It's Time To Take Back Your Life

Month: February 2024

Sixty days into my new plant-based diet

For those who are just landing on this post and don’t know my backstory, for the new year, I started a new plant-based diet. I was sick and tired of added medications and new diagnoses. I decided to undertake a Whole Food Plant-Based (Vegan) lifestyle change, to see if I could turn this train around. On this website, you will see “plant-based” and “vegan”, used interchangeably, even though there are differences.

Where I began

I am one of those people, that when I make up my mind to do something, it is at that moment, that I go all in. I don’t need to wait for a Monday to roll around, or the first of the month to start a diet. I figure, why prolong your efforts? Just do it! I have started many diet changes on Friday nights.

During my journey, just when I was getting into a grove of my new plant-based lifestyle, I walked into the kitchen one morning to a puddle of water on the floor. My refrigerator had completely gone out, rendering everything in it and the freezer, not fit to eat. I had to toss everything, including all my fruits and veggies.

I began my hunt for a new refrigerator, which was no easy feat. I made the purchase but had to wait a week for delivery. Then, there were another two days to get it up and running and cooled to the proper temp for food. This was a huge setback for my already achieved gains. 

I reverted to eating the SAD diet again of meat, dairy, processed junk foods, and diet cokes. Drive-throughs saw me every day. I had no way to store fresh vegetables or other healthy items until the new unit arrived. This proved to be costly in so many ways, both to the progress I had gained and my pocketbook. My weight quickly returned to its top figure, and my blood work values increased back to dangerous levels.

I am using my lab results from late November and comparing them to my early February 2024 results. 

The following were milestones and are very encouraging for roughly 8 weeks of a 90/10 percent WFPB ratio diet (and the 9 days of being forced back into the SAD diet). Keep in mind that I still had cheat items such as cheese and half and half creamer I was attempting to overcome.

My results after just 60 days

  • I lost 30 pounds (without exercise) at the time of this posting.
  • Cholesterol – decreased by 66 points.
  • Triglycerides – decreased by 20 points.
  • LDL – decreased by 4 points.
  • LDL Calc Chol – decreased by 27 points.
  • Vitamin B-12 increased by 241 points.
  • Vitamin D – increased by 2 points.
  • Iron – no change
  • My blood pressure decreased from an average of 155/90 to 145/85.
  • My inflammation markers decreased significantly.

Who wouldn’t kill for these types of reductions? In less than 60 days, and without any pills, I saw this much benefit, and all because I stopped the meat, dairy, and processed foods. I know people that have been on several drugs, that haven’t seen this kind of progress. They also have far more potentially dangerous side effects from the drugs, than the benefits they are receiving. I didn’t want that to be me.

Concerns when starting a plant-based diet

Let’s sum up all the concerns that I, like most others, have when contemplating going on a vegan or plant-based diet.  You have to know that I was not your average bear.  I was facing some extremely difficult confirmed vitamin deficiencies that only got worse due to the chemo.  So to say I was reluctant was an understatement.  Here are just a few of my concerns:

  • I will not get enough protein  I have issues with muscle wasting due to an autoimmune diagnosis.  This was huge for me.  My creatinine did decrease slightly so I am going to implement protein powders, tofu, and other things to increase protein intake.
  • I will not get enough Vitamin B-12 (I have been on shots every week for most of my adult life.  Eating a plant-based diet increased my B-12 by 241 points. During this time, I lowered my supplement intake of B-12 by 30,000 mg a week.  Mind-blowing.
  • I will not get enough Vitamin D  I lowered my supplement intake by 30,000 UI a week and it still had a small gain. Another known diagnosed deficiency I was concerned about.
  • I will not get enough iron This was critical to me.  I have iron deficiency anemia and since the chemo, I developed CIA (Chemo Induced Anemia) where I had to undergo IV Iron Therapy.  My iron and RBC values remained the same and slightly improved on the plant-based diet.  Also mind-blowing.

