The HEAB Diet

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I often get asked how I figured out the best way to eat for my body, and I’m going to share a little secret with you. It’s called trial and error. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: in my opinion, there is no perfect diet out there will work for every single person. We are all different, and the way I eat might work for some of you, and for others, it will not. I lost weight on a no sugar diet, not no-carb, or even low carb for that matter, but no sugar, and I mean NONE. For three yeas, I did not touch granulated sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, etc. I did eat some fruit as well as dried fruit, but I kept it to a minimum. I ate grains but nothing refined, and I ate my fair share of fat. I gave up meat for about 5 years, but personally, I feel better when I eat it, red meat included.

Over the years, I have experimented with different diets, but I always end up right back where I started. The way of eating that helped me lose the weight also helps me to maintain my current weight, and why I keep trying other diets, I have no idea. I guess it’s because health and nutrition books intrigue me, and when I read something that seems to make sense, I want to try it right away. However, I then get frustrated that it’s not working for me, go back to my old way of eating, and end up feeling much better. Will I ever learn? Probably not, and I think I’ll always be a work in progress. However, that’s okay, because I can share what I’ve learned with all of you :)

Let’s see, I’ve tried:

1. Low calorie: I’ve tried this one intentionally in the past, and then again a few months ago during the first trimester of my pregnancy, but not on purpose. Yes, I lost weight living on about 1200 to 1300 calories of crappy food, but there is no way I could ever maintain that way of eating once the nausea went away and I got my appetite back. Seriously, if that’s all I allowed myself throughout the day, I would be one Skinny Bitch…literally. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I don’t ever want to go back.

2. Raw/vegan: Too much fruit…too much sugar (yes, fructose is sugar)…muffin top appeared almost immediately, and it was the heaviest I’ve been since losing the weight.

3. Clean Eating (Think Tosca Reno ): Not enough fat and way too much protein. My skin and hair were super dry (before and after photos here), and I gained weight on this one too. Our bodies can only handle so much protein, and then it stores the rest as fat. I am in no way a body builder, and my body seems to do better on a lower protein/higher fat diet. Plus, I enjoy eating 3 big meals a day rather than 5 or 6 smaller ones.

4. Primal Eating : This diet seems so logical to me, but again, I screwed it up and concentrated on protein rather than fat. I believe that’s where I made my mistake. Much to my dismay, I gained weight, and afterwards decided that life without oatmeal is simply not worth it!

5. Macrobiotic : Again, not enough fat for me. I love white fish and all, but I also love burgers. :)

6. Eat as much as you want and exercise it all away: After losing weight, I decided I missed pizza and ice-cream. So, I started eating all my old favorites, but I was never very good at moderation. One piece of pizza would lead to five, and I could easily eat a half gallon of ice-cream in 3 servings. No problem, I would just run it all off the next day. Well, after running everyday for about 8 years, participating in 20+ half marathons, 1 full marathon, and 1 50K trail race, I was done. Yes, I stayed thin, but all the sugar and carbs I ate to fuel my runs left me looking puffy. So, one day I stopped, and I haven’t had the desire to run again in almost 2 years. People often ask me if I miss it. No, if I did, I’d lace up my running shoes. For now, I prefer yoga, and nothing has done more for my body, mind, and spirit than yoga…nothing.

There have probably been other diets I’ve experimented with, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. With all of them, I have learned something new about myself. I know I cannot eat sugar in excess, fruit included. Yes, I have a sweet tooth, and yes, I eat sugar, but I usually try and HEABify most of my desserts. My body seems to do okay with complex carbs like oats, starchy vegetables, etc., and I feel my best and maintain my weight when I get in plenty of fat. However, I gain weight whenever I try any sort of low fat diet high in protein.

So, how do you know what the best way of eating for you is? Sorry, but I can’t tell you. You’re going to have to figure it out for yourself. Note how certain foods make you feel after you eat them. Do you feel energized or lethargic after a meal? Are you losing, gaining, or maintaing your weight? Do certain foods cause allergic reactions or mood swings? Do you feel exhausted all the time? Are you enjoying what you’re eating, and are you getting all the nutrients you need? Listen to your body my friends…it will tell you what works for you and what doesn’t.

In closing, I’ll leave you with some typical HEAB eats.

Rolled oats cooked in water and topped with tahini and unsweetened chocolate

Red Bean Soup with Cornbread

Meatza atop veggies stir-fried in pastuered butter

Please keep in mind the diets I mentioned above did not work for me, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work for others. It has taken me years, but I have learned which foods my body prefers (at least I think I have), and I hope this post is of some encouragement to those of you trying to figure out how to eat for your own body. My advice: simply let go, trust, and listen. :)

{ 154 comments… read them below or add one }

Betherann August 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I have a question for you — I read (somewhere on this wonderfully vast blog!) that you eat about 1700-2000 calories a day. Is that what you were eating while you were losing weight with walking/yoga? Or had you cut back to the bare minimum (1200 cals)?

Thanks! Love this new tab and, as always, love the blog. :)

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Heather Eats Almond Butter August 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Betherann, Oh gosh, heavens no, I did not back down to 1200 calories – that’s like starving for me! When I ran, I always ate well over 2000 calories, and backed down to about 1700 to 2000 when I stopped all the cardio. It wasn’t on purpose either – I simply wasn’t as hungry. However, when I lost all the majority of my weight, I probably was eating less than 1700, but I didn’t count back then. I just didn’t eat as much as I do now that I’m maintaining. Hope this helps and thanks for loving HEAB. :)

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S August 27, 2010 at 9:59 am

Super-interesting! One of the hardest things for me to un-learn was that “if a skinny someone is doing it, I can, too!” I remember seeing a thin woman in my departmental office at university drank regular coke every day. I can’t (but at that point I wanted to!). And “Clean Eating” is good in theory, but too much food for me. I used to think I had done something wrong when trying others’ ways and having trouble, because these things obviously *worked* if others were the proof of it… not anymore! Now I’m embracing “different body, different needs.” Your post is a fab example of that–thanks!

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Jennie in Alabama August 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Sounds like you are an intuitive eater, that’s good. I think I’m the same. It does seem to be that I always gravitate back to a certain way of eating. I’ve been heavy on raw vegan the past couple of years, but I always seem to do best on mostly vegetarian, some fish, a little cheese. I tend to gravitate toward legumes, greens, and fish.

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Whitney September 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm

No sugar for 3 whole years? Now that’s impressive!

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HEAB September 6, 2010 at 7:40 am

Whitney,
I’m very stubborn when I want to be. ;)

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Sandy September 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I love your approach to find-your-own-path eating. I’ve been a runner for only 6 months now and I’m totally in love with it ~ I do yoga and strength-training on my off days. I’m working up toward a half-marathon, so I’ve just started to pay real attention to the way I eat. I’ve been reading up on the popular diets but I detest gimmicky advice and jumping through hoops (I am NOT an elite athlete!) so I’m putting together something that works for me ~ whole/real foods, an emphasis on vegetables, lean meats, nuts and nut butters, whole grains and healthy fats (and, okay, butter for flavor ~ I’m a pastry chef; can’t live without this one) for endurance, and special foods (wine, ice cream) in moderation. You’re an inspiration ~ thanks for sharing!

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HEAB September 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Sandy,
I think your approach to YOUR diet sounds perfect and very well balanced…and in my opinion, everyone needs a little butter in their life. ;)

Thanks for reading and best of luck with your half marathon training!

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Heather September 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Wow…I think I tried out everything that you listed and none of those worked for me either! lol I’ve tried the low calorie, vegetarian, primal, low carb, and even the marathon running all-you-can-eat mentality…and none of it ever worked or felt “right”. Now I’ve been walking/yoga/dancing as well as gluten free for almost two years now and have felt much better. I’ve been eating similar to your diet for the past couple of weeks and I’ve felt great!! Maybe it will work for me too! You’re definitely an inspiration :)

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HEAB September 14, 2010 at 9:59 am

Heather,
Sounds we like share similar histories. Glad to hear you’re feeling good these days and enjoying your walking/yoga/dancing. I think it simply takes finding what works for you, and it sounds like you are on a good path. Happy to hear the eating is going well too. Thanks for reading and for your kind words. Best of luck to you Heather, and I hope you have a good day! :)

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Melissa Miller September 30, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I am no stranger to your blog…but thought I might lean on you a bit for some advice. I was given a no-sugar meal plan (not no-carb) like you describe here but it seems I am getting a bit frustrated with it….what inspired you to cut out sugars and what inspired you to add the healthy ones back in?

~Missy

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HEAB September 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Melissa,
Well, when I gave up sugar, my weight started dropping like crazy which told me a lot. My body simply cannot handle it, even in small amounts, including fruit. Yes, I still eat sugar here and there, fruit included, but I really try and watch my intake.

Basically, the thinner I got, the more determined I became to say no to anything sweet, and my taste buds adjusted. Like I said before, dessert to me became an oven baked sweet potato or a plain bowl of oats with nut butter. Back then I also used artificial sweeteners and drank a lot of diet soda. Now, I try and stay away from Splenda, etc., but it does slip into my diet every so often.

When I got pregnant, I craved some pretty junky food in my first trimester. Sugary cereals, candy bars, etc. I was so sick and hardly able to eat anything, and so I just went with whatever sounded good, Pop-Tarts included. I came to realize that I was really restricting my diet, and decided that the occasional sugary treat was not going to kill me. So, yes, I am eating a bit more sugar these days, but I am learning there is really something to this everything in moderation concept. :) However, I still keep my intake low as I honestly believe that none of need any sugar in our lives.

Hope this helps, and please email me if you have any other questions.

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Amy October 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Heather, how in the world did you find out what worked for you? Did you not restrict yourself at all and just go with what your body craved? I think I know when something doesn’t work, but it would never occur to me that fruits might be part of my problem. I am a little frustrated right now and while I love the food you eat, it seems a little scary at the same time. I usually start my day with tea and fruit, and while I really enjoy it at the time, and don’t feel deprived or anything, it seems like I am really craving carbs/sweets after lunch. I’ve found, kind of accidentally, that if I have something like an English muffin or waffles with almond or peanut butter, or eggs, that the same cravings don’t happen, but then I worry that I’m not eating enough fruits on those days. Do you pay any heed to the guidelines that say you should get 5 fruits/veggies per day? Or you just get it all in veggies?

