This Has Been Quite the Month

     This week I go in for a kidney stone removal.  I'm a little apprehensive.  Of course with any surgeries there are risks.  I am on blood thinners because I have a clotting disorder, so I will be on blood thinners for life.  The surgeon is keeping me on those thinners because the surgery doesn't involve any cutting.  They will just go up in side, grab those stones and out they will come.  The surgery is all of 60 - 80 minutes long, but I'm looking forward to being done and feeling better!  I have been in pain for over a month with these dang things.  I have heard it is worse than child birth, but given I have only had C-sections and so I don't know about the labor thing. 

     This past week I went in for pre-admission testing.  They didn't have to draw blood as I had a bunch of blood test a couple of weeks ago to find out what was going on with this clotting disorder.  Everything else looked good with my blood work.  My cholesterol was just right, as was everything else.  My blood pressure was normal as well. 

     My nurse said you are very healthy for your age!  I was so tickled that she said that.  There are some things that diet just can't fix like my APS (antiphosolipid syndrome) or clotting disorder.  It can fix kidney stones though.  I just need to drink a ton of water, which I have already started to do.  Once these bad boys come out, it's a gallon of water for me every day. 

     I have read articles that a whole foods plant base diet can cure so many issues.  MS, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure just to name a few  Are you willing to do what it takes to cure your diseases?  It's a trade off.  You either eat really clean and enjoy life to it's fullest without disease, or you eat things that might taste good for a second.  It's totally up to you! 

     I am almost 60 years old!  (How did that happen???)  At any rate, I'm a healthy 59 year old woman, who can see many more years to come, and feeling well enough to enjoy life. 

     Keep me in your thoughts and prayers this coming week!  I make the Calcium stones!  Look how jagged they are!  YIKES!
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     It's true that sugar is addicting.  I'm sorry to say that I'm addicted.  I have had a hard time my whole life being addicted to this stuff.  Growing up, my mother had a treat drawer for the grandkids, I was always in it.  My mother always made donuts for Christmas, because it was a tradition!  Can't sway from tradition!  We always had gum in the cupboard, and when I was 3 years old I climbed up on the counter to get to the gum, fell and broke my arm.  I don't remember the pain from that fall, but I do remember the cast.  I remember walking to the neighborhood store to buy penny candy, and eating most of it even before I got home. 

     When I was a bit older in school we had a field trip to the Wonder Bread factory.  We each got a little loaf of bread, and a bottle of chocolate milk.  I was pudgy in my junior high years, and didn't really start losing weight until I got to high school and got a boyfriend, I guess I just lived on love and stopped eating.  However, there was 7-11 across the street where we would go to get sugar in the form of sodas, and cheap treats! 

     As I got a bit older, and got married and had my family, sugar has always played a roll in our home.  It's a cultural thing in our church.  Go to an activity, have a treat.  I baked quite frequently for my family.  Always had cookies in the cookie jar etc.  I was helping my children to become addicted, and it worked!  My kids also have a sweet tooth.  Vicious cycle. 

     It wasn't until I became a plant based eater that I really learned the truth behind sugar.  I love to listen to Chef AJ.  She talks a lot about calorie density.  That woman eats a lot, and is thin!!  This past week, I listened to a webinar that was posted to Youtube.  I don't think it's available anymore as this is what she uses for her plan, and it's her business.  She talked in great detail how calorie density plays a huge roll in how a body loses weight.  She demonstrates how many apples you could eat compared to how many M&Ms for the same amount of calories.  I had heard her say it before, but for some reason it caught my attention this time.  She also talks how sugar can be so addicting.  There is a pleasure center in our brains.  When we eat sugar or complex carbs ie breads, pancakes etc it turns on our pleasure centers on with dopamine much like drugs.  The more we eat, the more we have to have.  Isn't that how drugs work?  Very addicting!

     I have tried several times to quit the sugar addiction.  I haven't quite yet figured out how to overcome this problem.  I don't have a problem with meat, dairy or oils but sugar is a whole different problem.  I know, don't have it in the house, but I still work full time in a hospital full of nurses that like to bring junk to our break rooms, and a nurse that has chocolate in her office.  I have NO willpower!  If it's in front of me, I sir-come to temptation.  Then I feel badly with stomach aches etc.  When I pack my lunch for work, I pack good things to eat but then the sweet tooth comes to bite me in the butt.  I guess it all boils down to what you want to do with your health with your weight.

