(A salad variation: Julienned Cucumber, Carrot, & Microgreen Salad with Onion & Sweet Pepper & Citrus Champagne Dressing, with Side of Berries – pic by Charlie)

Meal Plan – Week #18 (Written by Jamie)

Cost: $170.75 week for 3 people // $2.70/serving* (*NOTE: These numbers are calculated off what we actually spend each week, which may include occasional supplements of grain, starch, or beef for Drew and Jamie which Charlie cannot have. Week-to-week fluctuations in cost are more reflective of the times we need to pick up staples like olive oil and vinegar, or weeks where Jamie is prepping three weeks’ worth of cauliflower rice, rather than one week’s meal plan costing extra. Taken overall, we believe this offers a more accurate reflection of what this diet might look like financially for others.)

Meal Plan Diet Categories: (Gluten-Free, Lactose/Dairy Free, Diabetes Diet, Low Fat/Low Cholesterol, Cardiac Diet, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian)

Meals: (Click on the names to go to the recipe) (1) Pakistani Chicken Kima with Cauliflower “Rice” / (2) Seared Chili Pork Loin, Garlic Black Beans & Kale, with Cauliflower “Rice” / (3) Chicken Turnip Noodle Soup / (4) Garden Salad with Variations 2 (Tuna Salad), & 10 (Citrus Cannellini Beans

Snacks:  Chopped Veggies (for dipping) / Balsamic Herb Dipping Sauce / Egg Whites / Naked Popcorn / Julienned Cucumber, Carrot, & Microgreen Salad with Onion and Sweet Pepper & Citrus Champagne Dressing, Almond Butter

For those of you just joining us — this blog began as part of a health requirement mission mandated by our subject, Charlie’s, annual check-up. In short, she was on high alert levels for heart attack, stroke, and registered as pre-diabetic. Her Doctor wanted to put her on immediate prescriptions to get her numbers down, but Charlie asked for 4 months to try it through diet first. The Doctor listed a giant number of foods to put on the off-limits list, joining foods already there because of their issues with causing migraines and additional acid reflux. Explaining these restrictions, and knowing the hours Charlie worked, meant rally time for our family/friend group. So we became The Accidental Nutritionist, with Jamie as the lead researcher, recipe builder, meal planner, and cook, Drew (Me) as the blogger and site info slinger, and Charlie, as the subject — with a whole lot of everything on the line.

Four months later, Charlie is 40 lbs and 18 inches down, and her first labs are ready to share. For those of you who may be facing your own required nutritional journey, we offer these numbers as proof that even when your odds of success may seem bleakest — there is sunshine to be found. And Charlie is proof!

I.D. Stats

Female, Post-Menopausal, 65 Years Old

2/15/22 Test ResultsResultRatingNormal Range6/20/22 Test ResultsRating4-Month Change
Glucose114 mgHigh65-99 MG88 mgNormal-26
Hemoglobin A1c6.00%High4.8-5.6%5.60%Normal-0.4
Sodium139 mmoNormal134-144 mmo140Normal1
Potassium4.3 mmoNormal3.5-5.2 mmo4Normal-0.3
Calcium9.3 mgNormal8.7-10.3 mg9.5Normal0.2
Protein6.9 g/dNormal6.0-8.5 g/d6.7Normal-0.2
Cholesterol213 mgHigh100-199 mg187Normal-26
Triglyceride146 mgNormal0-149 mg130Normal-16
Cholersterol HDL54 mgNormal>39 mg51Normal-3
Cholesterol VLDL26 mgNormal5-40-mg23Normal-3
Cholersterol LDL133 mgHigh0-99 mg113High-20
Cholesterol total HDL3.9 ratioNormal0.0-4.4 ratio4Normal0.1
Cholesterol in total LDL2.5 ratioNormal0.0-3.2 ratio2Normal-0.5

…Many things to celebrate here –

  • Let’s talk about the fact that in 4 months of very careful eating…with no pills or powders, no nutritional bars or shakes, just clean eating of carefully portioned and prepared fresh foods, Charlie is now COMPLETELY out of ALL high-risk zones.
  • Charlie is no longer on heart disease or stroke watch.
  • Charlie is no longer pre-diabetic, and (in fact) has completely normal glucose levels.
  • And the BIGGEST win (in Charlie’s eyes) is that ZERO pill prescriptions are added to her health regime needs.

…Some things to think about —

  • So happy with the 40 lb loss, and giant 20 mg tank in Cholesterol LDL, yet these are the final stats we will continue working on over the next 4 months before Charlie’s next labs are done. Only time can help as we continue to work on in the direction we are going. A little like building up your credit after a hard hit…these are the only remaining of her stats needing more than just maintenance and continued balance, moving forward.
  • Sodium jumped up by 1 mmo, which going to the books, is due to the natural sodium content in two of her main foods: Cauliflower (used as “rice” and “potato” substitute), and Celery (in all salads, soups, and part of her snacking veg packs.) This being natural, non-iodized, and part of a primarily vegetarian diet sat well with the Dr. and is still within her middle range of Sodium levels, allowing her to flex both ways a bit without consequence. (And yes, too little Sodium also leads to problems, so this balance is important.)
  • Potassium is still within normal range, yet it throws us with the bit of loss. Heavy Potassium foods which figure in her diet largely include beans, spinach, broccoli, squash, tomatoes, chicken, and fish. Though this is also in good range according to the Dr., Jamie will be playing with some more options and additions soon.
  • Protein, also still within normal range, took a bit of a hit as we moved to a mostly plant diet, with no dairy, or grains, and limited nuts and meats. However, with some oats and grains now opening up to us (post meeting) we are confident this will build up a bit by the next lab tests.

…Some changes for the next 4 months —

We will now be referring to these first 4 months as the “Detox/Stabilization Diet,” and Jamie will be working on ID’ing and recipe building and coding these meal plans for ease of use for those of you wanting to start a diet regime but not knowing where to begin. Everyone up to the Doctor was amazed at the accomplishments of this eating plan in this short amount of time. (Especially from a non-licensed dietitian researching her way through nutritional minefields, and from where Charlie’s numbers started.)

This way of life was something we had collectively planned on for the foreseeable future. Happily, now it seems to be just the jumping-off point before more variety and allowance (with careful watch and some still-limitations) opened up for us.

…Which means, should you choose to join us on our meal planning journey to fitness (WITH the agreement of your healthcare professional — naturally), there is all probability that you TOO might be looking at a detox time to get you well on your way and open up more options for your eating pleasure in the not too distant future!

Where we stand now:

Still on the no-list: Processed grains, pastas, breads, red meat, yogurt, most fruits (naturally high-sugared), bananas, processed foods in general, white rice

Still on the limited list: Nuts, cheeses, acidic foods, salt, sweet potatoes

Now open for limited options: Brown rice, steel-cut oats, peas, corn, quinoa, butternut squash

…Just in time for Charlie’s first extended Accidental Nutritionist Abroad trip over the 4th of July Holiday! May her new foods and new-old favorites bring her joy! (And her quinoa-turkey burger Jamie has planned, ready for the grill!)


P.S. Don’t forget to stop by Charlie and Jamie’s pages for their thoughts on our first 4 months, and what is coming next!