There are a few things that I learned from my results. I will have to pivot in the upcoming months in the area of increasing my protein. I knew my rapid weight loss was most likely a loss of muscle mass because I was not exercising. I haven’t tried tofu yet, so my protein has been mainly beans, lentils, potatoes, and soy milk. I have to begin supplementing with vegan protein powder, tofu, and other products. 

I also must start building my recipes in Cronometer for an accurate calculation of all the macro and micronutrients. Tracking my eating up to dinner is a breeze.  However, I, make a lot of soups.  This just simply takes time and effort on my part. I do not cook by a recipe but by a canvas.  For those that know, you know.  No two soups are the same.  What I am craving, time constraints, and using up the veggies in the frig that are nearing expiration, all play a role in what goes in.  So, calculations on this can be difficult, but I will try and figure this out. 

How did I do it?

The changes that I made were common sense changes and some very specific changes to correct my microbiome. 

  • No meat.
  • No dairy.
  • No fish.
  • No alcohol
  • No soda
  • No granulated sugar. I subbed Allulose in coffee, and dates, and maple syrup in recipes.
  • Plant-based milks of soy and almond were subbed for dairy.
  • The goal was to eat one salad a day. (sometimes I didn’t make this).
  • I stopped using all the cashews and nuts that the YouTube recipes suggested and subbed cannelloni beans instead. It sounds bad but it works wonderfully, especially in dressings and sauces.  This was a tip I picked up from  Thank you, Tami!
  • I tried to zone each meal/snack and consume protein 
  • Ate as much as I wanted on the salads and soups.
  • Ate organic sprouted oats 5 times a week for breakfast, loaded with berries, bananas, and flax, along with nutritional yeast.
  • Began eating starch with each meal in the forms of pasta, potatoes, and rice.
  • Cut out nut butter for now.
  • Stopped flossing, and got a personal WaterPik.
  • Only use distilled water to brush my teeth, and to rinse my mouth.
  • Stopped using fluoride toothpaste and began using  Boka Nano-Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste.
  • Diligent about the water that when into my mouth and stomach. The goal was to reduce/eliminate fluoride.
  • Began tongue scrapping morning and night.
  • Oil pulling one to two times per week with organic cold-pressed coconut oil.

Final thoughts

I am remaining on a plant-based diet. These gains (along with similar past gains) have convinced me a plant-based diet is more beneficial to my health, and that eating meat and dairy is detrimental. 

Each time I ate plant-based, I attempted to disprove this theory.  I didn’t want to believe I could get complete nutritional values from plants.  However, each time, my bloodwork proved me wrong and showed me that I gained more iron, and RBC values on a plant-based diet, along with reductions in cholesterol and triglycerides. My inflammation markers decreased and I had more energy. I am now a true believer. The lab numbers just don’t lie every time.

As I move forward, I am going to pivot with a few key changes. That is what you do. You get benchmark values, follow a lifestyle change, and then check those values again to see if you are moving in the right direction. If not, assess and pivot.

I am still in the baby phase of learning this way of eating, but I know it is far healthier than any animal, fish, or the products they produce.

What’s your new journey? No time let the present.


*As an Affiliate Partner, I could earn a small commission at no cost to you, if you purchase any qualifying purchases.

This blog is for entertainment and informational purposes only.  The information contained within this blog is not intended to diagnose or cure any medical condition.  I am not a physician, licensed dietician, or physical therapist.  This blog is the result of my personal experiences and what I chose to do for a healthier lifestyle.  As always, before you begin a diet, exercise program or add supplements, please consult your healthcare professional.

Essential Small Appliances You Can’t Live Without: 

Welcome to the exciting world of plant-based eating! Whether you’re taking the plunge into veganism or just exploring a plant-based lifestyle, navigating the ins and outs of this culinary journey can be both rewarding and challenging at times. Fortunately, with the right small kitchen appliances, your vegan transition can be a breeze. Let’s dive into the world of blenders, air fryers, and more, to make your plant-based adventure delicious, convenient, and fast.

