pigs, and they had maybe 5-6 pigs.  When the wind blew just the right way the smell was awful.  I can't even imagine living close to a big factory farm of pigs.

     Now I don't condone what PETA does either.  These people are ruthless.  They are in your face about animal rights.  They don't let up either.  I believe that if we lead by example, and try to spread the word in a calm manner that we will have better luck than yelling and screaming at people, yelling to me is a turn off.  I truly believe that eating this way is better for all of us including the animals.

     There are more and more restaurants and grocery stores that are selling vegan foods.  I love going to Whole Foods, and Trader Joes to find things that you can't find at the grocery store.  You may pay a bit more, but to me it's worth it.  However, today at Walmart I noticed I could get Bear Naked Granola in the cereal isle.  The word is getting out there little by little.  Baby step by baby step.  It's exciting to watch, and as this spreads hopefully we will see a shift in healthy humans.  I can dream can't I!!!

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     This past weekend we traveled to North Idaho to see our newest grand daughter.  It was so much fun to play with her older sister and just to hold that new baby, and cuddle.  I have to tell you though, that I figured out that we have children when we are young for a reason.  Every night going back to the hotel, I was exhausted.  Those two wore me out!  I'm old!  LOL

     Traveling can be a challenge to eat a whole foods, plant based diet.  It can be done though.  Being oil free is a bit more challenging though.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn, and they offer a continental breakfast.  On this breakfast buffet they had all the bad stuff i.e. eggs and bacon, waffles, yogurt, biscuits and gravy, but they also had oatmeal!  Hooray!  Something I could eat.  I added some brown sugar to sweeten it because the bananas went fast and I never could get one.  They also had bread that could be toasted and had jam.  I topped the oatmeal with cinnamon, and raisins and a few cashews.  No milk though.  This is what I ate every morning, and I was satisfied.

     After breakfast we went and spent the day with our kids and grandkids, and because they to are plant based it wasn't too difficult.  However, I think we ate out every day, so it was a bit more challenging and in a college town not many choices.

     We went to the Chinese buffet one night, and there were lots of vegetable choices.  I have grown to like sushi.  I prefer the nori sheet to be on the inside of the rice as to me it's really strong tasting of fish, but if it's on the inside it's not too bad.  There is always rice as well at those places, and they did have a salad bar, but the lettuce looked old.  We also went to a place called Mikey's.  It was a Greek restaurant.  I got a falafel sandwich with no feta cheese and it was very good.  The last night we went to Wingers and the choices were nil and void.  Sometimes there are no good choices.  I just did the best I could, and decided that once was not going to hurt me.  I also discovered that because I'm plant based that I have the monopoly on places to choose from.  We try extra hard to find places that serve a vegan diet.

     In May we are headed back down there for graduation and we are staying in a motel with no breakfast.  So what do you do when that situation arises.  I will just have to plan ahead.  I got an Instant Pot (in fact I have 2)!  LOL  I will pack some oats and toppings for oats and take soy milk in a cooler.  Most places have a mini fridge and a small microwave so that you can take oats and cook them there.  I cannot stand quick oats though, which is why I will probably crate along my instant pot. I will also take some cut up fresh fruits, and maybe some nut butter.  It's a bit more planning, but let me tell you, I feel so much better when I eat right.

     I have also noticed that even when you eat a vegan diet at restaurants, that everything is covered in oil!  I was listening to something not too long ago, that when you go into these places to ask them not to cook in oil.  I haven't gotten that brave yet, but some dishes are dripping in the stuff.  I can feel it on my teeth, and makes me sick after eating it.  I'm pretty sure as this movement gains more momentive and popularity that people and chefs will become more savvy to how things should be cooked.  I'm holding onto that day!

     All in all it was well worth it to see those cute little faces of my grand children, and to also watch my own children discover that raising a family is hard hard work.

     North Idaho is gorgeous!  This is in McCall!

How Can People Be So Closed Minded!!!

     I was talking with a friend on facebook this morning about diet and diabetes.  She has diabetes.  She takes a lot of medicines for her disease.  I have talked to her about it before that if she would only change her diet, she could rid herself of the drugs that she takes.  She told me to STOP!

     About a year ago, I was caring for a lady that was crippled by MS.  Her hands were starting to curl inward, and it was all she could do to feed herself.  I was there to use a hoyer lift, (pictured below)
Image result for hoyer liftto help her use the bathroom which was a commode next to her bed.  When she was diagnosed there was a doctor, and I can't remember his name who discovered that MS could be cured with a plant based diet.  I asked her if she had tried it, and she said no because it hadn't been proven, and that a plant based diet was too much work.  Her husband is diabetic, and eats a horrible diet consisting of processed garbage.  He has to work, and do the cooking as she is just not able to do it, and he isn't willing to eat a healthy diet.

     My sister and I have talked a lot about diet and diabetes.  She told me she just doesn't want to be bothered that it's too much work, and she is too old to care.

     What is wrong with people???  Why would a person want to stay sick, and live a life of pills or shots?

     Does food really matter?  Can diet change our bodies?  YES!!!  A hundred time YES!  There are many articles about diet and reversing diabetes.  I have worked with people whose lives have been changed because of a plant based diet.  I worked with a couple, and maybe I have written this before and if I have I apologize.  The gentleman of whom I am referring to had kidney function of 21%.  He was headed for dialysis.  He spent a great deal in the bathroom while I was visiting with him for a 2 hour stretch of time.  He and his wife started this way of eating (notice I don't call it a diet), and he is reversing his diabetes.  His function last I heard was 47%!!!!  His doctors are amazed!

     Another couple had issues with triglycerides being too high. 2 months after starting a plant based diet his triglycerides are within normal range.

     So why is it, that people are so closed minded to this?  What are they afraid of?  If you want my opinion, it's because they are just plain stuck in a rut.  They don't have the time to research, they don't want to give up animal products.  They don't think it will help.  There are a million excuses as to why people don't want to eat this way.

     This morning I had to go to the doctor for a bladder infection, and let me tell you the last thing I want to do is take medicine.  I know that if I didn't have to go to work tomorrow I could get it under control with some unsweetened cranberry juice, but I have to work a twelve hour shift tomorrow and no sick time available to take care of this.  Same with my arthritis.  I'm doing all I can to steer away from medicine.  I just hate it, and why people don't want to take control of their health is beyond me.

     A whole foods plant based diet can and has reversed many problems.  I'm a firm believer that we are what we eat.  I also think that people have to be ready for the truth.  Maybe when their health gets really bad, and they are just sick and tired of being sick and tired.....  All I can do is be an example to those around me.