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HEAB October 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Amy,
I figured out the fruit thing when I tried a raw foods diet for a couple of months. I ate nothing but fruit until noon, and that’s back when I was running. So, I was always hungry and would eat lots of watermelon and maybe an apple or two, and my weight just kept going up and up. Once I cut way back on the fruit, my weight went back down. I seem to handle whole grains okay, but my body does not like fructose. I still eat fruit, but usually no more than one piece a day. You DO NOT need to eat fruit to be healthy. All the vitamins you get from fruit can be found in other foods. I mean a red bell pepper has more vitamin C than an orange. I’m not saying fruit is horrible or anything like that, but people often forget that it’s high in sugar. Fructose is sugar, and our bodies don’t need it. I gave up on government guidelines a long time ago…I mean look where they have gotten this country. My motto these days is always question conventional wisdom and listen to your own body. Forget the guidelines – your body will let you know what it does and does not like. I promise. :)

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Anne December 24, 2010 at 4:28 am

Heather- I think it’s important to note though that picking fruit over a bag of potato chips is healthier

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Baking 'n' Books December 24, 2010 at 11:09 am

I agree Anne! I think the point of HEAB’s response to Amy though was that she doesn’t have to stress out about eating 5 fruits a day just because she “should” by the guidelines. If she eats balanced and what feels good for her body – then that’s what matters :)

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Jessica April 30, 2011 at 7:55 am

I do horrible on fruit also. The fructose just does a number on my blood sugar. People look at me like I’m from Mars when I say I can’t handle grapes, oranges, apples or watermelon! I’ve actually learned I don’t even crave them all that much anymore since I’m feeling so much better!

Thanks for sharing your story!

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Emmy October 19, 2010 at 8:35 am

Hi Heather.

Your story sounds fantastic. And your completely right! Our bodies really are our own and we have to discover them for ourselves. Unfortunately I’m in the process of trying to re-discover the food and exercise for me, and this is made doubly hard as in my younger years I suffered from Anorexia. But now I feel more determined then ever (I know chliché to say but I really mean it!) I also love to run and I’m interested in getting my body toned. How did you start off running? Did you do a certain distance everyday or was it quite loose?

Hope you have a good day :)

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HEAB October 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

Hey Emmy,
Running was really difficult for me in the beginning as I had never run before in my life. I started out walking and run in spurts. I remember that first day I ran a full mile – thought I would die! Well, that mile turned into 3.1 when I did my first 5K and since then I’ve completed 20+ half marathons, 1 full marathon, and 1 50K. I loved running for several years, but when it got to be a chore and I stopped enjoying it, I quit. For now it’s walking and yoga, and honestly, nothing to help to tone me more than yoga. Nothing! As far as the running goes, just take it slow, and you’ll be amazed at what your body can do when given the proper training. Best of luck and thanks for reading my blog. :)

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Jessica October 19, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Heyy Heather! For starters, I’m so happy I came across your blog :) great stuff.

Today, I kind of binged on nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios) and ate like 1/3 of Justin’s hazlenut spread, and I was so angry at myself for doing so! (Just to note I had about 1 tbs of peanut butter around lunch). So in my efforts to relieve my regret, I found your posts about fat. Now, I don’t feel AS bad, even though I probably should’ve eaten more moderately. Any advice on how to prevent myself from overdoing it??

Also, I read that you prefer to eat 3 larger meals throughout the day; do you ever snack in between??

Thanks a lot for your posts!
Jessica

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HEAB October 20, 2010 at 7:49 am

Hey Jessica,
Glad you found me and thanks for reading. No, I’m not a big snacker but will eat if I get hungry, especially now that I’m pregnant – due in less than a month! I usually just munch on really dark chocolate if I get hungry in-between meals. As far as the nuts/nut butter goes, sometimes, it is hard to stop, especially with nuts themselves. I have an easier time taking one or two spoonfuls from the nut butter jar and walking away. I would recommend just getting as much as you want at a time, and then putting it away. Don’t eat straight from the jar if you have a hard time stopping. Same with nuts. Take the serving you want and then put the nut container away. If they are major trigger foods, then don’t buy at all, or you could always just buy the Justin’s individual serving packets rather than the jars. Hope this helps and never hesitate to email me if you have any questions. Thanks again for reading. :)

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Jessica October 20, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I greatly appreciate the fast response :) And congrats on the baby! Your family is gunna be soo cute!

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HEAB October 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Jessica,
Welcome. :)

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Jen October 20, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Hi Heather,
I would like to decrease the amount of sugar in my diet. I eat way too much of it. I don’t eat many desserts, but there is sugar in the bread that I eat, I eat a lot of apples, etc.

Anyway, I’m wondering how I can avoid sugar? I do eat hard candy all day long. I can’t stop! I switched to sugar free but still consume so many. I have heard that once you stop with the sugar you will no longer crave it.

Can you tell me what you experienced when you first started on the no sugar diet? Did you have any side effects? I am scared to do it, but really want to give it a shot. I am suddenly gaining weight and not happy about it. I want to stop the gain before it gets too bad.

I know trial and error is the best way to go, but I am so scared! What if what I try makes me gain??

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HEAB October 21, 2010 at 6:10 am

Jen,
I am about 99.9% sure that you will NOT gain weight if you give up sugar. When I gave up sugar, my weight started dropping like crazy which told me a lot. My body simply cannot handle it, even in small amounts, including fruit. Yes, I still eat sugar here and there, fruit included, but I really try and watch my intake.

Basically, the thinner I got, the more determined I became to say no to anything sweet, and my taste buds adjusted. Like I said before, dessert to me became an oven baked sweet potato or a plain bowl of oats with nut butter. Back then I also used artificial sweeteners and drank a lot of diet soda. Now, I try and stay away from Splenda, etc., but it does slip into my diet every so often.

I don’t remember any side effects, at least not any bad ones anyway. The craving really do go away fairly quickly, and I felt great and slept much better.

When I got pregnant, I craved some pretty junky food in my first trimester. Sugary cereals, candy bars, etc. I was so sick and hardly able to eat anything, and so I just went with whatever sounded good, Pop-Tarts included. I came to realize that I was really restricting my diet, and decided that the occasional sugary treat was not going to kill me. So, yes, I am eating a bit more sugar these days, but I am learning there is really something to this everything in moderation concept. However, I still keep my intake low as I honestly believe that none of need any sugar in our lives.

Hope this helps, and please email me if you have any other questions.

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Jill October 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Hi Heather,

I’ve been trying to lose weight for quite a while now and it’s a demoralizing cycle (ups and downs). When did you start trying all your various diets, and when did they start working for you? How long did it take you to lose as much as you did? Your story is so inspiring!

Thanks,
Jill

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HEAB October 24, 2010 at 10:33 am

Hey Jill,
Thanks for reading my blog. My weight loss journey began during my senior year of college. You can read more about it here: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/about-2/.

Basically, I began slowly as I had no idea what healthy eating even meant. I was stuck in the low fat craze of the 80′s and 90′s and ate a lot of pasta and bagels. However, I noticed that when I cut out sweets and began drinking water instead of soda, the weight started coming off pretty rapidly. So, that’s how I started to figure out what works for me – NO sugar and more fat. It took be between 1 and 2 years to lose all the weight, and it’s been over 10 years since I lost it. Again, thanks for reading and never hesitate to email me if you have any questions.

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Tiffany Henegar October 25, 2010 at 11:33 pm

I have been a yo yo dieter since I was a child. I guess you could call me an emotional eater because it doesn’t matter what my emotions are for the moment I will celebrate them by eating lots of food. I feel like my body is out of control and I don’t know how to fix it. I started counting calories a week ago and did good for a few days but have gone back to my old ways again. Can you offer me any advice?? I crave sugar and carbs constantly and can’t imagine my life without them.

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HEAB October 26, 2010 at 8:44 am

Tiffany,
First off, I think you should figure out your triggers when it comes to food. If they are all emotional, then it might really help to talk to someone about them as there are some underlying issues there, and I’m afraid calorie counting or other ways of monitoring your diet won’t really work. If you get your triggers under control first and figure out what is really going on, watching what you eat will be a lot easier.

As far as the sugar cravings go, I pretty much went off the stuff cold turkey. Basically, the thinner I got, the more determined I became to say no to anything sweet, and my taste buds adjusted. Like I’ve said before, dessert to me became an oven baked sweet potato or a plain bowl of oats with nut butter. Back then I also used artificial sweeteners and drank a lot of diet soda. Now, I try and stay away from Splenda, etc., but it does slip into my diet every so often. I promise that if you give up sweets, the cravings really do start to go away. You just have to be really determined or in my case stubborn. Hope this helps and never hesitate to email me if you have any more questions.

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Brenda November 5, 2010 at 8:15 am

About a year ago, I found out that I was gluten intolerant, also intolerant to almost everything I was eating….especially for breakfast. I was eating whole wheat bread with peanut butter/jelly, or whole grain cereal with milk, or eggs with the bread. I stopped “cold turkey” because of this blood test revealing intolerance to not only gluten (wheat, barley, rye), but peanuts, eggs and dairy and more. I started eating almond butter on a gluten free waffle topped with some organic apple butter almost every morning. My diet changed drastically, but my caloric intake did not seem to drop and sometimes it increased with “specialty foods”. I have dropped 25 lbs. in less than a year, and I really can not explain why, especially without “dieting”. The natural oils in almond butter are very good for my body and help to satisfy my need to “munch”. I also eat “SO DELICIOUS” brand ice cream almost everyday because it is non dairy and very delicious and a couple spoons satisfies my craving for chocolate. Your site is very interesting!

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HEAB November 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Brenda,
Perhaps your body was experiencing a lot of inflammation from all the gluten and other food allergens, and now that you no longer eat them, your body is now able to do its thing and regulate weight better. Happy to hear you’re enjoying plenty of almond butter and So Delicious ice-cream. Two of my favorites. :) Thanks for reading!

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Victoria Castaneda November 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Hi there my husband came home right away talking about the information he heard about you on the news today..he knows im always trying to lose more weight Ive tried just about everything it seems from weightloss programs to running and I use to be 240 last year and Im 25 years old!!Now I weight 190 its not that bad but it seems im at a stand point even with good eating habits! I want to know whats your secret and how do I get started the way you did ???I want to be healthy I just had a baby too and I want to be healthy and be fit one day. PLease help

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HEAB November 8, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Hey Victoria,
Glad you found me. You sound pretty frustrated – try not to be as that will get you no where. You simply need to learn what works best for your body. For me, it was giving up sugar and cutting back on my portions. I still eat a lot, but I know what foods work for me, and I eat a mostly high fat diet with some carbs and protein (but not a lot of lean protein) and minimal sugar. Took me a while to figure it out, but every time I try a different way of eating, my body usually lets me know it’s unhappy. Don’t starve yourself or exercise like crazy as we were not meant to do either. Your body will let you know what it does and doesn’t like – you just need to listen carefully. Hope this helps and please email me if you have any other questions.

