It's Time To Take Back Your Life

Stress, Depression and Suicide

The world seems to be upside down right now.  Stress is at an all-time high, and doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Disclaimer, I am not a physician, nurse, registered dietician, physical therapist, or mental health professional.  This is my story and what I have done and learned over the course of my journey.  If you plan to start a diet or exercise program, please get approval from your doctor.

Stress is defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances” or “something that causes mental strain”.

Stress can manifest in many different ways in our bodies.  It can be psychological, or physical.  It can increase headaches, acne, rapid heartbeat, sweating, changes in appetite, and digestive health issues such as bloating, nausea, and vomiting.  It can cause chronic pain and more frequent bouts of sickness including infections.

Stress and anxiety are very closely related.  They go hand in hand.  They can share many different symptoms such as muscle tension, moodiness, sleep interruptions, lack of concentration, and digestive problems.

Stress is a normal human reaction that has been built to trigger our fight-or-flight response.  We have all heard the story of the caveman facing the tiger, right?  It helps keep us alive.  That is what we call short-term stress.

In today’s world, we have many of the same modes but they have taken various forms and resulted in more of a long-term modality, like financial, a bad job or boss, layoffs, robberies, rape, or unhinged or politically driven individuals that walks into a school, church, or mass event with bombs and automatic weapons.  Countries and people are being persecuted for their beliefs.  Hostages being taken, and wars breaking out. All we have to do is watch the news.

The current state of our world today keeps us in a state of “chronic” or continuing stress.  Our bodies never get the opportunity to reset.  Our cortisol and adrenalin levels remain high for extended periods and begin manifesting physical and psychological symptoms.

Maybe you are going through an upcoming big test, or found that your partner cheated on you. How about a messy divorce, or a child that is on drugs, or going the wrong way in life? Then it could be the death of a family member or members. The loss of a beloved pet, or a sick child.  Maybe you just received a very serious diagnosis. Then there is the loss of a job, with your income and benefits along with it.

The loss of a job, divorce and health diagnosis, are huge. Then can and will cascade into financial stress. The threat of bankruptcy, and losing your home with nowhere to go, might be around the corner. All of these things come with an attached debt factor.

The pathway from chronic stress might look like this

Stress > Anxiety (Panic Attacks) > Depression > Attempted Suicide > Death

The World Health Organization estimates that over 5% of the global adult population is suffering from depression.  That is 400M people. Chronic or continuing stress is difficult on the body.  

Symptoms of Stress/Depression

According to, 

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Chest pain or a felling like your heart is racing
  • Exhaustion or trouble sleeping
  • Headaches, dizziness or shaking
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle tension or jaw clenching
  • Stomach or digestive problems
  • Decreased Libido
  • Weak immune system

Stress can lead to emotional and mental symptoms like

  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Depression
  • Panic Attacks
  • Sadness

Often, people with chronic stress try to manage it with unhealthy behaviors including:

  • Drinking alcohol too much and too often
  • Gambling
  • Overeating or developing eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia
  • Smoking
  • Using drugs

Things you can do to improve your mood

Because stress is subjective, which means there is no test in which to measure it,  only the person experiencing the stress knows the extent of its severity.

If you are experiencing stress, what are some of the things you can do to help yourself?

  • Get out in the sun and go for a walk
  • Exercise
  • Practicing Moments of Gratitude
  • Set goals for each day, week, and month.  Narrowing your view will help you feel more in control.
  • Consider talking to a trusted friend if you have one
  • Consider talking to a therapist
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Chair Yoga for those who are limited
  • Tai Chi
  • Breathing exercises
  • Muscle relaxation exercises
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Try and disconnect from social media and TV for a better night’s sleep
  • Stay positive
  • Except that you cannot control everything
  • Learn to say “no” to friends and family
  • Journaling
  • Stay connected to people who keep you calm or make you happy
  • If that is not an option, then listen to a motivating podcast or YouTube Channel.

Warning Signs of Depression

Here are a few warning signs someone might display if they are experiencing high levels of stress and depression:

  • Talking out wanting to die, guilt, shame, or being a burden to others.
  • Feelings of 
    • Emptiness, hopelessness, trapped, or no reason to live
    • Extremely sad, anxious, agitated, or full of rage
    • Unbearable emotional or physical pain
  • Making a plan or researching ways to die
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, school, or work.
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Using drugs/alcohol more
  • Eating or sleeping more or less

The World Health Organization estimates that over 703,000 people globally commit suicide each year.  Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is the fourth leading cause of death among those 15-29 years of age.  The highest suicide rate is those 85 and older.  Males are 4x more likely to commit suicide than females.  

According to the CDC (2021) stats, 48,183 people committed suicide.  That equates to 132 suicides each day. Suicide is the number 11 cause of death in the United States. It is number 4 for the ages of 15-29. It is highest in individuals over 85 years of age. If you or someone you love begin to feel overwhelmed, talk to a medical professional immediately.   If you are abusing drugs and alcohol, please get help.

If you have thoughts of hurting yourself, please seek a professional or reach out to the Suicide Hotline at:

Text 988 on your phone 

Chat on the web at

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Text “Hello” to 741741 for the crisis text line

The hotline is also for caregivers.  If you are concerned for someone, you can call this number as well.