Most of you probably already have a few of these beauties sitting in your kitchen.  This is a list of beginning basics that are sure to make your life easier when developing a healthier lifestyle. 

Depending on your budget, just get these as soon as you are able.  In my opinion, the most critical for someone just starting will be the high-speed blender, so I would start there.  I have tried to vet and select brands I use and know, and products that fall in all ranges of budgets.

High-Speed Blenders: The Ultimate Smoothie and Sauce Maker

A high-speed blender is probably your most important purchase.  You cannot do much without one.  Embarking on a vegan journey often means embracing the world of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in abundance. A high-quality blender becomes your go-to sidekick for crafting nutrient-packed smoothies, creamy sauces, and mouthwatering dressings. 

Let’s face it, not everyone can afford a Vitamix.  I have a Ninja 1400-watt.  Does it do everything a Vitamix is shown to do?  No, but it didn’t set me back 400+ dollars either.  The big difference I see is when you are making sauces, the Ninja is good, but the Vitamix takes it to the next level with the creaminess of the sauces and soups.  The Vitamix can be purchased in a “reconditioned” or used version as well.  This will save on the wallet and still comes with a healthy warranty.  As for me, a Vitamix will be on my wish list for the future, so I will include it here because we are all in different financial places in life, and it is the gold standard that all other blenders try to replicate.

Recommended Blenders:

Digital Food Scale: Quick and Accurate Measurements

A food scale will be a must in the first months of your journey.  Your weight loss can stall, and frustration will abound.  Having a digital food scale with a tare button makes your recipes and logging all food in your food journal or app a snap and very accurate.  No more guessing and trying to measure to get your conversions. 

Pairing this with a food tracking app like the Cronometer or MyPlate will surprise you at just how much work you have to go on constructing healthier plate-based meals, that are low in fat and high in nutrients.  When you see your macro and micro breakdowns, your mouth can drop, so get ready.

Recommended Digital Food Scales:

Air Fryers for Crispy and Healthy Vegan Delights

Craving that crispy texture without drowning your food in oil? Enter the air fryer, a revolutionary appliance for guilt-free indulgence. From crispy sweet potato fries to golden cauliflower wings, or tofu breaded nuggets, the possibilities are endless. I love whipping up a batch of air-fried fries for my black bean hamburger.  You are not going to miss a drive-thru again.

Recommended Air Fryers:

Personal Blenders: On-the-Go Vegan Fuel

For those with a busy lifestyle, personal blenders are a game-changer. Easily whip up a nutrient-packed smoothie and take it with you on the go. Whether it’s a pre-workout energizer or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, personal blenders make maintaining a vegan lifestyle on a hectic schedule a breeze.  I will also go to my NutriBullet for quick sauces and dressings.  If I am doing a small batch, it makes cleanup a breeze.

A few years back, I tried the Magic Bullet Blender and on my first attempt at a smoothie, it leaked.  I checked all the seals and retired, and it leaked again.  I returned the Magic Bullet and replaced it with a NutriBullet and it’s been going strong ever since.  I know the Magic Bullet is popular on YouTube channels, so maybe the issue has been fixed, so I will include it in my list.

Recommended Personal Blenders:

Countertop Water Filtration Pitchers: A Must-Have For Tap Water

For those who are trying to address their water needs and are just tired of buying bottled water, you will find personal water filtration systems a must-have.  I have the Zero Water Filtration Pitcher.  I always keep extra filters on hand for a quick swap.  This unit comes with a TDS (water quality tester) and will tell you the quality of your water.  Depending on your needs and desired outcomes, you will need to further research the scientific findings of each brand and specifics for your dietary restrictions like fluoride. 

