Sunday, July 31, 2016

Is it possible somewhere, deep inside, my body is healing itself???

As you all know, I haven't been doing very well since the Wildman Weekend. I've just been making exceptions all over the place to my Sweet Sixteen List: overeating, eating the wrong things, etc.

Yesterday, my downward spiral continued. I was working on deadline with a work project and couldn't leave the house. I didn't have any fresh healthy foods on hand. I hadn't stocked the pantry or fridge because I thought I'd be fasting, but I'm not fasting. Fasting can accelerate healing and weight loss for me, and it can also be like pressing the reset button for me when I'm doing badly. But I find myself simply unable so far to fast.

So I ate trout (of course since the freezer has been full of it). For my vegetable, I was going to pick some plantain weeds and cook them up, but I got busy (translate lazy) so I warmed up an old can of Campbell's vegetable beef soup with an old dented can of green beans added to it, and that was my pitiful excuse for a featured veggie of the day.

See? More exceptions to my Sweet Sixteen List. Like eating canned foods I would normally not touch. It seems when I bend the rules in one place, I bend them everywhere.

Later in the day, all I had on hand in my empty pantry was a can of Progresso chicken noodle soup, so I ate that and added (gasp!) canned commercial (translate GMO) corn to it.

Things are progresso-ing badly for me. Clearly.

For most people, I realize, this would be a good eating day. It's not like I was eating donuts and pizza. But I'm really trying to stay away from canned foods and GMO foods and non-organics. That is key to healing my gut biome and stabilizing my hormones and thyroid.

Plus, I could tell I wasn't eating "clean" because my ravenous hunger was back and I was having trouble resisting things that were even worse.

When I eat right (no processed or canned foods, tons of fresh organic veggies, healthy fats, small amounts of grassfed meats, sprouted nuts, seeds and legumes, etc.) I am not hungry.

Let me repeat that sentence and add emphasis:

When I eat right (no processed or canned foods, tons of fresh organic veggies, healthy fats, small amounts of grassfed meats, sprouted nuts, seeds and legumes, etc.) I am not hungry.

I used to always be hungry. But not lately. You've read my posts about how hunger was leaving me.

Now that I know my natural, healthy state is to eat healthy and be full and not feel hunger, hunger is now becoming a warning sign to me that something is not right. For awhile there, I wasn't feeling that ravenous, driving hunger. Til the Wildman Weekend and the exceptions to my Sweet Sixteen that followed me in the days afterwards.

You know what else I was doing wrong? I was out of my metformin for my diabetes and had been out for four days. I was also out of test strips and had no idea how high my blood sugars were getting. Not good at all.

The only thing I was doing right was eating trout.

Oh and I had begun trying out my new resistant starch regimen (4 tbsp of Bob's Red Mill unmodified potato starch in cold water once a day). It's supposed to feed your clostridia in your large intestine and cause butyrate production which reduces blood sugar, normalizes insulin and brings about weight loss, in addition to a host of other benefits. It also intensifies dreaming. If you don't dream, you'll start dreaming. If you already dream, you'll probably progress to lucid dreaming. (And I hadn't been remembering my dreams but a few days into the resistant starch routine, I was dreaming again).

But trout and resistant starch don't make up for ignoring my blood sugar meds, making homemade gourmet chocolate with organic sugar, and sin of all sins, eating canned processed soups and (gasp!) that fast food I ate the other day in town. The cardinal sin of omission, though, has been to not eat my platefuls of fresh cooked veggies.

Today, I told myself I wasn't going to eat til I went out to the store and got blood sugar meds, test strips and healthy food. So I did.

In the parking lot at the store, I tested my blood sugar. After 4 days without meds, it was only 137. I was surprised. I would have expected it to be in the 200s. But then again, I've been eating SUPER healthy for well over a month now, I've lost 25 pounds, and I've been avoiding all the hormone disrupting plastics, canned and processed foods for the most part (until the last few days).

At the store, I got grassfed London broil, organic grape tomatoes, avocado, onion, garlic, cucumber, Caesar salad in a bag with fake crabmeat to throw in (I know, it's my weakness), pineapple and papaya (to digest that London broil).

I had enough healthy food for 2-3 meals.

But no, I got home and I was ravenous. I ate the whole 16 oz London broil, the whole Caesar salad with the whole bag of crabmeat, all the grape tomatoes, and both avocados (with some onion and garlic) blended up into a guacamole. Only the cucumber, the papaya and the pineapple survived my rampage. I feel certain they will not last the night. I'm still working on deadline and I'll be up all night and I know I'll eat more.

What is going on with me?

Part of this is stress. There are some personal things going on in my life right now that are extremely devastating (something to do with some family members and a couple of friends who are in deep trouble). Part of this is falling off the wagon on Wildman Weekend (it's always been hard for me to transition from being bad to being good). Part of it is I've always been a binger when I'm upset. Part of it is I let myself get malnourished again when I let bad/unhealthy/trigger foods in my house and failed to keep the right foods available.

After eating all that food tonight, I checked my blood sugar again. It was 129. I still hadn't taken my blood sugar meds. In almost 5 days now.

That made me sit up and think.

Why aren't my blood sugars higher? I just ate a ton of food. I know most of it wasn't sugary, but just that massive amount of protein will turn into sugar in your bloodstream. It was mostly healthy food but waaaay too much food to not elevate my blood sugar more than this--especially when I haven't taken blood sugar meds in almost five days and I've eaten things like homemade chocolate bars with organic sugar.

Now, this is a puzzle.

It's either this resistant starch experiment I just started, or it's all the stuff I've been doing with my Sweet Sixteen List. Either way, something is changing in my body. If I could mess up like this and still have relatively normal blood sugars after a huge meal like that...something is very right in my body.

From all my research, I've been learning that insulin and blood sugar levels are the KEY to weight gain and weight loss--even if you're not yet diabetic. If you can keep your insulin levels low, you can keep your weight low.

The resistant starch (the Bob's Red Mill unmodified potato starch) is supposed to help with that, as is everything else I've been doing on my Sweet Sixteen List. Something (or all of it) is working.

I still haven't taken my metformin. It's been a few hours since I've eaten my huge meal. I just checked my blood sugars again. It's 94. Without blood sugar medicine. It only got slightly elevated after my huge meal and then within two hours went back down to normal. All by itself. Without metformin. Clearly, I am onto something.

I'm so encouraged. It's so motivating to see these low blood sugar levels. It makes me want to jump back on the wagon and try harder.

It's so wonderful to think that--in spite of my past week of not doing perfectly--I have made a huge turnaround in my health. Something inside of me is healing.

Dare I believe that somewhere, deep inside, my body is using the tools I've been giving it to repair itself?

Fasting would accelerate it, but I'm doing good even without the fasting. I think I will just relax and allow the fast to start when I am able to fast and not push it.

But in the meantime, I'm going to keep trying to do my best at doing the things I've been doing. I'm going to keep following my Sweet Sixteen List, keep giving my body tons of veggies and unmodified potato starch to feed my clostridia and keep them producing butyrate, and keep trying to incorporate the fasting then exercise.

I'm going to keep trying.

Something I'm doing is working.


The problem you cannot solve is perhaps the problem you were born to solve...

So don't give up.

That's it for today. Just that one thought.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Good morning...bad's afternoon already and I haven't figured out which it is yet.

I failed on Day 1 of the fast yesterday, but I was determined to start fresh today.

That picture, that image right there, is all I had to look forward to today as I faced a loooong day of fasting. When I'm fasting, I look forward each morning to the highlight of my day. Coffee. Highlight, that is, as far as activating the pleasure centers of my brain. That's sad when one good cup of java is all you've got to look forward to, pleasure-wise.

It can look that way sometimes during a fast. But there is so much more to look forward to--in actuality--if you really think about it. There is transformation to look forward to. And once transformation occurs, and you are healthy and no longer so sick and overweight, life has so many more pleasures to be enjoyed than food.

Problem is, I can't seem to do it right now--no matter how great the rewards would be.

Yesterday I ate trout and green beans and popcorn instead of fasting. That was healthy. But it still wasn't fasting. This morning I woke up with the best of intentions, and while I was making my coffee, I found myself suddenly making a homemade lovely dark chocolate bar with a small amount of organic raw cane sugar, virgin coconut oil, and heaping spoonfuls of cocoa. I put in in its mold in the freezer, and by the time my coffee was done, my chocolate bar was solid, and I had coffee and chocolate for breakfast. That's actually not the worst thing in the world. But it's still not fasting. Today I'm having trout again, with a big pot of plantain weeds. Way too much fish, I know, but I've got a freezer full of it and I can't resist. I could be eating worse.

