WARNING: This post is very long - the longest one I’ve ever written…but that’s because this is a subject I have become very passionate about and I want to share it and my heart with you – I want it to change your life like it’s changed mine…and I want to make sure I don’t miss anything important.
Over two years ago, our family changed our eating habits – we moved away from the “coupon lifestyle” we had been living and teaching. It was a hard switch for us – and for most of my readers…but you’ve stuck with me.
Over the past two years, I’ve searched high and low trying to find what I thought was “right” for us. I knew eating so many convenience foods wasn’t good for our health – so we happily cut those out and moved to a “whole foods lifestyle.” And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there are OODLES of roads you can take eating that way: you can be hard-core Weston A. Price Foundation; you can be hard core Bread Beckers; you can go 100% organic; you can ditch gluten; you can go Paleo or Primal…or you can just lose your mind, scream, and want to pull all your hair out – and honestly, a few times I fell into the last category.
I prayed and prayed about the direction I should take my family. After researching and paying attention to what other people were eating, I starting moving over to the Paleo mindset…I could see how carbohydrates were making my friends and even family overweight. It was making me sad – and I knew if we continued on the same path, we’d likely end up with diabetes since it runs in both sides of our family.
My goal and my prayer was to try to avoid sickness and diabetes by eating the healthiest diet I could…all the while keeping in mind that food is not my God. I saw people close to me getting sick – and I saw what they were eating. And while food isn’t God, I do know that God expects me to do the best thing I can for my family…even though He holds the future in His hands, He wants me to act responsibly.
“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful.” 1 Corinthians 10:23
BUT, I couldn’t make the Paleo mindset work for me. While it made sense to me, I couldn’t make it mesh with my faith. I understand there are lots of Christians out there on a Paleo diet – but it’s based on the idea that cave-people lived millions of years ago and ate a certain way. Barry and I are creationists and don’t believe the world is that old – but this isn’t the place to discuss that. SO, for me the idea just didn’t sit well. (Note – this is just based on my convictions, not yours.)
Knowing I was having this struggle, and knowing I was praying DAILY for God to show me how to feed my family, my dear friend, Erin, from The Humbled Homemaker, told me about Trim Healthy Mama. For a while, I resisted. I didn’t want to read a 600-page book. But, she convinced me and she was right – as usual.
When I first got Trim Healthy Mama in the mail, I couldn’t put it down. I soaked it up like a sponge. It’s the BEST book on nutrition I have EVER read – and let me tell you something…I’ve read a TON on the subject. Everything made sense to me. Everything.
At first, I thought I would resist. I didn’t want another “diet.” After all, the first three letter are DIE. And heavens – diets never last. You start a diet, you lose the weight, and then what? If you don’t continue to eat that way, you’ll gain the weight back. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Diets stink.
Trim Healthy Mama is NOT a diet. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a new way of thinking about your food. In a nutshell, THM is a low-glycemic way of eating. ~Stacy
I can honestly say this book has changed our lives. I want to tell you about it. I want to SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! So, come with me through this review…and bear with me, it’s long.
What is Trim Healthy Mama?
THM (Trim Healthy Mama) is written by two sisters, Pearl and Serene. Serene is a pretty hard-core purist in how she cooks while her sister is a little more lax in the foods they eat. I see myself as a mix between the two sisters, but you get a look at both of their opinions in this book.
What I like best is that this is written from a CHRISTIAN perspective – these ladies are strong in their faith. They take into account God’s word to His people. For me, it’s hard to separate food and faith. They mesh food and faith which makes perfect sense to me.
The gist of the book is this: in order to lose weight you need to make sure your body isn’t trying to burn FAT and CARBS at the same time. You can eat both carbs and fat, but not at the same time. Your body naturally burns through the carb fuel first and then the fat is stored as, wait for it…FAT.
If you want to eat carbs, great…eat them, but avoid large amounts of fat. If you want to eat fat (which I gravitate toward), eat it, but avoid the carb collision.
“Never include large amounts of both fats and carbs in the same meal unless you are trying to gain or maintain weight. In other words, don’t tandem fuel.” Page 64
In the book you learn about S foods, E foods, Fuel Pulls and Crossovers.
S foods are “satisfying” foods, otherwise known as fats: coconut oil, butter, meat, cream, etc. Come to Mama, honey! Get in my BELLY! These are my favorite foods – and I could live on them forever. However, if you do, your metabolism gets used to burning the fat – you need to switch it up and keep your metabolism raring and ready to go!
Introducing E foods – they are “energizing” foods, otherwise known as carbs: quinoa, brown rice, sprouted bread, etc. I struggle more with these foods because I like to pair them with fat. I have to consciously make an extreme effort with this food group, but that’s where meal planning is essential.
“Butter is my friend.” Page 35
Fuel Pull meals are those that are neither high in fats or carbs. They are a neutral food and your body quickly burns through them in order to burn the fat you’re storing. I love Fuel Pull snacks. These meals should be eaten sparingly – you can’t live without fat for long. Have I mentioned, GET IN MY BELLY!?
And finally we have Crossovers – these meals are a cross between S and E foods…in moderation. This doesn’t mean you can gorge yourself on pasta and bacon. These are the meals you eat about 20% of the time once you reach goal weight.
Who is Trim Healthy Mama For?
