Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Has anyone heard of Sensa? It's a new weightloss supplement I picked up at Costco.

I've decided to try it, and I've been using it for a couple of days. I'll report back when I have a better idea of whether it is helping me or not.

I've also started working out again - Hooray! - and I'm trying to eat healthier in addition to using Sensa.

How is everyone else doing? Does anyone read this blog anymore??? :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Malnutrition in America

It has been said that Americans are overfed and undernourished. I'm the poster child for the truth of this statement. Like all sweeping generalities, there are exceptions, but right now, every single state in the nation has an obesity rate of more than 30% of its adult population, so the things I'm about to say will probably ring true with at least some of my readers today.

We are blessed with food in abundance that few other nations of the world can rival. Our grocery stores are filled to the brim all the time, and if they're out of something, a new shipment will come in at midnight. However, much of that food is boxed, canned, and processed, all of which reduces its nutrient value. We get plenty to eat - and some of us get more than enough to eat - and yet our bodies are not receiving the kinds of nutrition they should. Pesticides on our produce break down the nutrition. Antibiotics in our meats break down our nutrition. When we take a look at what we're eating and we break it down to a cellular level, many people are not getting the nourishment their cells need to function properly.

I said I was the poster child for this - let me explain what I mean.

I was raised eating whole grain bread, cracked wheat hot cereal, apples, carrots - all good, healthy stuff, right? But we didn't eat meat very often, or other sources of protein. When I got older and was out on my own for meals more often, I did start to eat meat, but only once in a while - I still enjoyed bread products, and I have always enjoyed sugar, so that consumption went up as well. I married and got pregnant for the first time, and was told by my midwife that I was so severely anemic that she couldn't agree to deliver my baby unless I got my iron levels up because I'd bleed to death. She got me eating protein and iron every single day, and I was able to get my levels where they should be in time, but I'd had no idea how depleted I was until she told me.

Fast forward about eight years. The bones in my feet started popping out of alignment, and my chiropractor was kept very busy putting them back in. I spent a month completely off my feet one summer because the swelling in the foot simply would not go down, and it was impossible to put any weight on it without excruciating pain. Come forward in time to last fall. I experienced the same symptoms, and this time went to a new doctor, who found a hairline fracture in the foot. I have no doubt the foot was fractured the previous time, too - it felt exactly the same. I spent about six weeks totally off my feet, trundling around in a wheelchair - which was kind of fun in some ways, and kind of not in others - and eventually healed up.

Fast forward again to March 8th of this year. I stood up from my desk chair and went to change the laundry. I had taken maybe three steps before I felt something snap in my foot. Yes, the same foot I broke last fall. Yes, the same foot I most likely broke a few years ago. I called my doctor, who told me that I not only broke the foot, but I had damaged the tissues as well. He put a cast on the foot and told me I could be in it for up to eight weeks.

Two nights later, I was lying flat on my back in bed with my foot in the air, and I lifted the leg a little to adjust it on its pillows, and felt something snap in my ankle. I had just broken a tendon, lying in bed, barely moving.

How? How does a person break a bone walking out of their bedroom? How does a person break a tendon lying in bed? The kind of tissue damage I have right now usually accompanies a running injury or a severely twisted ankle - at the very least, an injury that comes from saving a child from a speeding train and thereby becoming a hero and making the pain worth it. How had I injured myself so severely when basically all I did was stand up?


With my lifetime diet of grains and no protein, fruits and vegetables but no calcium, I had depleted all my bones, ligaments, tendons, and tissues. Eating large amounts of grain spikes your insulin, which attacks your bones. By not balancing my diet with enough protein, I hadn't given my body the ingredients it needed to create muscles and tendons. If you were to look at me a year ago, weighing three hundred pounds, you would not have said that I was malnourished. You'd laugh and probably snort a little. "Oh, sure, she's malnourished, all right." Kind of like Ursula in The Little Mermaid, I was wasting away to practically nothing, but I was obese. I was eating the foods that made me fat, and I was not eating the foods that could build me up. And the saddest part? I didn't know it.

Me at 300 lbs.