Fasting is what my body needs, but chocolate and trout are what my heart wants. Fasting can be a beautiful thing. The hard part is getting started then staying on it until the fast takes over and carries you.

Getting from here to there is the hard part.

I'll keep you posted. I share all of this with you because this is my reality. This is how hard it is to get started on a fast. When I finally get there and you see the miracles that happen in my body, you will remember how hard it was to get from here to there.

The whole point of sharing my journey to restore my health and take off this excess weight is so that when I finally find my way through to the other side, other people can follow what I learned along the way. There's no point to sharing the journey if you're not going to be honest.

Don't you agree?

We're on this journey together, so if you're going to stick around, be prepared for the whole unvarnished truth.

Speaking of truth, did I mention how much I enjoyed my breakfast of coffee and homemade gourmet dark chocolate?


Friday, July 29, 2016

Faster, God, faster...

Okay, I've been doing really well with my Sweet Sixteen Plan, right? In the month since I started the blog and began following my 16 guidelines, I've lost at least 25 pounds.

I had a couple days off the wagon after my Wild Man Weekend with my grandsons, but I've continued to adhere to the Sweet Sixteen with minor exceptions.

Two problems:

Number One, I don't like the exceptions I've been making. Yesterday, I was in town all day, didn't get to eat, and for convenience sake, at the end of the day, I ate McDonald's. That misstep told me in a big way: YOU ARE REALLY GOING OFF TRACK DONNA GAIL. I think the Wild Man Weekend with its tator tots and cheese and other crimes really threw me out of my healthy living routine. I feel like I need some separation from food to hit the reset button and get myself back on track.

Number Two, in this past few months, I've been having trouble with my knees and hips hurting me. My weight, combined with my deteriorating joints, has kept me from being very active. That lack of activity since my cancer surgery has only exacerbated the joint problem.

I desperately need to incorporate Guideline No. 16: EXERCISE.

But my conundrum is that I can't really exercise safely until I take some of this weight off. It's too damaging to my problematic hips and knees because I'm so heavy.

Always before, I would jump back into exercising after a period of not exercising, no matter how heavy I was. My knees and hips were in great shape most of my life, even though I was heavy. Age has caught up with me, however. Too many years of carrying this weight. Also, this past year after my cancer surgery, I have been so sedentary, protecting my ripped incision, and being so sick, and that has contributed to the deterioration of the muscles that would normally support my knee and hip joints.

Exercising, though, would not only help me lose weight, it would do all the biochemical things that need to happen to make me well.

Exercise is number 16 on my list. I put it last because I knew I'd have to lose a bit of weight with eating changes alone until I lost enough to be able to exercise--especially with HIRT (that'll be a future post). I've still not incorporated it. I don't want to hurt my knees and hips anymore than they are already damaged. Swimming would be an exercise option that wouldn't damage my joints, but because I'm trying to replenish my gut biome with healthy bacteria, chlorinated water is not the best place for me right now. Just in case chlorinated water really does impact gut bacteria like some sources suggest.

But I've got to incorporate some form of exercise. I keep going round and round with this in my head.

I remember in an issue of Harvard Magazine a few years back they wrote an article about some study on longevity and health that explored all the interventions that had been ended up concluding that the number one thing you could do to improve your health and extend your life was: EXERCISE.

Exercise is the fountain of youth.

So how do I get from here to there?

There is one thing I can do to take some weight off my joints quickly and also heal my problem joints at the same time. I've been pondering it for weeks. Trying to build up to it.


I'm thinking I'm going to try to do a 30 day fast, take off 50 pounds (like I've done two other times in my life), then start a gentle walking routine. I want the weight loss to go faster, to take the pressure off my joints, so I can incorporate the exercise.

Fasting won't just accelerate my weight loss. Fasting accelerates everything: healing and joint repair, and it also reverses candida, high blood pressure, diabetes, bad cholesterol, etc. and brings breakthrough in every area of your life. Fasting also causes your body to produce miraculous age-reversing human growth hormone (HGH). Google that word. Also, read some of Dr. Jason Fung's stuff on fasting. Fascinating. He says occasional fasting, combined with increased fiber and use of vinegar can revolutionize the battle against obesity and degenerative diseases like diabetes and heart disease, even cancer, among others.

For my purposes in this discussion, fasting is defined as ingesting no food, only water. No juices. This is not juice-fasting I do. It is water-fasting. I only allow myself a little lemon occasionally in my water, or green tea or white tea, with no sweeteners (not artificial or otherwise).

Because I am a coffee-fiend, I break the normal rules of fasting and allow myself this cheat: one cup of coffee each morning with a dash of whipping cream. I don't advise this, it's just what I do because I cannot live without at least one cup of coffee in the morning and I must have cream in it. Since true whipping cream is a 100% fat food (it might have one net carb at the most), it will not disrupt the ketosis state I will be developing and maintaining. It's always seemed funny to me that fat is the one thing that does not disrupt ketosis. Google ketosis if you don't know what it is. That is assignment number one if you want to start learning about fasting for health and weight loss.

You can stay in ketosis as long as you stay below 15-20 carbs a day, but you will not be fasting.  You will be doing a low-calorie starvation diet. Fasting means no carbs, no calories. Fasting means NO food or drink. Water or unsweetened tea only.

My coffee exception is not a good one, but it's the only one I allow and it really doesn't change the nature of water fasting--much. But if you can do without it, do without it. If you are like me and cannot live without coffee, do not do more than one cup of coffee a day and do not drink whipping cream because you think it's 0 carbs. Some people actually do a fat-fast for accelerated fat loss, where they ingest nothing but fats for several days. You can google fat fast and read more about it. That's a different type of fast with a different purpose. My water fast is designed to detox my body, take off weight, and promote healing for major illness.

In the past, when I've gone over 30 days, I have completely reversed my diabetes and high blood pressure and lost over 55 pounds and transformed my life with major breakthroughs. Fasting is miraculous.

During this fast, I'm going to continue the unmodified potato starch I've just started and see how it makes me feel. It does not disrupt ketosis, it goes through my body undigested, but it will continue to feed my gut bacteria, and they should continue to produce butyrate, which should help keep my hunger at bay during the first few days of the fast until the hunger goes away from the ketosis.

I don't know how far I'll make it into the fast. I'm aiming for 30+ days.

I've tried to fast countless times since my cancer surgery, but I never made it past 7 days usually. One time I made it 14 days. I haven't tried since then. That time I made it 14 days, I think it helped that I ate really healthy for several weeks--with lots of veggies--before I did that particular fast. I think that's why I made it longer than I'd been able to make it before.

I'm encouraged about this fast because I've had a long period of exceptionally healthy eating and health practices and really detoxed my body and given it nutritional support. I feel ready for this fast.

I know you'll all have lots of questions about fasting. The best site I can refer you to is

That site is maintained by a guy named Robert Dave Johnston. I hired Rob to be my fasting guide on my first long (33 day) fast in 2010. He was invaluable to me and I lost 55 pounds. I was very sick when I started that first long fast. In the course of the 33 days I fasted, I cured my recurring UTIs after I'd gotten antibiotic resistant. I got over pneumonia. I  closed up an infected hole in my gums where I'd lost a tooth. I completely reversed my diabetes and high blood pressure and got off all meds. That's not even counting the host of spiritual and personal benefits. Fasting brings breakthrough in your life, not only in weight areas, but in every area.\

That's why every major religious tradition in history has prescribed fasting. You pray and you fast and things turn around--miraculously. The longer you fast, the more powerful the impact on your life.

In 2012, I did a 35 day fast, but it wasn't nearly as effective on my health. I lost 50 pounds, but my health issues did not completely resolve. I later found out I'd had cancer during that fast and didn't know it. That's why I wasn't feeling good. I believe that fast kept my cancer from spreading as fast. When my cancer was discovered in 2014, my doctor said I'd had it for years and she didn't understand why it hadn't spread past my uterus.

Now remember, not everybody can fast. Even if you find you can, please be under medical supervision. My doctor thought I was crazy when I told her what I was going to do, but she couldn't stop me. She was amazed after she saw the effects the fasting had on every medical condition.

If you fast, drink only water or unsweetened tea, otherwise you will not be in ketosis and you will not reap the benefits. Don't just drink a small amount of juice or eat a small amount of food.

