Sharon HMy husband Scott and I began following Protective Diet sometime right around the end of March. We had been 100% plant-based since January 2012 when I randomly ending up watching Forks Over Knives on Netflix to occupy myself one very cold Saturday here in Minnesota. As we do with everything, we plunged in 100% with eating a plant-based diet and never looked back. The only challenge was staying with the whole food no fat part. We’d do really well for a while – 2 -3 months and then bam we were eating sugar again, buying Oreos, Mike and Ikes and drinking Coke. Discovering the vegan bakery at one of our local food co-ops didn’t help much either – for our waistline or our pocketbook. Over those three years we both yo-yo’ed some with our weight going up and down 25 lbs or so multiple times.
Then in March, while listening to a Chef AJ telecast with Julie Marie as the guest, we learned about PD. I’d heard lots of people talk about how they were food addicts, but when Julie Marie shared about eating full tubs of frosting, I knew she was the real deal. I used to do the exact same thing – although I did sometimes dip vanilla wafers in it. When she talked about why PD doesn’t include date paste and noted that if the dates are in her fridge she’s going to end up having to eat one every time she opened the door, I knew without a doubt she was talking my language. The idea that the additives in foods were what kept driving us back to the vegan junk food and sugar made so much sense. We knew that there were things in processed foods that triggered our brain chemistry, but really getting down with eliminating “spices” and “natural flavorings” wasn’t something that had even entered our radar screen. This all fit with what we had experienced – when we eat only whole foods the food cravings pretty much go away – just hadn’t ever been able to pin down why they didn’t stay gone.
The next day after the telecast we cleaned out the cupboards, joined the PD website, took “before” pictures and went grocery shopping. We were ready to roll. Since then my husband Scott and I have been totally PD! We’ve had amazing success. We’ve both lost weight – I’ve lost roughly 25lbs and as of last weekend Scott has lost 30lbs. On top of that,Scott’s cholesterol went from 205 to 150 in about two months. His LDL had been 187 and it went to 82 – Dr. N., you can keep that scrip for statins! But, most important, the food cravings are totally gone – like I mean I don’t have them at all! I have struggled with food as long as I can remember; my weight has been as high as 375 lbs. And those cravings are what leads to binging. Without the cravings there is such a freedom. Personally, I find that I now know when I am full and when I’m full I’m done eating – even if there are only a few bites on my plate. I can’t bring myself to eat any more – I mean who does that? I never did, that is for sure – I was completely out of touch with what full felt like unless it was stuffed like I wish I could barf kinda full. Now, I just know – I can feel it – I’m not stuffed, just done. I do still have to work on eating slower though so that way my brain gets the message, as my stomach is becoming full, rather than a few bites later.
Lots of people think this program might be hard when traveling or at family events, but we have navigated all of these things since beginning PD. For my job I travel for a week at a time – I have had it easy where I’ve got a kitchenette and other times I’ve had just a fridge and microwave. I can always make it work. I bring along some NYCS and salad dressing – then I buy romaine, frozen veggies, beans, potatoes and salsa. Salads to go with beans are my lunch and potatoes with frozen broccoli, NYCS, beans and salsa make a great dinner. Our biggest challenge was at the end of May when we took our annual motorcycle excursion. We were gone for 10 days on the motorcycle and if you’ve never traveled on a motorcycle, then you can’t fully appreciate how little space there is. I mean you count underwear, socks – everything. We have a big touring bike – but, you always need to bring all your leathers, rain gear, some tools and stuff to clean the bugs off the bike as well as sun block. I remember Julie Marie saying tortillas don’t take much room and we did manage to squeeze a couple packages on there. We had a can opener, flexible strainer and smaller than lunch size canvas cooler with a freezy thing.
So, what did we eat??? Well, I remember the first night we ate at Ryan’s – a smorgasbord place (Scott calls it the trough). We were able to get Hugh Jass salads, salsa and plain baked potatoes – it was perfect. Watching everyone in there gorging themselves only reinforced the great choice we were making for our bodies and minds. After that, though, we would get to the hotel, unload the bike and hit Wal-Mart. We were always able to get organic frozen broccoli, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, frozen corn, black beans and salsa. So far we have always been able to find “clean” salsa by some miracle. Sometimes we found frozen brown rice. And then there were those amazing clean tortillas we found in Clarksville, TN and one other place (I can’t remember). We also found that Quaker organic instant oatmeal was clean (not the tastiest, but tolerable). And of course, there was “fun fruit” – the cut up melon I never buy at home because I’m not paying that price to have someone do what I can do. We always stayed where they had a free breakfast – not for the breakfast, but for the assurance that they would have plates and plastic silverware! We always stayed where they had a fridge and microwave. Each night we’d microwave extra potatoes and the next day we ate them along with raw veggies and fruit for lunch. We were continually surprised by how much we enjoyed the broccoli on the potato with salsa – we’d always had it with NYCS before and I was sure it would not be good without – but to my surprise I really like the taste of broccoli. Seemed like every night it was “wow, this broccoli is soooo good!”
Did we have a lot of variety – well, no we did not, but it really didn’t matter. The trip wasn’t about the food. It was about nourishing us – mind, body spirit (aka wind therapy). That’s why we ride a motorcycle to some of the most beautiful places in this country. We felt so good about staying PD on the trip and after doing it on the bike we know we can do it anywhere. Really, we just need to eat enough to not feel super hungry – fruit, raw veggies and potatoes can be found anywhere (even Kwik Trip).
PD has really been amazing – the community through Facebook, the fabulous recipes from Julie Marie, weekly class – all of it. We both feel so good and can see doing this forever. We feel like we found the answer to alleviate all the struggle, and the freedom from the daily battle with food is such an incredible gift. Thanks Julie Marie and Jerry!!!!