About the Author:
PEARL BARRETT AND SERENE ALLISON are sisters who share a passion for healthy eating. They both have boisterous families and love to experiment in the kitchen on ways to best nourish their families and stay slim and healthy in the process. They are former Christian recording artists who traveled extensively, but they relinquished their touring careers to embrace a life at home with children, dinners, dishes, and diapers. They have never looked back.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Getting to Know You
Trim Healthy Mama is designed for sanity—a truly family-friendly, doable LIFETIME plan. This part of your life that has always felt beyond your control can now be manageable. You sit in the driver’s seat. You can use the Trim Healthy Mama principles to lose, gain, or sustain weight while optimizing your health.
Whether you are running after multiple children or postmenopausal, nursing or pregnant or even a single, young woman, welcome to the THM sisterhood, where the word Mama applies to women of all ages and stages. The powerful knowledge you’ll gain provides you with the ability to drive this THM vehicle yet be able to change gears for the different stages of your life. The core of the plan is simple, no rocket science involved. Yes, there is a learning curve, but once you start practicing the principles it’ll become second nature after a while.
The Trim Healthy Mama plan is deeply nourishing. Even the most demanding times of a woman’s life, such as pregnancy, can be supported nutritionally without the worry of unneeded pounds. The plan can also meet the needs of other times in life when hormone imbalances or metabolic challenges can seem like fog in your headlights. You will learn to tweak the core plan to make it work for your specific season or situation.
We know. You want to jump into the nitty-gritty of the plan right now. That’s coming—we promise. Right next door in Chapter 2, “The Basics” (page 15). Hey . . . stop! Caught ya jumping ahead to try to find the menus! Oh, and this book starts at the introduction—skipped it? Tut Tut. We’ll wait while you go get that read.
First, we’re going to have some fun in this chapter by getting to know you a little so we can all find some common ground despite our wonderful differences. We’re also going to give you a couple of Serene-and-Pearl-style biology lessons. Gotta learn the “whys,” remember? Hang in here with us chapter by chapter so you can gain the knowledge you need to make this a lifelong, sustainable approach.
Come in . . . Grab a Seat!
Welcome to a little get-to-know-you therapy session at an IDA meeting—short for Imbalanced Diet Anonymous. (No, there is no such thing, but maybe there should be.) The meeting opens and new members are asked to share a little about themselves. You might find you have some things in common with one or two of these IDA members.
Whole Grain Jane (and Brown Bread Fred)
Jane stands up and clears her throat. “Hi, I’m Whole Grain Jane.” She pats the hand of the man sitting next to her. “And this is my husband, Brown Bread Fred.” (Fred doesn’t look thrilled to be here.) “We have five children whom we homeschool. I’m doing my best trying to raise a healthy family. I grind my own flour, bake my own bread and muffins made from whole-grain spelt flour. My girls and I make those a lot but we use applesauce in place of oil because we are trying to cut down on fats. We’ve been trying meatless Mondays at home, using lots of rice and beans to get enough protein.”
Jane glances down at her husband. “Which is not going over too well with Fred and our teenage son. Oh—and I love my homemade, dried fruit trail mix. I sweeten it with honey, of course; we stopped using white sugar several years ago.” Jane’s face turns downcast. “I’m doing all my doctor has advised me to do diet-wise, yet I—oh, I’ll just say it—I can’t zip up my size twelve capris anymore.” Jane looks at her husband and whispers, “Do you want to share?”
He obviously does not.
Jane continues. “Our doctor advised Fred to lay off whole eggs and cut out red meat a few years back as his cholesterol is too high. He is now on medication for that. Dr. Fatfear also advised him to drop thirty pounds, but he is finding that challenging, right, Fred?”
Fred nods, looks wistfully at the exit sign. “I fix Fred whole-grain cereal with skim milk most mornings, or whole-wheat toast with peanut butter . . . but so far nothing has really helped. Could be that Fred enjoys my oatmeal raisin cookies a little too often—but they’re made with honey, of course. Not sure what is going on with us, must be aging.” Jane takes her seat to a round of smattered applause and a look of relief from Fred.