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Elisabeth November 9, 2010 at 6:49 am

Hi Heather,
I’m trying to find out the best diet for my body and be more open minded about change after almost three years of religiously following veganism. I really want to stay vegan because of the ethical reasons but I can feel that this is not the best way for me to eat because I’m bloated almost everyday and I often get stomach aches. When you stopped doing raw/vegetarianism did you ever hesitate to start eating animal products again because of the way animals are treated? Because I have a really hard time seeing past this as it was my major reason for going vegan. I completely understand and respect if you did it for health reasons only but I thought maybe you have some thoughts on this aspect as well?
I was also wondering if you’ve ever considered the blood type diet? I’m blood type B and that would explain why I have a problem with my current diet. Can I ask what your blood type is?
Thank you so much for your blog and congratulations to you and your family:-)

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HEAB November 12, 2010 at 9:17 am

Elisabeth,
I was never a vegetarian for ethical reasons – I ate that way as I thought it was healthy. However, I learned it was not the lifestyle for me and gladly welcomed meat back into my diet.

I’m A+, and the Blood Type Diet recommends that I eat a most vegetarian diet. No thanks. ;)

Please email me if you have any other questions, and best of luck with whatever decision you make. Just so you know, when I was a vegetarian, I farted all the time – like clear the room farts. That’s not normal. My body was trying to tell me something. Now, I hardly ever have gas…and my husband is so very grateful. ;)

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Elisabeth November 13, 2010 at 2:39 am

Thanks a lot for answering my questions:-)

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Magda October 22, 2012 at 9:37 am

Hi Elisabeth,
perhaps a good way around the way animals are treated would be raise the animals, if you have a yard. That way you know you gave the chickens a good life and you know what they ate and that they died in a humane way.
That is just my thought. I eat mostly vegetarian diet (with still a lot of sugar in it I must sadly say) but I cannot cut chicken or eggs completely.
Great blog by the way!

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HEAB October 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hi Magda,
Thanks for reading and great advice. I would love to raise our own chickens – we have a couple of friends that do so, but unfortunately, we don’t have enough back yard space. We also buy all of our beef from a local farm that treats their cows in a humane way. However, I can’t say the same for the poultry we eat – I could definitely make more of an effort in that area. I needed your reminder – thank you. :)

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Kath November 9, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I found your blog via S. :) This is so inspiring! I feel I need to increase my fat intake as well, and I’m also trying to eat zero sugar at the moment (what is hard and unusal to many people, but the only way for me to become healthier). Thank you for sharing this!

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HEAB November 11, 2010 at 10:51 am

Kath,
So glad you found me and thanks for reading. Best of luck with the zero sugar thing – I know it’s hard, but I also know that your body will thank you for it. Oh, and I hope you enjoy your homemade nut and seed butters as well. :)

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Kath November 11, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Thank you, Heather! :D Can’t wait to unpack my new blender and make some almond butter! (*drool*)

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Lucy November 14, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Hi Heather,
Congrats on becoming a mom! You seem like you’re going to be such an amazing mother! I love when baby’s have a full head of hair like summer does! :D
I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now- THANK YOU for writing YOUR story. I can relate so much to you, more than anyone else I’ve ever come accross. I know that you’re very busy with Summer now so I understand if you don’t have time to write back. I feel compelled to ask anyway, just in case.
I lost 50 pounds 3 years ago by changing my diet drastically. I lost weight by really resticting my food, eating only fruits/veggies/protein in any amount I wanted. I’ve never worked out growing up and continue to struggle to make working out a priority. Since losing the weight, I completely lost my period and couldn’t get pregnant–I (now) have some hormone imbalances I am dealing with, hypothyroid, PCOS, anovulation/amenhorrea… I am working with an ND very closely, however, my diet is still such a struggle for me. I am trying to listen and learn what works for MY body, but my mind is forever changed after losing weight. I know that my diet while losing weight was wrong as I struggled to maintain that weight immediately after. I have since gained 15 pounds and have been that way for 2years. I realize today that my low calorie/no fat diet is probably what caused all my hormone imbalances…so my quesiton is, how did you stay strong and do what’s “right” vs. the quick fix? My ND keeps telling me NOT to focus on weight loss and that it’ll come naturally..I guess I just don’t believe it??
I feel it’s so much harder to lose weight now that I eat healthy, than when I was eating junk food and trying to lose weight. It just FELL off then. How long did you experiment with different diets before switching them/realizing it wasn’t for you?
Thank you so much for your time. Your blog touches so many lives; you are doing “a good work.” May you and your family be Blessed.

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HEAB November 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Hey Lucy,
Thanks for reading and for your kind words regarding my blog. I completely understand where you’re coming from. Although I try and listen and do what’s best for my body, I’ve often mistreated it with food restriction – lots of food rules in my past, and it’s probably something I will always struggle with. Honestly, I think anyone who has lost a large amount of weight probably feels the same way.

So, you lost 50 pounds, but it was too hard to maintain. You then gained back 15, and you’ve been at that weight for 2 years, right? Maybe your current weight it where your body is happiest? Why are you still trying to lose?

Yes, low calories/no fat diets are bad news. Our bodies need both calories and fat to function properly, and I’m happy to hear you now realize this. Trust me, I’ve been there. My hormones have been out of whack ever since I lost weight, and my doctor simply thinks I shocked my system with such a dramatic loss. Just don’t lose hope – you can get back on track. Keep eating well and listen to your ND. Again, if you’re giving your body what it needs, then you will find your proper weight, and as far as exercise goes, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get outside and go for a walk. I promise you don’t have to spend hours at a gym. Just move – that’s all your body needs.

Hope this helps and please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any other questions. Love, Heather :)

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alyce November 23, 2010 at 7:56 am

Wow, I’m so glad you shared this :)
I’m definitely on a weight loss/lifestyle change journey of my own (not unlike where you were at in college!), and man, it is tough! I definitely identify with having to find what works for your body. That was always the hard part for me, wondering why diets I tried were successful for others but not for me!

I’ve just recently found that eating fresh wholesome foods makes my body happy. Dieting with all of the “diet” products they have out there definitely did not work for me, all those processed bars covered in “chocolate”, but i felt like I could eat more because they were apparently healthy. So for about 3 months now I’ve been working on cleaner (veggies, grains, fruits) eating, I’ve definitely lost some weight- about 15 pounds :) , but that’s really just been a bonus! My body just FEELS so much better.

I’m so glad to see other people out there who have had the same struggles, and to see how successful and happy you can be with yourself in the end! I’d love to be able to run a marathon one day (a little personal goal), so you’re definitely inspiring :)

thanks for blogging!

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HEAB November 23, 2010 at 11:02 am

Alyce,
What an awesome comment to read this morning. So happy to hear you’re feeling much better eating a wholesome diet, and 15 pounds? That’s great. Thanks so much for reading my blog, and I have no doubt that you will someday run a marathon. If I can do it, then anyone can. It’s amazing what the body is capable of when trained properly.

Again, thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)

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lisa November 23, 2010 at 8:17 pm

I totally agree that you have to figure out what works best for your body. I’ve been on a trillion different diets and could only get down to a certain weight. I went to bodybuilders for advice, thinking they have great bodies so they must be doing something right. After getting all the processed crap out of my life and playing around with macros and calories, I finally broke my setpoint and weigh what I did in high school. I can’t eat high fat like you do; I gain weight and feel terrible. I eat 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fat. It’s what works for me :) I added a link to this post on my blog.

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HEAB November 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Lisa,
So happy to hear you have found what works for you and that you’re feeling good. Thanks so much for reading my blog and for adding the link. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)

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Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun.blogspot) December 15, 2010 at 9:24 am

I really love how you make it so clear that your plan will not work for everyone. Congrats on achieving health! I love your “back deck yoga” picture. Why don’t I live in Colorado!!!! :( !!! (Oh, right, my entire family lives on the East Coast…)

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HEAB December 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Thanks Amalfi Girl…I often wonder why everyone doesn’t live in CO. ;)

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Eileen December 17, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Hi Heather,
About 4 years ago I had systemic candida that wreaked havoc on my immune system so I had to eliminate all sugars, wheat, dairy, vinegars, alcohol, etc. After a complete diet overhaul, probiotics and supplements I got my health back. I still watch my sugars and rarely drink, but find when I do, I feel awful (not due to a hangover) for days after. I was wondering when you gave up sugar did you also give up alcohol?
Also for those trying to balance hormones a good herb to try is Vitex (also called ChasteBerry) It is excellent for PMS symptoms and helps with balancing hormones.
Love your blog! Thanks so much for your honesty.

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HEAB December 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

Eileen,
I don’t ever drink much – never really have, and so that wasn’t a big problem when I gave up sugar. Sorry it makes you feel so awful – that’s how a lot of sugar period makes me feel, and I’ve tried to cut back on my intake again. I was eating way too much ice-cream there for a while. Not good!

Vitex – not familiar with it, but I’ll look into it. Thanks. :)

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Anne December 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Heather,
When you cut sugar completely from your diet, did you cut out veggies like beets too? since they’re a bit high in sugar?
and another question..sorry if this one’s a bit personal..but did you ever lose your period after losing all that weight? I lost 20 pounds about 9 months ago and haven’t gotten my period since..I’m only 18 so I’m kinda nervous this could harm my chances of having kids when I get older..:/ do you think it’s possible to get it back? I haven’t gained any weight back since.

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Allie (Protein Girl) January 9, 2011 at 9:41 am

Heebie Jeebie, this is so clearly written; I love it. I’ve been there done that too and still experiment with raw and primal. I’ve discovered that I’m pretty okay with fruit, even the occasional dried fruit, but sugar hijacks my brain leading to overeating and weight gain.

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Lisa January 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hi, I am an excessive blog subscriber on my GReader. So, I’ve tried to cut back by reading the about me’s on people’s sites and deciding if it’s really something I want to read on a regular basis.

Your story really speaks to me. I have struggled off and on all my life with weight and appearance. I love that you encourage everyone to find what works best for them, rather than preaching a certain doctrine will work for everyone. I am a recently returned vegetarian which hopefully won’t change, because I also do it for ethical and environmental reasons in addition to my health. But I am trying to find the balance of do I incorporate fish? dairy? and I end up creating all these unnecessary rules based on other’s opinions.