     I do know that when my hubby gets a job, I'm going to join Chef AJ and her program for ultimate weight loss.  I have seen people that have had great results working with her.  We all have our crosses to bear, and mine is sugar. 



     Just a fair warning, this blog post is going to be a bit different than my entries in the past.  A lot has been happening in my life, and I felt so many emotions this last couple of days.  If I said I wasn't depressed, I would be lying. 

     As many of you know, I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).  There is so much expected of us as members of his church.  At times it's overwhelming, for example 3 hours of church every Sunday, visiting members, sometimes meetings in the middle of the week.  My ward is so incredibly hard to get to know.  We have lived here over a year, and I have an acquaintance is all.  No one that I can really be friends with.

     When we moved here from Coeur D Alene, I left my dear friend behind that I loved like a sister, heartbroken to leave her.  I miss her everyday! 

     I work in a hospital full time, and I work 3 twelve hour shifts, and mostly 3 in a row.  This is so I can have multiple days off.  I have been learning a new job over this past 2 weeks.  I am a MA - CNA by trade, but my body is breaking down so I have decided to work at the front desk.  My heart aches because I love patient care, to get to know your patients has been such a blessing in my life.  I have seen so many sad cases and miracles as I have worked in the rehab hospital.  Truly blessed my life.  I will miss this work immensely!  However, as we age we can't do as much.  My knees are shot from years of abuse ie, skiing, water skiing and patient care.

     I have also had some challenges in just this last couple of months.  In November I suffered a pulmonary embolism as I'm sure you have read.  This was a devastating diagnosis.  Put on blood thinners, wakeful nights thinking I may not wake up, seriously frightening!  On top of that news, my husband lost his job.  Now I have that to worry about as well.  He is an older gent, and employers do look at that. 

     This past Saturday, I lost one of my dear friends to cancer.  She struggled with this for months, years....She and I had some wonderful memories, why would she be taken so young from her family that loved her, from her friends, and she was so talented in quilting!  She was a wealth of info when it came to sewing.  She had so many talents.  As I'm writing this, tears fill my eyes just thinking about all the great times we had together.  I met her just after we were married 32 years ago.  She became my fast friend.  I have lost too many friends to cancer, and while my husband is my best friend, he's not a girl!  There is just something about girlfriends you know?

     I don't tell you all this to depress you, but it is all kind of depressing.  I tell you this because life is a challenge.  Yesterday I didn't go to church because I was tired, and beat from the news of my friend.  I just needed some time to wrap my head around it.  I also began to think about my future or the week ahead.  Do I really want to wallow in self pity?  Do I want to sit in a dark house all alone and just watch endless hours of Netflix? 

     The answer to the above question, was at first yes!  Then I got to thinking that God really would be upset with me.  My ward is so difficult, but I know he wouldn't want me to give up.  He wants me to endure until the end.  He wants me to fight!  He wants me to be happy!  How can we attain happiness in our lives?  We can follow the Savior, I believe in his atonement!  He died for me!  He paid for my sins.  I must go to the church that is unfriendly because that's where I'm supposed to be!  I can learn more about the Savior, I can do this for me!!!  I'm not there for others, I'm there for me.  I can also be an example to those at church, and be nice to them.

     Another way to come out of the doldrums, is to count my blessings!  I have so much to be thankful for!  I have an amazing husband that supports my every whim!  He loves ME!  We have 3 great children, all who served as missionaries for our church!  One oldest son is married to an awesome girl whom I love dearly, and they have 2 beautiful little girls.  That in itself is so great! 

     Life is so hard!  We all have challenges, no one is exempt!  We are here on this earth to overcome our challenges.  We are here to see how we handle things.  We are here to prove ourselves to do what we know is right.  Life is too short to be sad!  The sun WILL come out!  Things always work out.  I need to have the faith that things will be fine.  It's an ongoing challenge, but I'm sick and tired of being unhappy!  It's time to find things that make me happy.  I need to serve others, to reach out to those that are in need, that way I forget about me and find happiness in serving others. 

