Standard American Diet to Whole Food Plant Based

I'd like to start this post out by saying, I don't expect anyone to follow what I have done. I'm also not asking you to change your diet in any way. I'm simply going to share with you what worked for me. This isn't a a judgement nor is it a challenge to ask you to tell me how you can eat meat and dairy and you're fine. I know some believe that they must eat meat to live. They believe the whole bit about cave men eating dinosaurs. If you want to believe that, it isn't my job nor my desire to change your mind. Frankly, if you don't change your diet it doesn't impact anyone else directly (me included) in the slightest. Now that I have cleared that up, here's my story.

I was raised in a household that was basically white trash.  We were lower income. We were on food stamps and WIC and we also got surplus foods when the government used to distribute food commodities to the poor for free. To show you how limited our food was, my mother would buy a whole chicken (fryer) for dinner. She would cut up the chicken in pieces.  She got two breasts.  My stepfather got 2 thighs. I got a drumstick along with my middle sister and our youngest sister got 2 wings.  She would add stove top stuffing and green beans or some other canned veg.  That was it. This was typical. If there were hot dogs we would have 2 hot dogs on loaf bread with cold pork n beans.  We rarely had salad.  I never saw fresh fruit unless my mother was making a banana pudding for a family event.  I got two oranges at Christmas time and a few nuts in my stocking.  I didn't have a nut cracker so we would go outside and crack them with bricks. All the while the emotional, physical and sexual abused compounded my lack of food and nutrition into a full fledged eating disorder.

I remember stealing food stamps from my mother's purse and walking to the store to by food. I sat in the field behind the grocery store and gorged myself on frozen pies. Yes, I ate it frozen. I was 12.  I knew I was fat, and I hated myself.

By the time I was 18, I had already ran away from home and was on my second pregnancy. This one all I ate was McDonald's because the child's father worked there and we could eat for free.  I ate double quarter pounders (my own creation at the time) and tons of chicken nuggets.  Never salad or anything at all resembling healthy food.

The father would do things like make me get out of the car and pronounce my dedication to Jesus.  He would then walk off from he like he didn't know me when we saw people he knew in public.  I realized it was because he was lying to his wife and didn't tell her about me. I ballooned in size.  I starting working for a computer bbs company and became a new personal to hide the sadness and utter self hatred I had inside.

One year his mother took us to Walt Disney World and my child said to me as we waited in line to get in the Tea Cup Ride -  she whispered, "Mommy, can you fit in there?"  I was humiliated. I knew that being over weight "ran in my family" and was pretty much convinced by my doctors and my family that it was only a matter of time for heart disease and diabetes for me as well.

Faces blocked by their request

I finally found a doctor that would help me.  Dr. Brewer in Virginia Beach told me that he could help me lose weight. I was knocking on 300lbs and needed someone to help me.  He told me about the Roux n Y gastric bypass that would change my life he said.  He never one time mentioned whole food, never asked me what I was eating.  He never one time said to me, You can change this yourself by eating vegetables.  Yes, we all know that eating veggies is the way to go, but while we're there seeing what WIC gives us and what SNAP tells us to buy it is setting us up for obesity and health issues.  Just before he put me under, I heard him say, "You'll never be this fat again."


And I did lose weight. I was thrilled! I got all the way down to 108 lbs after being a a completely liquid diet for nearly a year.  During this time I also got kicked out of my house and moved into my first full time lesbian relationship. I could only eat 1/4 of a sandwich or one chicken nugget due to the size of my stomach pouch.

The doctor had also removed the majority of my small intestines as well as my gall bladder. He mentioned a support group, but I didn't go. I didn't think I needed it. After all, I just needed to get skinny.  It was my body that betrayed me after all, right?  It wasn't anything I was doing. It couldn't be. Look at all the skinny people drinking soda and eating pizza.  They were fine.

I ended up getting very ill from the surgery and nearly died.  I had to have several blood transfusions and was ordered to eat a high protein and iron diet.

Fast forward to around 2005 and guess what?  Here I was again. Closing in very quickly on 300 lbs yet again.  I knew I was big and I hated myself. Again.