We don’t need to shy away from this topic just because it is very uncomfortable.  This is not something that just goes away, if allowed, it can manifest.  It all starts with stress.

If you have kids, learn the warning signs. If you have a friend or family member exhibiting some of these characteristics, please reach out and try to have that coversation. If you have a loved one in a long-term care facility, please ask the staff how they are doing and look for signs of disassociation, depression, not wanting to eat, not wanting to get out of bed or socialize. These could be all signs of depression.

2024 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists

Let’s face it, groceries are expensive.  They are even more expensive when you purchase organic produce.  But, there is a hack that will give you the most bang for your buck.

The Environmental Working Group or released its 2024 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 List.  Should you use these as a guide when making your produce choices?  I say yes!  I use this list all the time, when making the decision to buy organic over conventional produce.

The Environmental Working Group or EWG, tests all produce every year for the amount of pesticides load in each fruit and vegetable found.  They release the results each year in the form of lists.  These lists are called The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.  

If you have never heard of these lists, get ready to add a great tool to your arsenal toolkit for a healthier lifestyle.  The Dirty Dozen List is the most helpful list for picking clean fruits and vegetables that come with a lower pesticide load.

So, if you are considering starting a diet or changing your habits, these lists will go a long way in helping you save money.  The Dirty Dozen are the 12 top fruits and vegetables that contain the highest pesticide load.  These are pesticides like round-up and others, which we know cause cancer.  You will want to purchase these in their organic form.

The Dirty Dozen is as follows:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, Collard, and Mustard Greens
  4. Grapes
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Nectarines
  8. Apples
  9. Bell and Hot Peppers
  10. Cherries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Green Beans

The Clean 15

Now, the Clean 15 is the list that has the lowest amounts of pesticides and you can save money by purchasing conventional products instead of organic. This provides a great cost savings when you are at the store shopping.

These are:

32. Carrots

33. Sweet Potatoes

34. Mangoes

35. Mushrooms

36. Watermelon

37. Cabbage

38. Kiwi

39. Honeydew Melon

40. Asparagus

41. Sweet peas (frozen)

42. Papaya

43. Onions

44. Pineapple

45. Sweet Corn

46. Avocados

You can find the lists on, and I urge each of you to use these when shopping.  Snap a picture and save it to your home screen on your phone.  That way, you will have it with you every time you shop.  


Struggling with My Diet

It is April now, and I have been on my whole food plant-based diet for a about four months now. I did have some meals that I flexed out, but it has remained about 96% plant-based. My weight has recently plateaued with a 36 pound weight loss, and I am struggling to move the needle.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited that I have lost the weight I have, but I am struggling with my “personality tendancies”. I have a tendancy of “rise and repeat”, so I am not varying my diet as much as I should be.

I do not know a lot of recipes for plant-based dinners that are quick and easy. I have cookbooks and the recipes are only a search away, but I tend to run out of steam in the very early evening. Most of that is contributed to my pain in my feet, hip and back. What is that from? I think it is a result from years of inflammation that has resulted into several chronic diagnoses.

What have I been eating? Well, for Breakfast, I have oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, flax and cinnamon. Lunch can be a salad or protein shake, with a EarthChip Organic Vegan Protein, banana, greens, applesauce and plant-based milk. Dinner is generally a pot of homemade soup or chili with with plenty of beans and veggies, or if I am in a pinch, I make a quick bean burger, loaded with Dijon Mustard and veggies. My snacks can be hummus and chips, or hotsauce and chips. I have stopped alcohol now about 7 months now, and to tell you the truth, I miss the habit of the wine and cheese while I was cooking dinner, but I don’t miss the increased blood pressure or the poor sleep that always followed.

I have ordered some Anthony’s Textured Vegetable Protein, which is gluten free, and non-gmo. I have also ordered some Butler Soy Curls. I hope both of these will give me some new options to increase my protein intake and give me some quick and easy meal ideas like tacos and burritos, with veggies, and hotsauce. I think the soy curls might be excellent for my own fajitas, with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, squash, and hotsauce.

One pot dinners are really my goto now. I eat to fuel my body and not feed my face. I do not need a full three course meal. The one struggle I am really having a difficult time with is yogurt. I love yogurt each night as a sweet snack with granola or fruit. I try not to eat too much fruit at night though. I have noticed that it increases the pain of my inflammation the following day.

This week I have increased my walking to at least 30 minutes a day if it is not storming. This is spring and I am in Texas. I have gotten some cabbage, both green and purple, and I am going to nail down a recipe to substitute for my chicken salad. That is always a quick and easy sandwich if I am ever caught at night, either not feeling well or simply too tired to cook. Also, I need to prep salads and have them ready to go in containers so I can pull, dump and add dressing, and I have a healthy meal. Things like this will ensure, you do not hit the local drive-thru or order a pizza.

I do need to find some recipes for soy blocks. One that I can crumble into a stir-fry or scramble. Theses will add good options as well. I have not gotten into the soy meats yet. I drink a ton of soy milk, but not meat as of yet.

