I have battled with my weight for many many years. I first joined Weight Watchers in 1998 – I managed to lose 60lbs that time. Then again in 2005 and 2010.
I have never been a sickly person. But in 2015 I became seriously ill with issues regarding my liver. Medication and diet helped, but it never completely went away.
I reduced certain foods, foods that I loved, but I never cut them out of my diet completely.
The medication didn’t help with my weight issues, but that wasn’t an excuse for how much weight I was gaining.
Then in mid 2019 I had a very candid conversation with my doctor. My bloodwork came back with some rather shocking news.
My cholesterol was dangerously high, my risk of a stroke was dangerously high and I was listed as obese. To say this depressed me is an understatement. But this time I needed to face the challenge to turn my life around – my doctor told me I was heading for more serious health issues if I didn’t do something.
Of course I procrastinated for a little while. But then I remember speaking to a dear friend. She had diabetes and had suffered high cholesterol too. She made a life changing decision. – she chose the plant based way of life. And within 4-6 months (and without certain medications), she managed to get her issues under control.
I spoke with my doctor. I didn’t want to go on various medications, instead I wanted to try changing my lifestyle to see if I could get my health under control. My doctor supported me with this and gave me 4 months to give it a go.
I rejoined WW on 31st July 2019. I emptied my cupboards and fridge, and restocked with all organic, healthy and plant based items. And so the transformation started.
Going Plant based!
Anyone that knows me, knows my love for cheese. My cheese drawer was always filled with cheeses from around the world – I thought that would be harder to give up, and I would miss cheese more than anything else. But surprisingly it wasn’t cheese I missed in those early days – it was eggs!
I had already changed to almond milk back in 2015, when I was having liver issues. I have now moved to oat milk (so yummy!).
I would consider myself a rather decent cook, but now I was in uncharted territory. I had never cooked with tofu, and had never heard of so many foods – hemp seeds, freekah, flaxseed for example. But I refilled my cupboards with a number of healthy products – including various flours – almond flour, tapioca, coconut flour, oat flour and so on.
It was most certainly exciting, I love to cook, and I like to experiment too. I joined Thrive Market, and stocked up my cupboards with such items as chickpea pastas, nuts, vegan jerky!
It was a whole new learning experience. I have always enjoyed my vegetables, and there aren’t many I won’t eat.
As summer was moving to fall, I wanted to make soups. I bought myself a ninja foodi – a multi function cooker (including air fryer, for yet more healthy eating of “fried foods”). My first soup was a creamy leek and potato soup. I used almond milk and almond and coconut cream with xanthum gum to help thicken the soup.
I experimented with some meat alternatives, and made some yummy alternatives dinners. I have to say, the Beyond Meat products are very good – although not the healthiest for you. I have the burgers every now and then as a treat. The brat sausages are amazing too! Other brand products, like the meatless crumbles (alternative to ground meat) is ok, but I try to make as much as I can from scratch.
I mentioned earlier, that the one thing I missed (and craved) was eggs – an egg salad roll / sandwich was one of my all time fave sandwiches. I search the internet, and came across some different recipes. After much trial and error, I finally got an alternative egg salad that I am happy with. It is tofu based, and the secret ingredient is Kala Namak (black salt – it is actually purplish in color!). This is a sulphurous salt, which gives the “eggy taste”.
I also tried my hand at omelettes, another food that I missed – it turned out great.
One of the things I missed from England was sausage rolls. A couple of years ago Greggs came out with a vegan roll, which I tried out of curiosity, before I became plant based. So you guessed it, I had to try my hand at making vegan “sausage” rolls. Oh my, they turned out delicious!
My 4 month deadline!
I was doing well with WW, and a nice gradual weight loss was happening. It averaged around 1.15lbs per week.
I went for my bloodwork right after Thanksgiving. I remember not being anxious, instead I was actually feeling pretty good. The one thing I love about when you do have decent health insurance, is how quickly your results are ready. And of course, with technology, everything is at your fingertips. Those 36 hours of waiting, was a bit like a child wishing for Christmas to arrive. And what a wonderful set of results!
With no medication, just a change in my eating habits, I was able to reduce all those high and dangerously high numbers back into the “green zone”. I am proof that a balanced diet, with no meat or dairy and no medication can work!
This was the kind of result that helped me make my mind up to commit to a plant based lifestyle – for life!
I continue on my health journey and still have quite a way to go with my weight loss, but having done this a few times before, I know it isn’t about instant gratification / success. It is about living a lifestyle that is good for you.
Additional benefits that I have experienced in the year that I have been on this new journey – more energy, better and more fulfilled sleep, improved menopausal symptoms, taste buds have become more alert, my skin is refreshed, my hair is healthy, I rarely have to take my nexium (5 times in the year, instead of daily!).
Here is a selection of some of the new food I have experienced in this past year – it has certainly been trial and error – for instance, seitan doesn’t work for me (hence the nexium needed). I have tried it a few times in different recipes, but my digestive system isn’t too keen on it.
I am not someone that would force my opinion on others, but I do hope that if you are looking to make changes, that my story so far will help you.
I look forward to sharing more of my journey in the coming months.