plant-based diet

How I Started A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet

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Today I’m going to tell you how I started a whole food plant-based diet. I have struggled with my weight for the last 20 years. I have tried every diet known to man. Years ago, I was a branch manager at a bank, then a private banker for two bank branches, and then I started my own mortgage company. I rarely had time to eat healthy meals. I was grabbing fast food from one place for lunch and then standing in line for take-out for dinner. The pressure of my various jobs forced me to eat at my desk in between clients. I did this routine for over 20 years. My doctor told me to quit my job or my arthritis would literally cripple me. I’m a type-A person and nothing stops me. The pounds come on slowly and they are even harder to take off. I have high cholesterol. I had been told I was a walking heart attack at the peak of my career. I take the highest statin dose available for heart patients. I am not proud of this fact, by any means.

My Knees Needed to be Replaced

Here’s the deal, I had a doctor tell me back in 2006 when I was looking at getting two knee replacements to read a book called “The China Study”. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health Well, I bought the book and kept working. Have you purchased books, and thought to yourself I have got to read that book? This was one I wanted to read for years. I finally bought the audible and have listened to it almost 5 times. I love the book, but you need to decide what is right for you and your family. After reading the book, I started exercising and eating a plant-based diet. I must tell you I was almost a vegetarian before I read the book because I really do not care for meat, except maybe filet mignon once every couple of years. Please check with your medical doctors before you change your diet or lifestyle. This book has saved my life. I have now lost 40 pounds in six months. I lost the first 22 pounds while listening to the audible book with speakers turned on while I went swimming three times a day for an hour each time. I started slowly and worked up to three hours.

After the initial 22 pounds, I started making a smoothie every morning with a protein powder filled with lots of spinach and frozen bananas made with water only. No juice, no sweetener. I also make smoothies with different fruits, but I always add spinach.

Eating Out Is Hard On Diets

After I semi-retired I decided I would never stand in line for food again, and almost wanted to boycott eating out. Not really, but I love eating at home with Mark. You probably know that typically restaurants oversalt the food, add too much yummy butter, and add lots of sugar because it makes the meal taste better. And you keep coming back for more unhealthy food because life is hectic and you may rationalize that you don’t feel like cooking tonight. Big mistake, I know because I was standing in those lines and driving to the restaurants that had curb pick-up.

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The “diet”, or in my words, my new way of life is wonderful and I’m getting Mark on board who loves meat, but now realizes at our age health is the most important thing we need to consider when evaluating our lives. This may not work for you. I am not selling anything, I am just sharing my thoughts on eating a plant-based diet. If you have a garden you will love this way to eat. I read the book and have now watched about 12 documentaries on Netflix, such as Food, Inc., Conspiracy, Fork Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, Sugar Coated, Engine 2 Rescue, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Food Choices, Fed Up, and Food Matters, to name a few. I have watched each one of these at least 3-4 times. I learn something new with each one each time I watch them.

Vegan Eating Works For Me

The diet is basically vegan, meaning you eat grains, legumes, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables with zero processed fat and oils. You eat no meat, sugar or dairy. To some people, this may seem extreme. It is my way to show I am trying to make my heart healthy and reduce my pain from arthritis. I am only sharing this information to give you an option if you have pain all the time as I do and want to improve your health. Check with your doctor, remember I am not in the medical field and have no training in nutrition. I did not start this way of life on a whim, believe me, I wanted to strengthen my body, improve my health and hopefully become pain-free. I also wanted to rid myself of continual sinus infections, which I have done, so far, yay!

People have said to me, “How are you getting protein?” I thought to myself how am I getting protein? I never thought about protein amounts before I started eating like this. I eat everything and anything now in the fruits and vegetables food groups and I’m never hungry. Fiber fills your belly and it’s healthy, and I actually save money on my groceries, that’s one of the best parts!

Plant-Based Diet:

Here are some stats I gathered from different sources:


Please note the calories will vary based on the size of the fruits and vegetables you choose to eat. Note that g = gram(s) below.

