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?

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10 Responses

  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