I've had several good long talks with my doctor, and he has explained all this to me and helped figure out the status of my body and my nutrition. He has put me on some really good supplements to build up my bones and ligaments, and I've changed my diet drastically. I'm not perfect, but I'm a great deal closer to it than I was a year ago.

So, what happens from here on out? I'm out of the cast and I'm now in an ankle brace. I can put some weight on the foot, but I'm not walking by any means. And I just might break the foot again if I'm not careful. I can rebuild my body and I'm in the process of doing it right now. But it will take time. It will be about a year before my bones are strong, like they should have been my whole life. We're also working on getting my muscle core strengthened through diet and exercise. I'm basically starting from scratch, and someday I will be strong. For right now, I still have to be careful. I've broken the foot twice (and I believe three times, although I don't have documentation for the first time) and with it taking a year to rebuild my bones, I could break it again in a month or two months or nine weeks. This is one of the consequences I'm experiencing as a result of an entire lifetime of malnutrition.

I'm sharing this story for two reasons - first, because people keep asking me how I broke my foot. Well, I broke it standing up. The second reason is that I'm hoping to inspire you to take a look at your own nutrition and make sure that you are getting the proper amounts of everything you need. I didn't realize how bad off I was, and I wish someone had told me. My mom thought she had raised me to be as healthy as possible, and she's now having guilt because she didn't know. The fact is, a great many of us are in the same boat. We think we're doing everything we can, and yet, we may be missing something important, and we may end up finding it out in a very painful way.

So please, take good care of your nutrition. Make it a priority. If you take supplements, do some research and make sure they're good for your body and aren't just pretty pink pills. Eat enough protein. Eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Listen to the signals your body gives you. I've had my wake-up call - please let this be one for you so you can start to prevent things from happening to you instead of having to go through them for yourself.I'm not saying that you'll start breaking bones and tendons - your body and mine are very different, and you'd likely not experience the same things - but there are so many illnesses and conditions that come about because of lack of nutrition, and I don't want to see any of my friends suffer in that way. Eat right, take care of yourselves, and let's stay healthy together.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What Does Tristi Eat?

I've been asked lots of questions in my life, everything from how to homeschool to how to write a book to how to keep balance in everything. But no question has been asked me so regularly as, "What do you eat?"

It's true that my new diet is perplexing. We've all been raised to eat according to the food pyramid, and the thought of doing anything contrary to it is kind of out there. It's also true that my new diet is working. I haven't been able to weigh for almost a month because I broke my foot, and getting on a scale with a cast on would probably make me fall off the scale and need a cast on the other foot, but the last weight I have to report is a loss of 84 pounds, and that's really significant. Not only am I losing weight, but my overall health is a lot better as well. (I mean, except for the whole car accident thing, and then the whole breaking the foot thing. But those are totally unrelated.)

So, what do I eat?

Simply put, I eat meat, eggs, vegetables (except potatoes and corn), nuts and seeds (except peanuts), and some raw dairy. Now that my pancreas is doing so much better, I do have an occasional piece of fruit, although when I first started, my pancreas was so inflamed that I didn't eat any fruit at all.

It really is very simple.

Every meal or snack has some protein in it, whether it's an egg, a piece of chicken, a handful of almonds. I also have a good dose of vegetables on the side. I drink lots of water. I don't count calories. I don't measure portions. If I'm hungry, I eat. I don't worry about fat grams because I'm eating the healthy fats. And the weight's just falling off me. Almost in chunks on the floor. I've done this without exercise, because I haven't been able to exercise for a long time (see above mention of car accident, and above mention of broken foot). This has all been through diet and nutrition, and I'm not losing muscle mass because I'm keeping my protein up.

So now let me break it down a little more to give a broader idea.

Breakfast - when it comes to breakfast, we've all got it in our heads that we're supposed to eat different foods in the morning than we do at any other time of the day. I don't know why we think that, but we all talk about "breakfast foods." I eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast as I would at any other time of the day.