     I hope all that read this are doing well.  I hope you are eating healthy and are happy.  Life is what YOU make it! 
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     As you know I have been hypernourishing myself for a while now.  I have learned a lot, and really went into it blindly.  I trust the good doctor that helped devise this protocol, but then I got to thinking, I really should do my own research on this.  We should never ever just go into anything blindly.  So I looked up some of the ingredients in this concoction. 

     Kale, now you can use spinach, but I can't as I make a lot of kidney stones.  Spinach contains high levels of calcium oxalates, and there in lies the problem.  So kale it is.  Did you know that kale is in the cabbage family?  I didn't.  It is super easy to grow, and I might plant it in my garden this summer because I can freeze it for my smoothies.  Why eat kale?  It is low in calories, high in fiber and contains alpha linoleic ALA acid.  This fatty acid is good for brain health, reduces type 2 diabetes risk, and boosts heart health.

     Kale is the new beef meaning it contains iron.  It's important to have high hemoglobin (blood count) in your system, and it helps with our energy.  Don't worry, it's not constipating at all.  Just the opposite.  Iron also helps with cell growth!  

     Kale contains 88% of our daily recommendations for vitamin C more than an orange, and vitamin K to help maintains bone health.  It also helps stop the build up of calcium in your tissues that can lead to stroke and atherosclerosis.   It contains 192% vitamin A which helps our teeth, skin and helps prevent urinary stones!  Okay, I'm there!  

     Kale also contains more calcium than milk, and milk is not the kind of calcium you want.  That is another article though.  Kale doesn't leach calcium out of our bones.  It will protect us from osteoporosis, and hip fractures that so often plague our elderly. 

     Kale also is a great antioxidants key ingredients are quercitin and kaempferol.  Research has shown that these play a role in preventing cancer cell formation.  

     Kale also helps with inflammation.  Because kale is high in vitamin K and omega 3 fatty acids, it helps with inflammation which causes issues with autoimmune diseases like asthma and arthritis.

     Kale also is a good detox ingredient.  It helps our livers by ridding our bodies of toxins.  

     Kale is a power house food!  I try to have a green smoothie everyday.  It's a great way to get all your greens in.  Also because the membranes of the greens are ruptured it's easier for our bodies to assimilate the nutrients found in kale.  

     My smoothies also contain 1/4-1/2 cup of flax seeds.  I will talk about those in my next article!

     Here are my smoothies for my 3 day work week.  I threw them in the freezer, and I will just process them in the mornings before work.  I can't drink all of it before work, so I drink at least half before and then when I get home at 8.  Cheers!

The Intelligence of Animals

     When I started this 2 years ago (man that went fast!) I did not do this for the animals.  I started eating a plant based diet strictly for my health.  My blood pressure was high, I was over weight, and sluggish.  So 2 years ago on January 1st, I started eating healthier.  I have to admit there were set backs, and still I have a hard time not cheating.  I don't cheat by eating meat, I have tasted it here and there, but it doesn't taste good at all!  My issue is with sugar.  I have an extremely hard time not cheating with sugar!

     As the years have rolled on, I have come in contact with a lot of education.  I have talked to many people, and I have learned so much!  I have found what I'm passionate about.  I could talk about nutrition to anyone and everyone.  Well, at least if they will listen.

     Along with that education, has come a lot of information about animals along with factory farms, cruelty and madness.  I think I have mentioned before as a child going to pick up my father from work, and he worked across the street from a slaughter house.  The stench was awful, but sadly as a child I didn't put two and two together. 

     So how intelligent are animals really?  I used to think that cows were the dumbest animal on the planet, but studies have been done that tell us this isn't the case.  Apparently cows have good memories.  They recognize faces, and even after years they still know someone.  They don't eat plants that aren't good for them, and if they are feeling ill they eat plants that help them to feel better.  I have seen films of calves being taken away from their mothers.  I can't even imagine.  The mothers have been know to cry for their babies for hours, even days.  That to me is just so cruel!  Apparently cows have a leader in their groups.  If there is one cow that doesn't want to listen, that cow is isolated from the rest.  They also can learn tricks just like a dog.  Watch this video.  Love this so much! 

