WARNING (Ha, ha!): This is lengthy, but thorough. If you've been hearing about the new book, Trim Healthy Mama, I'm hoping this will answer many of your questions about the book and the lifestyle it promotes.
I was thin most of my life until after my first pregnancy. Not uber-thin, like a twig, but nicely shapely and thin. Pregnancies and a busy life as a homeschooling mama have kept me from working out as often as I've needed over the years...and my weight has suffered because of it.
And, I love chocolate. Yup. I admit it. Being honest here.
By the time I reached my early 40s, we had switched to eating mostly whole foods...alongside our chocolate. :) You know, whole wheat bread/pasta products (many homemade), lots of veggies, locally raised grass-fed beef, fruit smoothies with breakfast, eggs from my friend's chicken coop across town, coconut oil and red palm oil and...chocolate. We even drank raw goat's milk and then raw cow's milk for about a year...but hardly ever chocolate milk. Go figure. :)
But you know what? Even with eating so many healthy foods, we had no idea that we were messing with our blood sugar levels. We had no idea that I was pre-diabetic. When I learned that I was pre-diabetic, I was shocked.
What? After all these whole foods we were eating?
Little did I know that combining a grass-fed, organic, natural steak with whole wheat pasta or a plain baked potato was wreaking havoc on my insulin levels!
That's where a new lifestyle book, Trim Healthy Mama, came into our lives a few months ago.
My doctor hadn't given me much information about how to reduce my risks of becoming a full-blown diabetic. All she told me was to "eat fewer carbs and lose some weight". She also handed me some pills to be taken twice a day, that deceive the liver (I think?) into putting less sugar into the bloodstream. I've learned that this is typical for doctors these days: Here's a pill; you don't need to change all that much about your lifestyle, because you'll end up diabetic anyway. It happens.
My doctor is a very sweet lady. I'm not being disrespectful. But after talking to a lot of people who have suddenly learned that they are diabetic or pre-diabetic, they are usually getting the same message from their own doctors.
Three out of the four of us in my family were having some of the same issues: excess weight around the waistline, low energy levels, and craving sugar and carbs ALL. THE. TIME. Not very much fun!
While Elmer and our daughters haven't been tested for diabetes, I have a hunch that at least one of them would show up as being pre-diabetic. And within 10 years, I'd bet you that two of them would both have been diagnosed as being diabetic, just like me.
What to do?
I hear women all the time saying how hopeless it is to be able to lose weight. They have tried every diet under the sun. The problem is that their diets probably have some good pointers that are helpful, but when women get close to their target weights and start eating "normal" foods again, they put the weight right back on.
I wanted a change in our lifestyle, not just in our diet.
At the same time, I didn't want our meals to be filled with artificial sweeteners that aren't good for us. Splenda, aspartame, sucralose, maltitol, etc. were no-no's for our family.
I learned aboutTrim Healthy Mama in November or December and decided to give it a try. Prior to this, I had only been on one diet in my entire life - the South Beach Diet. I had lost 30 lbs. over a six-month time period, six years ago, but the reason I gave up on the diet was because every dessert was full of chemicals and artificial sweeteners like Splenda. Blech. Splenda was highly processed, and it made my muscles ache. Any homemade recipes I made with Splenda, including the recipes from their website and the back of the Splenda bag, tasted a-w-f-u-l. Since I kinda like desserts, that was a problem. The other problem with South Beach was that once I began re-introducing carbs like potatoes, rice, and bread products back into my diet, I was almost instantly "hooked" on them again and began to constantly crave them.
I know that I am a beautiful person no matter what size I am, and while that is a healthy view of myself as a child of God, it also - unfortunately - slowed me down from taking a healthier step into getting down to my ideal weight.
Trim Healthy Mama isn't a "let's lose weight quick" type of book. Using THM's method of meal planning is a lifetime plan, not a quick fix. If you want to lose weight quickly, try another diet plan. Do a cleanse (ugh). Drink a ton of water. Exercise yourself to death. Train for a marathon. Have bariatric surgery...because THM won't necessarily help you drop 60 pounds in 6 weeks. That would actually be unsafe. Trim Healthy Mama recommends that people plan on losing 4-8 pounds per month. That's do-able, and healthy.
After 9 weeks of using Trim Healthy Mama in our home, and losing over 30 lbs. as a family, here's what we think:
What we love about THM:
Over 600 pages? In a non-fiction book? Yikes! Actually, this wasn't a problem, so don't let this stop you from reading THM. While I'm not a big fan of reading non-fiction books, I got through this book in a hurry! Why? It was so easy to read!
Serene and Pearl are two God-loving sisters who encourage and cajole each other throughout the chapters to help this book be a very comfortable read. I felt like I was sitting on their couch in their living room while they discussed the pros and cons of all kinds of topics related to food health. I loved this! Thankfully, anyone can start eating with the THM methods before they finish the entire book. I think it was helpful for me to read around 230 pages - and then I was ready!
What kinds of foods must I avoid when using the THM plan? That's always an important question people seem to have when starting a new way of eating.
Well, virtually nothing is banned, even for those needing to lose weight - except sugar and many carb-laden foods. Unfortunately, even for the whole food purists, sugar calories are found in raw honey, organic maple syrup, date sugar, coconut sugar, evaporated cane juice sugar, etc. So even if I am eating sugar in its most natural form, my body still reacts to it in the same way as it would white table sugar. There go the spikes in my blood sugar levels. Not good!
However, lest you think you must give up all cakes, cookies, pies, etc., that isn't true. There are some amazing recipes for no-carb or low-carb desserts and breads on the internet! You'll find some here on my website, as well.
For people who want to or need to lose weight, they're going to want to tone down the types of fruits that they eat. We are primarily eating strawberries, blueberries (in very small amounts), lemons, and apples. Bananas and grapes are an extremely high sugar fruit, so those don't come into our home anymore; nor does orange juice or any juices. But see, the fruit group isn't completely eliminated!
THM doesn't eliminate ANY food group, which is really nice! I'm not drinking milk with my lunch or dinner anymore, even though I've had milk with lunch and dinner for the last 44 years. Wow. I'm drinking almond milk these days for dinner - the "30 calories per serving" unsweetened variety. When eating a savory meal, I really don't want a sweet beverage, so the unsweetened plain almond milk is working well for me. I never knew I could make the switch! But I did, almost overnight. Yet, our fridge contains heavy whipping cream, half 'n half, sour cream, cheese, and plain traditional Greek yogurt. See? Dairy products aren't eliminated!
Vegetables? We've always been a big veggie eating family. Lots of salads, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc. THM recommends we avoid the starchy, higher glycemic index veggies like potatoes, but we can enjoy sweet potatoes, and in limited quantities, carrots...most everything else is allowed!
Grains? Yes! They are allowed - certain ones, and only when eaten with the right kinds of foods to compliment them in THM style so that they don't go straight to our waistlines. We have learned ways to eat oatmeal for some breakfasts, sweetened with stevia or another THM-approved sweetener like xylitol or erythritol (non-GMO). We can eat low-carb tortillas and wraps. Yum! Also, THM pancakes taste like crepes and are delicious! We can even eat popcorn, as long as it isn't laden with butter or high fat.
Proteins? Yes! Lean grass-fed beef, chicken, salmon, eggs, cheese, and nuts are our primary sources of protein now. While the authors don't eat a few things themselves, like pork products and shellfish, they allow people to eat those foods if they feel comfortable eating them.
TO SUM UP WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT "TRIM HEALTHY MAMA":
Hi! I'm Julieanne!