Any Other Time of the Day - here are some of my most common meals/snacks:

A baked yam with a little sea salt and butter (no butter substitutes)

A chicken breast baked with herbs and seasonings

Nice big green salads with any variety of vegetables in there, with sugar-free dressing (no sugar substitutes, either) and without croutons - I like having some egg and some chicken in my salads

Turkey, beef roast, lean hamburger, steak

A taco wrap with all the taco makings rolled up inside a lettuce leaf

A hamburger wrap with all the hamburger makings rolled up in a lettuce leaf

Vegetable soup from scratch - take a wide variety of carrots, celery, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, etc, and dice, then simmer just until tender/crisp - don't cook until the color's gone! Throw some canned tomatoes in there, and season with lemon pepper, oregano, sea salt, and throw in whatever meat you've got - can make more of an Italian soup or Mexican soup or what-have-you with what you add in there.

Meatloaf without the crumbs. Delicious!

A handful of olives and a few slices of pickle.

Sunflower seeds.


Almost any kind of fish, baked and seasoned in any way you can think of, or pan seared.

Chicken sausage (from Sunflower Market or Whole Foods) sliced and cooked up with green peppers and onions.

It takes a little getting used to at first, I'll admit it - but now, it's not hard at all. People keep asking me if I'll be on this diet forever, and the answer is, yes, but with modifications. As time goes by, I'll add a few more things to the list of foods I can have, and down the road, I will be able to cheat a little from time to time. The thing to keep in mind is that I'm not doing this to lose weight, although it's the most noticeable benefit, and believe me, I'm tickled to death about it. I'm doing this to heal my body, and so I want to keep things in balance and not throw my body out of whack. When someone is losing weight and they eat a piece of cake or drink a Coke, they can get back on track right away and that indulgence might not ever show up on the scale. But I'm pulling sugars out of my body so my pancreas can heal, and I'm pulling caffeine out of my body so my adrenals can heal, so my ability to cheat is different from someone who is losing weight, if that makes sense. Cheating is not the end of the world for someone on a diet, but I'm still balancing on the edge of health and illness, so the ramifications for me are different.

So! That is the story of what I'm eating. Yes, it's different. Yes, it has been hard. But you're talkin' to a girl who liked to eat Zingers for breakfast, who weighed 300 pounds a year ago, and who was a whole lot more sick than she thought she was. If I can get my health under control, believe me, it can be done. Your path might be totally different from mine, as everyone has different challenges, but this is what's working for me.

And if you'd like to meet the man who has been helping me and my family change our lives, you can learn all about him here: http://www.injuryandwellnesscenter.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Health Update from Tristi

Back when I first started this diet and announced that I was going to be eating meats, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and that I was giving up sugar, fruit, and grains, a lot of my friends were concerned about my overall health. They worried that eating eggs and meats would throw my cholesterol out of whack. There were issues about the lack of grains - we've been taught for years that grains are healthy, and in my religion, we follow the counsel of the Word of Wisdom, which tells us to eat grains. I thought I would take a few minutes to give you all an update on how I'm doing. You can rest easy - I'm doing so, so well.

Let me give you a little bit of back story. About two years ago or so, my husband's work had us do some fitness evaluations for our health insurance. At that time, my triglycerides (fats in the blood) were 400. My cholesterol was so high, they couldn't even accurately measure it. My blood sugar was fine. They counseled me to go on medication for the cholesterol, which I did not want to do. I believe in changing health by changing lifestyle, so I paid better attention to what I was eating, and seriously cut down the fast food. I got my triglycerides down to 177, less than half of what they had been, and my blood sugar was still fine. My cholesterol was still too high to measure, though.

This last June, I started seeing Dr. Blamires at the Injury and Wellness Center. You'll remember my telling you in this blog post how enlarged my pancreas was - my blood sugar was testing just fine, but the organ itself was screaming for help. I began my journey, all 300 pounds of me, eating the diet I described above. Today, seven and a half months later, I'd like to share with you just how I'm doing.

1. I have lost 78.5 pounds without sacrificing muscle.

2. I have gone from a size 26/28 to a size 16/18.

3. I had some blood work yesterday, and guess what - my cholesterol that was so high they could not even measure it? My total cholesterol is 183, which is well within normal range, and my LDLs, which are the bad cholesterol, are mere points away from normal. That's how far it's come down. That is amazing.

