First, let me start by stating, I am not a supporter of PETA. It’s okay if you are, but my transition into becoming a vegetarian was not for the sake of animals. It is for the sake of my own health and coincidentally it is good for our earth (and the animals) so it’s a win, win for all of us. This makes me happy! I do love animals!!
If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook @allanapinky, (or this not so very active blog) you know I have been on a journey to get myself healthy along with coercing family and friends to do the same. Change is hard! I admit it, but the rewards have been overwhelmingly delightful. When it comes to health food, I follow a different protocol than what one might think. If you look at the typical food pyramid we have all grown up with, it is top heavy with grains, then fruits and veggies with fat being low on the totem pole.
Two years ago I discovered Dr. Steven Gundry and his book The Plant Paradox. In a nutshell, there are seemingly healthy foods that contain a lectin protein that can actually wreak havoc on the lining of our gut. Without a healthy gut, good bacteria can’t thrive, weight loss is difficult and disease tends to flourish. At the time, I was fifty-five pounds heavier, riddled with arthritis, getting sick all of the time, low on energy, full of aches and pain and not sleeping very well. As a I read the book and considered my health history, it was an eye opener as to why I suffered with so many ailments as a child, teenager and young adult. Here is the list:
- Terrible menstrual cramps
- Heavy monthly periods
- Weight gain
- Mononucleosis – Epstein’s Bar
- Basal cell cancer on the nose – age 27
- Difficult birthing first child
- Gall bladder attack and removal
- Fibrocystic breast
- Ovarian Cyst ruptures
- Uterus prolapse – removal
- Bladder prolapse – surgical repair
- Ovarian endometriosis attack and removal
- Arthritis – knees
- Chronic Fatigue
- 2 Knee surgery – stem cells
With the exception of the knee surgery, everything else on the list happened all before the age of 40 years old. Now do you understand why I was on a quest to get healthy? Little did I know, most if not all of these issues, we can attribute to my diet. Yes. Even the menstrual cycles. You see, our food and the drinks we put in our bodies control everything from hormones, to digestion to brain health. The list goes on and on. Even the things we put on our skin control our health destiny. It’s important to know which chemicals affect us, grow diseases and wreak havoc on our bodies. Do you read labels?
How long is your list of health issues? I truly hope it is not as long as mine, but the sad truth is many of my friends and family members have a long list. I feel like I have been quite successful in improving my health and the health of many people. I have lost 55 lbs. and continue to maintain a good weight. Mind you, I travel a lot for my “day job”, so keeping it off is quite a challenge. I fluctuate about 5-7 lbs. I don’t like it, but I was content. Still I couldn’t help but think that I could do more. I didn’t try to seek out answers immediately. Ironically, I was making an attempt to convince my twenty-three year old son to change his “wicked ways” when I found the answer. Don’t get me wrong, it was all of my fault he was addicted to sugar and carbs, but at his age, kids know everything and look at their parents like they have three heads. LOL!
Here’s what went down. One night I proclaimed movie night and asked everyone to watch That Sugar Film. It’s all about how even our “healthy” foods have an enormous amount of sugar, so we have essentially been duped into thinking we are eating healthy. It also told how corporations have chemist on staff to create product that hit that “bliss point” so that consumers become a addicted to the product and other sugar loaded products. That movie hit home with my son and he stopped drinking all the Cokes, Mountain Dews, Red Bulls, etc., cold turkey!
From that moment, number one son continued to investigate this health kick thing. He found movies for us to watch; The Game Changers and Forks Over Knives. These two movies provoked us to give up animal protein or at least greatly reduce it. Again, the change ain’t easy, but the rewards outweigh the challenges that go with becoming vegetarian along with being a Plant Paradoxer. According to the experts in the movies and in The Longevity Paradox (Dr. Steven Gundry), animal protein is not necessary for human beings to thrive. In fact, animal protein can be dangerous to our health, causing heart disease and cancer growth along with other health issues. This would also include dairy products, so we need to eliminate those, unless you’re eating dairy products with A2 casein or products made with goat and sheep milk. Our American cows have A1 casein protein and the A1 casein protein is not good for our gut.
