Freedom in the Trim Healthy Mama Eating Plan

Image

One of the reasons I began following the THM eating plan was that authors Serene and Pearl make it very clear that they intend for people to do whatever they need to do, in order to make the plan work for them as individuals. There’s not a lot of pressure in their methods. They don’t want anyone to count points or calories or grams of carbohydrates and fats. Instead, they want you to start thinking about broad categories of foods–foods that are high in healthy fats, fruits and vegetables that are starchy vs. non-starchy, foods that are relatively low in carbohydrates, and foods that don’t contain fats. Then they want you to pay attention to they way you combine certain foods in certain meals. (Watch the video on their website at: http://www.trimhealthymama.com/)

I’ll admit that this new way of eating is taking some time for me to understand and I made a lot of mistakes at first. The wonderful and amazing thing is that THM is very forgiving. I lost weight right from the beginning, even when I made mistakes.

Now I’m excited that my husband is going to join me in my new THM way of life. (Finally!) I have been busily preparing meals for his first two “Deep Cycle” weeks. I’m going to redo those weeks with him and I expect to keep learning and losing weight along the way.

My approach is not your approach and I may not follow THM strictly to the letter all the time. Remember that THM is not a “one size fits all” way of eating. I often experiment with new kinds of healthy sweeteners (ones that are less glycemic, for example) or new types of low-carbohydrate flours. If I gain weight from one of my recipes, I scrap it or tweak it. I’m still trying recipes from the THM book too. (Have you tried their frozen yogurt with strawberries and vanilla? It’s so good! I think it’s the reason my husband is willing to try the THM plan!) I am allergic to dairy fat, so “S” recipes are tricky. I substitute coconut oil and ghee for butter, nonfat cream cheese for regular cream cheese, hemp protein powder for whey protein, and skim milk mozzarella for fatty  cheeses. The point is that my approach fits me and my family and that’s what matters.

I encourage you to try the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. It may take awhile for you to come up with just the right recipes that work for your weight loss or weight maintenance needs and that’s okay. But also remember that everyone loses weight and inches differently. Some weeks I lose weight; other weeks I lose no weight but I will lose an entire inch all over. I pay close attention to all positive changes in my body and rejoice that my diet and exercise are working better now than ever before.

So, be happy, be free, and don’t stress out. With time and practice you’ll get the hang of the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating and I’m hopeful that you will reap the rewards that I and so many other people are enjoying.

God bless you!

THM “Crossover” Foods

Image

 “Crossover” meals are like “S Helper” meals in that they are weight maintenance meals; not weight loss meals. They don’t allow for weight loss, but they are designed to keep you from gaining back weight you’ve already lost.

Crossover meals are important. Serene and Pearl claim that their “S” and “E” meal plans work so well that even when you reach your desired weight you may keep losing weight unless you incorporate some Crossover meals. (Boy, how I would love to have that problem! Maybe someday soon I’ll be writing about that?) Crossovers are protein-based, but incorporate a balance of E and S foods.

“Crossover” meals give you more food variety, yet are designed to ensure that your blood sugar never spikes too high and that your body will not burn your own body fat. Serene and Pearl write in their book, “Your body will first burn the glucose from the starch in the meal, then it will burn the fat contained in the meal.” There is no weight loss involved in a Crossover meal.

One thing you need to remember is that every one of the THM meals is protein-based. In fact, the authors warn, “Continue to adhere to the good advice to not eat more than two pieces of bread at a time, no matter what stage of this plan you are on.” They also explain that, even once you reach your goal weight, you can never eat a carb-centered meal and expect to maintain your weight.

I have not yet purposely attempted a “Crossover” meal on the THM diet, they reflect the way I’ve been eating all my life—and what kept me from losing weight for so many years. In looking back over my meals these past few weeks of trying the THM weight loss plan, I see that I accidentally ate Crossover meals on certain days of this THM diet and that explains why I did not lose weight on those days. (Great discovery and so easy to get back on track!)