I have some vegan cookbooks, but I will say that the meals are more complex than I would like. I also have Plant-Based on a Budget Quick & Easy, by Toni Okamoto along with her other book, Plant-Based on a Budget. She has some good idea recipes, but in my opinion, she uses too much oil in all her recipes. So, I constantly have to substitute vegetable broth, apple sauce or other things . The jury is still out on the healthy benefits for someone that has to stay away from nuts and oils. She uses a great many of both in her recipes.

My advice to you, is to think about your favorite meals you loved and consumed prior to your diet restrictions. Now, try and nail down a recipe that tastes exactly like it. Get creative and think outside your box. I didn’t think this was possible until one day. I made a recipe of a cold slaw salad and when I closed my eyes, it tasted exactly like my southern potato salad recipe I used to make to accompany my sloppy joes and barbecue ribs. This is a win/win. Anytime I can incorporate cruciferous veggies into my diet, is a good thing being a cancer survivor.

As I told you before, change will not come overnight, and I am your living proof. You must grow your own recipe book with things you like. I tried keeping all the recipes in all the books and marking the pages, but I could never find the recipe I was looking for, when I needed it.

I hope this helps and gives you some encouragement to move forward in your journey to a healthier life. Only you can do this, it is not going to be done for you. But, I can tell you, the benefits far outweigh the effort!



The following above article may contain 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.

Check Out My Podcast

Welcome and thank you stopping by. I have just recently started a podcast to correspond with this blog, so you can consume the information in the way that is best for you.

You can find my Podcast on the following services:

Apple Podcast, Spotify Podcast, Google Podcast and RSS Feed.

You can go to those services and search for:

I would love it if you would join me, and my journey to take my life by through my successes and struggles. I hope to see you on the Inside.


Navigating Stress: How Your Plant-Based Diet Might Suffer

Hey there, fellow plant-based friends! Today, let’s dive deep into something that doesn’t get talked about enough in our community, or any community really: stress. That’s right. Stress doesn’t just mess with your mind; it can mess with your diet too. So, grab a cup of herbal tea, and let’s unpack how stress can throw a curveball at your plant-based lifestyle.

Picture this: You’re cruising through life, proud as a peacock of your vibrant new diet, and are proud of the weight you have lost. But suddenly, stress comes knocking at your door like an uninvited guest. Whether it’s a job loss, family drama, or just the chaos of everyday life, stress can sneak up on you when you least expect it. And when it does, your diet might take a hit.

Let’s break it down.

  1. Emotional Eating Escapades: When stress hits, your emotions can go haywire. Suddenly, that tub of ice cream in the freezer starts whispering sweet nothings to you. Emotional eating is real, folks, and it doesn’t discriminate based on dietary preferences. So, instead of reaching for those comforting treats, try to find healthier ways to cope with stress. Take a walk in nature, meditate, or call up a friend for a good old-fashioned vent session.
  2. Convenience over Compassion: Stress can turn even the most dedicated dieters into lazy cooks. When you’re overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is spend hours in the kitchen preparing elaborate meals. And that’s where convenience foods sneak their way into your shopping cart. Sure, that frozen pizza might seem like a lifesaver at that moment, but relying too heavily on processed foods can leave your diet lacking in essential nutrients. So, try to strike a balance between convenience and compassion by opting for quick and easy whole-food meals whenever possible.
  3. Budget Blues: Let’s face it: With current inflation, food isn’t always cheap. Not just healthy food but anything you buy nowadays. Have you seen the price of Diet Coke or a bag of your favorite chips? How about eggs and vegetables? And when money gets tight, stress levels can skyrocket. Suddenly, you find yourself pinching pennies and cutting corners wherever you can. But unfortunately, that often means skimping on quality foods in favor of cheaper alternatives. While it’s totally understandable to be mindful of your budget, try to prioritize nutrient-dense foods like legumes, grains, and fresh fruits and veggies. Your body will thank you for it in the long run.
  4. Social Struggles: Being a lone plant-based eater in a sea of carnivores can be tough on a good day. But throw stress into the mix, and suddenly social situations become a minefield of temptation and frustration. Whether it’s navigating family gatherings or dining out with friends, stress can make sticking to your vegan guns feel like an uphill battle. But fear not, my plant-powered friends! With a little bit of planning and a whole lot of confidence, you can weather any social storm that comes your way. Who knows? You might even inspire a few meat-eaters to give veganism a try!
  5. Mindful Munching Goes MIA: One of the cornerstones of a healthy diet is mindfulness. Paying attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel can help you make informed choices that support your overall well-being. But when stress rears its ugly head, mindfulness often goes out the window. Suddenly, you find yourself mindlessly munching on whatever happens to be within arm’s reach, without giving a second thought to how it affects your body. So, the next time you feel stress creeping in, take a deep breath and remind yourself to slow down and savor each bite.

Stress and diets might seem like unlikely bedfellows, but the truth is, they’re more connected than you might think. By being aware of how stress can impact your diet and taking proactive steps to mitigate its effects, you can stay true to your plant-based principles even in the face of life’s many challenges. So, the next time stress comes knocking, remember: You’ve got the power to nourish your body and soul with compassion, no matter what life throws your way.