The minute you ingest carbs, you are no longer fasting, you are eating a low-calorie diet. If you're going to do juice-only, you have to do at least 1200 calories worth of juice. Anything less is starvation and that's not good for you.

But you should know all of this before you even attempt a fast. You should research fasting exhaustively and be an expert on it if you're going to try it. Or you should hire Rob on Fitness Through Fasting. Don't try this without knowledge and guidance.

While I'm fasting, I'll keep blogging about all the things I've been discovering in my research. Just because I'm not eating doesn't mean I can't write about eating. In fact, I'll probably post lots of pictures of food porn. I love looking at food porn when I'm fasting and planning what I'm going to eat when I can finally eat again. I hope this obsession with food one day leaves me. Sigh.

You can't really say you're successfully into a long fast until you've reached Day 3. That's when ketosis starts because it takes at least that long to deplete your liver of all sugars and start subsisting on your fat stores solely. Even a 24 hour fast has benefits, but the true benefits of fasting really are evident in my 30-plus day fasts.

I'll check back in on Day 3 and let you know if I'm still hanging in there. With fasting, you never know if it's going to be a go. It's a spiritual thing, I think, even if you are doing it for health or weight loss reasons. I always pray and ask God to enable me to fast. I think it's impossible without divine assistance to do a long fast.

So here's my prayer: Dear Lord, I am beginning this fast to heal my body and take off this weight that is keeping me from being able to move comfortably in this body. My eating and lack of exercise has hurt my body, and I am trying to undo the damage I have caused. Please help me to heal myself. Please enable a long fast. Give me strength to complete this fast and the joy and energy it brings as it progresses. Heal everything within me that is sick and restore into my life everything the locust has stolen. Bring breakthrough and answered prayers with this fast as you do with all my fasts, and let my intimacy with you increase in this special time. Please take food down from its place as an idol in my life that has come before you. Forgive me for turning to food instead of turning to you, Almighty God, in my times of distress. Let me allow you to be my comfort and my joy. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Here we go. Everybody pray with me that this will be my first 30+ day fast since my cancer surgery. My body, mind, soul and spirit so need the rejuvenation, healing, transformation and breakthrough.

Thirty days or bust.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Taking the bait and losing my head--like a silly trout!

Aren't those babies beautiful? I've been promising a post on fresh trout, caught by expert fishermen in Virginia's rushing waters, and here they are!

They were frozen for a short time waiting for a special Wild-Man-Weekend with my grandsons. I'm the honorary fourth Wild Man. Yeah, buddy. We watch wrestling, play video games, stay up all night, go swimming and hiking, have Fartmaster competitions, wear too much men's cologne, curse like sailors, turn the music up loud and eat whatever we want. It's absolute mayhem until they go home. I love Wild-Man-Weekends.

And long-anticipated trout was on the menu.

At the same time, a friend of mine was going to be leaving her home to stay elsewhere and she had all these groceries that were going to go bad. She knew Wild-Man-Weekend was upon me, so she filled two ice chests and several huge boxes of everything I don't keep in my house anymore. She told me I wouldn't need to buy any groceries for the boys.

When we opened the ice chests and the boxes, the boys were ecstatic. Me? Less so. Here was a test for my healthy eating lifestyle.

I cooked trout the first night, but they didn't want it grilled. They wanted their trout floured and deep-fried. I didn't have any flour, but my friend had packed two huge bags of seasoned flour (and the seasonings included MSG). Wow.

That's where my descent into madness began. Simple pan-fried trout that wasn't so simple (or healthy) anymore. It was a small concession to their wishes. I could have fried their trout in flour and then washed my only large cast iron frying pan and then seared mine with a little avocado oil.

But I didn't.

They wanted mashed potatoes on the side. I opened one of the boxes, and it was filled with instant mashed potatoes of varying types. (I'm a diabetic, and I don't keep potatoes in my house). I hadn't had instant mashed potatoes in forever. Granted, to my credit, I only had a bite (or two).

The boys started digging through one of the bags excitedly pulling out honey buns, plastic packs of pudding, brownies, cupcakes. No Twinkies, thank God. But there were some Fiber One brownies. There are no longer any Fiber One brownies in the box. Sigh.

Breakfast the next morning came from a box in the freezer entitled French Toast Sticks, with some fried commercial pork breakfast sausage on the side and frozen tator tots we deep fried. I remembered how when I was young I loved to eat frozen tater tots raw and still frozen. I still like them raw. I also apparently enjoy them cooked I quickly discovered. They're especially good slathered with cheese. I tried to make homemade ketchup to go with them (made with apple cider vinegar and raw garlic and onion and organic tomato paste). The look on the boys' faces after one taste. Blaaagh. But really what was I thinking? What was the point? At that point.

They found boxes of Hamburger Helper in a variety of flavors and each picked their favorite flavor, so I made two different pots of Hamburger Helper and one pot of macaroni and cheese (for the youngest who just wanted mac & cheese). But the thing is, they wanted it as a side for their chicken-fried steak. Since my friend had sent a pack of pounded steak (what do you call that?) to make chicken fried steak, it simply had to be eaten, so we had chicken fried steak with hamburger helper on the side. Meat with a side of meat. Oh yes. Dredged, of course, in the MSG flour.

Fortunately, I despise Hamburger Helper and didn't even have a bite. Noooo. Instead, I had more deep-fried trout and then a nice-sized piece of chicken fried steak. I thought of it as our manly meat-lovers meal for men who love meat.

Today is the day they go home, and I'm sending all of my dear friend's remaining food home with the boys. I have learned a sound set of lessons:

Number One, I have been reminded of how hard this is for all of you out there raising children and trying to cook for them while eating healthy. Children want things like Hamburger Helper and frozen French Toast Sticks full of chemicals and gluten and sugars. You are having enough trouble retraining your taste buds, so how are you supposed to retrain them?

Number Two, I have seen how an innocent set of circumstances can lead to a complete fall from grace and we shall see together how I manage to turn this two-and-one-half day smackdown back around into healthy eating. The trick is: get it out of your house. Just its unexpected presence brought me down.

Number Three, I learned I really don't like that kind of food anymore (except the tator tots). Most of it, I ate, but I didn't enjoy it like I used to. I also didn't eat much of it. Just putting any of it in my body was a fall from grace, but my hunger level really is diminishing from all the healthy eating I've been doing. Normally I would have plowed through all of those snacks and forbidden foods. But I didn't.

I told the wild men we're grilling out when they next come for a weekend. We're going to have grilled organic steaks with asparagus with homemade Hollandaise and maybe some lobsters if I can wrangle them. They were thrilled. There will be no more groceries coming from my friend, and I will stock the house with organic strawberries and blueberries and healthy Brown Cow organic yogurt and all manner of healthy items that kids like.

I should have done better this time, but I didn't.

I will next time.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Are you crazy about chicken or tuna salad on thick slices of artisan bread...but you think it's bad for you?

Trust me, it is bad for you

But is there a hack or a workaround for this seemingly insurmountable problem? I happen to think there is.

First let's start with what exactly it is in this yummydelicious sandwich that is bad for us. Let me count the ways:

Number One: it's usually made with store-bought mayonnaise which is filled with GMO soybean oil and all kinds of nasty chemicals and processing

Number Two: it's usually on non-organic bread made with commercial wheat and chemicals and omega-6 refined vegetable oils that we're learning are soooo bad for us...we're learning that wheat generally is not good for us...and organic gluten-free bread is so hard to find (especially one that tastes good).

Number Three: the chicken is almost never organic (so it's filled with hormones and antibiotics and God knows what else that's bad for us) and the tuna is a great big fish from a great big polluted ocean (pregnant women and children are advised to limit consumption of tuna, so how healthy did you think it could be?)

Now that we know what's wrong with this summertime favorite, we can figure out how to fix it. Because admit it, sometimes you just have to have what it is you love.

The number one fix is: You're gonna have to make it at home. Never buy this stuff store-bought because you don't know what's in it.

The second big fix is: Use organic chicken. Please. If you're trying to get healthy or lose weight, you can't keep flooding your body with all the hormones and anti-biotics in commercially-raised chicken. If you think you can't afford organic chicken, don't eat chicken. Period. Watch this video about the growth hormones in our meat supply. Does no good to try to eat healthy to lose weight, only to gain weight because your hormones are out of whack. Growth Hormone in your Meat Supply

If it's tuna you can't live without, go with chunk light more often than albacore white. The skipjack and other mixed smaller tuna breeds have less mercury contamination than the bigger, older albacore that has proven to have accumulated more mercury. Nine servings per month of albacore will exceed your recommended maximum mercury intake. Crazy, huh?