4. My triglycerides have continued to drop and are now at 130, which is 20 points below the average range.

How am I doing? Fantastic. How is my overall health? Fantastic. Is consuming meat and eggs hurting me? Absolutely not. I'm pulling the numbers I'm supposed to be pulling. I could not have done this without radically changing my diet.

To address the concern about grains and the Word of Wisdom - the Word of Wisdom counsels us to eat healthy, natural foods, and tells us that it can be adapted to the weakest among us. I don't assimilate grains. Grains were packing the pounds on me, and causing other health problems that are too varied for me to even list here. Those health problems are now either gone or are almost gone. If I were to go back on grains, I would see a decline in my health. God doesn't want us to eat things that are unhealthy for us, and for me, grains are unhealthy. So no, I do not feel like I am breaking the Word of Wisdom by giving up grains. I feel that God led me to this diet, and I feel that I'm keeping the Word of Wisdom in that I have adapted it to fit my own body's needs. We wouldn't expect someone with celiac disease to eat wheat, would we? Of course not. Well, I may not have celiac disease, but I, too, need to stay away from the grains, and I feel very spiritually comfortable with that decision.

I wanted to share something else that's fun. Take a look at this picture. It was taken January 24th, 2011:
This is me at my heaviest weight ever, 300 pounds, as the Cubmaster congratulating my son for his performance in the Pinewood Derby. I met Dr. Blamires and began the diet about five months later.

Now take a look at this picture. It was taken last week, January 25th, 2012, at the Pinewood Derby.
Again, I'm the Cubmaster congratulating my son ... but look at the difference in me. Compare my face in the first picture to my face in the second picture. It's amazing. I honestly can't believe it. I have held these pictures side by side and stared at them over and over, just blown away. You know what, I look really good.

Best of all, I'm happy. I'm finally seeing results, I'm finally starting to feel like the person on the outside matches the person on the inside, and I'm not fettered by my weight any more.

I do appreciate the concern for my welfare, because I know that what I'm doing doesn't align with traditional methods of weight loss. I watch The Biggest Loser and I see them eating their whole-grain breads and wraps, and that's not what I'm doing. But I'm doing better than ever before. I am healthier at this moment than I've ever been in my entire life. Unusual choice though it may be, it's what's working for me. I mean, come on ... look at those pictures. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

75 Pounds of Potatoes

I haven't updated my progress on this blog for a while - I'm sorry about that. Life has just been too crazy for words lately. But here I am now. :)

First off, let me show you my most recent picture. This is me at 74 pounds lost.

I have to tell ya - it feels really good.

I'm still living the diet I mentioned before, with the meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and raw dairy. I've moved on to phase two of the diet, however, which includes a few of the lower-glycemic fruits. What's interesting is that fruit now tastes really sweet to me.

And now I have a funny story.

I was at the grocery store the other day, walking through the produce section, and was seized upon by a wild impulse. My mom was with me, and she always has her camera in her purse. We stopped by the potatoes and made a potato tower.

This is: 3 20 lb. bags, 1 10 lb. bag, and 1 5 lb. bag to add up to 75 pounds of potatoes. The last time I weighed in, I'd lost 74 pounds, so technically, I should have made a 74 lb. pile, but potatoes come in multiples of five.

And then of course I had my picture taken with that tower. (Ignore the fact that I'm not wearing makeup in this picture.)

Looking at all those potatoes on the floor, I just could not believe that I used to carry that much weight around on my body. I couldn't even lift those potatoes - I had to have my son do it for me. How did I function with all that weight? Of course I struggled, and I remember that plainly, but how was I not struggling more? How did I even get out of bed? I am so happy and grateful that I've finally been able to make this change. Seeing that stack of potatoes was a real eye-opener for me.

So, we take the picture, see, and just then, a man comes around the corner and needs to get down the aisle. I said, "Oh, don't mind us. I like having my picture taken with potatoes every so often - it's just something I do."

He didn't even bat an eye. "Not a problem." And he moved on down the aisle.

Sheesh ... I was expecting a chuckle, or even a cautious "Why?"