I joined a gym (like we all do).  A 24 hour fitness club and went to work out sometimes 3 times a day. 45 minutes at a time. I lost down to about 170 lbs. I was eating a low fat diet with 2 jamba juices a day (with the weight loss boost of course) and baked salmon for dinner.  I thought I was doing the right thing to get myself healthy again.  The photo below was taken at LGBT Pride in San Diego.  I was so excited to be able to fit into this XL Leather Pride shirt that I changed in a porta-potty.  My face says thrilled and I was.  But still in the back of my head working out sometimes 3 hours a day, I still couldn't eat just fish and have a smoothie and get below 170 lbs.

We then moved from San Diego back to my home town. Goldsboro NC.  It was a tragic mistake. As I was confronted daily with the demons of my childhood my weight grew and grew and grew.

My family sabotaged me when I would try to eat well. I recall, after telling my mother I was vegetarian, she shoved a slice of bacon in my mouth. They all (all of them but my grandmother) made fun of me as an adult. They would say, don't show Rhonda (they call me Rhonda) the poor chickens and so on.  It was the one of the most difficult times of my life. So I ballooned.

I became so fat I could barely get around. My feet and ankles swelled and were so painful. I had Fibromyalgia,  Heart Disease, Pre-Diabetes and the start of sleep apnea. I was making scratch made biscuits everyday.  I was making bacon and pork. I was eating everything except for red meat.  Because you know - red meat is bad for you, right?

I went to visit my adopted sister, Kallan in Maryland and Eli and I walked around DC on 4th of July. We were exhausted. I could barely move the next day.  We couldn't get in and out of the car when Kallan took us site seeings. It was horrible and I was so embarrassed. I couldn't believe I had done this again.


Eli and I both decided that day that we were taking all meat back off our plates.  No meat at all, but we would leave dairy. I started losing some weight. I was walking every morning with my fit-bit trying desperately to get back a more healthy lifestyle.  As we were getting better, I finally realized I needed to get out of North Carolina.

By the time we had set up to leave NC I had lost quite a bit of weight and fully understood that all meat products were bad for me.  I didn't know why. And I didn't know if everyone was like me, but I knew that I couldn't eat it.  We updated our house, got it set up to rent out and headed back west.  I left all the negativity and tragedy that was my existence in NC behind.

I fell off the wagon and began eating cheese again. Just here there, as we went out to places and slowly we began to creep up again.  This time I noticed it and I suggested we try Hungryroot. A vegan food delivery service to help us get control over our inability to feed ourselves. As we began to do that, Eli completed more classes in his nutrition class and found many of the doctors we follow today.  I look back over the last 49 years of my life and decided that I need to be healthy. I cannot continue to put poison in my body and expect it to live.  As I cut out the sugar and the saturated fat of coconut milk (my replacement for cow's milk) I learned that I really didn't need those things. They contributed to my pain.

I'm still not where I want to be.  My goal is to have a kick-boxer body by my 51st birthday.  This morning I did five push-ups. I know, it's only five, but a trip around the world starts with a single step, and this is my step.  I need to be gentle with myself and not rush things.  I have lost to date 105 lbs. I no longer have any of the illnesses I had before. I am wearing a size 10 pant and a medium shirt. I am able to walk without losing my breath. Because of our wonderful results Eli and I started Real Rations.  A way to share what we have learned with others. Folks may not be able to afford the books or attend the lectures. So we're sharing that information free.  We want everyone to be able to be healthy.  We want them to know that this way of life isn't expensive. It isn't a gimmick. There's no quick fix.  It has taken me 2 years to get here.  I still have about 45 lbs to lose.  It is a process.

I wrote this because I have had several comments on my posts regarding how I don't know what its like and I'm just a skinny person fat shaming.

No honey, I'm not. I'm coming at this from a food addicted, abuse survivor. I was berated and attacked my entire life for being fat.  When I was 10 my step father told me I was too fat to be a cheer leader.  I was told I was too fat and stupid to do just about everything. I am coming at this as someone who spent an entire year (just three years ago) planning my elder living because I knew I would need diabetes treatment and probably cancer treatment.  I had accepted that my DNA had sentenced me to this.  But I was wrong.  I have taken my power back and changed my diet.  I don't exercise, I don't go to the gym, I even got rid of the fit-bit and started to become more present in my actual life.

I slowed down, I studied yoga, and mindful mediation. I got my wellness coach certification and studied aromatherapy and crystal healing. I changed all these things just by starting with my diet. Whole Food, Plant Based.  That's it.  No pills.  No powders.  Only the magic of  fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. I feel amazing.  I want you to feel that way too.

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