Apples:    80=calories   5 grams fiber   0 g protein

Apricots:   17=calories  1 gram fiber  1 g protein

Avocadoes:  320=calories   14 grams fiber   4 g protein

Bananas:   105=calories   3 grams fiber  1 g protein

Blackberries:  1 cup=62 calories   7 grams fiber   2 g protein

Blueberries:    1 cup=84 calories   4 grams fiber  1 g protein

Boysenberries:   1 cup=62 calories  7 grams fiber  2 g protein

Cantaloupe:    1 cup=54 calories  1 gram fiber  1 g protein

Cherries (sweet):  12 cherries=51 calories   2 grams fiber 1 g protein

Dates:   1/4 cup dried=126 calories   4 grams fiber  1 g protein

Grapefruit:   1 cup=74 calories  3  grams fiber   1 g protein

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Grapes:    15 grapes=52 calories   1 gram fiber   1 g protein

Kiwi:   1 fruit=46 calories  3 grams fiber   1 g protein

Lemons:   1/2 lemon=8 calories  1  gram fiber   0 g protein

Limes:   1/2 lime=10 calories  1  gram fiber    0 g protein

Mandarin Oranges:   1/2 cup=46 calories  1 gram fiber   1 g protein

Mangoes:  1/2 mango=67 calories   2 grams fiber   1 g protein

Nectarines:  1 nectarine=63 calories   2 grams fiber   2 g protein

Oranges:  1 orange=62 calories  3 grams fiber  1 g protein

Peaches:   1 peach=39 calories    2 fiber grams 1 g protein

Pears:   1 pear=96 calories   5 grams fiber  1 g protein

Pineapple:   1 cup=74 calories   2  grams fiber   1 g protein

Plums:  1 plum=30 calories  1  gram fiber  1 g protein

Raspberries:   1 cup=64 calories    8 grams fiber  2 g protein

Strawberries:   1 cup=53 calories    3 grams fiber   1 g protein


Beets: 1/2 cup cooked=40 calories   2 grams fiber   1 g protein

Cucumbers:  1/2 large=23 calories   1 gram fiber   1 g protein

Green beans:  1/2 cup snap=22 calories   2 grams fiber   1 g protein

Kale: 1/2 cup cooked=18calories   1 gram fiber  0 g protein

Leeks: raw 1/2 cup=14calories  0-gram fiber   0 g protein

Lettuce:  raw 1 cup=8 calories   1 gram fiber  1 g protein

Mushrooms: raw 1/2=11 calories  1 gram fiber   2 g  protein

Onions: raw chopped 1/2 cup=32 calories  1 gram fiber  1 protein

Peas: green cooked: 1/2 cup=67 calories   4 grams fiber    4 g protein

Peppers: red/green/yellow raw 1/2=15 calories  1 gram fiber  1 g protein

Potatoes: 1 baked with skin 106=calories   3 grams fiber  3 g protein

Radishes: raw 10 medium=7 calories  1 gram fiber  0 g protein

Spinach: raw 1 cup=7 calories  1 gram fiber  1 g protein

Tomatoes: 1 medium raw=27 calories  2 grams fiber  1 g protein


Black beans: canned 1/2 cup=110 calories  7 grams fiber  7 g protein

Cannellini beans: canned 1/2 cup=100 calories 5 grams fiber  5 g protein

Chickpeas: garbanzo beans canned 1/2 cup=100 calories  5 grams fiber 5g  protein

Navy beans:  canned 1/2 cup=148 calories  7 grams fiber 10 g protein

Pinto beans: canned 1/2 cup=103 calories  6 grams fiber  6 g protein

Refried beans: 1/2 cup no fat=100 calories  6 grams fiber   6 g protein


Oatmeal: 1/2 cup dry=150 calories  4 grams fiber  5 g protein

Quinoa: 1/4 cup dry=160 calories  2 grams fiber  6 g protein

Chia:  1 tablespoon=70 calories   5 grams fiber    3 g protein

Jasmine white rice: 1/4 cup uncooked=180 calories   0 grams fiber   3 g protein

Brown rice: 1 cup cooked=215 calories    3.5 grams fiber   5 g protein

I hope this gives you an idea of why some of us are a work in progress by becoming vegan. It may or may not be right for you. Mark and I are learning about becoming healthier one day at a time. I will have a bagel with cream cheese, just in case you are wondering! Life is good when I’m trying to free my body from pain and become stronger every day. May God bless you in your endeavors to become prepared for the unexpected!

My favorite things:

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  1. Oh Linda, congrats on your weight loss! I need to find a diet. I’ll look into yours. Do you use organic veggies to make your smoothies?

