Happy Herbivore Blog

April 4, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Katie C.

In October 2012, Katie emailed me asking if I knew anything about ulcers and if a plant-based diet can help. Unfortunately, I did not have any information for Katie but asked that she keep in touch with her progress.

Two months later, Katie emailed me again and with exciting news — and today Katie is sharing her story with us!



HH: When you emailed me, you were researching ulcers and the effect (if any) a plant-based diet might have. Can you elaborate on what you found and your condition?

After coming up with inconclusive research about ulcers, and over two weeks of nausea and stomach pain, and going plant-based 6 days, I finally went to the doctor.  After I told him my symptoms, he shocked me by saying that it was most likely my gallbladder.  I hadn't even considered it.  As I started discussing with him (and politely questioning him), he talked about how normal it was, and then he said three words that absolutely repulsed me and keep ringing in my ears even now.  He said, "For your age".  EXCUSE me?  I'm only 28!  While I'm a tiny bit of a tired mama with two little kiddos, I shouldn't be falling apart.  I shouldn't be worn out by small tasks.  My back shouldn't be so out of whack from my gut that it kills me every time I bathe my children.  My age SHOULD mean that I'm in some of my prime years.

HH: What did the doctor say? What were the next steps?

He said they'd do an ultrasound and do my blood work, then began discussing surgery.  I'd been a vegan for about 2.5 of the last 11 years, and vegetarian for 11 years. I truly believe in trying to let nature help with healing, so I went home and decided that whatever the results were, I could never leave plant-based again.  I NEVER wanted to hear somebody say "For your age" again.



HH: Did the results shed any light?

The results came back and everything looks great, and there isn't even the tiniest bit of sludge in my gallbladder.  They gave me an antacid and said it was probably a small ulcer.

Even though the service was a little lacking, and I never really found out what was "wrong" with me, I'm so grateful for the experience.  I really needed a wake-up call because I was floating in this stage of "I'm not really healthy, but I'm not UN-healthy, so I must be ok."  Then I made it through Halloween and Thanksgiving without one piece of milk chocolate, ice cream or cheese!  

HH: It was a little less than two months from the time you first contacted me, until the second email. In such a short time, what benefits did you experience?

In seven weeks, here's a list of the benefits I've seen so far:

  • I lost 12 lbs in 7 weeks.
  • I have softer, healthier hair.
  • Every finger cuticle is usually cracked by mid-September, and doesn't go away until April.  I have only had three little ones that heal quickly.
  • I have more energy.
  • I'm happier and haven't had too many issues with depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which I usually have to keep under control with a Happy Light and some herbs/vitamins.  I'm not on any medications, but I'm grateful I don't have to consider it.
  • My FEET are smaller.  Yeah.  That was strange.  Didn't know I had fat feet!
  • I am able to wear my wedding rings again.  I was always too overweight or swollen to wear them.
  • I have an abdominal Diastasis, which makes my already larger stomach stick out even more.  Since I've been losing fat in my stomach, I've found it easier to do the exercises I need to to help heal my abdomen.
  • I have fun running around with my kids.  I LOVE my babies, but I haven't always physically felt up to their speed!  :)  Those little stinkers are quick!
  • I didn't gain weight during the holidays.
  • My cycles were way less painful and shorter.
  • I feel more confident in all forms of intimacy with my husband.  I used to feel fat even when he hugged me, and I didn't feel beautiful when he told me I was, so you can imagine how I felt with more intimate things.
  • I enjoy the food I eat so much more.
  • I'm not hungry all the time!  I used to be hungry ALL THE TIME.  Now I'm satisfied.
  • We've minimized our total household items by at least 65% in the last 3 months, and still counting.
  • My armpits used to smell bad.  No matter WHAT I used.  Baking soda TOTALLY works!!!
  • My whole family eats WAY healthier.
  • I've been able to share your info with many people, and I've got a couple of "conversions"!
  • My stomach doesn't hurt anymore.  It used to hurt all the time when I ate sugary/fattening foods.  It also doesn't hurt from the ulcer.  Or whatever that was!
  • My mind is clearer.
  • My sense of smell and vision is better.  WAY better.  I thought I was pregnant when my sense of smell heightened.



HH: Wow!!! What an incredible change in such a short time! Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I wanted to thank you.  I really admire you, and your creativity in making meals so simple and delicious.  You just make things so flavorful.  While I've believed that this is the right way to live for 11 years, you've made it doable.  

When I've reached my goal weight, I'll let you know!

HH: You are a rock star!

UPDATE (3/21):

While a good amount of my journey has been physical, the majority of it has been mental.  I had to change the way I thought about myself.  I now love and respect myself.  Food has been a safe place to allow myself the opportunity to learn from my mistakes, instead of participating in self-hatred when a mistake has been made.  I don’t eat because I hate myself anymore.  Now I eat because I love myself.

We have gotten rid of roughly 75% of our “stuff”.  Though we accumulate and then purge, we try to keep the things that have value, and the rest comes and goes. With less accumulation, we’ve been able to rid ourselves of thousands of dollars in debt.  It’s great to see that our children have healthy perspectives on food/things/family.  We REALLY focus on our family, and that it’s the most important thing.

Though I am the only person in my family that is plant-based, my family eats so much healthier!  I’ve been doing food upgrades.  Fruits/veggies instead of processed snacks, or if it IS processed, swapping for healthier options.

I have lost 45 pounds and dropped two sizes!  I still have about 15 that I want to lose, but I’m enjoying the hard work it’s taking to get it off.  I feel fun and foxy. I used to feel like I had an extra 20 years that I carried around along with that extra weight.  Now I feel strong and vibrant.  I am a runner, and my pace is so much faster.  I’m also so much stronger when lifting.  I just feel great!

I’m so proud of myself, but I couldn’t have done it without Happy Herbivore.  I used to think that healthy food took months of assimilation before tasting good.  A frozen bag of veggies dumped on top of a potato just never tasted that great to me.  As soon as I tried a few HH recipes, I realized that food just needed Lindsay to make it to taste good.  Dried herbs and spices ROCK!!!  Thank you, Lindsay

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