How to recognize stress eating-

If you look deep into when and why you stress eat, I think you will find some common themes:

Financial Stress: This is one of the most difficult stressors to combat. You are in a state of fight or flight 24/7 wondering how you are going to keep the lights on or pay the mortgage. Your job hunt seems to be going nowhere in today’s current market. Every time you reach for your phone or turn the news on, you hear how another five companies just announced layoffs. The three hundred resumes that you submitted haven’t generated but a handful of callbacks, and somehow, they chose to go with another candidate that fits their needs.

Medical Stress: Maybe one of your family members is going through a medical diagnosis and you are wondering where you will find the money to help them. Worse yet, that family member is you, and you are wondering how you will navigate this rabbit hole with a favorable outcome.

Relationship Stress: Is your relationship suffering? Maybe you are married and you and your spouse have taken a break. Or, maybe you are single and your relationship is going nowhere. You think maybe it is because you have lost yet another job, and now your confidence has been stripped. Now, when you are in interviews you bring in the lens through which you view yourself and that is, “the imposter syndrome”. Know matter how many self-help podcasts you consume, you cannot seem to shake it.

Boredom Stress: You have no money to go do anything. Your friends and family have stopped calling. Your family thinks you will ask them for money, so it’s crickets. Your friends think you just aren’t fun to be around and the invites have stopped. So, you are alone with your thoughts and the TV. That half-gallon of ice cream or bag of chips is calling your name. You try to fight back the urge, but it always wins. Why?

No one form of stress is worse than the other. Maybe if you got news of a terminal illness for yourself or a loved one. I think that tops all stressors on the immediate side, but financial stress is very long-term. The one thing you do know is that you keep reverting to your old ways of eating and you feel like crap. All the gains you made, are quickly going out the window. The weight comes back, so do the headaches and you have a feeling of malaise.

Ways to calm your mind

  1. Deep breathing exercises
  2. Journaling and getting all your venting/concerns out in a safe space
  3. Read a book
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Spend some time with your children or pets
  6. Color (the adult version with pencils)
  7. Draw or paint
  8. Other hobbies as well

All of these things can help get your mind off your situation. Just know that their are others out there. Maybe you can find a supportive FaceBook group. Just get out of your old routines. Routines can be our Achilles heel! When stess hits, we tend to slide back into our routines before our health journey began. Fight this urge!

Need a journal? You can find beautiful journals in my Etsy Store:

Thank you for all your support!


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.

Which diet is right for you?

In case you haven’t looked lately, there are so many diets out there, it makes your head spin. When trying to get healthy and start a diet, confusion abounds. It’s like being at an intersection where all the lights are flashing red, and eight other roads feed in. You don’t know which way to go, or who was there first. Total chaos can can paralyze the process of forward movement.

This is how the average person feels about trying to choose a diet these days. Which way do you go? After all, we have so many choices. Here are just a few of them:

  • Vegatarian
  • Vegan
  • Carnivore
  • Paleo
  • Whole 30
  • Whole Food Plant-Based
  • Flexatarian
  • Keto
  • The Mediterranean Diet
  • Intermittent Fasting (not so much a diet, but an additional culture to assist in weightless and your health journey).

In my opinion, the vegetarian diet is one of the most dangerous diets out there. I am not talking danger, in the sense that it is going to kill you. I am talking about being in that gray area, where you think it is ok to consume packaged foods because they have the word “vegan” on them. When in actuality, they are just the same processed forms of junk, you have been eating.

When you read the ingredients list, you will find things like sugar, salt, palm or canola oils and MSG. These are ingredients that you don’t want. So, you become a fat overweight junk food vegan. This is not any healthier than your current state. You are still stuck in the “grab and go” of convenience, instead of getting fresh fruits and veggies.

So, in my opinion, you should avoid this trap altogether. You can opt for a whole food plant-based diet, but that the convenience out of it. Opt for real potatoes, instead of the boxed ones.

You can keep a “Whole 30” concept of if it doesn’t come from the ground, the sea, a tree or a vine, it doesn’t go in your mouth. Packaged protein bars, and pre-packaged juices and smoothies shouldn’t be on your list. They sound so healthy but realize that it is nothing more than “creative marketing from all the giant food companies.” Highly caffeinated beverages, like the canned power drinks that are loaded with caffeine, and we all know which ones those are, should even make it into your cart!

Types of diets

I will touch on a few of these different diets, but won’t go into great detail here. Feel free to do your own research.

There is the Carnivore Diet, where all you consume is meat, cheese, milk, animal fats and eggs. No fruits, veggies or grains, and no carbs. So, you miss out on all those antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods. This is healthy, Really?

How healthy do you really think a carnivore diet is, and that includes Keto. After all, we know that meat and diary does not provide all our essential vitamins and minerals, we need for healthy bodies. When our bodies don’t get those vital nutrients, disease ensues.

The Keto Diet, is a cousin to the Carnivore Diet, but it will allow up to 5-20% carbs to be added. This diet plan was created in the 1920’s, and used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children.

In this clinical setting, there was great progress with the children and the number of seizures they experienced while on this meal plan. So, it served a medical purpose in those days, and has become insanely popular in the last five years. You cannot go into the store and walk the aisles, without seeing some “keto approved” packaged food each step you take. Marketing at it’s finest!

I tried the Keto Diet for about 3 months and had a good deal of weight loss success. However, I was concerned with the affects it had on my cardiovascular system. When I got my bloodwork back, my cholesterol, and triglycerides were off the charts, so I stopped.