     Who likes pigs?  The little ones are so dang cute!  My daughter at one time wanted a mini pig, but we later discovered that mini pigs don't exist.  It's just a scam to make money.  Pigs are highly intelligent.  A study at Cambridge University did a study on pigs, and found out that pigs will recognize themselves in a mirror, that they understand how mirrors work and can use mirrors to find food.  They also will play games in order to get treats.  Some say that they are a dirty animal, and hate the fact that they role in mud, but it's just a way to stay cool.  Researchers have discovered that pigs are as intelligent as a 3 year old child.  Here is another video about a pig named Nelly.  Very interesting.

     When we lived in Utah, we had the opportunity to bottle raise a couple of goats.  My children enjoyed this immensely.  We found out just how smart they were, and that they loved the affection that we gave them.  We would sit in the backyard in chairs, and they would crawl up into our laps for some love.  I wish I had pictures of this.  Queen University in London did an experiment to see if they could train goats to solve puzzles.  I will let you read the article here.

     As you can see these animals are intelligent.  You can see that they enjoy the love and affection that we humans can give them.  Why are they any different than your dog or cat?  I have seen videos of cattle and pigs on their way to the slaughter house, and the fear in their eyes.  I will refrain from showing those videos, but if you are interested there are a lot online. Do your research as I have. Makes me sick to my stomach to watch what really happens in these factory farms.    I know that God isn't happy with how these animals are treated. 

     I have had friends tell me that their farms are not run like a lot of these places, but really the animals are all the same.  They are intelligent creatures.  Eating meat and drinking milk is not for me.  We don't need to eat it!  Eating a plant based diet has blessed my life.  I do still have health problems, but I know I would feel a lot worse if I didn't eat a plant based diet.  I wish a plant based diet would help osteoarthritis, but it's because of my snow skiing and other activities that caused my bad knees, not my diet. 

     We must learn to be compassionate.  We need to learn kindness.  We also need to stand up for what we believe in.  I will never go back to eating meat.  I have learned so much in the last 2 years that it isn't an option for me.  Lets find compassion for all animals!

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The New Year!


 Who fell off the wagon?  Come on, be honest with yourself.  I see posts on Facebook all the time where people say, I have eaten this way for months, and I'm gaining weight.  At times, I don't think they are being honest.  They cheated and just don't want to admit it.  We have all been there.  We all are human.  So what if you cheated, there is always tomorrow!

     I have to admit I did succumb to things I should not have put in my mouth.  My kids came home from college for the holidays.  There are traditions that come with Christmas.  We didn't have the traditional oysters and clam chowder, but there were Christmas cookies with white flour and butter.  Now before you unsubscribe saying I'm hypocritical, please remember that NONE of us are perfect.  We are all on this earth with trials and tribulations, and we are trying to overcome a lot of things.  Sweets are my problem, and cookies that my mom made, and her mother made just come a long with the holiday.  Personally, I don't think one holiday is going to kill us.

     There are those that ridicule others for drinking milk and the milk industry I will agree is horrible.  I am not one of those people who will look down my nose and judge everything that goes in your mouth, after all it's really none of my business.

     Today is a new day, with new ideas and new recipes!  Today we went to Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods and picked up items that filled our fridge and pantry with goodness.  Lots of fruits and veggies.  Potatoes, bananas, soy milk and coconut milk.  Cleaned out the fridge and freezer.  Out with the old, and in with the new.

     The holidays were awesome.  I don't regret making cookies with my kids.  Memories that will last a life time.  I cherish that time with my family.  I look forward to them coming home, and being together.  As we start a new year, do the very best you can to reach the goals you set.  Don't make them unreasonably high or unreachable.  Do something small, and finish that goal, I think 3 goals is perfect!   Try to be a better person than you were last year, but don't beat yourself up if you fumble and fall.  Life goes on, and it's too short to worry about things that are out of your control.  I will never be that skinny 21 year old ever again.  I  need to love myself and accept those things I can't change.  I wish the best for each and everyone of you!  Lets make this a great year!

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By the way, my goals are 
1. Get stronger before my surgery, yoga 3 days a week.
2. Eat a WFPB diet NO Cheating!
3.  Read my scriptures every day!