    From what I know about protein, legumes need another plant protein to make their protein usable. So beans and rice together make a good protein. Can you eat rice on your diet? Protein is really important for weight loss and overall health. One or all of your listed grains might work as well as rice though. With your great success, I’m sure you must be much healthier.

    ALSO, and this is a big plus. I think you can probably alter the recipes of your smoothies and meals to use from food storage. One of the hardest things (for me) to work out is storage of meat or dairy products. I have the #10 cans of butter powder and powdered milk and we have freeze dried meat and some we pressure canned. When reconstituted, the butter isn’t exactly the same thing. It’s just adding butter flavor. The meat is okay, but the freeze dried really needs some dressing up.

    But if you can take some food storage veggies and grains from the shelf and make smoothies and meals, this would be very freeing, a game changer! Have you used food storage in your diet?

    1. Hi Deb, yes I only use organic fruits. I buy regular bananas but I peel them. I am buying 90% organic and non-GMO. Yes, I have taught a class on using freeze dried fruit in smoothies! I forgot to add rice, I wrote this last night and finished about 11:00 pm. I added the quinoa and chia this morning. I have a new puppy and it’s been fun but he is being potty trained and learning not to bite me as in teething. LOL! I’m glad you mentioned the rice. I’m on it! Thanks so much, Linda

    2. Deb, one more thing, Costco sells frozen fruit that is organic. I buy my bananas and shop them in one-inch slices and freeze them. I never run out of bananas and I freeze baggies with spinach. Woohoo! Linda

      1. I have freeze dried bananas too that can be soaked before being used. I want to rotate stock, and while I know it all has a long storage life, I want to use food storage as much as I can and then replace it. But my garden veggies are all organic.

        Have you seen all the ads for the beet powder that they make into an energy drink? Is there something really special about beets healthwise? I looked through my inventory and I saw I didn’t store any beets at all. It’s not that we don’t like them. I guess I didn’t know any recipes that used them so never bought any. I have had beets when I’ve eaten elsewhere though and they were pretty good.

        Are you using beets in your smoothies? If so, do they really give you a lot of energy?

        1. Debbie, this is so funny you asked about beets! I have not seen any freeze dried beets. I love them but Mark isn’t keen on them. I went and grabbed a can from my pantry and added the stats to my post! I’m glad you asked about beets! I love them cooked or cold in a salad! I have seen them being juiced on some documentaries I have watched. I’m going to go see if North Bay Trading Co. has them. I just looked they don’t. I think I will keep buying the canned ones with low sodium and grow some in the garden this summer. Hugs! Linda

          1. Body builders and runners really get into their beet juice. Recently a couple companies are really pushing their beet powder that they claim within 20 minutes that you have increased Nitrate levels in your body. Supposedly that gives you extra energy.

            I was mostly shocked that I had ZERO beets in my food storage. Mainly I think it was because I didn’t really know what to do with them. I’ve eaten them off relish trays and such. I wondered what would I do with an opened can of them! I’m thinking we wouldn’t really eat enough of them.

            However with the increased attention on beets lately, I’m going to get some in food storage and see if I can find some ways to use them.

            It always surprises me how I THINK I have all I need and something pops up. Oh the big one I found recently was having stored NO MUSTARD for homemade pretzels or for hotdogs. I have no idea how I overlooked that one.

  2. Linda, I love reading all that you post. I’ve been diagnosed with RA for about 12 years now. I experience pain everyday at different levels. I’ve quit drinking sodas which have helped a lot but I still struggle with other sugars. This past week I’ve been thinking of changing my diet. So after feeding your post, you have inspired me to do so. Thank you for all you do and share.

    ps. I’m doing pretty good on food storage and preparedness.

    Greg Long.
    Lehi ut

    1. Hi Greg, sugar and caffeine are two things, my Rheumatologist told me to stay clear of in order to help deal with the pain. I’m so glad you made a comment, I hesitated writing this post but if it helps even one person lose weight I would love it. If people start to think about what they are eating and feeding their bodies with healthy food, I’m glad I wrote it. We need to eat to live not live to eat bad food. I love chocolate and ice cream but I’m cutting way back on both. It will only be occasionally now. I want to be strong, feel good and have less pain. May God bless you! I love hearing you are pretty good on food storage and emergency preparedness! You know I love hearing that statement! Linda

  3. I eat this way in the summer. Fresh fruits and veggies from the garden are plentiful. In the winter, I don’t do as well. I did find that Aldi’s has a nice organic section. Sprouts are wonderful to eat and easy to grow, even in the winter. That is one thing that people need to think about with their food storage. Canned and freeze dried fruits and veggies are better than nothing, but fresh is important. Consider which fruits and veggies will grow in your house in winter.

