It's Time To Take Back Your Life

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 3)

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.  


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!


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. 

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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. 

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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.

New Study From Stanford University – Vegan vs Omnivore Diet in Identical Twins

According to, there was a groundbreaking randomized clinical trial, that Stanford University just completed. The findings were published in JAMA Network Open on November 30, 2023.

Research Scientists took 22 pair of adult healthy identical twins (which inherently possess the same DNA) and put one on a vegan diet (plant-based only), and one on an omnivore diet ( a diet that included meat, eggs, dairy and fish) for 12-weeks.

You can find the article in the link below-


The outcomes were such, that the study was picked up by Netflix, and a docu-series will be airing covering this groundbreaking research on January 1, 2024, called, You Are What You Eat, A Twin Experiment Here, and the trailer can be found at the following link, You Are What You Eat Trailer

According to Forks Over Knives (FOK),

“With the help of identical twins, a team of researchers at Stanford Medicine have uncovered some of the most compelling evidence yet that a vegan diet can significantly improve heart health in as little as two months.”

For the study, they took baseline blood tests and recorded their initial weight of each participant. Researchers then placed one twin on a vegan diet, while the other ate a diet that included meats, eggs, dairy and fish. At the halfway mark, they again took more blood and body weight. They switched the participants. So, those that the one on the vegan diet, was now on the omnivore diet and vice versa. At the end of the trial period, more blood and body weights were taken from each participant.

“The researchers ensured that both diets were as healthful as possible, with both the vegan and omnivore diets containing ample vegetables, beans, fruits, and whole grains and minimal sugar and refined starches. The omnivorous diet additionally included chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, and dairy. For the first four weeks, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners were provided via a meal-delivery service seven days a week for all participants. For the final eight weeks of the study, they prepared their own meals.”


The findings suggested that a healthy plant-based diet offers a significant protective cardio metabolic advantage compared with a healthy omnivorous diet.”

Specifically, the researchers found, “that, at the halfway point, the twins eating vegan had already seen significant improvements in their cardiometabolic health, with lower LDL cholesterol, insulin, and body weight. By the completion of the study, the vegan group had reduced their LDL by around 14% and their fasting insulin levels by 20%. They’d also lost, on average, 4.2 pounds more than the omnivorous group.”

This is definitely food for thought as we head into the new year!


How to make a New Year’s Resolution-

What is your New Year’s Resolution?

With the holiday’s almost behind us, and large quantities of food and beverage consumed, everyone is thinking about those pending New Year’s Resolutions. After all, they are just around the corner.

How do you even make a resolution and set yourself up for success? Well, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

First, you must find a quiet moment and sit down with a piece of paper and pen. Take a serious inventory of your life in the areas areas that are important to you (feel free to add other areas if you wish).

  • Work
  • Finances
  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Relationship

Next, in each of those areas, and list how happy you are on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 being the least happy and 10 being the most happy). Look at your numbers. Are the results where you want them to be, or is there room for improvement? Be honest, this is the only way it will work!

Then take a look at those that are low scoring or which areas might be most pressing for you. Maybe your health is catapulted to # 1 because you just had a heart attack, or diagnosis of cancer. Maybe your marriage is heading for divorce. Next, ask yourself what are three to five things you can do to help you reach your goals for the end of the year. Write those down under each category. Remember, this is your inventory not others in your life.

Also, you need to write down realistic goals for each category you choose. Please do not say that you want to loose 100 pounds in six months. While that is a lofty goal and something you might want to achieve, is that really healthy? Keep this simple.

Keep in mind what you want the end result to be. Maybe you want to loss thirty pounds, or reduce your debt by $5,000 dollars. Maybe you would like to find a relationship, or say goodbye to one that is not working. How about doing nightly readings on scripture or watching motivational channels on YouTube? How about vowing to increase your exercise by 4 times a week for just 30 minutes. These are all small changes that can greatly impact your goals in the right direction over the course of the next 12 months, and have a positive effect on your outlook on life, as well as your mood.

Getting buy in

Now that you have your category list and three to five things in each category to help you reach your goals, you need buy in from friends and family. This is where you have those frank conversations, and ask for a little support.

Maybe it’s telling your friends or coworkers, that on your girl’s night out, you will be abstaining from alcohol. Instead of ordering that glass of wine or margarita, you can choose to replace it with a virgin margarita, virgin Bloody Mary, or even water. They need to support you and not give you grief. If it becomes a big issue time and again, maybe you need to take a step back from that friend(s) or family member for a while.

Remember, this is your life and you are choosing to improve it, by making these small changes, you are helping redirect the outcome. If they cannot support your goals, well then, I think you have your answer. You don’t need to be around toxic people when you are trying to inject positive changes in your life.