Crossovers are basically healthy, clean meals, but they contain that weight stalling combination of fats and carbs that the THM diet so carefully separates. In case you forgot, I’ll reiterate here: You cannot eat a fat with a starchy carb and lose weight. I now look at fat-carb combinations as deadly and I will only (purposely) try Crossovers once I have reached my goal weight (which is only 9 pounds away now).

Examples of “Crossover” Meals

Meals

E & S Foods

E Foods

S Foods

Meal Example 1:

Beef and Vege Stir Fry

Leafy green salad

Vegetables, quinoa or rice

Cheddar cheese, creamy dressing, beef, coconut oil

Meal Example 2:

Turkey Sandwich

Lettuce

Sprouted bread, turkey breast, tomato slices, nuts

Butter, cheese

Snack Example 3:

Apple

 

Apple, peanut butter

Cheddar cheese

Meal/Snack

Example 4:

Corn chips

 

Whole grain corn chips, salsa, beans

Cheese, sour cream, full-fat Greek yogurt

Meal Example 5:

Baked Sweet Potato

 

Baked sweet potato, chili beans

Cheddar cheese, sour cream, ground beef

 

Can Moving to a Blue Zone Cure Disease?

Dan Buettner is the author of the book, The Blue Zones and founder of Blue Zones, a longevity research foundation established to identify populations throughout the world who suffer low rates of disease and live well into their nineties and perhaps one-hundreds.

So far, Mr. Beuttner and his team have identified five communities they have labeled “Blue Zones,” areas where people are healthy, happy, and live long lives. As of today, these communities are:

  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Loma Linda, California (in a Seventh-Day Adventist community)
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy[i][ii]

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably read the New York Times story by Dan Beuttner titled, The Island Where People Forget to Die. It’s a fascinating account of a man named Moraitis who was born in Ikaria, Greece and moved to New York in 1943. Thirty-three years later he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given nine months to live. He was in his mid-sixties. He decided to forego popular cancer treatments and return to his island of Ikaria to die in peace. Over the course of six months, he gradually regained his strength and ambition. He reconnected with his faith, friends, family, culture, and relaxed island lifestyle. He kept on living for years and at ninety-seven years of age he was cancer free. The article doesn’t say exactly when he became cancer free, but from the sound of things, his health was being restored and cancer was being eradicated from his body within months of living in Ikaria.[iii]

I have been following these Blue Zone stories on Dr. Oz’s show and website, bluezones.com, sommunity.sw.org, and other sites on the internet. The Blue Zone goal appears to be to identify specific attributes of healthy, happiness and longevity in certain population in order that others throughout the world can learn from, copy, and attain those populations and become just as healthy and happy.

This is a worthy goal. To copy the diets and lifestyles is very possibly beneficial to many people—at least, that’s what we hope. But is this sufficient? There are many factors involved in the health of a Blue Zone. It’s not just diet, not just lifestyle; there’s when people eat, how relaxed people are when they eat, portion sizes, conversations occurring during meals, climate, weather, being outdoors, how much sunshine people get on their skin…. I could go on and on.

Has anyone already moved to a blue zone and cured his or her disease? If so, I’d like to read about it or follow someone’s online blog journey to healing in a Blue Zone. I mean, for those suffering from serious diseases, is it enough to merely copy the diets and lifestyles of Blue Zone peoples and remain living in one’s same city or town? It’s the best most of us can do, I know, but don’t you think it might be prudent to conduct a grand experiment with volunteers who are willing to move to various Blue Zone, immerse themselves in the five distinct cultures, and possibly experience a higher than average chance of healing?

Of course, there are questions to be answered regarding such an experiment (not the least of which is cost), but I’ll save those questions for a future blog and leave you to mull over the idea for a while. I, for one, would love to move to a Blue Zone for several months to see if various health problems and issues lessened. I can dream, can’t I? And you have to admit it does sound fun! And I’m serious about those who have either lived in Blue Zones or who are living in them now. Wouldn’t it be great to hear how those people are faring health-wise?