    1. Janet, I don;t have an Aldi’s store here, but I have heard good things about them. Fresh is always better, I started buying organic frozen at Costco because I do not like going to the store. We have so few choices here in Southern Utah for organic food. It’s slowing popping up but too slow for me. What sprouting product did you buy? I have seen some Garden Inside Deal but I haven’t seen it in action. I can’t wait until my vegetables starting sprouting! Hugs! Linda

      1. I bought my sprouting trays at Amazon.

        I bought a mix to start out sprouting.

        I then decided which ones I liked and then bought a lot of them. I also found that you can let them root, and then cut them and get a second crop. Yum.

  4. So glad to hear this. I started a plant-based lifestyle in December for health and weight loss after also watching many of the movies you mentioned. I am not strict vegan, I still eat cheese, but am almost meat-free. I have lost 15 pounds without being hungry. I have more energy and feel amazing! When I do have a day when I eat the garbage I used to, my body rebels and I feel miserable! So good to hear that it’s working for you. Please keep us updated and thanks for exposing such a large audience to this healthy lifestyle!!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, I’m so glad you watched some of the movies I watched! They are a real eye opener! Congrats on the 15 pounds. I’m not totally vegan but its a work in progress. I did make a yummy salad last night without any olive oil just my favorite Balsamic vinegar and pepper. The oils I’m slowly weaning myself off of them. I love butter on my whole wheat bread I make. Like I said, it’s a work in progress. I’m so glad you mentioned your body rebels because so does mine when I eat stuff that I know isn’t good for my body. I love the fact that I don’t hungry when I eat the right foods. Who would have thought that? My body, my brain knows it’s full. I love this! I was so nervous about writing this post, thanks for telling me you are trying to do the same thing! Hugs! Linda

  5. Linda, I am so happy you made this choice! I have been vegetarian since 1978, and mostly vegan since 2004. I am in my late 50s now; healthy & slim, and use NO prescription meds–a rare thing, according to my doctor. Stay the course–your body will thank you.

    1. Hi Roxanne, oh how I love hearing this! It’s been easy for me to become a vegetarian, vegan a bit harder. If people did the research on our water drought situation, no one would eat meat. Plus the bacteria in the meat, oh my gosh! I love hearing you are on NO prescription meds and you are healthy and slim! You rock, you keep me going! Thank and hugs! Linda

  6. Hi Linda!
    So happy that you have made this big life change. I also am a vegan and do mainly raw or as natural as possible. I will have 62 trips around our solar system this week and have so much energy and feel fantastic. Back about 10 years ago I did do vegan, raw food life for a few years, looked amazing and felt incredible and slowly fell back into the bad typical American diet (Funny it’s call the SAD diet). Anyways along with that slowly developed some major health issues. They eventually ganged up on me. But I am grateful to say that making healthy choices is reversing the damage and making me even better than before. I am so blessed.
    If you have the time check out the work of Dr. Mark Lipton. His specialty is genetics and he says genetics don’t mean we are those things. It means those before us made not so good choices. Our bodies are like petri dishes and can incubate and produce good or bad results. Makes so much sense and he has the science to prove it. Years ago the movement to vegan, vegetarian or raw was seen to be weird. Not anymore. There is so much info out there and many videos even on YouTube to inspire us. (For fun check out Markus Rothkrantz and Cara Brotman. So informative and entertaining.) Last but not least, scripturally the book of Daniel gives us but one more example of how having a healthful diet honors our bodies and our Creator. Be blessed today!

    1. Hi, Violet, oh I love hearing you are doing the vegan, raw and living a naturally healthy lifestyle! I am going to check out all three of those people you mentioned. I am always on the lookout for good information. It’s so interesting I always thought I got my high cholesterol from my birth father. I recently met some of his relatives and they said he did not have high cholesterol, I said WHAT? I’m not sure if they remembered or not because they are over 90 years of age. LOL! May God bless both of us to stay on track and be healthy! Hugs! Linda

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