Blocking time for your resolutions

It is important that you look at your schedule and add small blocks of time during the week for the things you need to do (say 15-30 mins). This will help you keep on track. If you want to get four walks in a week, then add those thirty minute blocks to your schedule and try to stick to them. Understand that life happens, and we all get off track. The important thing is that we don’t stay there. The next day, get back on that horse!

Small blocks work best, say under 30 minutes. If you try and block hours at a time, you most likely will not do well at achieving your goals. After all, we all have responsibilities, but make sure you are making a bit of time for you and those things that are important to you.

Some things you can do to increase the joy in your life

  • Journaling
  • Gardening
  • Woodworking
  • Reading
  • Meditation
  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Prepping meals/cooking
  • Writing
  • Listening to music
  • Playing an instrument
  • Playing with your pet or children
  • Church
  • Volunteering
  • Learning a new language/software program or instrument
  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Take a relaxing bath and practice some deep breathing
  • Yoga

The list is endless. We are all unique and have different thing we like to do, but keep in mind your goals, and make sure you are moving in the direction of those goals.

Happy New Year and may all your goals be achieved!


A day in the life of you

What is your why? Let’s take a look. Grab a journal and let’s get started. I am going to ask you to take a serious inventory of what you eat on a daily/weekly basis. Write everything down. Don’t worry, this is only an initial exercise for the first week. You will not have to log your intake past this point unless you want to. The one thing is you will need to be is totally honest with yourself or this will not work. I want every stick of gum logged.

I am going to write a scenario and I want you to see if you recognize any of these hamster wheel behaviors.

The routine

You wake after a not so good night’s sleep. You’re already tired. You put on the coffee while you take a shower. You have a cup of coffee while getting ready for work. You head out the door and swing into either you neighborhood Starbucks or fast-food drive-thru. You grab a Frappuccino and a morning combo meal. As you are sitting in traffic you consume both.

When you get to the office you have another coffee/soda before you head to a meeting. Everything is gone off the rails at work, and now you and your team are in crisis mode. Your stress level just increased even more. You head to the vending machine for a RedBull/Soda. You are hungry, so you grab a candy bar or chips too.

At lunch, you drive thru another fast-food line and get another combo meal with a soda or head to a restaurant. You down that and get on with your day.

Around 3:00 pm, you feel like your tank is running on empty, so you grab another soda/coffee/RedBull, and some more goodies from the vending machine.

You’re heading home from work and traffic is terrible. While you are sitting in traffic, you think to yourself, “There has to be more to life than this.” Once you get home, you are so tired, you just want to order DoorDash or a Pizza and call it a night.

You get in bed on your cell phones or tablets. You can’t sleep well for thinking about life’s little problems, like living paycheck to paycheck (or hand to mouth). You are worried about how you are going to pay for those mounting student loans, medical debt or credit cards. Each of those are big green monsters living under your bed. You get up sometime during the night and grab whatever you can find and begin stress eating. Maybe it’s cookies and milk, chips or something else. By the time you stop, half the bag is gone.

You go back to bed and finally fall asleep around 2 or 3 am. When your alarm goes off, you wake so tired and unrested, you head for the coffee pot, get in the shower and rinse and repeat the day. This is your life. This is a hamster wheel that I cannot seem to get off. This is a freight train that is about to hit a wall going 80 mph. How do I stop the madness? Does any of this resonate with you?

The outcome

Now, let’s say you logged your food and beverage intake for the entire week. Looking back on what you logged, what nutrients do you think you actually ingested? Nutrients that fuel your body so it can repair itself, and provide you with the daily requirements to make sure everything is working properly? Most likely, not many. In fact, wouldn’t you say that you did more harm than good with the high-fat, highly processed, sugary and sodium bombs you consumed that were layer is caffeine? Ask yourself, how is your body supposed to recover from that, day after day, year after year. At some point, it just cannot.

You body screams for help and breaks down. This is when diseased starts to occur. Things like high blood-pressure, diabetes, depression, GI issues, sleep apnea, heart, vascular, cancer and autoimmune. They mount one after one and you cannot see to get off the disease freight train.

You have now added more medication, procedures and diagnosis’ to your life. This means more missed work time, and expensive dangerous medications the doctor tells you that you will take for the rest of your life.

Remember those CDC stats I mentioned? Almost 75% of Americans are obese or overweight. As well as 50% of Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and are on medication. There are now twelve year old children are being diagnosed and put on medication for high blood pressure. What do you think their future holds? After all, we most likely began our journey in our thirty’s or forty’s and they are starting at pre-teen ages! If case you missed the stats, here is a link..

CDC Stats Link Home

Welcome to your WHY! Why, you should want to change these habits and create a better plan for what you give your body. Our body is like a temple, and this is how we treat it. We only get one, and it’s not too late to change your course. I don’t care how old you are. Change starts with you and only you. Let’s turn this train around!

Commit to the change and let’s get started.


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