The third big fix is: make your own mayonnaise or buy Primal Kitchen's avocado oil mayonnaise. For me, it's the closest you can come to store-bought mayonnaise without all the unhealthy oils and nasty ingredients. You can get it on Amazon or Jet or Thrive. Since you shouldn't be using much mayonnaise, it will last you and it's not that much more expensive than regular mayonnaise.

The fourth big fix is: surround it with anti-oxidants and nutrition. Put organic celery, walnuts, grapes or apples in your chicken or tuna salad. Put celery seed (yummy) for seasoning along with sea salt and anything else you like in your tuna or chicken salad (turmeric anyone?). Use lots of sprouts and/or greens/lettuces on your sandwich, some fresh organic tomatoes. Put a little apple-cider vinegar in your chicken or tuna salad mix. Just a capful. I'm always looking for ways to add vinegar since it's so important for health and weight loss (I'll write a post on that one day).

The fifth big fix is: if you like it sweet, use a little organic apple juice concentrate. Keep a canister of some frozen organic apple juice in your freezer so you can dig out a spoonful to mildly sweeten something you're making. Then if you add apples and grapes to it, the whole thing has a summery-fruity flair, which is nice for chicken salad especially.

The sixth big fix is: the right bread. Are you gluten-intolerant? You'll have to go with gluten-free bread and it's hard to find a healthy organic gluten-free bread. For those of you who aren't gluten-intolerant, I still don't recommend wheat bread. You should read on our Facebook page what they do to wheat (kill it with hazardous chemicals before harvesting to extend the life of their harvesting equipment, among other things).

If you're going with wheat, make sure it's organic wheat bread and preferably sourdough organic wheat bread. Even organic wheat is toxic for our bodies, but the sourdough process neutralizes many of the anti-nutrients in wheat.

Try to find a local baker who makes it, or try to convince a local baker to make it. If you have no luck, I think the breads from sound good. They are out of Seattle. I wish their gluten-free breads were organic. They look so good. They are looking at launching some organic gluten-free options in the next few months, and believe me, I'll be reviewing them for you.

But fortunately their wheat breads are organic and they have organic sourdough wheat bread. All their breads use traditional sourdough starters rather than yeast. I'm gluten-intolerant (as is my entire biological family) but I still find organic sprouted wheat or organic sourdough wheat bothers me less than straight commercial wheat bread. I want to try organic sourdough. Use the code BakersDozen to get 13% off your order of any size and also get flat-rate shipping. This bread is on my wish-list:

I'm still looking for the perfect organic gluten-free sandwich bread. Manna Organics has an Ancient Grain but it's a bit crumbly and not really suitable for sandwiches.

One of my readers recommended cloud bread (made of eggs, cream cheese and cream of tartar). How many of you eat your sandwiches on cloud bread? My concern is that most people probably use commercial cream cheese, not organic, and that's a source of concentrated hormones and antibiotics in conventionally-raised dairy cows.

If you find a good one, let us know. Email me at or comment on this post.

I really want to start making my own bread. I've been wanting to check out the recipes at If you have tried them, let me know. I don't like almond flour (that will be a future post I'll write) and for very good reasons. I would love to substitute sunflower seed flour but where do you find organic sprouted sunflower seed flour. I haven't found it yet. If you know where to get it, let me know.

Now the tried and true workaround for your bread issue is to eat it with a hollowed out tomato--you know, make a stuffed tomato. (Don't throw away the insides; just eat them). Or eat your chicken or tuna salad in a lettuce wrap.

But sometimes you just want an old-timey sandwich. On real bread.

That's alot of thinking we've put into the simple subject of chicken and tuna salad, but we just have to retrain our minds and reequip our pantries and then we can have what we love sometimes. As long as most of my meals are 80% veggie, I can have a healthy organic monster chicken-salad sandwich one day a week and it won't kill me. Might even say it's good for me.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thank God for good directions....and turnip greens

I'm sure you've all heard the country song from Billy Currington's album Doin' Somethin' Right. I don't listen to country music often, but I'm listening to the song right now as I write this post, cooking up some turnip greens.

I used to always think of turnip greens as a winter food. Who wants a big pot of steaming greens in their kitchen in summertime, right? But the nutrition in them is just too spot-on to save them for winter only.

In summertime, I fry my nitrite-free turkey bacon then put it aside and braise my greens in the bacon fat. Then I pour out any liquid when my greens are done, let them cool and sprinkle the bowl of greens with crumbled bacon and apple cider vinegar, stir and serve. I like my greens better lukewarm in summer.

I always braise or boil them with a little avocado oil, butter or nitrite-free bacon. Remember, with greens and most other vegetables too, you need healthy fats to absorb all those fat-soluble vitamins.

Did you know that, as greens go, turnip greens don't get near the credit they deserve. You know the greens are actually more healthier than the turnip.

A member of the family of cruciferous veggies, turnip greens not only outrank their own turnip in terms of nutrition, turnip greens also outrank other cruciferous veggies in calcium content and cancer-preventing glucosinolates. Everybody talks about kale and spinach and broccoli...but the humble turnip green outranks them all in nutrition. Turnip greens are anti-inflammary, filled with antioxidants, healing for cardiac and cancer patients alike.

You should always braise or boil your turnip greens and throw away any liquid to minimize oxylates. Turnip greens are actually low-oxylate as greens go. They aren't anywhere near as high in oxylates as swiss chard, spinach, beet greens or flat-leaf kale (you did know to always cook these greens, right? and throw away the water!).

Of course, most greens should be braised or boiled. Very few greens are best eaten raw because of oxylate content.

The following greens are low-oxylate enough to be eaten raw:
  • watercress
  • romaine and iceberg lettuces
  • all cabbages
  • bok choy
  • dandelion greens
  • arugala
  • curly kale
  • broadleaf plantain weed
Now I've read that people with healthy kidney function and healthy gut bacteria don't need to worry about oxylates. Your body can handle it. Heck, they're in almost everything that's healthy--including blueberries. It seems like the healthier the food, the higher the oxylate content.

Some people suggest eating some fermented food when you eat greens to make sure you have the bacteria to eat up the oxylates. I've decided to try that. So now I put apple cider vinegar on my greens and I drink a swallow of kefir with a probiotic and some enzymes before I eat a meal that is high- oxylate.

I'm diabetic so I try to pamper my kidneys and protect myself from oxylates as much as possible. It doesn't stop me from eating healthy foods, but I take measures to minimize oxylates.

Collard greens and mustard greens are also extremely old-timey country greens that don't get much attention but are super-healthy low-oxylate greens that can revolutionize your health and weight loss efforts.

They're even cheap organic.

But you can always grow your own for even cheaper. Sustainable Seed Company has organic seeds for turnip greens: Those seeds will give you a turnip root too. Don't forget to eat the turnip. Eat the greens first since they can wilt quickly, but the root will keep in your fridge for awhile. Check out this recipe for Buttery Turnips and Chicken: Buttery Turnips and Chicken Recipe on Superfood Meltdown

This old turnip seed advertisement is featured
on Sustainable Seed Company's website.
You can find organic heirloom seeds
for almost anything with the
Sustainable Seed Company.

And no, I don't receive anything from this seed company. I just like them. There are increasingly seed companies that provide heirloom and organic seed. The old-timey seeds (heirloom) are always the best choice. Greens especially are so easy to grow.

And if you don't want to grow them or buy them, become a forager. Check out my recent post on Facebook to learn about healthy greens that might be growing in your backyard:

Backyard greens are free and some of them, like dandelion greens and broadleaf plantain weed, have almost zero oxylates and are true superfoods. That way you can slurp the liquid when you eat them, instead of tossing it out. But when it comes to backyard greens, make sure nobody's been spraying poison around them (like Roundup for weeds) because that will disqualify them as a food source.

Whether you buy them, grow them or pick them out of your yard, just make sure you eat your greens! It's the smart thing to do. You know what's good for you--so do it! I mean, you didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, did you?

PS Who caught the "more healthier" comment above? Now, that's an old country-girl way to say it.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Sweet Sixteen

I recently wrote a long, detailed post entitled Everything you need to know about hunger control... 

It has more valuable information in it than anything I've written. It gives the big picture of where we're going with this blog. Unfortunately, it holds first place for the LEAST NUMBER OF VIEWS of all my posts on this blog. Even the post announcing the blog's new Facebook page got more views.

