Gimme a V

- by Charlotte Hubbard

What? Me giving up meat, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs, and dairy products? Never figured on that.

Vegan cuisine wasn’t on my radar screen at all—until Dr. Hunt came into the exam room saying, “We’ll talk about that ankle in a moment, Charlotte. What’s with your blood pressure? We’re taking you off the Premarin. You’re not going to have a stroke on my watch!”

Ya gotta love a doc who actually cares about your health instead of just chatting you up as she writes out a prescription for blood pressure meds. And because she has gone off the hormones herself, and has ditched her cholesterol meds, deleted her pre-diabetic condition, and lost more than 30 pounds on Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” program, I decided right then to give it a shot. She looks wonderful. Her skin glows. When I asked if her husband eats vegan with her, she says if he wants meat, he goes out for it. She calls it “Project Me.”

Oh, it was time for me to hear that! After seven months of driving my sister to work each day, adjusting my writing schedule to her needs, and accommodating her self-imposed dietary restrictions, it was simply time to take back my table. Time to look after Me.

I’ve lost eight pounds in two and a half weeks. For someone whose metabolism and hormones went south years ago, this is miraculous! I’ve been amazed at how easily I ditched the Sweet’N Low, as I’ve used it in my tea since I was child. I’ve not been tempted by the cookie plate I keep on the counter for Neal, nor have I cheated and dived into the meat I still cook for him and my sister.

Fresh fruit and nuts keep me on this program, I’ll admit, as it’s a challenge to eat a pound of raw veggies as well as a pound of cooked veggies each day without a little something to sweeten the deal.

It means I spend a lot of time on food prep, washing veggies. But I like to cook, so I’ve tried a lot of the recipes in the EAT TO LIVE book. I’m in the groove now, doing this routinely rather than struggling with menu decisions. This vegan detox phase lasts six weeks, and then I get to add some fish, poultry, and dairy back in.

I’m looking forward to that! We went out to eat last week, and I decided beforehand to get a big dinner salad maybe with some sort of animal protein. Oh, but those six wood-fired jumbo shrimp tasted fabulous!

Part of my incentive for doing well at this program was to prove to myself that I could, and to um, show up my sister by ditching some longtime habits. She had gastric bypass surgery years ago and has since fallen into alcoholism, depression, panic attics, migraines—all manner of opps for taking a lot of prescription drugs which I suspect are yet another addiction and a drain on her mental and physical health.

She doesn’t eat eggs, seafood, fruit, or dairy because she says she can’t tolerate those foods, yet she crams down bags of sugar-free chocolate candies and salty chips in her room at night. Long story short, she’s a mess. Is it any wonder she’s put on weight lately, doing big bagels smeared with cream cheese and peanut butter for breakfast? And convenience store sandwiches for lunch? I just shake my head. And keep my mouth shut.

So with this new food program, I decided it was time to stop planning my menus around my sister’s dietary preferences and start eating what I believe will foster my own well-being. We all choose our lifestyle, and we all control what goes into our mouths. So while my husband (bless him!) and I have given her a place to live while she’s done her required counseling to get her driver’s license back, I have now decided to take back my table and serve what suits me.

What does this have to do with writing? Not a lot, on the surface. But it’s a shout-out to myself to eat outside the box, to make a radical change and take on a big challenge—much as I did when I signed contracts with two publishers that meant I would be writing five Amish books back-to-back-to-back with only a few months to complete each one.

And yes, while this fifth book I’m now writing will be turned in two months later than the contract stated, my tight, tight writing schedule has meant that in 2012 I have four full-length novels out. And in spite of one editor who insists I do massive overhauls on my manuscripts—and my sister living with us these past seven months—I have completed four of those five books on time!

Every now and again you just have to take yourself by surprise. Do things to prove you can. That’s what I’m celebrating this month! How about you?

5 comments

  1. I’m more concerned with your taking Premarin. As a survivor of hormone-fed, aggressive breast cancer, I urge all women to reconsider HRT. So happy your doctor ditched it!

  2. Making such a major change in diet–and lifestyle–is huge and requires the same sort of discipline that meeting those four deadlines did: steady, every-day committment to a goal that, in the end, is going to be nothing but good for you. You are to be admired–but I am also betting that you will be rewarded by, indeed, getting your life back. Brava!

  3. My brother and sister-in-law follow that diet, and it’s done wonders for them. I follow the meat-ful version, no grains, no sweets, nothing processed, nine cups of veggies per day with eggs, bacon, steak, etc. (Primal Blueprint is the name of the diet I follow.) So go you with making the change! And for the Me Time.

  4. It’s unfortunate that as children women are trained to think of everyone else first. I’m so impressed by your diet switch! This is California where we’re awash in vegans, and there are vegan restaurants. I do believe the chemicals in processed foods are killing us and doing without them is a good move. Please keep us informed of your progress. What’s with the editor wanting massive rewrites? She ought to write her own book if she’s that unhelpful.

  5. Wow! You’re an inspiration!