At this point, it may seem impossible to follow a lifestyle without lectin proteins, dairy and other animal protein. So, how did I begin? First, I took a deep breath and set my mind to a “can do” attitude. After all, millions of people over the years have set out on this quest or naturally grew up this way and don’t know any different. In addition, my husband was on board. Reluctant, but willing to try it. Our two sons were willing to try it. Most of the shopping and cooking is up to me, but I am happy to report, the eldest son is learning his way around the kitchen!
The first couple of weeks, we piled up on the greens, mushrooms, onions; all the good gut buddy foods. We still ate eggs and fish on occasion. Three weeks went by faster than I realized. I felt great! I had even more energy and didn’t feel the need for my 4 o’clock cup of coffee. I still have it, just because. I just love a hot cup of joe at the end of the day. Plus, it’s now cold outside and it makes me feel good.
One of the easiest things to do, is google vegetarian and vegan recipes. Word of warning, though, many of them call for soy. Guess what? Soy is a no, no with a Plant Paradox lifestyle.
So what’s a gal to do? Get creative! After two years of cooking more than I have ever cooked in twenty-four years of marriage, I have gain a lot of confidence in the kitchen. I have created a “meat” substitute using mushrooms, walnuts and pine nuts. I pulse all the ingredients, mix together and add my favorite spices. I can still have Taco Tuesdays! Yes, there is a product called Quorn, however I don’t like having to look up definitions of ingredients. While many vegetarians think they are following a healthy diet, many are missing the key point of not eating processed foods. We just finished week 4 and I am happy to report I had no animal protein of any kind all week. I feel great and lost 7 lbs.
My best advice is to get familiar with the Plant Paradox Yes and No List. I was surprised how fast I was able to memorize this list. Once you know the basics, it’s easy. I also follow some amazing women who cook amazing meals. They are all over Instagram and Facebook. Until I can focus full time on this new lifestyle, I just make life easy, follow their recipes and make some tweaks to them. I do strive to try something new every week so we don’t get bored.
We are fortunate to have at least a few friends who are trying the same lifestyle so getting together with them makes it easy. Other friends have a huge amount of respect for my success so they ask where I prefer to eat when we are going out. It helps to have a circle of very supportive friends!
Currently I am working on dropping down another 10 lbs. What are your goals? To help give you inspiration, I post a lot of what I am cooking, eating, preparing, struggling with and all what goes along with a lifestyle change. I am real with my followers, so follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram. I am also available for private consultation. I don’t charge you anything. It’s my goal to help others get on the right rack and not suffer the way I did for almost 50 years.
UPDATE: December 5, 2019
I am down those nagging 10 pounds!! We are on week six of the vegetarian lifestyle and let me tell you, it’s not easy, but it’s not hard either. Let me clarify, I have eaten some eggs and some fish. A ton of my Plant Paradox recipes call for eggs and butter so it is a bit overwhelming to eliminate all animal protein.
My Biggest Flop of a Meal?
I decided to go all in with making a vegetarian Thanksgiving lunch. I wasn’t overly ambitious as I was fighting a cold for the first time in two years. I managed to make four dishes which was plenty. Just because it’s the holidays, it doesn’t mean we have to gorge on food. I know! I know! That’s no fun, but is it really fun having bloating, diarrhea, constipation, weight gain, indigestion and heart burn; All the things that come with over eating?
My biggest blunder was substituting with Nutritional Yeast for real cheese with the Mac ‘N Cheese. It was awful. I ain’t gonna lie. I have used the nutritional yeast in other recipes, but for mac’n cheese, unless you are an expert with substitutes, stick to the real thing, for now.
Speaking on substitutions, I am busy at the store reading labels on all the packaged vegetarian substitutes. Let me tell you. I am not a fan and here is why. If I have to pull out my phone and look up the meaning of an ingredient, it probably should not be going into our bodies.
Period. End of story.
One thing I have discovered on this vegetarian journey is vitamin and mineral supplementation may be necessary. If you are going to follow this lifestyle or even dive into being a vegan, you may want to be sure to monitor your blood work to be sure you are getting all the nutrients our bodies need. Check out this post from Dr. Mark Hyman about Vitamin D It seems most of us are deficient and could be the main cause of your health issues. Ever wonder why people who eat seemingly healthy are sick, get cancer, develop dementia, etc.? They might be deficient in vitamin D.