There are some “Hi, Janes” from the circle of IDA members as the next new member gets ready to share.
Drive Thru Sue (and Fast Food Dude)
Sue’s turn. She shyly asks if she can just share while sitting down, she’s not comfortable with public speaking. The circle erupts in encouragement: “Just as you are, Sue!”
“You can do it, Sue!”
“That’s why we’re here, Sue. Bare your heart. Take your time!”
“I’m Sue. I’m twenty-nine; the big three-oh is right around the corner. Married, two children, first just started second grade, the other is in preschool. My husband is not here today. He has never had to worry about his weight a day in his life and he eats circles around me.”
“Not fair!” someone yells in good-natured support.
Sue takes a deep breath. “But I brought my brother with me—Fast Food Dude. We both have some issues, as you can see.” She chuckles and holds up her Big Gulp full of pop. Dude does the same with a shy smile but lets his sister continue. “And it’s not just the two of us; there are a lot of weight and health issues in our family tree.”
Sue pauses to find the right words. “I’m completely confused by which diet I should do but I’ve been ignoring the red flags too long and it’s past time. I used to skip meals in high school and college, and that worked back then, but as you can see”—Sue reddens uncomfortably—“it’s not working now. I haven’t even climbed on the scale this year because . . . well, it’s far too depressing. I joined Pound Trackers some years ago, lost some but gained it all back. Counting points all day is not my thing, that I do know. I was miserable.”
Sue chokes a little on her words and glances at her brother. “Our father passed away from complications from Type 2 diabetes three years ago. He was in his early sixties. My doctor recently told me that I could end up like him if I don’t lose this weight. It’s affecting every part of my life but my doctor’s most concerned about my blood sugar. I have to take pills to help control my blood-sugar numbers and I’m not even thirty yet.” Sue takes a long pause, trying to gain composure, and wipes her eyes.
“We’re all here for you, Sue,” someone from the circle encourages.
Sue finds her voice. “I look at my children and my heart squeezes. I want to be there for them. No, I want more than that. I want the energy to be able to toss them the ball, push them on a swing, or chase them at the park without being winded.”
Sue pauses, then continues with more strength. “Somehow, I want to stop this weight from climbing but more important, I want to be healthy. I don’t want my children to go through the heartache of losing a parent too early like I did.”
Sue wipes her eyes, chuckles a little. “I’m not much of a cook. Guess I’m an expert at ordering pizza or making mac and cheese from a box. But I want more for my kids. I want to get healthy for me and pass it along to them so this family cycle can finally be broken. I dragged my brother here with me because we need to support each other in this.”
Sue gets a long hug from the woman sitting next to her, who then gets up to introduce herself.
Farm Fresh Tess (and Organic Only Tony)
Tess lets go of Sue with a final pat on her arm, wipes her eyes with a tissue, and introduces herself and her husband, Organic Only Tony. She shares that they are living their dream on thirty acres. They raise grass-fed cows and goats for meat and milk, gather eggs from their free-range hens, and grow a big, four-season garden. Tess doesn’t trust most grocery stores because she can’t see what goes into the food.
Tess is in her forties. She has a lot of bubbling energy and begins to chuckle a little as she takes out some notes that she has prepared. “Have to remind myself on what to say or I’ll forget. Let’s see, I choose not to dwell on my weight because I’m strong and enjoy working hard on our farm. I’ve never been a Skinny Minny, though. I guess if I had to say a number it would be forty pounds more than my wedding day, and I was no waif then.” She smiles affectionately at Tony. “But he tells me I’m beautiful.”
Tony takes the cue to stand up, putting an arm around his wife. “As pretty as the day I met her. I love my wife’s cooking. She makes the best peach cobbler on the face of God’s green earth with peaches we have grown from seedlings.” He pats his paunch. “But as you can see, I guess her cooking doesn’t like me.”