The problem is, I kept referencing things I said in that post, and nobody knows what I'm talking about.

Like my Sweet Sixteen List. To make your journey easier, here's a post that contains nothing but the Sweet Sixteen List so you can access it easily when you want to look at it. (Some people decided to print it out).

When I started this blog a month ago, it was because I'd been doing LOTS of research this past year after my cancer surgery, and I wanted a way to keep track of what I was learning.

I decided to do an experiment. I decided I would try to incorporate--all at the same time--everything I'd been learning while I was writing the blog. I might not be able to do it for the rest of my life, but my goal was to try, for a limited time, to do everything right.

Doing everything right would mean I would have to:
  1. stop eating fast food
  2. avoid exposure to chemicals, plastics, hormones, and anti-biotics (including plastic food storage containers, chlorinated water and anti-bacterial soaps, chemical-laden personal care products like toothpaste and shampoo, GMO-foods, etc.)
  3. eat much smaller amounts of organic grass-fed meats (avoid commercial non-organic meats at all costs due to hormones, antibiotics and processing)
  4. cut out all unhealthy processed vegetable oils (canola, vegetable/soy, peanut, etc.)
  5. increase healthy fats (avocado and its oil, coconut and its oil, grass-fed butter especially raw butter, organic grass-fed lard or tallow, etc.)
  6. cut out all commercial dairy and eat only grass-fed fermented dairy (like grass-fed and organic kefir, cheese and yogurt) or grass-fed butter and ghee
  7. eat vegetables and eat VOLUMES of vegetables
  8. eat only soaked and SPROUTED beans and lentils (and sprouted bean flours)
  9. eat no grains except occasional white rice (use sprouted amaranth, coconut flour, sprouted bean flours and ground flax to replace grains)
  10. avoid all processed foods (that means NO PROCESSED FOODS AT ALL)
  11. minimize all canned foods (even BPA-free) except canned sardines, salmon and oysters
  12. stay away from restaurants until the weight is gone (and if unavoidable, try to eat fish and vegetables or salad)
  13. stay away from all sugar except in the form of organic blackstrap molasses, prunes, figs, very small amounts of raw honey, powdered raw stevia leaf (not the processed white powder stevia, the good stuff is green), and ceylon cinnamon oil (which imparts a sweet taste)...if it gets desperate, use raw organic evaporated cane sugar sprinkled on top of berries before losing control and eating a whole chocolate cake
  14. speaking of chocolate cake, allow treats like that on holidays only but consume dark chocolate in a healthy form (email me at if you want healthy chocolate recipes)
  15. take all the supplements you know are good all at the same time and do it consistently while following all of the above guidelines for eating
  16. walk 45 minutes five days a week, with HIRT, and build upper-body muscle strength through low-weight/high reps weight lifting
Print that list out. It is my Sweet Sixteen List and it is at the core of what is working for me right now. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

one-minute superfood: beets

 Dr. Mercola on Beets

As I've mentioned, growing up, my parents raised their own grass-fed cattle and always had a garden. With the cattle, especially, my parents always taught me to use all parts of the animal and let nothing go to waste.

Today, my animal just happens to be a beet.

Beets (beet greens in particular) are one of the top five most nutritious and healing foods on the planet.

On the stove, you can see the leaves being sauteed in a little organic butter and cooked in the steam from the water droplets on the freshly-washed leaves. Now, if you cook beet greens, cook them thoroughly and throw away the juice that remains. Beets are high in oxylates. But if the greens are cooked thoroughly and the cooking liquid discarded, it reduces the oxylate level tremendously. Did you know you should never eat high oxylate greens like spinach and beet greens raw?

There is much less oxylate in the red stems so I always cook them with my beet greens, just chop them up into the cooking greens.

In the foreground you see two of the beets that will be going into the oven to roast. I never thought I'd convince my children to eat roasted beets, but I put them in the oven on 350 til they are tender, take them out and peel them easily, chop them up into chunks, stir them up with some soft creamy organic butter, and they are to die for. Now my children beg me to make roasted buttered beets.

Don't feel guilty about the organic butter. You always want to have some form of fat with your nutrient-dense veggies so you can absorb all the fat-soluble vitamins.

In the background, you see chopped raw beet and chopped beet stems with sea-salt-water in glass jars that will go into a cabinet for a couple days or months (however long I can stand waiting) to make my extremely nutritious fermented beet kvass. It's simple to make and sooo good for you. Detoxifying for your body. Not nearly as hard to ferment as other foods. Google "How to Make Beet Kvass" and you'll get a million recipes that are basically the same.You can do this! Cheaper than a $140 bottle of probiotics. Also, when you drink beet kvass you get even more nutrition than you would from eating a fresh beet, without all the sugar--since the sugar ferments away!

Try to get them organic. There's not much of a price difference. If you can only find non-organic, then don't eat the leaves and stems. They are heavily sprayed. Just eat the root bulb of the beet.

For optimum health, you actually should eat a beet every day. But aim for at least 3 beets every week.

Don't believe me? Check these out (and these are just the mainstream opinions):

Dr. Mercola on Beets

World's Healthiest Foods and their thoughts on Beets

Dr. Axe on Beets

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A fat four-eyed fifth grader with frizzy hair...

Let me tell you a story about food and love.

When I was in the fifth grade at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, I was fat, I wore brown cat-eye glasses and I had frizzy hair. The kids used to play kiss-and-chase on the asphalt playground, but nobody ever chased me. There was a girl named Carmela who was beautiful and loved by everyone. She was tall and thin with a smile that left everyone breathless. Everyone tried to chase Carmela. The cutest boy in our class was named Rick and he sat on the side of me and we were the best of friends. He loved to talk to me. But only in class as we sat side by side. He could never be seen with me on the playground or in the cafeteria. I was a fat four-eyed fifth grader with frizzy hair.

I would eat lunch with a skinny, short, tiny little blonde-haired girl with crooked teeth. She was my best friend. I loved her. I think she wore glasses too. I can't remember her name anymore, but I will never forget her. Everyday after lunch, we'd go out onto the playground and play jacks. She would bring snacks from home and share them with me. Sometimes she'd let me have both the Twinkies in the pack. She seemed to enjoy watching me eat them. She'd smile at my delight. She was so nice to me.

I'd had lunch, of course, but I loved snacks. Nothing made me happy like food that tasted good and made me feel better--even if just for a little while. Twinkies make you feel better. I was a very ugly, fat and sad little girl. I started gaining lots of weight after I got molested and then found out I was adopted. That one-two punch really did me in. Then we started moving every year to a new place with my father's bridge company. We were building a bridge in Arkansas that year. I only had two friends. There was one little Downs Syndrome girl whose mom took kids swimming at the country club if they came over to play with her. Then there was my friend with the Twinkies.

One day, while we were playing jacks, I asked my little blonde friend with the crooked teeth why she was so nice to me. She laughed a mean little laugh and said: "What makes you think I'm being nice to you?" I thought for a minute. "Well, because you play jacks with me and you bring me snacks every day?"

Her eyes squinted as she examined me closer.

"I'm not being nice to you," she said. "I just want to see how fat I can get you."

I stopped breathing.

I got up and walked away. I was feeling so dizzy. I couldn't think clearly. I think maybe I went to the library. I can't even remember the rest of the school year.

In Arkansas, in that same year, my father's bridge building company hired a former Arkansas Razorback named Dean Brown. The first time I saw Dean, I stopped breathing then too. He was the most beautiful man that fat little four-eyed fifth grader with frizzy hair had ever seen. It wasn't just how he looked, though; it was everything about him. He was funny and charming and strong and kind. I was so awed by him and so confused by the feelings that flooded my little preadolescent heart that I had to escape that first meeting quickly. I went into my room and looked in the mirror. I felt such overwhelming shame. Somebody like that could never love somebody like me. I bawled at the realization.

The very next year, we moved to Dallas, Texas to build a different bridge. Dean and his wife Connie travelled with us, now part of our gypsy band of bridge builders. I was 11. They were 22. For the first time in my life, I had what felt like a big brother and a big sister. Connie and Dean were cool and sexy and athletic and active and fun. They adored me and became my biggest cheerleaders. They took me fishing and camping and on all kinds of adventures. I so wanted to look like Connie so one day somebody like Dean might love me.