The Paleo Diet, falls into the Carnivore category as well. The argument is, “this is how our ancestors ate”; therefore, we should all eat this way. They were hunters/gatherers after all, and this is how our bodies were created.

They killed and dragged their dinner back to the cave. First, our bodies have evolved over time, adjusting to what we have put in it. Second, I did read an article some years back, that said the hunter/gatherers, also ate berries and some grasses, if animals were scarce. So, there is that.

The Mediterranean Diet, is a regional diet from the area of Greece, Italy, Turkey, Spain and other countries in that region. They are said to have the highest life expectancy of all populations.

They eat lower quantities of red meat, because it is an island-like terrain, and red meat is not as available, and is expensive. So, they tend to eat more fish, veggies, fruits, olive oil, butter, cheese and wine. You will not see a mother giving her child a glass of milk, past a certain age in his/her life. Actually, I don’t know if any population around the world, that continues drinking milk into their adult years, but the United States. This is courtesy of the millions of dollars that the diary industry has infused into our government agencies. Again, marketing at its finest.

One must take into account that in the Mediterranean region, they also walk or ride a bike everywhere. So, it gives way to that saying of, “calories in, minus calories out.” They have a high fat intake, and drink alcohol, but they are constantly burning calories each day. This comes (not because they go to a gym and work out) out of necessity to get where they are going. This is a big difference from that of the United States. We sit at computers, drive everywhere we go and play video games, watch tv or scroll through social media for hours. There is an opposing correlation, when we compare the two lifestyles.

Just a side note on fish. I often wonder how safe the fish population has become with all the nuclear wastes, ships, planes and chemicals, that are dumped in our oceans daily. It is estimated that 14M tons of plastic bottles end up in our oceans each year. Just image how many plastic bottles you would have to have for one ton of weight, Now, multiple that times 14 every single year. Mind-blowing. This is a good time to encourage you to please recycle if you use bottled drinking water.

Let’s talk about those hormonal disruptors when you consume fish or seafood. Environment affects humans and we develop things such as cancer, and autoimmune diseases when we are exposed to toxins. Creatures of the oceans are the same. When they live in highly toxic waters with poisons and endocrine disruptors, they develop disease as well, and then we consume them.

This is where we get so many cases of increased mercury poisoning. Someone will eat a large amount of fish, as their primary protein. Their bodies and tissues become toxic. Mercury is a dangerous metal when ingested. Just food for thought.

The Vegan Diet, is a whole food plant-based diet on steroids. It is extreme and generally centers around abuse of animals in the processing industries and their treatment.

Buyer beware, it is not just the diet, but about the culture that surrounds it. If you call yourself a vegan, it will involve all aspects of your life. So, you cannot call yourself a vegan, if you follow the diet plan, but then go sit down on your leather sofa, to watch a movie. How about hopping in your car that has leather seats? You are not a vegan. Maybe your favorite running shoes have a bit of leather? Then, you are not a vegan.

If you are calling yourself a vegan, then you are a whole food plant-based eater, that is taking a stand on the abuse and mistreatment of all the animals and how they are processed and killed for our consumption. You cannot use or have anything associated with an animal in any way. Piano keys made of ivory? Then, you cannot call yourself a vegan. Those Italian leather shoes, leather jacket or briefcase/backpack? Well, I think you get the point. So, just start by saying that you are following a WFPB diet. If you choose to take a stand for the mistreatment of animals, then you can move in that direction and call yourself a vegan.

In this blog, I will use vegan, vegetarian and plant-based. You will see me swap vegan and plant-based interchangeably. There are cultural differences, but for the purpose of this blog, they will be used to depict the style of eating and they will be one in the same.

The Flexitarian Diet, is really the best of both worlds, for someone that cannot fully give up meat and diary. If you want to make a real impact, then you can do this and follow the Mediterranean way of eating, but I would decrease the meat and fish, and increase the organic tofu, organic soy and beans.

You can choose to eat WFPB for say four days of the week, and on the weekends, or times you might have dinner out, or be traveling, you can opt to flex out, and eat a very clean lean meat.

This doesn’t mean that you get to order that 12 oz Ribeye, but maybe opt for a leaner cut, like a top sirloin, with steamed veggies or a baked potato on the side, and a salad with a balsamic dressing. Forgo the huge side of ranch or blue cheese dressing. Also, be careful with all the white bread, like breadsticks or rolls, that are made with highly processed bleached flour, alcohol and sodas.

When someone goes to a WFPB diet, he/she might find themselves in difficult situations, where you have to go out for work/party. Instead of trying to explain to everyone your dietetic needs, it is easier to have the option to flex out. The trick is, after the “flex event” is over, get back on your plant-based horse! Don’t let this can, be kicked down the road for weeks at a time.

With any diet, I would urge you to keep a food journal for the first month or two. It will assist you in learning foods that you might be sensitive too. If you don’t like writing and you are more of an app person, Cronometer and MyPlate are good apps to go to.

What is a healthy diet anyway?

If you look close enough at the published research, you just get an additional layer of confusion, added to your already scrambled brain. You have experts (doctors, and research scientist) that are in the top of their fields, publishing findings in major respected medical journals, that can prove or disprove, any conclusion/hypothesis they are seeking.

