Getting back into the swing of things….plus a savory sprinkle to up your vegetable/pasta game!

I’ll admit it, I’m horrible at keeping up with a blog.  I have the best of intentions but the fact that it takes me forever to write a post coupled with fact that my intentions have not manifested themselves into fruition have made this an easy place to avoid.   I changed the direction of the blog a few months ago to try and create some accountability for myself in my fitness/weight-loss goals.   I’m a few pounds less than when I started but truth be told, it’s more from a recent stomach bug than any true loss.  I’m realizing that I need to figure out why, on some level, I don’t want to lose weight. Because if I really did, I’d do it.  I’d eschew the sugar, the snacking on high carb foods (I’m not carb hating, believe me.  I ADORE me some brown rice but when I snack on it to the tune of probably 400 extra calories, something needs to change),  and just get it done.  I have made some super positive changes; Starbucks is basically gone.  I had one a couple days ago and couldn’t finish it; it was too sweet.   I’ve increased my exercise.  But that’s about it.  I haven’t gotten into the mindset of someone with a goal who is focused on achieving it.  And I need to figure out why and I’m not sure I’m going to do it with a blog.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to write about what’s going on, because I will.  I still think some introspection is necessary and writing it down sharpens the clutter in my brain.


However, while I’m figuring out my baggage, I do want to get back to being informative about nutrition and how to help people affect their health positively.  I’ll start off with just a little post about things I do to make my food taste delicious.  I used to love parmesan cheese.  I’d put it on rice, pasta, veggies…pretty much anything and when I went vegan I did miss it.  The thing I did learn however, is that cheese, all cheese is essentially concentrated salt and fat, neither of which is doing our bodies any good, so I tried to create some of those flavors in a whole food, plant based way and I came up with this yumminess.  IMG_5054

What we have here is about a cup of cashews (but any nut will work.  I’ve used almonds, walnuts, macadamias), about 3 heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast, a shake of garlic powder and about 3/4 teaspoon of salt.  Whirl it up in a food processor (blender, nutribullet, what have you) until you have this:


The chunks can be big or small, your choice, and then use with abandon on whatever your heart desires!  The nuts provide healthy fats, the salt is there but way less than you’d find in cheese, the nutritional yeast (nooch) gives a cheesy flavor and the garlic (or onion powder, I’ve done both) is for fun, you can definitely do without it.  I’ll put it on rice, pasta, sprinkle it over vegetables, there are so many options.


So, here I am, back again, planning on a more regular showing this time around.  Hope you’ll stay tuned!


11/28/2017 Thanksgiving for the loss!

We were out of town on a Sunday and I  purposefully didn’t weigh on off days; I didn’t want to be  lulled into complacency or depressed by a non weigh day number.  Sunday came around and woot!  Down almost 1 pound, vacation AND Thanksgiving, boom shakalaka laka boom shaboom!  I’m pretty happy.  It’s coming off.  It’s unbelievably slow (to the point of irritation) but it’s coming.  I’m noticing a couple things as well:  my pants are a teensy bit looser and I’m not seeing as much of a roll over the waistband as I used to.  These are small victories, to be sure but they are victories.  I didn’t make 127 by that day but I’m realizing that I    need to stop setting deadlines for specific weights…it just adds stress and as long as there’s progress, I     don’t need to be causing issues.

I am having a mindset issue however.  I  feel like my weightloss has been almost in spite of what I’ve been doing.  I had a couple days where I was fairly unhappy and didn’t eat all that much because I wasn’t hungry and I wonder if that contributed to the loss.  We also have sugar in the house; my parents sent us some amazing desserts from Sticky Fingers and I’ve been partaking.  Not a lot and not everyday but seeing as I was doing well, not adding sugar at all, it feels like a slide.  Coffee is still an issue and I feel like a failure for not being able to kick it.  Because here’s the thing, if I wanted to, I would, right?  So this feels like something I need to look at…it’s kind of along the lines of feeling like maybe I  don’t really want this and if not, why?  Because I do.  I don’t feel good in my skin,  I don’t feel pretty or sexy.   All which begs the question (although I just found out that, that is not the correct use of that fallacy.  Don’t care, you all know what I mean), why am I sabotaging myself?  Why is it so hard to get into the mindset of a goal setter?  Of an athlete, of someone who wants to accomplish something?