I knew nothing about nutrition or dieting, except that you were supposed to eat less. So every day for lunch I ate only one piece of chocolate pie and one cup of grape juice. That was it. I don't remember what I ate at home if anything at all. I was dieting for the first time in my life. What a silly diet, I know; clearly this was not a very optimally-thought-out weight-loss regimen, but I was in sixth grade and it was the 70s. Gimme a break.

Then the school got a new coach who was INSANE. Truly. We were all out of shape, but he would force us to run until we could barely stand. I'm surprised he didn't kill one of us. One day I ran so long and so hard I started my period. I guess my hormones changed after that. Somehow with that inhuman amount of exercise and my chocolate pie and grape juice and my hormones changing, the weight began to melt off of me. Maybe it was just a growth spurt, but within a year, I looked like a totally different person. My eyes somehow stopped needing glasses, I cut my frizzy hair into a cute curly bob, and I was relatively thin.

Fast forward two years and I was even thinner and much more active. Connie and Dean were still traveling with our gypsy band of bridge builders and we were in a small Texas town. They got to know a guy named Babe who was one of the most popular boys at the high school. When I told Connie and Dean I was trying out for cheerleader, they got Babe to rally the popular vote for me.

The tryouts, at the end of the school year, were terrifying, but I made it! I was going to be a cheerleader that next fall! For that fat four-eyed fifth grader with frizzy hair, you can only imagine what a dream come true this was. I was on the cusp of a brand new life and everything was coming up roses.

But right before cheerleader camp that summer, my daddy got a transfer order. We were moving. I came in from swimming with all the other cheerleaders the afternoon my parents found out. Mom was waiting for me with one of my favorite foods: a big bowl of peeled fresh-picked figs. Food was how my-momma-that-raised-me showed her love. She broke the news to me with my beloved figs.

I was inconsolable.

I sat in my bed, eating my figs, hugging my newly-issued pom-poms to my chest, listening to my .45 rpm record "I'm the Happiest Girl in the Whole USA" over and over on my little turntable.

Life went on, but it was never that good again. I never found a man like Dean to love me. Life just got harder and harder after that. Connie and Dean left the bridge building company and went on with their lives. I saw them time and again for awhile, then decades passed with no word.

In my teen years, I stayed relatively thin with my combination of compulsive exercising and all my food contortions and starving myself. I stayed between 125-145 at 5'6". I was in the "normal" to slightly-overweight range.

But then I married an abusive man and gave birth to two children in two years, I gained a hundred pounds the year I left that violent marriage. Part of it was taking a desk job and working long hours to support me and my girl all by myself. I went from 145 to 245. I remember being a divorced single mom in college, walking across the campus with my two toddlers. We passed three lovely college students lounging on the steps of Widener Library in Harvard Yard. I heard the beautiful girl cackle meanly and my ears perked up. "Omigod, shoot me, please, if I ever look like that," she said to her two male friends. "I'd rather be dead than be that fat. Look at her. She's disgusting."

Do you notice the pattern: I gained weight the first time at age 6 when I found out I was adopted, and I moved away from home, after being sexually abused. The second time, I was 22 and I gained weight after being physically abused, being abandoned by my husband and moving cross-country. Abandonment, abuse, leaving home. A pattern.

Or maybe they're not connected. Maybe I got thin after my growth spurt and stayed thin throughout my adolescence. Maybe my hormones went wacko during pregnancy. I don't know. I just know I got fat again at 22 and that has been my setpoint ever since: 245. I've gotten as high as 315 and as low as 172 in the 30-plus years since I gave birth to my children, but I always settle back around 245.

It's taken its toll.

I think I did a lot of good with my life, but I never had much happiness. Nothing ever worked out for me. So I loved myself with food. But a big part of the reason nothing ever worked out for me is because I loved myself with food.

After my cancer surgery and the loss of my hormones, my hair became dry and frizzy. I'm getting older so I wear cat-eye reading glasses. I looked in the mirror the other day and I saw the 54 year old version of that fat four-eyed fifth grader with frizzy hair.

We've come full circle.

I am determined that this will be my turning point. Right here. Right now. I want to go back to my original set point of 135-145. That means I've got 100 pounds to lose. I've lost 25 just in this last month, eating vegetables and doing everything else on my Sweet Sixteen List, but I'm determined I'm going all the way back down. I'm determined. Maybe because I'm getting old and it's almost too late. If I don't turn it around now, I might not ever turn it around. I might die like this. I want to experience what it feels like to jump on my horse again and gallop across a field. I want to learn to whitewater raft. I want to fit in roller coasters again and not worry I'll have a heart attack.

It's not too late if I turn it around now. I can have a short lovely season in the sun before I die.

Pray for me. Me and the fat four-eyed fifth grader with frizzy hair. Pray for us. It's now or never. And that little fat girl is counting on me. She deserves to be normal. She deserves to be healthy. She deserves to be happy. She deserves to be loved with more than a pack of Twinkies.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Everything you need to know about achieving hunger's a long one (print it out and read it over and over)

In 1972, I was a fat four-eyed fifth grader with frizzy hair living in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, attending St. Joseph Catholic School. It was a miserable year of my life and the last year of my fat childhood. In sixth grade, I got skinny.  (I'll tell you that story next. The post will be called: "A Fat Four-Eyed Fifth Grader with Frizzy Hair). It was a fluke that I lost all that weight. Circumstances conspired as you'll see when you read my next post. I had no idea how to lose weight back then, and the way I did it is not the way you should do it. I'm not even sure you could do it. It was a complete fluke.

But back then, if I'd read the diet books or consulted a bariatric physician, I would have learned that every diet basically comes down to the same essential premise: EAT YOUR VEGETABLES.

The low-fat diets, of course, say eat lots of vegetables. But even low-carb like Atkins or Paleo say to eat primarily veggies. Paleo allows more fats and meats, but in small quantities. Every reasonable eating plan ever put forth on this earth has, at its root, the same premise: increase the amount of vegetables you eat.

Everybody knows vegetables are good for you, but I didn't fully realize the connection between vegetables and weight loss until I started getting older and dieting in earnest. I remember seeing all those diet books with their list of unlimited or free foods: broccoli, greens, brussel sprouts. Yech. That was my response back then. Besides, I was taking in too many calories from the bad food I was eating. I didn't want to add more food to the mix, especially not food I didn't like. When you finish that big roast beef meal with mashed potatoes and gravy and green bean casserole with fried onions and cream of mushroom soup, you don't sit down and have a big bowl of brussel sprouts for dessert. No. You have rocky road ice cream. Then you're too full for the brussel sprouts you are allowed in unlimited supply. The unlimited vegetables thing? It just never happened.

Oh, my mom cooked lots of vegetables. My dad always had a garden and raised his own grass-fed beef. My mom would cook up a big batch of green beans with bacon and onions. Fried okra or fried squash. Stuffed eggplant. But the veggies were a side. The main course was the meat and the fat-laden starches. Everyone back then used gallons of soybean oil in their cooking--to make a roux for the gumbo, to deep-fry everything, or to stir-fry everything we didn't deep-fry. When my mother cooked a light supper, it was usually scrambled eggs and french fries with tons of processed ketchup. The vegetable in that meal was a few scattered green onions in the scrambled eggs.

I enjoyed vegetable dishes--but my heart chased after other foods. Brisket and babyback ribs and fried chicken. Jambalaya, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, French toast. Much the way my heart overlooked good men who actually liked me and might have treated me well. My heart always chased after the bad boys who would end up hurting me.

Some of us always want what we're not supposed to have. Most of us probably.

As a fluke, I got skinny in the sixth grade, as I already said. But trying to keep my weight under control as I grew older was hard. I was obsessed with food. (Still am clearly) It was either feast or famine, as I developed bulimia, anorexia and a binge eating disorder, all rolled into one. I also exercised compulsively. I tried everything to undo the damage caused by my second- and third-servings of pork roast with rice and gravy and corn maque choux. (You should taste my pork roast. You'd get fat too. And notice there's not a single vegetable in that favorite meal.) I loved pork. I loved breakfast sausage and bacon especially. I didn't have two little sausage links or two strips of bacon with my eggs. I sometimes ate the whole pack by myself. My hunger drove me like a slavemaster. I felt powerless to resist. More. More. More.

I should have weighed 400 pounds, but I was so athletic (always hiking, dancing, riding bikes or horses, working hard outside with my dad, or doing exercises) that I stayed in a somewhat normal weight range for most of my adolescence. I was rarely skinny, but I wasn't obese.

Why did I eat like that? Well, like I told you in yesterday's post, I think it all goes back to my hunger for my mother and for nutrition in my first months of life.