What you don’t know is that they are affiliated with and taking lots of money from the lobbyists from the meat, dairy, egg and grain industries. So, who can you trust? After all, it’s all about the money. The science, the marketing, the buying of research. It all gets muddy.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer, but I did find an investigative nutritional journalist, that seems to dig in and ferret out all the individuals not being so forthcoming about their affiliations with big Pharma and big industries. I have seen her on . It is eye-opening. I have lost her name in the hundreds of videos I have saved and I will try and update this, when I find it.

Keep it simple

My advice to you would be, sit down and list any medical issues you currently have or have a family history, before you make your choice on diet. Ask yourself, are you diabetic or pre-diabetic? Do you have high blood pressure and are on medication? Do you have a strong history of stroke or heart disease in the family? Is heart disease or cancer a concern? What did you last lab results say? Do you have high cholesterol, triglycerides or a diagnosed autoimmune disease like arthritis? Are you overweight? List all your concerns.

Then, list any known food allergies you might have. Maybe you need to avoid gluten. We are all different. So, whatever diet you choose, you will have to alter it a bit to fit your specific needs. No diet is a one-size fits all approach. However, you will have a macro view of where you need to start.

Next, list your goals and the trick is to make them attainable. Do not make a goal of losing 100 pounds in a year. Some might be able to do this, but you want to keep it healthy. Think about the things you want to do, like exercise, yoga, meditation and gardening. Whatever it might be. List those as well. Now, you have plan. People that embark on a journey without a plan, fail. You want to succeed, so have a plan!

Knowledge is power

If you are like me, you are not a doctor, registered dietician or research nutritional scientist. I have to read and get my information from the internet, books and publications. I would suggest that you need to learn some basics about nutrition before you start. If you are new to the world of nutrition, it can all be so confusing. In this confusion, you might start chasing your tail with supplements to cover what you suspect might be a deficiency. Don’t fill bad, we have all done it!

I would caution you against taking a lot of supplements. Unless you have been diagnosed in the past with deficiencies, the goal of this diet, is that you “eat the rainbow” of fruits and veggies and vary what you eat and nature will give you all you need.

If you choose to do a plant based diet, a small supplementation once or twice a week or so, might be adequate. Vitamin B12 is a concern, but not as big as you fear. According to Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D., and adult only needs 2.4 mcg a day. When we take supplements, most or 5000 mcgs and we take them like candy. This can eventually cause its own problems. I supplement with B-12 due to a deficiency, but since going plant-based, I need far less these days. Mind blowing.

Vitamin D is another vitamin I take due to a confirmed deficiency. You will need to have your physician run these specific tests before supplementing. Vitamin D is necessary for over 300+ cellular processes in the body, but our culture has become deficient. You get Vitamin D by the synthesis of sunlight on your skin. Vitamin D, although classified as a vitamin, acts like a hormone in our bodies, and taking too much can also be dangerous.

So, dig in and research. Learn about your newly chosen diet, and all the ins and outs. Start with baby steps and make small changes, or go all in. There is no “one way”. The goal is to increase the amount of good nutrients you give your body, and decrease the fat, sodium, and processed chemicals.

Learn about macronutrients which are called (protein, carbs and fats). Just think of this as a “high-level” view. Then, you have the micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Think of this, as you looking under a microscope and drilling down and individual “cells” of nutrition. I would subscribe to a few YouTube channels of your choosing that offer good advice.

Remember, you can lose weight on any diet, and just because there are over a million “influencers” out on the web, Facebook, Tik Tok, and YouTube, telling you they have the short-cut to weight loss, doesn’t mean you have to take the bait. This is a tortoise and the hare scenario, so be the tortoise. Slow and steady wins every time.

Remember, not all diets are healthy. The one that comes to mine is Atkins. You will find pros and cons for all diets out there, just be diligent. Get informed! Do your homework. This isn’t going to be handed to you. The trick is to determine which diet will provide you with the best outcome, and move your body to a healthier state, and you closer to your goals.

Good luck in your new journey, and may the force be with you!



The following article might 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.

I have already lost 14 pounds

Just two weeks on a plant-based diet

Two weeks into transitioning to a whole food plant-based diet, has yielded tremendous results for me already. I have already lost 14 pounds and that was with a few cheat days, and no exercise at all. I am almost on a 99% plant-based diet. I have a few hold outs, but I am working on letting those go.

One of those holdouts was cheese. I had the last cheese last night, so no more. Now, I have to concentrate on the splash of half and half, with my morning coffee. My goal is to transition to a morning green tea, higher in antioxidants and lower in caffeine. If I can accomplish that, I will not need the half and half. I will just have my green tea with a squeeze of lemon. It’s hard trying to tackle everything at once. Overwhelming one could say, I am very accustom at starting new diets. I usually go all in.

How have I lost the weight? Learning and prepping to change your diet from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a WFPB diet is no easy task, I am not going to lie. With other diets, the foods were restricted but not taken away, so it was easy. With a WFPB diet, you have to find substitutes for those favorite go to items like oil, eggs, beef or chicken stock and so on. It takes hours of research and reading, to gain knowledge and get ideas for your new recipes. So, give yourself a bit of a break.