Here’s the thing:  I  really DO want these things.  I want to be uninjured and a climber and biker and lifter.  I  want to get my NP and help people.  I want to be a great mom and wife and have a clean, uncluttered house.  I’m just not sure how to go about it.  Maybe the first step is to just say it.  To acknowledge that these things are not in balance right now and I  need to take steps to correct it. After they’re gone, I’m ditching sweets for December.  And starting Sunday, I’m losing SB.  I’m going to take steps to make sure that I can get my coffee fix but no more SB just because I’m out of the house.  The sweet thing will difficult because of the holiday but I  can do it.   Now I  need to work on getting exercise despite all my various injuries.  Next post!

One day at at time! 11/10/17

Didn’t kick the Starbucks.  Kept coming up with excuses why I *ahem* needed to go get one when it really was just habit and laziness.  Yesterday I got irritated and decided I was going to  do without, so I did.  And then I did it again today.  I need to keep this roll going. I’m starting work after over 2 months off and I usually get a coffee on the way to work.  I am going to make a cup and take it with me so I don’t break my “streak”.

One reason I didn’t quit was that I lost weight, despite having one almost every day.  I went back down 0.6 pounds.  I have to think though, is it worth it?  It’s expensive, it’s definitely not helping my goals and it really doesn’t fit with the mindset I say I want to have.

This week has been pretty good, extra coffees notwithstanding.  I had almost no prepared foods, no added sugar and tried to do really well with the meal plans.  Tomorrow is a weigh day so we’ll see how it manifested.

Back to discuss 11/1/17

The damage wasn’t horrible (up 0.8) but any movement in the wrong direction is irritating.  So now the goal is to be 127 by 11/17/17.  This is a little more than 2 weeks and I need a plan to make it happen.  First order is going to be cut the Starbucks.  I’ve toyed with it for a while, now I’m just going to kick it to the curb.  I don’t need it and it’s getting in the way of my goals.  I need more snack type food that isn’t potatoes or rice and I need to have it accessible.  I snack way too much (which should also be addressed) so the mindless popping of food into my mouth should be of minimal impact.  I need to get better with planning my meals and making breakfast and or a salad ahead of time.  It’s too easy to leap into a frozen burrito or the like and then I don’t have control of what I’m putting in my body.  I really do need to do a My Fitness pal for a few days just to see what kind of calories I’m taking in.  It’s so hard when you aren’t doing a ton of processed stuff because then you have to put it all in their database.  It’s just excuses though and I am done with those.

A little disjointed…

Okay, 2 weeks in and this week I was down 0.8!  I don’t know if my commitment to no added sugar helped but it sure didn’t hurt.  Man, it was tough those first 2 days.  I had to be really, really conscious of my actions and even actively make myself not eat something, which shows me that I was being mindless way more than I had thought.  I also feel like my overall eating mindlessly decreased along with it which probably helped.  It’s interesting though, as I got on the scale, I was nervous; I wasn’t sure I was going to see a change which tells me I still have work to do in the eating department.  I have a conference in a week which serves a TON of delicious plant based food so that week is going to be a challenge.  I’m going to strategize how to succeed during that week. Until I go there, I’m going to keep on not eating added sugar.  I’m already feeling tentative on that goal but I think if I just keep with the momentum it’ll get easier.  It also makes me plan more because I can’t just pop a Clif bar if I want to, I have to have something more healthy, either before or in the car for “emergencies”.