I look forward to exploring your blog more and think it will help me to confidently find my own path to healthy eating and living.

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HEAB January 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Hi Lisa,
I totally understand the Google Reader thing. I stopped looking at mine a long time ago b/c it stressed me out as there are just too many wonderful blogs out there to keep up with these days. So glad HEAB made the cut. :)

Best of luck in figuring out what works for you and what makes you happiest. Don’t worry about other people’s opinion – your body will tell you what it want and needs, and as hard as it is sometimes, you just have to tune all the others out.

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Jen January 17, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Just wanted to say thank-you for saying that – “don’t worry about other people’s opinion”…that really just struck me all of a sudden. So true.

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Regan January 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Hi Heather, I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now and I absolutely love it. I admire how you live life and your meals are always so interesting…in a good way!
Anyways, I was looking over your diets and as you say one diet isn’t always the best for everyone. I have struggled to find a balance cause if I try to cut back on something like carbs for example I go crazy and binge on them…and then I feel guilty. I was also wondering if you’ve ever had problems with overeating and if so how did you get control of your impulses? I find that stress really brings on my overeating.
I was also wondering what time do you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack?
Thanks!

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HEAB January 17, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Hi Regan,
Thanks so much for reading my blog. Honestly, I’d never had a problem with overeating…I mean obviously, I ate way too much growing up, but that’s just how my family ate, I didn’t really know any better. I’ll be the first to say I’ve struggled with food issues in the past, and I still do at times. However, my problem was with food restriction, never binging. If I get upset or stressed out, I tent to turn away from food, not towards it. My advice to you would be to cut nothing out – just try to eat everything in moderation – I know, harder said than done, and if you’re battling emotional issues surrounding food, then it might not hurt to talk to someone about it.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner – oh gosh, my mealtimes are all over the place since Summer came along. Ideally, I’d love to get up, workout, and eat breakfast around 8 AM, lunch around 12 or 1, and dinner between 6-7. Maybe have an afternoon snack around 3 or 4, and always a pre-bed bowl of oat bran between 8 and 9. Those are around the times used to eat…now I’m lucky to shovel in some oatmeal after getting Summer fed and ready and fit in a workout before noon.

Hope this helps Regan. Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks again for reading. :)

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Catherine February 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Hi, Heather!

I was wondering if you had any tips on how to cut out sugar. I seem to only be able to last about three days max before cravings really set in and I give into them. :(

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I love your blog!!!
Catherine

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HEAB February 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Hey Catherine,
Thanks for reading. :)

As far as sugar goes, When I first started losing weight I began to eat fewer and fewer sweets and when the weight started falling off, I realized my body just can’t handle the stuff. So, I didn’t touch any for about 3 years, but I still had “my desserts”. My sweet loving taste buds learned to be perfectly satisfied with a big plain oven baked sweet potato or a bowl of late evening oatmeal with nut butter and a few chocolate chips…still tastes like heave to me! I also found ways to make many of my old favorite dishes much lower in sugar. My recipe page has some HEABifed versions of my old favorites: . http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/recipes/

My advice to you is to find non-sugary treats to satisfy those cravings if you can’t go cold turkey without anything sweet. Just keep cutting back and the cravings will eventually diminish. I promise! Those first few days are always the worst.

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Elli @ 16 and Losing It February 6, 2011 at 10:29 am

Hi Heather!

You mentioned that eating too much protein can actually be bad (it becomes fat?) I just recently started eating a diet that focuses on high fat/protein and low carb/sugar. I had never heard that one could eat too much protein. I know that everyone is different but I was wondering about how much protein you eat or about how much you shoot for? Thanks!

Elli

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HEAB February 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

Elli,
Your body can only utilize a certain amount of protein and what it doesn’t need is stored as fat – just like carbs. Honestly, I don’t know much about the science behind it all, but when I was aiming for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, I gained weight. Not sure what my protein numbers are these days as I don’t track, but I know I get plenty, especially since I eat meat – probably about 60 grams a day or so?

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Elli @ 16 and Losing It February 6, 2011 at 11:38 am

Ok great! Thanks for responding so quickly!

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Meg T February 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I’ve been a long-time lurker of this blog, but I just wanted to say thanks for writing this. I’ve also experimented with my diet a lot (especially when I read a new book like you do). But, I always seem to come back to what works for me. Low sugar and low fruit, lots of veggies, and oatmeal for breakfast as well. Reading some stuff really made me feel bad about my oatmeal. I guess all that low-carb stuff out there. But, I love it and I don’t feel right for the day if I don’t have it for breakfast. So, I’ve kept it. Anyway, just wanted to say it is really refreshing seeing someone else have the confidence to just try what works for them, and ignore all the rhetoric when it comes to certain diets (raw, paleo, etc.)

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HEAB February 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Meg, Thanks for your comment. Sounds like we share similar dietary histories. At one point, I felt bad about the oatmeal too, gave it up, and was miserable. So not worth it and soon realized that oatmeal makes me happy, and my body seems to do OK with it despite what all the anti-grainers say. Life without oats? Never again. ;)

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Denice February 12, 2011 at 4:14 am

HEAB-
Hey, I also being a lurker on this blog want to say that you have inspired me to try to find what works for me and my body and what I can stick with. In saying that I have been trying out a few new products lately. I tried Coconut oil and I LOVE it! (maybe too much). And I also tried adding Hemp Seeds to my smoothies. Have you ever tried hemp seeds and what are your thoughts?

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HEAB February 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

Denice,
That makes me so happy to hear you’re figuring out what works for you. Too much coconut oil? Well then, you might be in big trouble if you every try coconut butter. ;)

I have tried hemp seeds and like sprinkling them on salads. Hemp seeds are about the only form of hemp I like. I think any kind of hemp protein powder taste like dirt. Blech.

Thanks for reading my blog. :)

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Camep February 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

I really like your blog. I too have every diet tried every diet – am also intrigued by nutrition – and I’m finally beginning to discover what works for me. I too love fat. I’m looking forward to trying out some of your recipes!

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Cameo February 12, 2011 at 10:51 am

Pardon my above typos. Im on my iPhone….and I need glasses!

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HEAB February 12, 2011 at 10:57 am

No worries Cameo. Thanks for reading my blog, and I’m happy to hear you’re loving on some fat. Enjoy your HEAB recipes. :)

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Kimmy February 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Hi Heather
I was just wondering if you have a past blog link that lists the healthy fats you put into your diet. Do you eat fats with every meal? I read your blog all the time and appreciate it so much. thanks!
Kimmy

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HEAB February 13, 2011 at 6:52 am
HEAB February 13, 2011 at 6:54 am

P.S.
Yes, I usually do eat some fat at every meal as it helps keep me satiated. Usually, but not always.

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Olivia R. February 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

This is such a great page! There really is no ‘secret.’ I too gained weight on fruit-for me it was too much banana soft serve and frozen grapes in the summer :) I tried macrobiotics, but I became too busy with high school to soak beans and make rice every day. I became vegan 2 years ago and just recently gave up soy because it makes me feel sick. I haven’t eaten white sugar in a few weeks,though I do have 1/2 an apple on my oatmeal some mornings. I agree with you 100% on the fats thing-I was in denial about it. My heart belongs to almond butter, not bread. :)

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Lexi February 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Hi Heather!

I just wanted to let you know how greatly I appreciate the work you do here on your blog. I was the fat kid growing up, that is until I developed an eating disorder at age 13 that lasted me the rest of my teenage years (I am almost 21 now). I was obsessed with diets, and I’ve been on probably every one you can imagine as well. I was a junk food vegetarian growing up, then did skinny bitch, slimfast, low carb, primal/paleo, “optimal” (suuuuper high fat, lower carbs), and just spent the last 13 months as a full fledged carnivore, with nothing passing my lips that was not meat. And guess what, I gained weight! I gained a ton of weight on primal and then even more on carnivore. I quit zero carb because a) I wasn’t having results and b) It felt like another eating disorder again. Not good.

Today was my first day in years just eating what I wanted to and I feel amazing. I had a spinach and mushroom omelet with a yam this morning, some almonds and hardboiled eggs as a snacky lunch, and then a big bowl of pinto beans with salsa, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower with some walnuts for my dinner. Oh, and a lil square of unsweetened chocolate and plenty of tea throughout the day. I was so full by the end but I actually feel GOOD! Your blog reassures me that I am doing what is right for me. My body feels best on these foods for a reason.

I also love yoga and need to get back into it. This silly carnivore diet I was on for so long discouraged exercise, so I haven’t done it in like, a year! Oh well, live and learn. I need to lose some extra poundage so hopefully following in your footsteps will help me body let go of it. Either way, this definitely feels right this time around.

I wish you all the best, and thanks again!

-Lexi

p.s. I got some oat bran for the morning, and some nut butter. Let the deliciousness commence.

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HEAB February 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Lexi,
Goodness gracious – as much as I love meat, I could not eat it 24/7. Your day today sounds so much better to me. I don’t eat beans often, not sure why. Guess I just always forget about them, but sometimes I just crave refried beans – pinto beans are so good. I need to buy some soon. :)

So happy to hear you are eating what you want, and sounds like it’s all good for you. I have a feeling your body will agree with the food you are giving it now b/c it’s what you’re craving. So kudos to you for listening to it. I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in trying different diets. Trust me, I’ve been there, but after so many years of trying different ways of eating, I have finally learned what foods make my body, mind, and belly truly happy, and why would I give those up?

Thanks for your comment – made my night, and I hope you enjoy your breakfast tomorrow. I think I’ll have something similar. ;)

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Meredith March 30, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Found this blog while searching for recipes on Almond Butter. Someone gave me the Maximized Living diet book as a suggestion to balance hormones since I had a hysterectomy, divorce, job loss, new home, go to school and work full time now with a second job. I hope that the journey will be fruitful, but its where I am also because I am having lots of trouble sleeping, getting anywhere losing weight. I tried the low protein vegetables for a couple of days only to find lack of sleep followed by fatigue! My son’s friend lost 12 pounds – didn’t have any to lose – just by following a new diet – that included almond butter! Ate some today – pretty good stuff! Thanks for all of the tips!