Caloric warning

I would urge caution here. All your replacements for diary are generally cashew-based and cashews are loaded with calories and fat. You can eat 1000 calories of cashews in a day quickly. Then, incorporating a great many seeds in addition blows your caloric intake for the day, and both contain oil.

Prevent and Reversing Heart Disease

You might be leaning toward a whole food plant based diet due to a cardiac or vascular disease diagnosis. If that is so, then your menu gets a bit more difficult for substitutes. In his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., restricts this diet even further. Dr. Esselstyn says you must be on a WFPB diet with no oil, no nuts, no seeds and no avocado. Also, you must eat greens 6 times a day with a light steam and chew. So, smoothies don’t count. It is strict, but he has gotten results like you wouldn’t believe. His patients were heading into by-pass surgery, and had severe blockages. He put them on this strict diet, under a physician’s guidance and the disease reversed itself. So, you cannot really argue with his results.

Spoiler alert – shopping takes twice as long

Shopping is an ordeal now. You must pay attention to all leafy greens and fresh produce in the fridge, and make sure they don’t go bad. This was like being in a dark unfamiliar room and trying to find the light switch on the wall, a little luck and a lot of hunting. You have to learn to coordinate meals and times with expiration dates. You also have to read every label!!!!! I cannot stress this enough. Just because you find it in Whole Foods, doesn’t mean it’s healthy! They have the same amount of highly-processed foods that every other store does. They just charge more.

You’ll be surprised what you can find under the Kroger store brand, Simple Truth Organic. A word of caution, read the front. The Simple Truth sign, on both the conventional and organic, look the same. There will only be one small word, “organic”. So, make sure it says organic! Especially on your soy and nut milks.

I hit some snags

I did start to eat far more potatoes and pasta than I would normally eat. I haven’t worked in the rice yet. I am a bit hesitant due to the arsenic load in brown rice. I am also attempting to go oil-free and low sodium. Like everyone else, I was always under that assumption that extra complex carbs were stored as fat. In recent studies, they have found data that disproved that theory.

I was cranking along losing about 1.5 pounds every day or two. Then, I noticed some acne on my face, bloating and my schedule was off. This wasn’t due to the bean intake, because I love beans and my system was already used to them.

As far as the blemishes go, I do not generally have acne, so I was trying to find the culprit. I also noticed various spots on my chest and arms that itched. When I would eat whole grain pitas or breads. I would develop an instant stuffy nose, and a bit of a butter-fly rash that would come up immediately on my face, and would last a few hours. I knew it was something in my diet. I suspected it might be the increased gluten.

Although I am not gluten intolerant, I do now think I might have a gluten sensitivity. I have switched everything over to 100% whole grain, specifically wheat. I began eating far more bread bread products than I would normally eat, and my body was not used to it. So, I think this is probably the culprit, only time will tell. For now, I will be cutting back on the wheat products.

Also, the last three days, I have not incorporated any greens into my meals. That was when I noticed my weightloss came to a complete stop. So tonight, I will have potatoes, greens and veggies and see how I fair tomorrow.

Plate construction

My plate looks a lot different these days. I can honestly say that I am NOT hungry at all. There are times I have to make myself eat my morning oatmeal and fresh fruit. I have switched to Allulose instead of sugar with my coffee. I could be that. I think I read it had some appetite suppressing functions as well.

For the make up of my plates, I am trying to shoot for 45-50% veggies, 20-25% starch, 15-20% fruits, and 5-10% fats, depending on what I might be eating for the meal. Sometimes this is difficult due to the nuts and seeds. They add more fat and calories. I am trying to get protein, carbs and fats in each meal or snack, so it is a zone method.

With that said, there are some nights where you just want to consume something without thought and get into bed. I think getting used to time and building of this diet definitely comes with a learning curve. For now, it is plant-based yogurt with some cinnamon granola. Be careful with the granolas! Most are not healthy and loaded with calories.

Oil is my nemesis

I did try and remove all oil from my diet in the beginning, and literally went down a rabbit hole with the “make your own sour dough bread, pizza crusts and tortillas.” This requires a great deal of kitchen utensils I do not have currently, so this will have to come in stages. It can be costly and very time consuming. I am still working on this. More research is needed.

But for now, I am trying to get bread and tortillas that have the fewest ingredients, with the least oil. I am not typically a big bread eater but tortilla chips and dips are my weakness.

The most difficult conversion I have, is my homemade salad dressing. It was a simple olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper dressing that I adored. I could eat two salads a day on this. I could use it for a marinate, or dip for bread. It was so versatile.

I am still struggling to find something that replaces this taste. I have tried lemon juice, dijon mustard and many more, but it is just not the same. I refuse to buy bottled dressing. I haven’t bought bottled dressing for years since I discovered my dressing, but now, it is off limits. Not a happy place to be. I have stopped eating salads. I have to find something fast!

Your one requirement

Going to the store now, will take you more time than you ever thought possible. First, you have to read every label, until you get used to all the new products. Second, you tend to go to multiple stores to get all the things you need. There is CostCo, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Sprouts. I have found I get different things at each store. Crazy, I know. Then, you might have to resort to Amazon to get those hard to find items.