This got tabled as our week got cray-cray!  I’m picking this up fully 2 weeks later.  I lost 0.2 last week and am heading into a weigh in tomorrow.  Pretty sure there’ll be a gain.  The food was amazing at the conference and I just ate way too much of it.  I did get some exercise in which was good but probably not enough to counter all that yummy plant based goodness.

So now I’m here with a renewed commitment to be in this for the long haul.  0.2 pounds is ridiculous but it is a loss and I’m going to take it.  I’ll deal with whatever gain I had and go from there.  What I do need to do is come up with a stronger game plan.  I like keeping with the no added sugar aspect.  I think that helped because I am most definitely addicted to sugar.    Of course, the tabs on my computer are all pretty much recipes I’ve been looking at and most of them are sweets.

Goal for this weight loss journey, November edition:  No added sugar in my food (basically I’m meaning no sweets) until we leave for Seattle.  I might be able to do it through Seattle but I’m making some pie for Thanksgiving.  And if I make it, Imma gonna eat it!  So, this goal will help because if I can be down 2 pounds by then (which is totally doable) then I won’t feel like I’m going in the holidays behind the 8 ball.

Second goal November:  lose 2 pounds (from 129, not from whatever weight I’m going to see tomorrow) by the time we leave for Seattle.  This may take some real effort, especially if tomorrow is ugly.  I’ll be back soon to talk about what steps I’m going to take.


“Success is a decision”

Getting real.

These last couple days (it’s Tuesday) haven’t been great.  I made brownies, have been eating them.  I bought processed vegan food, have been eating it.  I haven’t been planning my meals, not really.  So these are not the actions of someone who is trying to change her life/body.    I am sitting here, making plans that will help my goal: no processed foods, cutting out added sugar and I am not typing them because as I think about typing it, I’m already planning on how I’m going to break that commitment.  So fucked up!  I have serious issues around food, which I knew but it’s really disturbing how deep they go.    Okay, that’s it.  Starting tomorrow, I’m cutting out added sugar.  I’m going to do it for the rest of the week and I’m going to do it to prove to myself that I can do it.  I’m not going to include what I put in my coffee but everything else is verboten.  4 days, Wednesday through Saturday, this should be easy.  I am stronger than this.  I am better than this.  I’m not some silly teenager who is a slave to her taste buds, I’m a strong woman who wants to be a role model to her children and others.

Starting out…

Midway through week one of being committed to this goal.  Things are…decent, I’d say.  I weighed in at 130.6 on Sunday and I’m reasonably okay with that since my exercise since breaking my ankle has been next to nil.  My previous post I talked about going balls to the wall and I don’t think I’ve done that.  What I have done is become way more aware about what I’m putting in my mouth and I’ve started really focusing on it in a way I haven’t done before.  My snacking is down,  and I’ve been planning my meals more.  I talked about not bringing junk home but sure enough, a couple nights ago I bought cookies “for the girls”.  They do end up eating them but if I’m being completely honest, they were for me.  I was able to refrain though, which I was happy about.  I have had a couple (3 ) small tastes but no full cookie.  What I’m planning on is seeing if this hyper awareness translates to a loss on the scale.  If it doesn’t, then I’ll know I need to get even more focused. What will be something to look at is: why did I need to buy the junk in the first place?  Am I that much a slave to my taste buds?  Is it a sense of missing out?


I’ve started an “Intention Wheel which I bought here and I’ve been using it to do things that are good for my health and weight loss.  I have things like drinking water (48 oz which isn’t a ton but it’s a big step up for me), pushups, planks and no added sugar.  I’m trying to create habits that will translate to improved health.  The exercise bits are laughable but I’ve gotten out of the habit so badly, I need to start somewhere.  My broken ankle is a deterrent but I know many people who would still be in the gym doing upper body weights. That’s going to be me but I need to make room for it in my life.



So, I promised pictures last time, didn’t I?  This was the picture that kind of did it for me.



We went up to a friend’s house at Sandpoint and we swam and SUP’d and kayaked.  I had a great time but I wasn’t thrilled about being in a swimsuit.  I wasn’t about to let my discomfort ruin the time with my girls but once I saw this picture I knew things needed to change.  Despite fitting into my clothes, albeit not in the way I’d like, I’d gotten….heavy.  Not compared to some but that had been my out, that no matter how I looked, there were others who looked worse heavier than I did and so I made excuses.

As a comparison, here’s a few from when we got married:


I definitely felt more comfortable in my skin in those and that’s what I’m trying to get back to.  Hasta la vista for now!







(Lack of ) Goal Setting 101. Or, don’t do what I do…

I’m anticipating that there are going to be a lot of blog posts for awhile.  I’m going to be doing a lot of stream of consciousness, trying to figure out my “damage”.  It might get tedious but I’m hoping the introspection will yield results.  Hope you stick with me.  Hope it’s helpful reading and that some of it resonates with you.

Gotta keep it out of the house, that’s the conclusion I’m coming to. And it’s a common one and it’s one I’ve offered as a solution to those looking for advice before. If the junk isn’t in the house, you can’t eat it. It’s not even a temptation. So I need to stop bringing it in. Period.

At some point, I stopped believing in myself and my ability to bring about change.  I don’t know when and I don’t know why.  I’ve dipped a toe into trying to figure out what it is about reaching my goals that trips me up but I haven’t ever really DELVED.  What I do know is this:  setting goals doesn’t do much for me.  At least internal goals.  Goals that I share with the world, I seem to do better with.  I moved to North Carolina partly because I’d told everyone I was going to.  I managed to complete a marathon because I told people I was running it. But for some reason, when it comes to achieving my physical fitness, it hasn’t run the same course. I think part of it could be that I’m embarrassed to announce it as a goal.    I know there’s a component of, even though I’m not where I want to be, it’s still way better than when I weighed 174 so I’m fine,  I look pretty good, right? But it also doesn’t fit with how I see myself. I like it when I am more fit, more slim, when I actually weigh less so why haven’t  I translated that into action?

I remember a girl I knew who gotten a little heavy, was definitely softer than she’d been before and I saw her in the vegan bodybuilding and fitness Facebook page and I totally scoffed.  But two years later,  she is strong and she is fit and she is slim and she’s achieved her goals.  I’d ascribed my own inability to set a goal and work for it to someone else and assumed they wouldn’t be able to do it.   And I think that’s a key part of it: the “and working for it ” part.  I’ve always been more of a immediate gratification kind of person and when you’re almost 50 and trying to lose fat/weight, you actually have to do stuff to get that gratification; I haven’t done that yet. I make little changes and when I don’t see great results right away I give up. That’s something I need to work on. I need to have the mindset that I am in weight-loss mode and everything I do is for that. It may be single-minded. It may not look good to the outside world. But as long as I’m healthy,  I need to block out all the other noise and stick to doing what I know is right for me. Because I haven’t ever really tried.  I’ve made  little tweaks here and there and gotten those kind of (crappy) results. I need to go balls to the wall, see what that gets me, see what that looks like and experience a little bit of success because that will perpetuate itself.
That being said, today was not a great day. Had coffee and a Kids Clif Bar for breakfast, an Amy’s enchilada with barley for lunch and then an OK dinner with cauliflower rice and refried beans but then I had junky stuff afterwords and then I grabbed a cookie because I’d picked it up and brought it home.

You read all the weight lifting blogs and they all say, don’t focus on weight.  Fine, I get it, it doesn’t reflect all the things you need to be looking at and it’s just a number, yada yada. HOWEVER.  My sense is, that I need to work on losing weight first and then I can focus on muscle.  I know that weight lifting is going to be key for me to actually lose the fat but my initial focus is going to be that pesky number.  I am going to back off on the daily weigh-ins though.  It’s too easy to get caught up in the day to day ups and downs AND it’s too easy to rationalize a bad day.  Once a week, Sunday, that’s my day.  I’m starting this Sunday and I’m in it.  No junk in the house, no tastes of the girls bars, planning my food, making it ahead so I’m not grabbing candy Clif bars because I’m hungry.  These are steps I’m going to take.  I’m excited!

Okay, that’s enough for now.  I’ll do pictures next time.  The good, the bad and the ugly, all of it.


Change of focus!

So I’ve been thinking about changing how I’ve been doing things around here.  I am still really wanting to help people find their way to a whole foods plant based diet but I’m thinking that I need to help bring people to it by working on myself as well.

I was going to do background but if I do that, I’ll never get this thing posted so I’m just going to jump in.  Background can come later.  My issue is that I want to lose weight.  I’m about 15-20 pounds away from where I want to be.  I’m not overweight per se but I’m definitely squishy.  Here’s the thing though:  I’ve had this goal for basically 10 years.  I’ve been as low as 116 after a nasty stomach bug but tended to hang out around 122-124 for a long time.  Now I’ve crept up to 130 and it’s sticking around.  I’ve modified what I eat…kind of.  I eat a WFPB diet, that’s not the issue.  I do like sweets and I do like sauces so I think I’ve been indulging in them too much.  Annnnnnd I think I have issues around food.  Like a lot of people.  But I’ve been guilty of thinking that I don’t have to make measurable changes to make measurable change.  And I think I have other issues with goal setting that I’m going to explore.  I’ve decided to make this blog my accountability.  I want to see change in my body and for now that’s going to be a number.  I know that what we weigh isn’t the be all end all of health.  But I eat really healthy, just probably too much of it, KWIM?  I’m going to be exploring my relationship with food, my struggles, my successes and I’m going to be really honest, in a way I haven’t been before.

Plant powered RN is still going to be a thing but I’m going to direct this power internally for a bit.  I’ll post about what I’m eating, what I’m thinking about, really good food I’m eating, exercise I am doing (once my ankle heals), all that fun stuff.  I hope it’ll inspire and motivate anyone who happens to find their way here.


Oven Fries! Filed under: food you can still eat while curing your Type 2 diabetes

This post may be a bit on the dense side but it’s about a real killer in our country and deserves a mention.  I’m talking about diabetes.  It’s a disease that causes a ghastly number of conditions from blindness, kidney disease and lower limb amputations.  It’s also implicated in heart attacks and strokes and can cause debilitating nerve pain.  A staggering 20% of health care dollars are spent on people who have diabetes (one in five).  One in THREE Medicare dollars are spent on it.   According to the CDC, over 29 million adults have diabetes (6 million of them don’t know it) and of that 29 million? Over 27 million of them have type 2 which is a completely preventable  and reversible illness.



Now that we’ve gotten the statistics out of the way, we’re going to delve into the whys and  hows of it.  In Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t make insulin which is a hormone responsible for getting sugar from the blood, into the cells that need it.   Type 2 diabetes  (T2D) is a disease in which the cells don’t use that insulin properly.  If insulin doesn’t work or isn’t produced, the sugar builds up and over time causes damage to the kidneys, nerves, blood vessels and a host of other body parts.

The general practice of managing T2D has been to limit sugar and give extra insulin for the sugar you do eat.  At first glance that makes sense right?  If too much sugar is damaging the body, you should limit the intake.  It seems to be a complete no brainer.  The problem with that approach is that it is a symptomatic treatment which doesn’t address the root cause.  This is going to be vastly simplified but hopefully it’ll all be clear at the end.  The way the insulin gets that sugar into a cell is by fitting into a receptor, kind of like a lock on the surface of that cell.  With Type 2 diabetes, the “lock” has been blocked or ‘gummed up’ and when the lock is inoperable, the insulin “key” can’t open the cell to let the sugar in.  What’s it gummed up by?  Fat, pure and simple.  This isn’t the fat that we carry on our hips or waist (although those can be visual indicators), this fat is deep within the cell and when you adopt a low-fat, plant-based diet, this fat goes away.  Once the fat is gone, the insulin resistance is gone (or reduced significantly) and insulin can do it’s job again. Eating a plant based diet helps with this because without animal products, there’s no saturated fat, no cholesterol and for many people, losing weight comes as a nice secondary effect.