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HEAB March 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Meredith,
Not familiar with that book, but I hope you are able to get back in balance soon. Best of luck to you and thanks for reading. :)

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Lindsey April 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Hi Heather!
Someone recommended your blog from my integative nutrition class, forget why.. Probably fo oatmeal recipes or something ;)
Glad I came across it.
We share similar stories from gaining weight in college and trying different diets, etc. I lost a lot of weight after becoming a vegan and working out way too much to begin with..wasn’t feeding my enough for what I was trying to make it do. I ended up getting injured from running (IT band syndrome) and then ended up tearing my right knee a little bit I am pretty sure.. The MRI doesn’t show for certain.
I have since put on a lot of extra weight from eating junk again, stress, you know the deal.. I know what to do, though, and am now determined to get back to feeling wonderful again (and fitting in my clothes haha)
I would love to run again but fear it is just too painful.. I have to just monitor it with eveything I do
The only exercise that doesn’t cause too much pain while doing it is spinning/biking and yoga. (I used to do both of these ALL the time) I currently am trying to do a whole month of hot yoga again going every day.
My question to you is: when you were losing weight you were still running, correct? I am unsure that just doing hot yoga, even though it is very intense, will not be enough for me to lose the weight.. what is your take on this?
Thanks so much and God Bless!
P.S. your family is so beautiful :)

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HEAB April 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Hi Lindsey,
Happy you found me and many thanks to your classmate for spreading the HEAB love. In answer to your question, no, I did not start running until AFTER I lost most of my weight. While I was losing, I mostly walked and did workout videos at home. For me, weight loss was probably 90% diet. With running, I was able to maintain, but I was always so hungry and therefore ate a lot more. Did you read this post: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/2009/04/24/confessions-of-a-former-runner/? Yoga completely changed my body and for the better. I highly recommend it for toning, which will help you lose weight, but again, for me, tweaking my diet helped the most.

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Vivianne April 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

This page is exactly why I love reading so many food blogs. Everyone has their own path and journey and relationship with food. Ultimately, nobody ends up saying “I’m on this DIET and it’s great!” Everyone ends up listening to their body and how they feel. I want to feel my best and be my healthiest. I am still struggling to find that balance in my life, but I know that I will eventually find it.

I love reading your blog, so keep the posts coming! (:

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Kalyn April 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Heather,
I’ve been visiting your blog frequently, but I had never visited this particular page before. I am so glad that I did tonight.
I am recovering from an eating disorder; for the past three years, I have been struggling with anorexia. Every time I get back to a healthy weight, I see other people eating certain ways, and I start to think that I should emulate them. This always leads me to a spiral where I lose weight and end up sick again.
This post reminded me that everyone’s body is different- that we should never compare our eating habits to others. You’ve reminded me that I should listen to my body, and give it the nutrients that it craves.
Another issue I struggle with is hearing about others doing cardio. Cardio is a slippery slope for me– I always over-do it and under-do it with my eating. For some reason, it seems to have never occurred to me that I can be active and do exercise but leave out the cardio. I love yoga (though I haven’t done much of it because I tend to focus my workouts on abs and running); hearing how much it changed your body and how much you love it has sparked the idea of trying exercises outside of my comfort zone.
I guess I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you being so open and honest with all of us readers (: It means a lot.

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Ann April 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Hi Heather!

I’ve been reading your blog regularly (HEAB and KERF are my favorites :D ) and I’m so inspired by your intuitive eating strategy.

I was wondering how to figure out the ideal foods for my body too. I love/crave peanut butter and fruits constantly, but I don’t know if it’s because it’s what my body needs or because they just taste so amazingly good. I love whole grain bread, beans and dairy, basically all foods (except onions, ewww), but I wanted to ask you how your body tells you what it needs. Do you just crave the stuff or do you have to try it out and see how your body responds?

Thanks for your amazing story and P.S. Your family is SOOOOO adorable!

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HEAB April 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

Ann,
Thanks so much for reading. I’m so honored that I’m one of your favorites – wow, thanks!

I’m not sure what to tell you about figuring out the ideal foods for your body. If I based what I ate solely what tasted good, I don’t think I would eat very well all the time. Yes, I think veggies taste yummy, and I love the taste of grass fed beef and other good-for-me foods, but I also LOVE the taste of chocolate cake with fudge icing and ice-cream. Hehe. The cake and ice-cream is fine on occasion, but it’s not something my body needs at all.

There is a school of thought that believes we should avoid certain foods based on research that states said foods are bad for us, even if we feel fine when we eat them. I tend to agree with that theory when it comes to sugar and wheat, but otherwise I just kind of go by what my body tells me. I feel gross when I eat a lot of sugar, even too much fruit. My body also doesn’t like excess lean protein – when I eat lean protein/low fat, my skin and hair get really dry, and I gain weight. A lot of people don’t like the way carbs make them feel. Personally, I feel fine with some whole grains, but don’t feel so hot when I eat a lot of bread.

So, I guess I crave a lot of different foods, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to feel great if I eat them. Especially with sugar, I find the less I eat, the less I crave it. Sorry, I feel like I’m babbling, but in answer to your question, I try out different foods and wait to see how my body responds. Hope this helps, and again, thanks for being a HEAB fan. :)

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Ann April 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Thanks for your answers! I totally agree with you on the chocolate cake + ice cream + fudge thing. They do taste so yummy, but so unnecessary. I don’t really crave it though unless I shove it in my mouth first. xD

I guess our bodies might be totally opposite, because I LOVE bread and fruits and seem to do OK with them. Anyhow, I’ll definitely take your advice and try out different things. Kudos to your patience and perseverance for doing that for so long (:

Thanks and stay awesome!

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Alexx April 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

Hi Heather!

I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I love it. I wanted to ask you what do you recommend me for a healthier eating.

I love meat (beef, fish, seafood, chicken, etc) but I’m not too fond of greasy food; I LOVE dairy and carbs, if I don’t eat them, I feel depressed, but I’m OK with whole carbs and I really like oatmeal. I don’t like fruits or vegetables much, but I know I must eat them, but if I eat too much fruit, I don’t feel well.
I don’t love nuts that much, they make me feel gross and sometimes give me a headache. I see that you change cow milk and dairy products for almond or coconut milk… should I do that? Is dairy that bad?

I know I’m supposed to find what’s best for me on my own, but, can you recommend me a guideline or something?

Thank you.

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Sylvia @ The Running Advocate May 24, 2011 at 3:06 am

Hey lady. I was curious if you have any suggestions for weaning off sugar. The last time I went cold turkey, I was actually shaky and irritable and felt awful. I don’t want to do that again but I know I need to reduce sugar intake for hormonal issues. Thank you in advance! :)

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HEAB May 24, 2011 at 5:57 am

Hi Syliva,
I get asked this question often and so I wrote a post on the topic: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/2011/03/01/eating-low-sugar/. Hope this helps, and if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to email me. Good luck!

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CynthiaT June 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm

So glad a friend sent me to your site for almond recipes and I stumbled across this. My daughter and I have celiac disease and miss pizza something fierce. The GF crusts stink! This I can’t wait to try. Thank you!!

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HEAB June 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Cynthia,
The Meatza! We loved it. So good, and here is another recipe for brown rice crust pizza: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/2011/03/24/requesting-real-recipes/. It was no Chicago deep dish, but I liked it. The recipe was super easy too.

Thanks for reading – glad you found me. :)

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miya June 11, 2011 at 1:35 am

Oh my Goodness! Your food looks sooooooooo YUMMY!

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Andrea June 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

Heather,
I came across your site looking for some answers to a few health issues I have been having. Nothing serious. I can just tell that things are “off”. I am pretty certain my diet is to blame. I have had several people advise me to eat more protein and to limit simple carbs in hopes of keeping my blood sugar regulated. When you say that you cut out sugar, did you also include dairy products? Also, do you only use stevia as a sweetener? I do not like to use artificial sweeteners. Your recipes look delicious and I am looking forward to trying many of them. Wish me luck as I cut out sugar, because I most-definitely have a sweet tooth!

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HEAB June 28, 2011 at 8:29 am

Hi Andrea,
So sorry to hear you’re feeling out of sorts, but yes, perhaps making some changes in your diet will really help. When I gave up sugar, I was still eating dairy. I then tried the vegan thing for a while and ate no dairy. Now I usually only eat dairy products low in whey and casein as they bother me, but my body seems to do okay with butter, ghee, and heavy cream. Stevia is my go-to sweetener, but I will sometimes use real maple syrup. I avoid aspartame, but I do have splenda every once in a while if I’m out and about and that is all that is available. Good luck. You can do this. :)

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Kate June 29, 2011 at 11:51 am

Hi Heather,
I am new to your blog and I am interested why you prefer almond butter over all natural no sugar or oil added peanut butter.
Thanks!

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HEAB June 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hi Kate,
Thanks for reading my blog. Honestly, I love all nut butters, and these days, I’m eating a lot of sunflower seed butter and tahini (sesame seed butter). I go through different phases. For the most part, I prefer my nut butter straight up with no added ingredients, and I’m a roasted crunchy girl. That’s just what I like. I do enjoy sweetened nut butters as well, like chocolate almond butter, but I really don’t think nut butters require added sugar. They are so good all on their own. :)

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Chelsea July 5, 2011 at 11:40 am

I recently discovered your blog and I’ve really been enjoying it! I’ve always thought that I’m like the only person ever to gain weight on a raw diet! ahaha. Although, for me it wasn’t the fruit, because from what I’ve read fruit is kind of just a supporting character to massive quantities of vegetables, so that’s how I ate. When I was raw my mornings were comprised of green juice (which at most included 1/4 of a small apple), and more green juice. Anyway, what did it for me were all of the nuts. Oh how I love nuts, but my body is not a fan of me eating them in large-ish quantities.

I’m still a vegan but I don’t eat raw anymore. (Who really has time to dehydrate things? Not I.) I do still drink green juices daily because I grew to love them oh so much, and hello?! are raw desserts not amazing? I kept that aspect of rawism too. I enjoy how up front you are about your dietary choices, and why vegetarianism didn’t do it for you. If I weren’t vegan for ethical reason there is no way that I could have kept it up this long– and I’ve been vegan since I was 16 (I’m 24 now). Plus, it seems to work well for me.

This was way longer than I was planning for it to be, ooops. Just wanted to say that I’m really loving your blog, and I’m so glad that I’m not the only person that found raw to be less than impressive for my waistline!

PS: Have you ever tried raw almond butter? I make my almond butter both ways (roasted and raw, and with no added ingredients), but more often than not my boyfriend requests it with raw almonds. I think it’s because the raw almonds yield a sweeter end product, and he has an enormous sweet tooth. If you haven’t, you should go for it! It’s different but still very yummmm.

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HEAB July 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Hi Chelsea,
I’m so glad you found me, and YES, raw desserts are amazing! I still love making them, especially when I have people over for dinner. They’re like, “So, what’s in the chocolate pie,” and when I tell them avocado and cashews, they’re always shocked…and then the evening usually ends with a Vita-Mix demo. I kid you not. :)

I do like raw almond butter, and it’s definitely sweeter. I swear with some almonds, it comes out tasting like almond extract butter. I’m a roasted girl at heart (crunchy, unsalted please), but I do love a big blob of raw almond butter when I’m in the mood for something a little sweeter.

Thanks again for reading!

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mi-an July 10, 2011 at 12:44 am

hi heather! i just stumbled upon your blog right now! i was just reading your eating habits in the past. how interesting ! i’m totally the same as you…always trying different ways of eating. i’ve realized what works for me is sometimes meat, lots of seafood (usually tuna and salmon), healthy fats (avocado, almonds), little bit of healthy carbs, and of course veggies and fruits. what doesn’t work for me though is eating so little calories! i.e. today, i’m trying to lose weight (my bf and i together)…so we’re mindfully watching what we eat.
i didn’t eat that much today, but worked out hard…and oh man, i felt so crappy afterwards (even after having a smoothie) i was so so nauseated after working out. then i had a tuna sandwich (with vegenaise and mustard) and felt instantly better! haha i just know that my body won’t survive on vegan, raw, vegetarian food. :)

anyway just wanted to say hello!! and i’m a new reader of yours!

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Gigi July 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Hi Heather,

Which brand of unsweetened chocolate & tahini do you recommend for the rolled oats breakfast on this page?

Thanks.

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HEAB July 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Gigi,
I’ve tried all the fancy brands of unsweetened chocolate, and honestly, my absolute favorite is the Baker’s brand found in the baking aisle of any grocery store. I love it! For the tahini, I purchase the Joyva brand in bulk from Amazon.

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Gigi July 12, 2011 at 2:54 am

Thanks Heather. Do you have recommendation for brands for other kinds of nut butter?

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HEAB July 12, 2011 at 6:40 am

Gigi,
Never really met a nut butter I didn’t like. My favorites are probably Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods brands 365 unsalted crunchy almond butter. Also love Trader Joe’s unsalted crunchy peanut butter. Really any all natural crunchy nut butter usually does it for me. I prefer roasted over raw, and if you’re in the mood for something sweeter, Justin’s chocolate almond butter is amazing!

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Thara July 12, 2011 at 1:17 am

Wonderful site!
Your diet makes so much sense to me…and I’d love to be you, eating all the carbs i want! :) But I haven’t yet found the “perfect” diet for me, and I’m much too scared to try out if my body can handle fat or carbs. Do you have anything you could share with me as to how you found out your body could take fat and meat? You mentioned before that you practised the same way of eating both to lose and maintain weight…so did you gain weight eating more of the same types of food even without sugar? Would love to attain the same level of understanding of my body that you have of yours! Many thanks :)

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HEAB July 12, 2011 at 7:43 am

Thara,
Last winter, I tried eating lean protein and was not eating as much fat. I gained weight, and my skin and hair dried out. When I added more animal fat back into my diet, I noticed changes immediately and blogged about it here: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/2010/01/28/fat-is-our-friend/. I figured if I was look and feeling so much better, then it was meant to be. More fat and little to no sugar seems to vibe with my body.

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Marci July 19, 2011 at 12:00 am

Heather… I love you’re blog, it makes total sense!
I’ve recently started cutting out dairy from my diet as well as sugar and artificial sweeteners. I’ve already started feeling the benefits of less dairy!
My questions is… Do you have any thoughts on the Stevia sweeteners? I’ve started carrying around the individual packets for my tea at restaurants because I like the flavor and supposedly it’s all natural. I’m a southern girl and can’t give up my sweet tea =) I also started experimenting with it in my baking. Thanks so much!

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HEAB July 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Hi Marci,
I’m happy to hear you’re feeling better. I always feel great with less sugar in my life…as I just posted a big ice-cream cone in today’s post. Hehe, please ignore. ;)

As far as the stevia goes, I do and will always fear sugar, including all natural sweeteners. I can’t help it as I know my body doesn’t handle them too well. Yes, I enjoy it on occasion but for the most part try and stick to zero-calorie sweeteners. I avoid aspartame but love my stevia. I’ve read conflicting info. about it, but from it’s been around for years, and it’s all natural (it’s a wild growing herb). So, for now I’m sticking with it. I do try and limit my consumption b/c I find that if I start using it all the time, I crave sweets like crazy. So, I use stevia drops in my coffee, but I rarely add it to my oatmeal, etc. I also like using it in baked goods, but my husband is not a fan (he thinks it taste like chemicals). Therefore, when I make something with it, it’s up to me to eat it all. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. ;)

Hope this helps and thanks for reading my blog!

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Kerry July 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Hi Heather,
I am a LONG time reader but first time commenter (scared coming out of the woodwork!) I guess I’m finally writing this as I’m in the (extremely confusing/frustrating process of figuring out my “me diet”….
First off, I know you’ve probably heard it a million times before, but THANKYOU for your beautifully written, articulate. insightful but REAL posts. As someone coming off of a serious love/hate relationship with competitive running, with a love of supposedly “weird” culinary concoctions, I can’t tell you how much reading through some of your previous posts has helped me, I can relate SO much to anything concerning “Confessions of a former runner/gym junkie” etc.
Anyway, to the point (so sorry, have a real habit of spontaneous essay composition ;-) I have always struggled with “stomach issues” (I’ve now just turned 23), and a few months ago had it suggested to me to remove wheat from my diet; this helped enormously, although I now find it even worse if I “cheat”. However I also feel like my body reacts a bit to soy, not good as I’ve flirted with vegetarianism and would still feel somewhat uncomfortable (ethically) including meat in my diet. I’m just REALLY REALLY struggling to find the diet that actually makes ME feel good AND works with my much less running, more strength/yoga oriented exercise program… so far I’ve determined that lots of carbs = feel crappy/bloated/PUFFY, body does seem to crave protein but feeling nervous about adding meat…. think I may be reacting badly to soy, LOVE LOVE LOVE my nut butters, love veggies and fruit but not sure if lots of fruit is really helping my irritable stomach, o and dark chocolate and I shall never be parted! ANY suggestions/help in HOW to begin piecing together this horribly complicated puzzle would be SO SO appreciated, as you seem to have it totally nailed! :-) I apologise again for this essay, and just want to tell you again what a positive influence/inspiration your blog is for REAL health conscious people who like to think outside the box with exercise/nutrition!

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Kerry July 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm

sorry meant to mention above, a previously calorie-restrictive diet (coupled with toooooo much running) has left me with some hormone/amenorrhea issues that won’t seem to resolve, another reason i’m asking you for advice as I know you have had hormone struggles in the past.

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HEAB July 24, 2011 at 7:38 am

Hi Kerry,
Thanks so much for support and kind words regarding my blog. You have no idea how much comments like yours mean to me – they keep me grounded and remind me why I started this blog in the first place: to share my story and help others. So, I’m so grateful that some of my posts have spoken to you.

As far as your diet goes, it really sounds like your body is trying to tell you what it does and does not like. Happy to hear you’re feeling better off wheat – I think a lot of people do as it causes inflammation for many. I say stick with being wheat-free. It’s pretty easy to do now with so many different gluten-free products out there now and doesn’t have to be expensive either. Just keep things simple. No need to stock $6 gluten-free bagels…although I am so curious to try them! ;)

As far as soy goes, I have problems with it too as I’m sure you’ve read. I thought it was simply all the veggies I was eating back in my vegetarian days (my mom kept buying me Beano…very not so subtle hint), and I finally figured out it was the soy bothering me after going to town on a block of baked tofu one night – afterwards, could not stand up for 3 days my stomach hurt so badly. Did not make for a good massage therapist that week. Anyway, have you noticed any issues with tempeh? I find that fermented products like tempeh and miso do not bother my stomach – something about the bacteria in the fermenting process makes the proteins easier to digest, and you’re having issues with a certain food, it’s usually a reaction to the proteins said food contains. I’m a meat girl, but you can get protein from eggs and dairy if feel okay eating those and do not fear the egg yolks or full fat dairy – sounds like your body is in need of some fat to get back in balance. Adding more animal fat really helped me. My hormones are still wonky (doctor thinks that I simply shocked my system with such a dramatic weight loss), but a diet higher in fat made a big difference for my body.

Hope this helps Kerry – please feel free to email my anytime with your questions. I’m always here and again, thanks for reading.

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Kerry July 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Heather thankyou so much for the reply, really appreciate your taking the time to do so :-) O lord I hear you on the barely able to stand up straight due to soy overdose-induced stomach pains, NOT pretty!! Unfortunately I can honestly say I have NEVER seen tempeh in a store here (i live in Northern Ireland), and people still look at me as if I have three heads when I slather the good stuff (almond butter) all over a banana and cannot think of a more amazing combo! I think I’m going to try upping the eggs, but will be taking your advice on having the WHOLE egg, as I think you are right that my body is in need of some more dietary fat, especially to help with the hormone issues as it doesn’t appear to be a simple calories in/calories out equation with me….. So I will definately be making use of your awesome recipe section in the next few weeks; lord knows I have tried just about everything other than a higher fat, moderate protein, some whole grains approach! Also I’m considering adding some natural ingredient, high quality protein powder as it’s something that on the rare occasion I’ve had it I’ve really liked.. I’m really looking forward to this little experiment… (a new HEAB recipe a day?! haha!) just out of curiosity, did you find you started to feel better pretty quickly after adding some animal fat? (it is something I fear a bit…issues I know! I think that with running previously a low fat, carby, lots of fruit, “sugar free but sweetener-laden” substitutes, not so much protein diet was always drummed into my head!)
Just to say once again thankyou for your refreshingly honest and unique approach and for your genuine interest in and care for your readers! ;-)

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HEAB July 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Kerry,
No tempeh? Oh, that’s a bummer…but yes, eggs, and the WHOLE egg will be great. CD and I just hardboiled a dozen today and have been eating as snacks. Great for on the go as well. I didn’t notice a big change right away when I started adding more animal fat to my diet. I posted some before and after pics of my skin here: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/2010/01/28/fat-is-our-friend/. My body obviously needed it, and I’m so glad I finally listened. Our bodies can be so mysterious, and I feel like I will always be a work in progress. However, I’m doing my best to try and listen to what my body wants these days. It’s not always easy as I can be super stubborn, but in the end I always feel so much better when I give my body the nutrients it needs. Again, glad I could help. Hope you’re feeling better soon Kerry!

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Health Bee July 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Hi Heather,

Thanks for the recommendation of Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate. I’ve tried it and love it! It’s great for breakfast. :-)

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Mali Korsten August 14, 2011 at 8:18 am

I am just like you when it comes to food – high fat, moderate protein and moderate carb works best. As soon as I cut down on fat, I gain weight and feel terrible! Ironically, even the animal fat which everyone warns you to stay away from seems to suit me, and I tend to maintain my weight far easier when including it in my diet. Just goes to show that everyone is different, and have to find out for yourself what works for you!

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jenny713 August 20, 2011 at 9:46 am

Heather,

Just found your blog via KERF, and I love it!! Thanks for sharing all you do! I’ve been trying to go no-sugar for a while off and on, but I keep failing because a) I have no self-control once I start and b) it’s such a social thing and I feel rude passing on dessert when we’re with people. How did you get into the groove of just saying no?

Thanks!
Jenny

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HEAB August 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

Hi Jenny,
Glad you found me and thanks for reading. Funny b/c I was just going to write a review of a book I read called Sugar Nation this weekend and it has me wanting to get back on the no-sugar bandwagon…says she after sharing a double scoop of ice-cream with my husband last night. Hehe. Usually, I do say no, although I have relaxed my rules a bit this last year. However, I definitely don’t feel rude saying no when I want to, but that might be because most of my friends or people I’m with know my history and know I’m probably not going to eat dessert, and if they don’t I just say no thanks. Don’t try and explain yourself. Don’t go on an anti-sugar tirade. Don’t think they are whispering behind your back that you have issues with food. Just smile and act like you’re full.

As far as having no self-control goes, I am a very stubborn person, and once I started noticing how much better I felt without sugar in my life, saying not just became easier and easier. Last night, that ice-cream tasted so good, but this morning I felt gross and woke up at 5:15 AM (baby woke up early,) and all I wanted was something sweet. That is usually not the case, and I know it was the ice-cream. Sugar begets sugar, and the more you eat, the more you want. The less you eat, the less you’ll want it. I promise!

Again, thanks for reading, and please never hesitate to email me – even if you’re just looking for a little encouragement one day.

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jenny713 August 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Thanks for the encouraging reply! I’ll let you know how it goes :)

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Lilly September 15, 2011 at 11:10 am

HEATHER!
We must be lost sisters…I had the same experience. I have always been overwieght! About 2 years ago at 215lbs I made a “radical” change to my diet and cut out all sugar, yes including fruit, and gluten. WOW 70lbs fell off me with very little exercise. I was eating proteins and veggies and oatmeal every morning!
I didn’t really exercise and that is my challenge now.
This is a great blog/website and I am sooo excited about the recipes!!

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Lilly September 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

Oh I forgot to mention that I am now suffering with some hormone issues and I think that your Dr is right that a radical weight change. although mine took about a year, have likely kicked the hormone balance out. As I understand it Estrogen is stored in fat cells…so after a reduction of fat the liver still has to process and eliminate that estrogen. Leads to an estrogen dominant situation I think!…just a theroy.

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HEAB September 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Lilly,
Yes, sounds like we have a lot in common, and I’m so glad you found me! Congrats on your weight loss – that is awesome, and I always tell people, do exercise you enjoy, even if you just get out there and walk, that is a great start, and about all I am really doing these days. Throw in a little yoga or strength training, maybe add in a few sprints to your walking, and you’re good to go in my opinion. The important thing is to just move – like our bodies were meant to. Oh, and thanks for the estrogen info – very interesting. Hope your body finds balance soon, and thanks so much for reading my blog. :)

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lilly September 15, 2011 at 12:39 pm

P.S. Don’t know if you have read it or not but there is a book called “Sugar Blues” which is shocking… :) and ya Sugar leads to more sugar….good reminder for me to cut back again!!

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c September 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

What gave you the idea to try a no-sugar diet? Was it a book you read, an article, or anything else?

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HEAB September 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Hi C,
I noticed when I stopped eating sugar, it was fairly easy for me to lose weight. Then whenever I felt like I was a few more pounds than I’d like, I’d cut out sugar completely and easily fit into my favorite jeans again. No books or articles – just common sense. :)

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Lindsey Gump September 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Hi there,
I wanted to thank you for this post because it has freed me from trying to figure out the perfect nutrition plan. Instead I am doing what has worked for me in the past, including no refined sugar. I also like that you do exercise that you can get excited about. I want that. Exercise is important either way, but I want to be excited about it. Loving some strength training right now but tempted to give yoga a try sometime. I am a home gym kind of gal (love Jen over at girl heros) and not sure how to start yoga. Any tips? Thanks

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HEAB September 29, 2011 at 8:44 am

Lindsey,
I’m so glad this post spoke to you. Yes yes yes – do what works for YOU! Also, exercise should be something we enjoy, not dread, and I’m happy to hear you agree. As far as yoga goes, I know you prefer to workout at home, but I highly recommend trying out a good studio if you can. That way, you’ll learn correct alignment from the beginning, and I did not fall in love with my practice until I started going to a yoga studio. There is just something about that warm incensed filled room and flowing with others – love it. Below are some at-home options:

For DVD’s, I like Sarah Ivanhoe and Shiva Rea. Both are great.

Here are some online options:
Polly (http://www.youtube.com/user/yogapol) has some great online videos perfect for beginners. They are all about 10 minutes in length, completely free, and a great place to start b/c she does the yoga along with you.
Dave Farmar: http://www.davefarmar.com/. His podcasts are pretty advanced and free. However, I’ll be honest, his constant talking drives me nuts!
I also really like Sadie Nardini half hour power series. Maggie posted a link here: http://www.thesaladgirl.com/2009/01/07/refreshing-power-yoga-sequence/.
Yoga to the People has 9 different 60 minute power yoga classes you can download as well: http://yogatothepeople.com/about-us/podcasts/
You can try tons of free 20 minute classes over at YogaDownload (link on my sidebar), one of my favorite yoga websites. Love all their classes.
Also, Averie from Love Veggies and Yoga did a great Q & A post all about yoga, including information about online options and DVD’s. Here is the link: http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2010/01/yoga-faqs.html.

Hope this helps Lindsey and thanks again for reading! :)

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Leslie W September 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Great blog! I was obese as well and lost 80lb with calorie counting. I got to my maintenance time and, being my flour/sugar addicted self, I went crazy and gained a little back and now am losing that. I tried Paleo, but I’m not comfortable eating that many animal products. I love black bean burgers and my yogurt! (The coconut/almond milk yogurt that I tried was na-sty) Anyway, I’m trying to find what does my body well. I have reactive hypoglycemia due to my years of fast food and candy bars so I’m eating what makes me feel good and consequently, look better. I can’t have baked good in the house, though. Not even healthy ones, and I have to make 1/4 to 1/2 recipes just in case I like it too much. I’ll eat them ALL. Congrats on your journey!

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HEAB September 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Hey Leslie, thanks for reading, and sounds like we have some things in common. :) Congrats to you on your weight loss, and I hope you find a good balance – sounds like you are well on your way.
P.S. I love beans and yogurt too…and oats. Can’t do the Paleo thing.

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Brittany N November 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Heather-
Thank you,
when you went no sugar, did you omit stevia as well, or is stevia ok? I’d like to give the no sugar a try, but am wondering if you think it’d still be ok to have stevia every once in a while!! Thank you and blessings!

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HEAB November 25, 2012 at 8:41 am

Hi Brittany,
No, to be honest, I relied on artificial sweeteners more back then. When I first lost weight, I used Splenda and drank diet soda, but now if I do sweeten recipes, I usually use 1/2 of the recommended sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup, or I’ll use stevia. NuNaturals makes a really good stevia baking blend, and I love their vanilla stevia drops in my coffee. I go back and forth on the stevia thing. It’s not that I think it’s bad for you (according to everything I’ve read, it’s fine), but FOR ME, when I start to use it too much, my sweet tooth gets out of control. Therefore, I try to stay away from sweetening my food/beverages a lot because it just makes me crave that sweet taste. I promise will taste buds will adapt to eating food/drinks without so much sweetener the less you use. Best of luck – I really feel my best with less sugar in my life.

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Janine December 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Today I was looking up nut butters and found your site. Spending some time reading your “diet try’s” I see that you mentioned Clean Eating. Well, I am just now starting Reno’s plan. My findings with any “diet” is that I find that I always gain it back. That is so frustrating. Anyway, thank you for posting. I enjoyed your site very much. Congrats on the new baby!

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HEAB December 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hi Janine,
Reno has some good recipes, but personally I found her diet to be too low in fat. Too much lean protein for me, but I also don’t do a lot of strength training and/or heavy lifting that might require more protein. Anyway, that was my experience, and I know her way of eating does work for others. I hope it serves you well, and that you’re able to make some changes that stick. Good luck and thanks for reading.
P.S. Also hope you enjoy a little nut butter on occasion. :)

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kaity @ kaityscooking February 10, 2013 at 11:58 am

i absolutely love this ! i have too tried all of those diets and experienced much of the same results.. Im still trying to find my balance I think I know what it is but since I get sucked into some kind of diets still I get thrown off.. I cant wait to continue to read your blog !

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HEAB February 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Thanks Katie, always good to hear from someone who has had similar experiences with their diet, and I hope you find a good balance soon. You will. Just keep trusting and listening to your body.

Thanks for reading – glad you found me. :)

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HEAB February 10, 2013 at 8:16 pm

*Kaity, so sorry – spelled your name wrong! We have a daughter that shares your name, and I’m used to using her spelling. :)

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kim April 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm

So glad I found this post written by you! I’ve been experimenting with my diet lately, to much frustration. I was a vegan for 3 years (vegetarian for 8 years) and it took so much courage for me to eat my first bite of salmon because my body was telling me I needed the ‘protein’ and also because I am eating way too much bread. I still do, so I don’t know what the issue is. How do you think I could wean myself away from it? Just feel like the bread (whole grain though) would make me gain weight. Thanks.

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HEAB April 9, 2013 at 7:43 am

Kim, I’m glad you found it as well, and I hope it helps you feel more comfortable with your choices. Our bodies react differently to different foods – some people can handle a lot of carbs, and others can’t. My question for you is, since you’ve been eating bread, have you gained weight? If not, and you’re at a healthy weight, I see no reason to have to wean yourself from something you truly love. Just make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need and keep listening to your body. You could also try eating whole grains in other forms like quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, etc. instead of so much bread. But again, bread isn’t evil in my opinion – just make sure it’s not the only thing you’re eating.

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Muugii April 12, 2013 at 3:09 am

How much nut butter is ok to eat a day? Thank you!

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HEAB April 12, 2013 at 7:33 am

Hi Muugii,
There is no right or wrong amount of nut butter to eat in one day. Personally, I think anywhere from 1 to 2 servings is fine. Sometimes, I’ve eaten less, and often times, I’ve eaten more than that. Nut butter is nothing to fear, but do keep in mind it is a calorically dense food, and rather than eat half of your calories in almond butter on any given day, I would recommend less nut butter and a wider variety of foods.

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Valia July 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

hi Heather, just discovered your blog and I enjoy every bit of it. I find myself reflected in someways (trying out every single diet out there i. e.) now I am also trying to find my own way. I enjoy cooking and eating healthy, I am obsessed with veggies – having them as often as possible, I feel safe with them, and I am trying to cut sugar out. But I have a question, when you were losing weight, did you eat beans and quinoa? I am trying not to eat bread or pasta, but I am not sure about quinoa or pulses which I really enjoy. would appreciate your feedback on this :)

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HEAB July 17, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hi Valia,
Well, still no Internet at the new house until next week, but it gave me a good excuse to get in some alone time at a coffee shop. :) When I lost my weight, I was not eating meat. So, yes, I ate a lot of beans, rice, and quinoa. I never gave up carbs to lose weight as my body seems to thrive on them. However, give me a diet full of lean protein, and I don’t do as well. I’m not anti-protein by any means – my body just seems to do better on whole grains, veggies, and fat. I eat plenty of meat these days – all kinds, but my focus is more on fat and carbs. I don’t eat much bread as I prefer bowls of cooked grains, but I still eat it. I also love brown rice pasta and beans. Everyone is different, and this is what works for me. I hope you find a way of eating that works for you. Keep experimenting and listening to your body. You’ll get there. :)

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Valia July 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Hi Heather!
thank you so much for your reply. My experience is being similar: I eat very little meat and I feel I do well with beans and quinoa. With rice I am not sure. I also do well with fat: olive oil, nut butters, pumpkin seed oil. I will try to see how I do with other grains, I think buckwheat noodles work well for me. At least now I am really paying attention to what my body tells me. Weight loss would be great, but I think at the moment the first thing is being in tune with my body :)
Your blog is really inspiring!

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Mindy July 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm

You are amazing. I have struggled most of my with my weight/body image in one way or another; from anorexia to excessive overeating, etc. I am in a better place, but still struggling to loose a little weight and have a healthier diet and sense of self. Your blog (which I just discovered yesterday) makes so much sense to me. I know what works for my body and what doesn’t, but instead of listening, I have tried to do what others say will work. I think God gave us intuition for a reason and sometimes it is much better to follow that than blindly follow what a trainer or health experts offers. After reading this blog today, I suddenly feel ok with that:)) That’s for being authentic!

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HEAB July 17, 2013 at 9:49 am

Hi Mindy,
Thanks for reading and for your kind words. I’m happy to hear you’re in a better place, and I completely understand your struggles. Trust me, I still have my moments. Just keep listening to your own body – you’ll get there. :)

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site emusic July 28, 2013 at 5:31 pm

This page definitely has all the info I wanted about this
subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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Nan August 18, 2013 at 10:35 am

There are so many different kinds of yoga. I tried it years ago, but it the kind I did wasn’t for me, but I’d like to try again. What’s your favorite type?

Also, have you heard of the Blood Type Diet (D’Adamo)? I wonder if you think there’s anything to it….

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HEAB August 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Hi Nan,
Took me a while before I fell in love with my yoga practice. It took finding a sweet little studio with wonderful teachers. Vinyasa yoga is probably my favorite but nothing too intense these days. I love a good flow that feels like a dance, especially when the teachers switch things up a lot. Not a fan of doing same exact flow every class.

I am familiar with the Blood Type Diet, and I know a few people that have followed it with good results. I’ve read some of D’Adamo’s book. I’m type A, and he recommends more of a vegetarian diet for me. Unfortunately, I’m a fan of bacon and burgers. ;) Interesting though as I lost all of my weight while eating zero meat, but I’ve had no issues with maintaining the weight loss while eating meat and animal fat. I think it’s just all about finding a good balance for your body and eating real/wholesome food most of the time.

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Nan August 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I’ll have to give yoga another try. Maybe it wasn’t the right instructor last time. That probably makes a big difference. I think I could benefit from more stretching/balancing than cardio/weights all of the time.
Thank you for keeping your blog going despite all that’s going on in your life with the little ones!

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HEAB August 21, 2013 at 6:52 am

Nan,
Yeah, a really good teacher can make all the difference, and I hope you do find a class you enjoy.

Thanks for continuing to read. :)

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miriam October 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm

heather, would you be able to post your meal plan or an example of your intake :) ?

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HEAB October 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Hi Miriam,
I don’t really follow a meal plan per say, and right now my intake is all over the place since I’m pregnant. What I’m eating these days wouldn’t really be an accurate example of my “typical” intake. Normally, I have coffee with cream in the mornings and breakfast might be a bowl of oat bran with nut butter and yogurt, eggs + toast with butter, or a few pieces of unsweetened chocolate if I’m not that hungry. Lunch is typically veggies paired with some kind of protein or a big salad with lots of ingredients (greens + raw veggies, avocado, a starch like sweet potato, handful of nuts, homemade vinaigrette, cheese or chicken) if I have the time. I eat a lot of potatoes, and if I’m in a hurry simply eat a big baked potato topped with butter and sour cream, beans, or cottage cheese, etc. for lunch (I love both white and sweet potatoes). Dinner is often a quick veggie stir fry made with beef or a big salad or some type of rice bowl topped with veggies and protein. I always have a sweet tooth after dinner and either have something chocolate or a little bowl of oat bran with chocolate chips, maybe a rice cake with almond butter or some yogurt with a handful of nuts – something snacky and on the sweet side. Been getting into the chocolate chip ice-cream lately. ;) Hope this helps, and when I’m no longer pregnant (8 weeks to go!), I’ll probably be posting more of my regular eats.

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Gretchen March 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Hello,

I have been on an absolute NO sugar diet for 3 weeks. No sugar, no starchy vegetable that will break down into sugar quickly, and no fruit. I drink my 8 cups of water a day and have lost NO weight. Does it take awhile?

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HEAB March 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Hi Gretchen,
First off, zero sugar for three weeks is great – good for you as I know it isn’t easy. I’m wondering about your protein intake. In the past when I’ve tried upping my protein while eating fewer carbs, I never lose weight. Excess protein will be converted to fat by the body, and we only need so much. Protein requirements are different for every individual, but for me, it was less than I thought. And of course, you’ll need to take your activity level into account – if you’re lifting heavy, your muscles will obviously need more protein than if you’re focusing more on cardio, etc. Again, it’s about finding the right balance for YOU, and even though you haven’t lost any weight, you can’t go wrong with giving up sugar. That being said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with eating complex carbs, like the ones found in starchy vegetables.

Keep up the good work and be patient with yourself and your body. Just might take some experimenting with different foods and more time. You’ll get there. :)

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HEAB April 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm

PS Sorry it took so long for me to respond – I just realized my reply has been sitting in moderation for almost a month. Not sure why my blog though I was trying to spam myself!

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Lynsay April 3, 2014 at 1:28 am

I am so glad I stumbled across this! I have been baking/cooking/making up recipes throughout my life, but my relationship with food has always been more unhealthy than not, on both ends of the spectrum, and obsessive…while from 7th-9th grade I was 105 pounds and sipping protein shakes at lunch, from 15-18 I was regularly making and eating entire chocolate cakes or pumpkin pies to myself. Moderation hasn’t ever been a concept I could grasp. I’m now 27, and I’ve been gluten intolerant for over 6 years now, so became well adapted to (and good at) baking/cooking gluten free foods, yet then the stomach problems came back again, implying another food allergy, so I went paleo (and sometimes I eat on the whole30 plan). I also began doing the 8-hour feeding window/16-hour fast thing, as I like eating a lot at once. Now I feel better than ever, I have finally kicked the sugar addiction that has been a major obstacle for me my entire life (I still have a sweet tooth, but now it’s for the sugars in fruits. When I do bake on special occasions -because I will always love creating desserts-, I use date paste or something similar as sweetener). Anyways, almond butter (as well as other nut butters) has crept up on me…it is seriously the most intense addiction I have right now. I have stashes of chocolate from before my paleo days in the freezer that I haven’t touched, I have bottles of red wine (my former biggest addiction) on my shelf that I consistently resist, yet almond butter is something I am absolutely a slave to and can’t seem to control myself on. I tried not buying it. But I love it. And I love the way I feel when I eat it. And I’ve taken nearly all of my other vices away from myself. I’m also addicted to avocados now. The two things taste so good and make me feel wonderful. Everything I’ve read says eating the amounts of it that I do will cause weight gain and I’ve felt terrible about myself and condemned myself for being such a pig. Yet oddly enough, I’m maintaining at around 125 pounds (I’m 5’4″ with a very hourglass figure), and on days that I don’t have that extra fat I notice I am hungrier and weaker. a lot of fat in one sitting, but I also walk everywhere, have a job where I’m on my feet at all times, and I now work out every morning. I will eat well over a fair share of fats in one sitting, but I feel so much better when I do. I’m finally realizing that my body is just different than others and maybe I do just need more fat in my diet than the average girl my size. Anyways, I’m really loving your blog so far, it’s the first to actually make me feel better about the way I eat, and it’s awesome that you’ve figured out what’s right for you while also keeping an open mind rather than succumbing solely to what others say is good for you.

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HEAB April 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Hi Lynsay,
I loved reading your comment, and thank you for reading my blog. Sounds like you too have found a way that works for you, and hey, nothing wrong with eating beyond your daily recommend fat grams if it seems to agree with your body. Sounds like it does, and that’s what works for me as well. If I don’t eat plenty of fat over the course of a day, I am hungry and usually pretty grouchy. Haha, watch out when I eat a low fat meal. Love my carbs and fats.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all need a vice (or two), and almond butter and avocados are pretty good choices if you ask me.

Take care and glad you found me. :)

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