Happier and Healthier at Our Little House

There is typ­i­cally noth­ing that can make one’s day any bet­ter than to see an old friend and have them start out by say­ing, “You look GREAT! How much weight have you lost now?”

That’s what hap­pened this week when I met up with our for­mer neigh­bor down the road who moved to town a few months ago.

I gave up on fad diets a long time ago, but used to embark on them reg­u­larly. The only one that worked well for me and gave me the longest results was Weight Watchers. That’s because if you do what they tell you and focus on eat­ing health­ier rather than los­ing the weight, the weight comes off and stays off.

Of course, you have to stick to the rou­tine and who wants to spend their life weigh­ing food?

I’m not on a fad diet, but last year, Dale had to rush me to the ER because I thought I was hav­ing a heart attack. After being sent home with a pre­scrip­tion for high blood pres­sure med­ica­tion and a heart mon­i­tor, it woke me up to my fam­ily his­tory of dia­betes and heart dis­ease (my pater­nal grand­fa­ther and father died before they were 60) and I was con­vinced I needed to do some­thing.

Our goal when we moved here, after­all, was to start liv­ing hap­pier AND healthier.

You might recall I started see­ing a doc­tor trained in Chinese med­i­cine who does acupunc­ture and pre­scribes herbal reme­dies, but the part of his “treat­ment” that really changed my focus was a “home­work” assign­ment to watch the doc­u­men­tary, “Forks Over Knives,” which was based on the book, “The China Study,” one of the longest, com­plete stud­ies of the link to food and dis­eases ever conducted.

For all of you car­ni­vores out there, yes, it is about switch­ing to a plant based, vegan diet.

Dale was actu­ally the one who sug­gested we try it after watch­ing the doc­u­men­tary. I’m still stick­ing with it about 95% of the time. I’ve con­verted to all almond milk or coconut milk creamer in my cof­fee, but I still do eat fish about once a week (typ­i­cally shrimp or sushi) and have a dab of cheese on (black bean) tacos and salads.

I typ­i­cally take a taste of Dale’s steak or pork just to con­vince myself I’m not miss­ing any­thing. Instead of send­ing me off of the wagon, I’m even more con­vinced I’ve made the suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion as meat really no longer appeals to my taste.

I’ve also been known to indulge in the occa­sional non-vegan sweet at par­ties or if we have guests, but when it’s just us, I eat vegan organic choco­late or non-dairy ice cream.

Dale stuck to it very well until win­ter and I would say is now 80% on board, which means any­time he eats at home.

It wasn’t as hard for me as I had imag­ined it would be. The key really is vari­ety. I took cook­ing classes and con­sulted with my doctor’s wife, who is cer­ti­fied in a plant based nutri­tion. I also switched to an MD who is vegan and truly inte­grated the tra­di­tional and mod­ern med­i­cine therapies.

The result?

Once again, it is all about the lifestyle change of eat­ing health­ier with weight loss as a sec­ondary ben­e­fit. I’ve lost a total of 26 pounds in a lit­tle over a year of fol­low­ing this path and in two weeks, will have com­pleted the process of taper­ing off of my blood pres­sure medication.

My cho­les­terol has dropped sig­nif­i­cantly, my blood sugar A1C test is no longer in the pre-diabetic range and my Plantar Fasciitis hasn’t given me prob­lems in months.

I know veg­e­tar­i­an­ism or veg­an­ism it isn’t for every­one, but my clothes feel great and more impor­tantly, I feel much better.

What’s the most suc­cess­ful lifestyle change you’ve ever made?

10 Responses to “Happier and Healthier at Our Little House”

  1. Donna O. says:

    Congratulations! That's a won­der­ful accom­plish­ment to lose all that weight, and get­ting off the meds is phe­nom­e­nal! Over here we are not vegan or veg­e­tar­ian, but we do try to eat a lot of veg­e­tar­ian meals, using meat as a treat rather than a sta­ple, and when we do eat it at home, we try to pur­chase only human raised, grass fed, or at the very least, organic.

    When we dine out or at friends and fam­i­lies, we eat what's offered or what we have a yen for, but I'm proud of the choices we've made as to what we bring into our home.

    • Kerri says:

      When I bought meat, Donna, I also tried to buy locally, humane raised meat, but I had to buy it in KC and bring it back, so some­times we would run out before I could get more. Good for you and your fam­ily, every­one needs to find what works best for them. I have learned to inquire if we're invited to a din­ner, if there will be a veg­gie option. If there isn't, I take a dish I can eat. :)

  2. Sheryl M says:

    Congratulations, Kerri! It's good news to read about your suc­cess that come from healthy lifestyle changes (and the deter­mi­na­tion to stick to your con­vic­tions). In addi­tion I love your healthy recipes. The Lasagna has been a huge hit in our famlly.

    • Kerri says:

      I'll have another pretty good one for you tomor­row, Sheryl! I'm glad you enjoy them and I'm really happy you like the lasagna, that's a vari­a­tion of my mother's recipe. :)

  3. Mary says:

    Congratulations on the weight loss. But, more impor­tantly on feel­ing bet­ter and work­ing toward get­ting off the blood pres­sure med­ica­tion. You should be proud of your accom­plish­ment of chang­ing your life for the healthier.

  4. I was once at a din­ner party where I met and spoke with a woman who was a nutri­tion­ist. This was back when cho­les­terol was just being revealed as a seri­ous health haz­ard. We got into a con­ver­sa­tion about fad diets and food trends– like what is going on right now with the whole "gluten free" craze. She said that the funny thing is that no mat­ter how many of these fad diets and trendy food issues come up in media, the basics of a healthy diet really have not changed since our grand­par­ents encour­aged us to eat our spinach and broc­coli. We have known for many gen­er­a­tions, that eat­ing a diet rich in veg­eta­bles and fruits, accom­pa­nied by a cer­tain amount of whole grains and legumes, while restrict­ing red meat (or elim­i­nat­ing meat alto­gether as you have done, Kerri) will result in being able to main­tain a healthy weight and pre­vent con­di­tions like dia­betes, heart dis­ease and high blood pres­sure. Sometimes the most impor­tant ele­ment miss­ing from our dis­cus­sions on food and diet, is sim­ple com­mon sense. As Michael Pollen (author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma") put it: "Eat food, mostly greens, not too much." The truth to a healthy diet is pretty much just that sim­ple, I believe. Great post, Kerri!

    • Kerri says:

      Excellent quote, Kathleen. As those memes say on Facebook, "Organic food is what our grand­par­ents used to call food." It is very simple.

    • Maisa says:

      Hey Kerri, a friend of mine saherd a link toy your blog which I LOVE! I am a total quote queen and love read­ing all the notes and pics you have saherd, they are so won­der­ful Also lov­ing the book sug­ges­tions, which I'll be sure to check out always need to have a list going. Look for­ward to read­ing more and drop­ping by again soon