Tony continues. “Middle age is tough—doc says I have a bad case of high blood pressure and along with meds for that he’s making me wear a sleep apnea mask. My snoring was getting so loud Tess was unable to sleep—”
Tess interrupts. “If anyone has any snoring remedies, let me know and we’ll swap e-mails. He might not be snoring now but I’m not comfortable sleeping next to him wearing that thing and I’m not accepting that he’ll have to be on blood pressure medication for the rest of his life, either. Doc also says Tony has to go off salt, whole eggs, red meat, and our fresh cream and butter. He hates the bland food he has to eat now and I want my happy husband back.” She folds her notes and speaks from her heart. “Tony is even considering selling the farm now. What’s the point of it all if we can’t enjoy the food from our own farm?” Tess shrugs, then takes her seat.
Raw Green Colleen (and Carrot Juice Bruce)
Colleen takes one last sip from a jar of green juice before she stands up.
“Hi, I’m Colleen and this is my eldest son, Carrot Juice Bruce. We are so excited to announce that Bruce and I have just finished a fourteen-day juice cleanse together. I did not force him into it. Bruce might only be nineteen, but he wants to devote his life to health and wellness. He does all the juicing for the family. We go through fifty pounds of carrots a week. As part of this juice cleanse, we ate only one-hundred-percent-raw plant food,” she shares proudly.
Colleen continues. “A really exciting thing right now is that while Bruce was interning at the Raw Alive Institute over the summer, he met a colonic irrigationist who lives in our area. I had several colonics recently, so I’m feeling very cleaned out right now, which is wonderful. The irrigationist mentioned I passed several parasites.” She glances at her son. “What was it she called them? Oh yes, roundworms or some such thing.”
Colleen hesitates for a minute when Brown Bread Fred makes a nervous throat-clearing sound. “Sorry if that was too much information for some of you, but in this kind of setting I feel very open.”
Brown Bread Fred chances another longing look at the exit.
Colleen continues. “I know people think of me as that crazy health-nut lady, but five years ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the year after that, her sister, my aunt Dee. It was a long struggle for both of them. My mom is still here and cancer-free—knock on wood—but my aunt is not.”
Farm Fresh Tess pulls out her tissues again and sniffs quietly while Colleen speaks. “I don’t want to be another statistic for disease. I don’t want to go through what my aunt and mother did. I don’t want my children to eat the toxins and dead garbage that make up the standard diet most people live on—the very one we used to eat until my mom got sick and I started researching. Maybe my approach to food is extreme, maybe it takes hours out of my day, and maybe my husband misses the meat I used to cook him; but I don’t know what else to do. Look around us—disease and obesity—it’s everywhere.”
Colleen sips on her green juice again because her mouth has gone dry.
“Now that this juice fast has ended, I’m more determined than ever to keep most of our food in a raw state and keep meat out of the house. When I first went vegan three years ago I dropped those twenty pounds that I didn’t need and felt great. Lately I’ve been dragging, though. I also feel bloated a lot even though my weight is okay. Not really sure why. I think a liver cleanse is next. The colonic irrigationist mentioned that I should come in every week. This is all getting rather expensive but I just know it is worth it. It has to be.
“My protein came back low on a recent blood test so I am adding more sprouted, dehydrated seeds and nuts to my diet and trying to combat the reactive hypoglycemia I was recently diagnosed with by adding more snacks of grapes and bananas. My naturopath has me on several supplements to help me control this issue plus a bunch of other ones for other reasons.” She chuckles nervously. “Feels like I’m swallowing fifty pills a day sometimes. Let me tell you, some of the supplements I’m on, I have them all on a spreadsheet here.” She fumbles in her purse and lets out a joyous squeal. “Oh goodie, I have my recent blood work numbers here, too. I’ll pass them around and you can all take a look . . .”
Brown Bread Fred has gone past polite visible discomfort to obvious vexation. He quickly hands off Colleen’s papers to the next person without even a courteous glance. He whispers to his wife, “She better not find her roundworm in that purse. I’m not touching it.”
Whole Grain Jane shushes him.
Scared of Carbs Barb (and Back to Cave Dave)
Barb realizes she needs to make her move now to keep the meeting progressing. To everyone’s relief she stands up. “Thanks, Colleen. Guess it is my turn. Colleen sits down.
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