I am thrilled to continue my quest to learn more and inspire all of you. At the rate I am going, I am more confident I will not only reach my goal weight of 145 lbs., but also keep striving to be even better to my body. I would say, I’ve been good to it about 90%. For 2020, I plan to make it 99.9%
Feel free to reach out to me. Like I always tell my followers, you don’t have to purchase products from me to get advice or support. My passion is to educate and assist you in getting healthier and meet you where you are at this moment. Just realize you are not meant to live sick, overweight, tired, battling diseases or being depressed.
You are meant To Live the Life You’re Meant to Live!! To me, this means vibrant, energetic, healthy and very active for the rest of my life.
Let’s face it, change ain’t easy. Where are you right now? Not physical location, but emotionally. Where are you? Are you Living the Life You’re Meant to Live? Be honest. Brutally, honest! I have spent most of my adulthood trying to improve my health, lose weight, cook healthier meals and get more exercise. I am sure many of you have done the same.
I failed at most attempts. Here is what I know works for me.
- Grab your partner and dosey-doe. (not sure how to spell that) It goes without saying, a family that eats together, eats together. I didn’t give my husband a choice, but because of family suffering with dementia, he decided it was time for a change, as well. I was lucky. If your spouse is not on board with changes, push through and make them anyway. Don’t let others define you. If Paul wasn’t going to change, he would have to make his own meals and we would have to spend more money on different foods for everyone. He didn’t like the sound of that!
2. Make a plan. I didn’t change over night, but I did clean out may pantry in one day. It was a relief, actually. I got organized and as I threw horrible, unhealthy foods in the garbage bags, I felt better. One by one as they went into the trash, I knew I was doing the right thing. Get yourself a calendar or a piece of paper and proclaim the day you will start your new lifestyle. Hint: Make it today!
3. Be prepared. Look, life is hectic for all of us. We are constantly on the go and tempted with all kinds of food packed with sugar, calories and the wrong fat. You want the right fats, by the way. Pack some snacks. Drink plenty of water. You’ll thank yourself and feel like you had a tremendous victory each day. In fact, changing a lifestyle is a lot like practicing sobriety (and maybe this is part of your lifestyle change) . You have to get through each day. At the end of the day, pat yourself on the back if you refused that brownie at the party, ate salad instead of fried chicken, stuck to sparkling water with lime, instead of soda. Those little changes make a huge impact and will build you up for success instead of failures.
4. Know that “will power” is a choice. You have the ability to make the right decisions for yourself. If the temptation is just too much for you to hang out with friends who are not changing to a healthier lifestyle, don’t hang out with them for a while. Once you can strong enough, can stay emotional strong and learn how to substitute foods and drink, then venture back over to the wild side. Your friends should see a change and respect you for it. If they don’t, time for new friends!
5. Look at food and eating differently than you ever have before. We need food to live, nourish our bodies and help us sustain life. We don’t need food to taste good, make us feel stuffed like a cream puff, satiate our appetite or console a sad mood. Thankfully, we can eat fantastic tasting healthy food that won’t give us gas, diarrhea, constipation, acne, weight gain, inflammation, cancer, and other health issues. If you consider food as medicine, we should consider the side effects just like the pamphlet that comes with medication and what is stated on pharmaceutical commercials. We wouldn’t eat 95% of the foods we eat, if we really understood their long lasting side effects.
Congratulations on taking charge and control of your life! You’re not meant to live with aches, pains, health issues and laying in bed all day. I am here to help you every step of the way. Join me on Facebook and Instagram. Follow my journey along with yours. I also have a secret group on Facebook, so if you’re interested in joining us there, send me a message.
Cheers to good health! Live the Life You’re Meant to Live!
As you live your life, friends and even, family sometimes come and go. The world we live in today is so virtual. I am constantly amazed how very rare it is for people to talk on the phone these days. We have become consumed with texting, Facebook Messenging or Instagram messenging back and forth. What have we done to ourselves? Trust me. I am just as guilty as everyone else.
I created a secret Facebook group for a variety of reasons, but mainly to keep our group special. We want people to join that have a common bond. Our community goal is simple; to live healthy, try new products, share recipes and information with one another and educate ourselves. This is the key to staying healthy instead of trying the latest fad diet or trendy exercising. We are constantly bombarded by negativity. People tend to scoff off your excitement about trying something new and healthy. Even those closest to you may make you feel bad when you tell them what you are doing to change your lifestyle. I say, scoff at them and stick with the group. We are here to help you!