There is a rehab for food addicts that actually is focused on adoption issues. It's that common that adoptees try to fill a hole or soothe that loss with food or other addictive substances. 

Then, growing up, I was molested by several men, and sexual abuse is clearly linked with food disorders.

That's the why. And those kinds of deep emotional issues are difficult to fix. It doesn't happen overnight. So that's why most food addicts focus on trying to control their food intake, rather than try to fix the root of the problem. The emotions seem to have a mind of their own. How can you control something you can't see or even really understand. Who can afford years of Freudian psychoanalysis? A diet book is cheaper.

I am 54 and food has almost killed me at this point, and I've read thousands of diet books and spent years in psychoanalysis. I still haven't fixed the emotions or solved the puzzle of my eating. I have tried everything--from the craziest supplements to the most extreme diets. I've spent lots of time, lots of money and nothing has worked long-term.

The diet books were cheaper than the psychoanalyst, but the two most successful things so far in my journey have been free. God and fasting.

Yes, fasting. The only way I've ever been able to lose weight successfully is to stop eating completely. Once I take that first bite, I'm lost. Like a drunk who takes the first drink. Fasting (nothing but water) is something I came to in my walk with God and it has saved my life. It's the only way I've been able to keep myself from reaching 700 pounds. Occasionally, I fast and lose 50-60 pounds and my diabetes and high-blood pressure go into remission, and it takes me a couple years to gain it all back and re-do the damage. I've done the research. Fasting is actually good for you if it's done right. But it's hard to do. Getting past the first few days (until the hunger leaves you) is excruciating for me. But once the hunger leaves you in a fast, the remaining days are so freeing. To exist without hunger is a dream.

Some people think it's just extreme dieting,but it's not. Starvation (extremely low-calorie dieting) is BAD for you. But fasting is different. If done properly, it's meant to be a life-saving intervention. I'll do a post on fasting soon, because it's been my greatest health discovery...

Until now.

Fasting is good and I believe it is of God. But I knew God wanted me to be free of my enslavement to food. What's the first commandment of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." 

In my life, my food has been an idol that I have placed before God, before my own health, before anything. That's what addictions like this are. Idols. They control us when we should be controlled by our better selves, or the spirit of God within us, leading us to health and life. God wants us to be strong, healthy and at a healthy weight more than we want it for ourselves. He's on our side with this one. So I knew he would lead me to a place where my irrational hunger no longer controlled me.

And finally I have reached that place.

Right now, I am eating healthy every day, I'm not bingeing, I'm losing weight, I'm getting healthier, my blood sugars are good, and I AM NOT HUNGRY.

I am as amazed as you are. I mean, I'm really motivated and really trying, but I have always tried and this has never happened to me. I've never not been hungry. Except when I'm fasting.

What am I doing differently?

I'd like to say it's all the latest supplements I've discovered--and I do believe they are a big part of it. But the real thing making the difference in my opinion? It's this new thing I'm really focusing on doing for the first time in my life.

I am eating my vegetables. I am eating HUGE amounts of vegetables.

Now, don't stop reading. Please. It's not that simple. If you go away now, you will miss the crucial element of this that has kept me (and you) lost for years. And it's not just this. It's just mainly this.

The thought occurred to me a couple months ago that I'd tried every strange diet known to man and every weight-loss supplement on earth. I'd tried everything except eating my vegetables. Even when I was a vegetarian, my plate was filled with more tofu and grains and starches than it ever was vegetables. I'd eat bowls full of tofu scrambler and fried rice and potato casseroles. All blood-sugar elevating foods. My whole life I've eaten massive amounts of non-vegetables and always short-changed myself on the veggies.

After all the years in counseling, OA meetings, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, you name it, I think my eating disorder might have originated in some pretty profound emotional trauma...but I think malnutrition was as much to blame.

How many of you read yesterday's post where I told the story of being adopted and being put on straight cow's milk? I described how I wailed inconsolably--for my mother and for NUTRITION. I was taking in alot of something that really wasn't good for me, and very little (if anything) that was good for me. Commercial cow's milk is not really good for us and especially not as a newborn's sole food source.

Do you see the parallels in my adult life? I've been taking in lots of things that aren't good for me and very little of what is good for me--with an insatiable appetite.

I eat like this because I am malnourished.

With all the food I was taking in, I know I could never convince anyone I was malnourished. But I was.

A couple years ago, I first began to suspect I was malnourished. But I couldn't stop eating all the bad stuff. I was out of control. I was eating fast food and processed food and deli meats and commercial meats and dairy and everything bad you can imagine. But in the midst of that out of control eating, I started researching superfoods. I thought if I focused on ingesting superfoods, I would be sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed, in the midst of my bad eating, so that maybe those nutrients could begin to turn my health around.

When I started this blog a month ago, it was because I'd been doing LOTS of research this past year after my cancer surgery, and I wanted a way to keep track of what I was learning. This blog is more for me than it is for you actually. (Though I do want to build a community of people here so we can share what we learn together.)

So I decided I would try to incorporate--all at the same time--everything I'd been learning. I might not be able to do it for the rest of my life, but my goal was to try, for a limited time, to do everything right. Doing everything right would mean I would have to:
  1. stop eating fast food
  2. avoid exposure to chemicals, plastics, hormones, and anti-biotics (including plastic food storage containers, chlorinated water and anti-bacterial soaps, chemical-laden personal care products like toothpaste and shampoo, GMO-foods, etc.)
  3. eat much smaller amounts of organic grass-fed meats (avoid commercial non-organic meats at all costs due to hormones, antibiotics and processing)
  4. cut out all unhealthy processed vegetable oils (canola, vegetable/soy, peanut, etc.)
  5. increase healthy fats (avocado and its oil, coconut and its oil, grass-fed butter especially raw butter, organic grass-fed lard or tallow, etc.)
  6. cut out all commercial dairy and eat only grass-fed fermented dairy (like grass-fed and organic kefir, cheese and yogurt) or grass-fed butter and ghee
  7. eat vegetables and eat VOLUMES of vegetables
  8. eat only soaked and SPROUTED beans and lentils (and sprouted bean flours)
  9. eat no grains except occasional white rice (use sprouted amaranth, coconut flour, sprouted bean flours and ground flax to replace grains)
  10. avoid all processed foods (that means NO PROCESSED FOODS AT ALL)
  11. minimize all canned foods (even BPA-free) except canned sardines, salmon and oysters
  12. stay away from restaurants until the weight is gone (and if unavoidable, try to eat fish and vegetables or salad)
  13. stay away from all sugar except in the form of organic blackstrap molasses, prunes, figs, very small amounts of raw honey, powdered raw stevia leaf (not the processed white powder stevia, the good stuff is green), and ceylon cinnamon oil (which imparts a sweet taste)...if it gets desperate, use raw organic evaporated cane sugar sprinkled on top of berries before losing control and eating a whole chocolate cake
  14. speaking of chocolate cake, allow treats like that on holidays only but consume dark chocolate in a healthy form (email me at if you want healthy chocolate recipes)
  15. take all the supplements you know are good all at the same time and do it consistently while following all of the above guidelines for eating
  16. walk 45 minutes five days a week, with HIRT, and build upper-body muscle strength through low-weight/high reps weight lifting
Print that list out. It is my Sweet Sixteen List and it is at the core of what is working for me right now. But number 7 is key.

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE LEARNED: It's time to stop chasing after every supplement and diet and just eat our vegetables. The other stuff is important but this is the key factor that will make or break your hunger. You won't be able to follow any of the rest of that until you deal with your hunger. You can't force yourself to give up anything until you get rid of your hunger. At the root of your hunger may be emotional issues, but I have come to believe that malnutrition is the number one factor influencing our hunger. You can't take something away from your hunger until you feed it something different. Hunger only will go away on its own. At least for me. To make it go away, feed it. Feed it vegetables. Tons of them. Until it goes away. Then you are not under the control of your hunger, and you can make more rational choices. That is what I have learned.

And then I learned something else. I learned one of the scientific reasons why my hunger was going away.

Vegetables--especially fructooligosaccharides and inulin-rich foods like onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, bananas, jerusalem artichoke and yacon, together with mucilaginous foods like okra and flax seeds--feed special kinds of bacteria in your large intestine. One of these bacteria is called Clostridium butyricum.

This is important so keep reading. We're at the crux of this whole post right here. This is where you are going to send your hunger packing.