I know that the Berkey has come under fire this past year for not being NSF certified, and their water quality outcomes being questioned regarding false claims of lasting 6000 gallons and water quality.  So, for these reasons, I will not be recommending the Berkey for my top picks. I also know that this unit is showcased on many of the YouTube channels from the plant-based gurus. There is a less expensive option that is better. It is the ProOne Water Filtration System. It comes in various sizes and filter sizes. 

I continue to purchase bottled water.  I have for years due to my municipal quality being questionable.  A whole house filtration system is on the wish list, but for now, the ProOne Water Filtration System is my goal.  It removes over 200+ contaminants including algae, viruses, medications, and harmful chemicals like fluoride and lead. It is cheaper than the Berkey and is NSF Certified. It also has verified independent third-party testing for accuracy. One filter lasts for 1100 gallons. You can use pond water and place it in the unit, and you will get clear drinking water after filtration. 

You can place multiple filters within the standing units, which will speed up your filtration time. If you use one filter, you will get 1100 gallons, 2200 gallons for two, and so on. It also removes harmful fluorides, whereas the Zero only removes approximately 40%. The filters are a bit more than the Zero, but they last so much longer and remove more contaminants. I think that is one of only two drawbacks I have for the Zero. The filters do not last long at all (for my usage) and they are showing over 7 ppm TDS, which calls for replacement. However, if it is all you can afford, then you start with the Zero. It is all about progress, not perfection.

Also, for all of those who have lost all trust in Berkey, keep your stainless steel units and replace their filters with ProOne Filters. They are cheaper, tested, and verified. They are certified by the NSF and do not need priming. They are a direct one-for-one swap and don’t have the stripping issues the Berkey’s have.

If you have any specific questions, please contact the manufacturer of the product.  

I have begun adding the Trace Minerals to each 16.9 fl. oz bottle of water I drink.  I noticed that since I began drinking bottled water, my chloride levels in my blood test were always low, and the drops have corrected that issue since they are full spectrum drops.  Please consult a healthcare professional before taking an additive or supplement.

Recommended Water Filters:

Instant Pot Magic: Quick and Flavorful Vegan Meals

For busy individuals, an Instant Pot is a kitchen superhero. This multipurpose appliance simplifies the cooking process, making it a must-have for time-conscious vegans. I remember the first time I made a hearty lentil soup in my Instant Pot – the flavors were incredible, and it took a fraction of the time compared to traditional cooking.

Recommended Instant Pots:

Slow Cooker: Effortless Meals in 6 to 8 Hours

For those with a busy lifestyle, slow cookers can be a go-to.  They are a set-it-and-forget-it small appliance. Easily make a meal and let it do its thing.  It allows you to cook overnight, go to work or simply run errands.  Come home and you have a healthy delicious meal waiting for you and your family.  Slow cookers have been around for decades, but they still hold a special place in many kitchens.  

Recommended Slow Cookers:

As you navigate your vegan journey, remember that small kitchen appliances are your allies in creating delicious, plant-based meals. From smoothies to homemade snacks and quick meals, these tools can make the transition enjoyable and convenient. Embrace the creativity they offer, and soon you’ll find that being vegan is not just a diet; it’s a flavorful adventure that’s good for you and the planet. Here’s to your vibrant and thriving plant-based lifestyle!

There are so many other gadgets for the kitchen that I could list, but I promised that these would be essential small appliances.  So, I remain on that premise to assist someone who might be starting a plant-based lifestyle and needs a little guidance.  I know these were all game-changers for me and my journey.


The following article contains affiliate partner links.  I could earn a small commission, at no cost to you, for any qualifying purchases.  

This blog is for entertainment and informational purposes only.  The information contained within this blog is not intended to diagnose or cure any medical condition.  I am not a physician, licensed dietician or physical therapist.  This blog is the result of my personal experiences and what I chose to do for a healthier lifestyle.  As always, before you begin a diet, exercise program or add supplements, please consult your healthcare professional.