Interview with a Nutritarian: Carolyn
Carolyn was never obese, but she still suffered from middle-age weight gain, sluggishness, and declining health issues. It doesn’t matter whether one has fifteen or one hundred and fifty pounds of unhealthy weight to lose, everyone feels vibrant and well when a lifestyle of eating nutrient-rich foods has been embraced! Welcome to Disease Proof, Carolyn.
What was your life like before discovering nutritarian eating?
I was slender as a teenager, but as I moved into my 40s, I was always about 20 pounds overweight; size 12 at my worst. I felt sluggish, although I exercised often. I ate the Standard American Diet and excelled at making lasagna, bread, cakes, and cookies for my family and friends. I relied on caffeine too much and was drinking 5-6 cups of coffee a day. Plus I drank 2 cups of caffeinated tea with sweetened condensed milk; a habit that I picked up from five years of living in Sri Lanka. I had allergies, frequent headaches, and the beginning twinges of arthritis.
How did you find out about Eat to Live?
During Easter dinner in 2007, I asked my sister-in-law how she had so much success staying trim and fit. She told me about Dr. Fuhrman and how she’d make fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies using a Vitamix blender. I purchased Eat to Live and started following the 6-week eating plan, and continued my exercise program at the gym. Within 4 months my total cholesterol dropped from over 200 to 155, and I slimmed down to a size 8. I bought a Vitamix at the Indiana State Fair that summer and started using it every day for smoothies/blended salads, soups, and frozen desserts.
I had difficulty at first giving up coffee, but weaned myself off over time and gave up meat. I stuck to the plan, and by avoiding all sugar over the holiday season in 2009, I dropped to 128 pounds. (I'm 5'4".) After that success, stress increased at work and my weight crept back up to 135 pounds. I was generally eating nutritarian foods, but eating too much.
I attended Dr. Fuhrman's Health Getaway in San Diego in 2010, and after listening to the lectures, I decided to give up dairy products; especially cheese so that my weight and cholesterol would return to lower levels. However, I wasn’t able to put this resolution into effect until 2011, because it was an extremely stressful time at work. I lost my job in September 2010 due to restructuring and outsourcing, but was lucky to find a new job within a few months. I moved to another state at the end of December 2010.
How do you feel now?
I no longer have allergies, headaches, or arthritis, and I have a lot of energy to do my daily activities. Plus, my husband and I get up at 5 o’clock every morning to work out at the gym before we go to work.
I live in the “Midwest Land of Meat”, hot dish casseroles, and bar cookies; but I’ve become almost a vegan, avoid processed foods, caffeinated teas, and all milk products. The sweetened condensed milk that I used to love in black tea now hurts my stomach. In January 2011 my total cholesterol was 210, HDL was 101, and LDL 99. This past month my total cholesterol was 170, HDL 89, and LDL 73. When I started I weighed 145 lbs, and I now weigh 130 lbs and wear a size 6.
What success tips do you have to share with others?
My typical daily diet is a blended salad for breakfast; a very large mixed salad with beans, nut based dressing, and fruit for lunch; and cooked greens or cruciferous vegetables, and a nutritarian entrée or bean patty for dinner.
Experiment with cooking and eating different vegetables to acquire new tastes and preferences. Increase vegetable intake by putting a bean patty, stew, or casserole over cooked kale or other green vegetable instead of rice or potatoes.
I prefer to use spices and flavors from other parts of the world (India, Thailand, Vietnam) to keep meals interesting.
I try to locate vegan restaurants and/or health food stores in a city ahead of time on the internet if I have to travel for a conference or vacation. I recently went to San Diego for a week long conference, and I brought along a small bullet-type blender in my checked luggage so I could continue making blended salads for breakfast in our hotel room. I went to the grocery store and bought fruits, vegetables, and soy milk as well as a disposable, foam cooler to keep them fresh, and was reasonably successful.
Although my husband and I are isolated from other people who follow Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations, we have found friends who prefer to eat healthy. I maintain my resolution to keep the nutritarian lifestyle by listening to Dr. Fuhrman’s podcasts, follow the discussion threads on the Member Center, and read the blogs on Disease Proof.
Keep up the great job Carolyn!