We are here to encourage, motivate and yes, I will educate on whatever I am learning about or whatever I am venturing into in the way of a business. I always want to help people with their health goals. Going back to school is not an option. Well, it is, but I don’t want to. (insert image of me stomping my feet and throwing a tantrum. LOL!)
After being on this earth for fifty-one years and suffering with multiple health issues, I can honestly say, your doctor doesn’t have all the answers. Not only that, they can’t seek other alternatives other than pharmaceutical remedies because of their lack of training and unless they have studied Functional Integrative Medicine like Dr. Mark Hyman, they will not introduce new techniques, alternative strategies, etc. to get you healthy. They will treat the symptoms. Thankfully, more and more doctors are beginning to understand we need more than just to treat the symptoms. We need ways to prevent the illnesses that are plaguing our bodies.
So Cheers to the group! Membership is free. No purchase is necessary. Let’s share, invite others to join us and lift one another up everyday. Please feel free to post good stuff and share your ideas! Be sure it is a reputable source and if you have a specialty , please send me a message or call me and let’s discuss how you can help the group.
I will do my utmost to provide good content and even a Facebook Live once a week. Please share your success stories with me so I can give you some props during our weekly Facebook Live. I just might have surprises for someone. Ya never know!
Oh! If you hear a dog barking in the background, that’s Blaze. He is our ten year old Boykin Spaniel. Completely spoiled.
All my best,
I lost 55 lbs. It took almost fifty years gaining and losing weight to finally get off the most weight ever and it took a year and a half. Does that sound like a long time? I will tell you, the time flew! One reason it felt like it happened over night was because I was learning something new all of the time; how to shop differently, cook with ingredients I didn’t know existed and making new friends online who were following the same path. There is no doubt going on a weight loss and essentially, a change of lifestyle is much easier if you’re doing with others. I was lucky enough to have my husband follow along and even my kids try some things every now and then. I guess everyone took my proclamation seriously. LOL!
My work travel takes me all over the U.S. and sometimes abroad. I am on an airplane, in rental cars, hotels, Ubers, etc. There is no doubt, the amount of traveling I do is wearing on the body. In order to maintain my weight I prepare. It’s not as hard as you think. Here are some tips:
- Pack a lunch box with healthy snacks. This will keep you from shopping at the airport stores and grabbing those awful, nutrition-less snacks on the plane.
- Two things I can’t live without are Whole Earth Stevia-Monk-fruit sweetener and Lily’s Dark Chocolate. These seriously save my life when I want something sweet. The sweetener goes in my coffee and keeps me from ordering those flavored coffees at Starbucks.
- Bring supplements. I take GundryMD’s Vital Reds to help my energy levels and Lectin Shield to help with digestion.
- Get some shut eye! It took a while, but jumping into time zones doesn’t seem to affect my sleeping. Yes, I may wake up super early when I am on the west coast, but this gives me time to hit the hotel gym. Even if it is just a 20-30 minute walk on the tread mill, it’s better than nothing.
- Eating out is tough. I focus on the menu and pick the best of the what they’ve got. Most of the time, it means a Caesar salad with or without chicken.
- Most importantly, when I arrive back home I jump right back on track eating right. I may take a couple of days and do a modified cleanse, depending on how bad I fell off the wagon. Mind you, I don’t do it a lot because once you start taking care of the body, you will realize how bad you were feeling and you won’t want to go back there!
Struggling with weight loss has been a big part of my life. I am happy to say, now that I understand how the gut is affected by the food we eat and what we drink, losing weight is not such a struggle anymore. I truly wish more people will read the book The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Grundy and follow it as much as possible. It has been a G-d send to me and my family.
Find Your Circle of Good
There is no better way to have success with weight loss than to surround yourself with like minded people. You may have to ignore some relationships for a while, if those people do not understand or try to sabotage your goals. Don’t let it happen. Please consider this community your circle of good. I am here to lift you up, answer questions, guide you to good resources and be your biggest fan! I have the BEST circle of friends and family. We might not all agree on everything, but we cheer for each other and celebrate successes.
What’s your biggest struggle? How can I help you?
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Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton