It's Time To Take Back Your Life


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.

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.


Which diet is right for you

Diets can be confusing, so which one do you pick? Which diet is right for you, and which diet should you focus on to help you reach your wellness goals? This is the million dollar question.

Types of popular diets

If you have tried to diet in the past, then you know how confusing it can be to choose a diet that you can stick to. In my opinion, the diets that have standed the test of time, usually fall in one the three categories, The Mediterranean, Keto or Whole Food Plant Based. These or some rendition of these, have held the most success. Those are the heavy hitters that most are using today.

There are other honorable mentions like Whole 30, Noom, Weight Watchers, South Beach, and Atkins. It has always concerned me with the “pay to play” diets like Weight Watchers and Noom. However, I know a great deal of people that have successfully lost weight on those diets.

The big three

  • The Mediterranean Diet – This is a diet that is region specific to the Mediterranean area. It consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, dairy and whole grains. You are allowed small amounts of wine/alcohol on this diet. It is probably one of the easiest diets to turn into a lifestyle change. It is about healthy eating and reducing most processed foods.
  • The Keto Diet – This diet has been around for years and was originally used in the treatment with children with uncontrollable epilepsy. In recent years, this diet has become a major player in the game of creative marketing. This diet focuses on high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate intake. No alcohol is allowed since alcohol is high in carbs. The whole premise of this diet is to throw your body into a state of ketosis, where you cells are breaking down fat to burn instead of carbs.
  • The Whole Food Plant Based Diet (or WFPB)– This diet has really caught attention the past decade, due to the state of health this country. This diet emphasizes only plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, while eliminating all meat, dairy, seafood and highly processed foods and snacks. Some extreme versions even remove oils and avocados. You can have small amounts of wine/alcohol on this diet if you choose, but it is not suggested during your first weeks of the program.

My personal successes

I can personally speak for a clean Keto, which I lost 35 pounds in ninety days with no exercise. I was concerned with the hit my lipid profile took, and what it was doing to my cardiovascular system, so I stopped.

I then recently found the WFPB diet. At the time, I really didn’t think I could do it. I was always a meat and potatoes girl, and hit dairy really hard. I was always down for full butter, sour cream, milk, cream and I never met a cheese I didn’t like. When I began my personally journey within the last eight months, I lost another 35 pounds. That is huge for a woman over 50, again without any exercise.

I urge you to do the research

When I began having health issues again, I consumed all the information I could on YouTube and Pubmed, I could find. I found studies of the OG of vegan such as Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and his reversal of a fully blocked artery with only a WFPB diet, no surgery. Dr. Campbell and The China Study, Dr. Michael Greger and more recent, Dr. Neal Bernard.

My personal story

My life depended on me being successful on this diet, literally. So, I purged my entire kitchen in one day, and gave boxes of food and meat away. Rearranged everything in my pantry. Loaded up on containers and meal preps with lids. Then I went to the store.

I cut out wine, diary, sugar, meat, fish, bread, sodas and anything processed, and I did it overnight. I hit it hard, and it hit me back. I felt like I had the flu for three days. The withdrawals were big, but my “why” was bigger!

My why

I had just been by my cardiologist, when I was going through my breast cancer treatment, the chemo and radiation damaged my heart and I was now in the beginning stages of heart failure. All I could think about was me making it through Stage III, Triple Negative Breast Cancer only to come out the other end with heart failure. I was too young for this. Life was being cruel.

I was given four very new and very expensive medications. I took one home and just stared at it. I began reading the side effects and researching the drug. To say, I am not a fan of medication, is putting it mildly. Probably because I have always had to take so much through my lifetime. So, I decided that food was going to be my medicine (or at least my first line of defense). I was holding on the medications, until I knew I had not other option.

I am in no way telling you to forgo a medical treatment. You should speak with your healthcare provider. This was a personal decision that I was making for myself.

Prior to my diagnosis of heart failure, I was having to return to the chemo center for Iron Therapy Infusions. I had eight weeks of the infusions to help bring up my red blood cell count. It didn’t bring my numbers up as much as I hoped it would. I thought I was going to have to be very careful going on an all plant-based diet. I believed my iron, pallets, red blood cells and B-12 were all going to tank, more so than they already were.

Much to my surprise, after 90 days on the diet, all of my blood work came back better that it had been in decades. I was elated and baffled at the same time. I didn’t understand this. Plants don’t have B-12 or heme-iron. How could this even be possible?

Shortly after this, life happened again, and I lost my job. I was thrown for a loop and I spiraled downward. I began reaching for those familiar comfort foods. I started drinking wine, eating cheese, meat and dairy and the weight came back on, as fast as it had gone. So, now here I am, back at my starting point. I am going to have to commit and go full steam ahead back into the WFPB diet. Only this time, I cannot flex out for any reason.

Which diet is right for you?

So, which diet is right for you? Only you can answer that, but before you do, please take this to heart. Before going on any diet or exercise program, you will need to talk to your healthcare provider and get approval for any diet or exercise program. If you get the green light, then it would be best to get some baseline blood work drawn at this time. This will give you an indication of your current state of health, and give you a benchmark for your goals going forward. After all, food is medicine and nutrition is health!

Congrats! You have now taken your first step in your journey to achieve better health and a better life!