There have been studies that compare eating  the way the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends and a low fat, plant based diet (PB).   Over 22 weeks, people on the PB diet lowered their Hgb A1C  (which is a measure of your sugar levels over the last three months) more than the ADA diet group AND in a 5 year follow up, had less cardiac events (including death) than the ADA group.¹  The other thing that was striking about the differences between the two ways of eating is that they are essentially polar opposites.  The ADA models a portion control diet with certain foods restricted or forbidden.  The PB diet only eschews oil and limits natural fats like nuts and avocados.  The rest of the diet is one of plenty with no measuring, counting or tracking.  Which do you think is more sustainable?

Other studies point to the prevalence of eating meat being implicated in increased incidence of diabetes: the higher the meat consumption, the higher the probability of diabetes.  Many studies show a PB diet appears protective towards developing diabetes.  ²

Finally, we’re on to the good stuff: the food.  Potatoes used to be considered definite no-nos on a “diabetic” diet but thinking has changed and they can be allowed.  Here’s where that restriction and portion control fits in however.  About 45g of carbohydrates are “allowed” per meal and one medium potato can take care of that allotment by itself, never mind any green beans, carrots or other vegetables.  This is where a low fat, plant based diet shines.  Because potatoes are wonderful.  They’re fabulous, filled with antioxidants, electrolytes and fiber.  They can keep you regular, they can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure…there’s a fair amount of nutrition packed in these unassuming tubers.   The key to eating these is to not  fry them or douse them with the usual suspects: butter, sour cream or cheese .  Additionally, choosing potatoes that have a lower glycemic index (which is an expression of how much a food spikes blood sugar) can help.  Sweet potatoes have a lower GI but so do white potatoes that have been cooked, stored and then eaten the next day (hello, potato salad!)

Oven fries are nothing new as many people are trying to be healthier.  A quick Google search, however, yields recipe after recipe that calls for oil, as much as 1/4 cup.  We’ll talk more about oil in another post but suffice it to say that if you are trying to get rid of that intracellular fat, eating fat is not going to help.  These oven fries are oil free and so amazingly delicious.  I’ve yet to make a batch that isn’t mostly gone before I can even put them on a plate; my girls wander into the kitchen, drawn by the smell and grab them by the handful.

I got my  inspiration from Cooking with Plants.  Cut your potatoes into a fry shape, trying to keep them mostly the same size.


img_0537 I’ve done this with russet, Yukon and sweet potatoes and they all turn out delicious.   This was a mixture of Yukon and sweet.  Put the potatoes in a bowl and toss with:

  • 2 tsp dried herbs
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  •  2 T of coarse corn meal (polenta)
  • 2 tsp braggs amino acids

Put on a baking sheet and cook  at 400 degrees F .


Flip and test the potatoes about 20 minutes in.  Mine took about 30 total and I did pull some of the smaller “fries” out so they wouldn’t burn.

The final product, served with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce.  I had to snag these before my daughters stuffed all of them in their mouths.


I started teaching Food for Life classes to help people eat better in a fun, delicious way.  The Diabetes Initiative is a FFL course from the PCRM that teaches you the basics of how to begin eating this way.  You receive recipes and get to taste delicious food.  Contact me to find out how to sign up for this life saving class.


Information cited in this post:

1) Barnard ND, Cohen, J, Jenkins DJ, et al. A low-fat, vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized clinical trial in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006;29:1777-1783.

2)   (this page contains cites for studies referenced in the video)