Most bacteria in the clostridia family cause things like botulism and c-diff. Not this baby. This is the white sheep in a family of black sheep. This little bug lives in the lining of your large intestine and cutting-edge research shows that it has an important role in communicating with your immune-system. Of millions, this one might be one of the most important bacteria you could have proliferating in your gut. It battles the bad clostridia and can kick butt. Clostridium butyricum also produces butyric acid, or butyrate, which is that amazing stuff that stops you from being hungry and makes you lose weight. Basically, you feed the friendly little clostridium butyricum what it likes--onions, okra, garlic, asparagus, bananas (especially green ones) and flax seeds--and it makes this butyrate that feeds your body and makes you not hungry and makes you lose weight.

Lots of people think they can just go take butyrate supplements, but most of the butyrate never reaches your large intestine which is where you need it.

Here is the most important sentence in this whole blog. I'll put in bold for you.

If I'm understanding it right, the key to killing your hunger is to feed it butyrate in your large intestine, and the only way to get butyrate into your large intestine is to have lots of little clostridium butyricum and feed them lots of onions, garlic, asparagus, okra and green banana, so they make you lots of butyrate.

Now I'm not a scientist, and I might be wrong about some of the details of all of this, but that's basically the gist I'm getting from the research I'm doing. And it coincides with what I've been experiencing. When I decided to EAT MY VEGETABLES finally, I just so happened to eat lots of onion, okra, garlic, asparagus, etc. and my hunger eventually started disappearing.

There are two things going on here:
  1. I'm finally dealing with my malnutrition issues by eating lots of vegetables; and 
  2. my gut is making lots of butyrate because I'm eating lots of the right vegetables
Those are the two things that have assuaged my hunger.

But it's not that simple. When eating vegetables (especially if you are older, overweight or sick), there are things you need to do alongside eating vegetables:
  • you are probably enzyme deficient from not eating veggies in the past and because enzyme production diminishes as we age, so take enzymes (I'll do a post soon on this because not just any enzyme will do the trick for you)
  • your gut bacteria is probably diminished and you need to get more (and the right kind) in there, but it's not as simple as just popping a probiotic (I'll do a post on this too)
  • you need to eat healthy fats with your veggies because all those fat-soluble vitamins will not be absorbed without fat (duh) so living on steamed broccoli is not the answer
  • some vegetables need to be eaten raw or lightly steamed, while others like spinach need to be boiled (and the water thrown away) to reduce kidney-damaging you really need to KNOW YOUR VEGETABLES
The final issue is this. It is hard to start eating veggies primarily when you are accustomed to eating them as a side dish or not at all. What do you eat? Salad is not satisfying enough to do long-term for most of us. So you need a whole new batch of veggie-recipes. Or a new way of looking at old recipes. Plus, all that cooking is hard to do when you're busy and if you've basically been living on tv dinners and fast food. Huge transition. Not as easy as it sounds.

But I'm figuring it out and this blog is about sharing what I'm learning.

When I used to wake up in the morning, I'd think about what I wanted to eat that day. Now I specifically ask myself: "Okay, what vegetables is today's main meal going to center around?"

I might do okra stirfried with onion and shrimp as my main meal, and I use two 12-oz family-sized packs of cut okra with 10 shrimp. Did you hear me right? I said I use two family-sized packs of cut okra. Just for me. That's alot of okra. But by the time I'm done eating all that okra, I am so full and I'm not thinking about chocolate cake or brisket. When I first started trying to follow this EAT MY VEGETABLES thing religiously, sometimes I had to do three packs to keep myself from falling off the wagon and going back to my bad eating. When I'm really wanting to binge, okra and shrimp with onions and Cajun seasoning, well, that really does it for me. 

You're going to have to find what does it for you when it comes to veggies. What veggie dish can you binge on instead of bingeing on something else. You might think you're not a big eater because you eat 1 processed breaded chicken patty, half a baked potato with margarine and fat-free sour cream, and 2 stalks of broccoli and drink 1-2 glasses of sweet tea or coke with it and have just one donut for dessert. But your body is starving and being loaded with hormones and chemicals and high-fructose corn syrup in that meal. If you counted the calories in that meal compared to my 2-3 heaping plates of okra and shrimp, my calorie count would be way lower than yours. And I'm eating like a pig. And my little chlostrida are feasting and churning out all kinds of butyrate. Your small breaded chicken patty has more calories in it than my whole shrimp and okra meal,which by the way is about 315 calories.

And I've been doing this for a few weeks--consistently, steadily--and my hunger is finally leaving me. For the first time in my life.

I used to love my mom's fresh green beans with small red potatoes and onions and garlic. Sometimes I make up a huge pot and just eat on that for days, with very little else. I put nitrite-free turkey bacon in it so I am not too troubled by my meat cravings. Nothing says satiety like a bacon flavor.

I don't even try to fix real meals like I used to. I focus on what veggies I'm going to eat (with what fat and meat will enhance it). In addition to the veggies, throughout the day, I'll have a few nuts, an occasional piece of fruit, and every few days I'll do a bean dish (with lots of veggies in it). Sometimes when the meat-eater in me can't take it anymore, I'll do organic chicken or a grass-fed steak or hamburger steak from a source I trust and I'll surround it with lots of veggies and foods with high-antioxidant value. When I can't resist having a starch, I'll make a veggie dish with rice.

And on special occasions, I'll allow myself healthy versions of old recipes I love--like chicken gumbo using gluten-free flour and a healthy oil for my roux. I try to never use refined oils of any kind but for a roux, I use refined so they don't carry a taste. Refined avocado oil makes a fine roux, as does grass-fed butter. Everybody I know uses soy oil. Bad, bad, bad. Stop it. Some people are using flour-only roux that has no oil, but wheat in flour is bad, bad, bad. If somebody would start making a powdered roux with gluten-free flour, they'd make a fortune. (I gotta go talk to somebody about that).

There was a lot of info in this post. You might want to print it out. Or keep coming back and reading it over and over. In this one post on the blog is the key to kicking hunger to the curb. Don't think you can live the rest of your life like this? Do it for a little while. Lose the weight. Get healthy again. Then figure out what you can and cannot live without. And give yourself what you need. But don't start adding the bad stuff back in until you've gotten healthy and lost the weight. Once you're healthy and at a healthy size, occasional bad things won't kill us. But right now, they're killing us.

Get your gut healthy with enzymes, probiotics and fermented foods. Feed those little chlostridia tons of the right veggies so they manufacture butyrate to cut your hunger. Make sure to eat healthy fats with all those veggies. And read the Sweet Sixteen List every day to remind yourself about what you need to do. We'll talk about all the things on that list as we go. Work out the details. But today, we've got the big picture before us and we're on our way to the other side.

I'm doing a post soon on resistant starch foods, which maybe can help boost your chlostridia's production of butyrate. The jury is still out on that. Most people on the resistant starch bandwagon use Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch (1-4 tbsp. in a glass of water first thing in the morning) or green banana or plaintain flour. It works miraculously for some, not for others. Why? Probably because either some people don't have many healthy chlostridia, or because it's being done alone without doing all the other healthy stuff in concert with it. So if you're feeding your chlostridia lots of resistant starch but drinking chlorinated water and using anti-bacterial soap and eating GMO-foods--all of which are killing your good intestinal bacteria, including chlostridia--it's hard to see the effect you're looking for.

My hunger is retreating with all the veggies and healthy things I've been doing. Let's see what the resistant starch does when added to the mix. I'm thinking I'm going to try adding some unmodified potato starch and green bananas in addition to all the other healthy stuff I'm doing to see if I can increase my hunger reduction. I'll keep you posted.

Below is a screen capture from my computer with the Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch. That price on is unheard of and you can get it at that price with the 15% off you get on your first three orders. No I'm not getting paid for promoting this. You can't be an affiliate or get referral bonuses for just like you can't for Amazon. But when I find a price this cheap (with free shipping) how can I not share it with you? If you want to try eating more veggies and adding the potato starch to your routine, let me know how it goes. When the whole idea of resistant starch first came out, it was a miracle health-boosting weight-loss wonder. Now they're seeing it doesn't work for alot of people. But if you get your gut healthy and do it alongside those special clostridia-feeding veggies, it might work. We'll find out together. 

Our new mantra: feed the chlostridia.

I'm still looking for better ways than this to feed the chlostridia. I just penned a few notes to try to get in touch with Mr. Heisenbug (ever read that blog?) to see what he thinks. I'll let you know if I hear back from him.