I hope you are gearing up for your New Year’s Resolution and whatever diet you choose, I wish you the best of luck! We are approaching New Year’s Eve. So, if you find yourself at home, now would be a great time for some lifestyle change research for the new year! Going on a WFPB diet takes a bit more time to adjust, in my opinion.



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.

Breast Cancer: A personal journey

Check out my podcast, Nutrition is the Key to Health at the link below. You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google and RSS Feed.

You might be wondering, why all this interest in diet? Well, I am on a journey. A journey to try and reclaim my health. I found that if I put it out to the world for all to see, it holds me more accountable. So, this is my journey.

In 2019, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage III Metastatic Triple Negative Cancer. I didn’t even find it, my cat did. The diagnosis was a shock. No one in my family had ever had a history of breast cancer. Where did this come from? Why me?

The doctors told me this was an extremely aggressive cancer. I was thrust into the conventional therapy wormhole. I was given multiple chemotherapies, radiation, and surgeries, but fell short, and could not finish either therapy due to complications. This was before I knew about a plant-based diet, and the effects it can have in assisting cancer patients overcome their disease. It didn’t matter, I didn’t want to eat anyway, not even with all the steroids.

By the grace of God, I am still here to write this blog and I don’t know how. There were ten women I met when with my diagnosis of TNBC. Some had lower stages than I, and some were bouncing from trial to trial due to their Stage IV diagnosis. 

All the women have passed within about a year and a half except me. So, I am currently trying to educate myself on transitioning to a plant-based diet to see if I can overcome some of my health hurdles. I have found Dr. Kristie Funk MD on YouTube via Physician’s Committee for Response Medicine (or, and have gotten a lot of information from her and the channel. So, she, along with the others I have listed in my resource page on this blog, has helped me in my quest to further educate myself on diet and exercise.

I will say that chemo and radiation are the gifts that keep giving. For any of you who have gone through it, you will understand what I am saying without any explanation. All cancer therapies come with great costs, some more than others. When I say costs, I am speaking of financial costs and health costs. The drugs that save your life, can eventually kill you. They are not without risks.

When I was diagnosed, my cancer had already metastasized to my nodes. I had a tumor in my axillary region (under my arm), that was larger than most women’s tumor in their breasts. The primary tumor in my breast was large. Triple Negative is the second most aggressive breast cancer, taking a back seat only to Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

When I was in chemo, I would talk to the other people next to me and I would always ask what kind of cancer they had. They would return the question, and I would say Triple Negative Breast Cancer ( or TNBC), the next words out of their mouth were always the same, “I’m so sorry.” That wasn’t a warm feeling. I felt like I had a death sentence and everyone knew it but me.

All the other women I was there with that had Triple Negative, did not make it. They all passed within a year or two. So, I feel a bit guilty that I am still here. For some reason, God didn’t think it was my time, I still have work to do. 

Triple-negative is a disease that likes to return quickly and when it does, it is always at Stage IV and has metastasized to all organs, brain, and bones before they find it. I would call that, a point of no return.

The therapies after that are, in my opinion, for the forward movement of science and science only. At this point, they are throwing every drug and trial at you that your body can stand. I am not sure if there is a TNBC Stage IV survivor in this world. I am going to have to do a bit of research. I am sure there might be, but very few. 

For those that have more troubling diagnoses’, I am just wondering if conventional oncologists would use strict vegan diets along with conventional therapies if the survival outcomes would be greater? But then, will they ever do that due to cancer and their therapies, being “big cash cows” and financially huge for the doctors, facilities, and big pharma? That is food for thought. 

We all hear of those stories of curing cancer and beating it back in submission. First of all, you never “cure” cancer. Cancer is living in our bodies all the time. It is just activated into a disease state when our bodies can no longer fight and the cancer replicates or divides faster than our cells can. Then we lose all hope of keeping it under control. 

Second, I truly believe if I had refused the conventional therapies at my current disease state, and attempted a “diet only” approach, I would be dead within six months. When I came out of my fog after the diagnosis, I asked my oncologist, if I didn’t do anything, how much time would I have. He came back with “6 to 8 months, hard to say really.” 

I believe that there are certain times when we have to intervene with conventional therapies, and then follow with a diet to achieve a successful outcome. I also believe that each human being is different, and what might work for one, doesn’t work for all.

You and I have much different meanings of the word “success”, than the doctors. For instance, success to us, is a cure, and we get to live. Success to a doctor is an extension of the patient’s life of 3-6 months beyond what the patient would have without any treatment. 

There were a lot of things I wish I had known before going into my journey with breast cancer. I had a lot of sleepless nights on all the steroids and in pain, so I tried to put my time to good use. I wrote, and self-published Your Journey Through Breast Cancer, What You Don’t Know, Can Hurt You. In case you or your loved one have recently received a diagnosis, it will help you navigate the storm. 

A pink and blue watercolored background with black text

Description automatically generated

I have also created a matching corresponding lined blank writing Journal, to accompany the book. One of the things that got me through this difficult journey was journaling. It was a lifesaver. 

A notebook cover with a flower and a bow

Description automatically generated

Regardless of your lot in life, the nutrition you choose to put in your body, is the key to your health, whether you are battling diseases or not, “you are what you eat!”

Welcome to 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.

« Older posts