Trim Healthy Mama is for almost everyone. It’s for Mamas…it’s for teenagers…it’s for Daddies…it’s for Grandmas…it’s not really for young children like Annie. They eat mainly Crossovers because they need the energy (they run around ALL DAY).
Barry and I have both switched to this lifestyle. And man, do we feel good! We eat like pigs and still lose weight. Barry is at the lowest weight he’s seen in a long time. And after only 6 weeks, I hit my goal weight – all the while eating like a queen! I now weigh what I weighed before I got pregnant with Annie. Booya.
You don’t have to be a “purist” for this lifestyle – you can be, but you don’t have to. The book teaches you how to learn to not mix carbs and fats – and you can make that work for you even if you make all your foods from scratch or if you’ve never cooked scratch in your life. You make it work for you based on your convictions.
There is grace for you in this book. You can’t get everything right – you’ll mess up sometimes. But guess what? When you mess up, you get up, dust yourself off, and start over.
I can easily see us maintaining this lifestyle for life.
I’ve heard some people say that this book calls for weird ingredients. Yes, they are ingredients that most people don’t use: konjac root noodles, glucomannan, whey protein, stevia, peanut flour, etc. However, I don’t see those as weird ingredients – they’re natural. You know what I see as “weird ingredients?” Read the ingredients labels on just about anything in the store. Now THAT’S weird.
Some people are hesitant to use stevia – and the recipes rely heavily on it. But, I’ll just tell you that I have NO reservations at all about using stevia. It’s been used for a long time in other countries, but just recently has made its way to the US – it’s one of the primary sweeteners in Japan. There’s a big difference between stevia brands – most of them sold at the grocery store is just stevia with a bunch of additives.
There are a lot of urban legends out there about stevia – so I would encourage you to research before you just believe something. I would also encourage you to use the real stuff – and not stuff sold as “stevia” on the shelves. I use the brand they recommend in the book – NuNaturals Pure White Stevia Extract.
NOTE: You don’t have to buy any of the ingredients they mention in the book. You can make this plan work for you just based on the foods you already have – you simply apply the THM principles.
“Eating is joy! When you do it smartly, you can wake up in the morning and actually feel excited about your breakfast.” Page 181
The recipes in this book are flat out amazing. I get so excited to eat each meal that I just can’t control myself. How about some Cheesecake Berry Crunch? Or maybe a Chocolate Muffin? Wait, let’s have some Cottage Berry Whip or Alfredo Beef and Broccoli. I’m about to short out my computer from all this slobber running down my face…and hang on a sec, because I need to go stuff my face with Choco Pudding.
Okay, I’m back. *Burp* But really, there are soooooooooooooo many good recipes in the book. I’m a recipe junkie, so this book just feeds my passion.
Okay, this book is pricey. It runs between $31-35. I was sent the book to review from Pearl and Serene, but I’ll just go ahead and tell you, this book is worth every single penny. It’s about 600 pages long and full of the best nutrition information you’ll ever find.
cheap, frugal and if I hadn’t been sent this book, I would have bought it myself…and after reading it once, twice, three times, I would tell you that I would have paid at least $100 for this book. It’s totally changed my life.
The Main Points
Let’s cover the main points:
- Do not mix fat and carbs in order to lose weight.
- Once you achieve your goal weight, add in Crossovers for 20% of your meals.
- Feed your children Crossovers most of the time
- Cut out sugar in all forms
“It is not good to eat too much honey…” Proverbs 25:27
Cut Out Sugar?!
Yes, I know…that sounds nuts. When I first read about cutting out sugar, including healthy forms, I thought “I’ll never do that.” Well, I’ve been “sugar free” for two months now and I feel fabulous. Really. I thought I would miss it, but the recipes from the book easily satisfy my sweet tooth. Am I the only one who always ends up doing stuff that I say “I’ll never do?”
Yes, honey and maple syrup are out if you want to lose weight. Honey is still fine for medical purposes – and I use it for allergies and sore throats as it’s the best remedy we’ve found. But I am reserving the maple syrup for Annie…and in moderation.
Low Fat Dairy?!
This was shocking to me as someone who loves full fat dairy. But yes, they do use low-fat dairy products. BUT, they also use full fat dairy. The idea is that if you want to eat carbs (i.e. bread), you don’t pair full fat with it. You can have 1 tsp of fat with your carbs, that’s it. While that sounds like a small amount, I’ve found that 1 tsp coconut oil on my sweet potato is PLENTY! If you aren’t eating carbs, you can have your full fat dairy and slap your chops all you want.
No milk for drinking – it’s liquid carbs. We don’t drink much milk anyway. When you kefir your milk or make homemade yogurt, the culturing process eats the natural sugars and makes the milk lower in carbs. Sourdough bread is also best for your body because it doesn’t cause insulin levels to rise as fast. And we do LOVE our sourdough.
I sorta look at it this way – when I skim the cream off my milk to make butter or ice cream, I’ve already made my milk “low fat.” More on our move to raw milk later.
***See this post: My Trim Healthy Mama Notebook***
What Food is Off Limits?
Nothing is really off limits. Otherwise, you’ll want it all the time…am I right? If you want to lose weight, you should avoid eating: grapes, milk, white potatoes, white flour, white rice, sugars, and large amounts of corn.
That being said, once you reach goal weight and you want to have one of those things occasionally, it’s not gonna kill ya. Think, Thanksgiving.
Shutting Up Now
I could really write all day about this subject. But, I need to quit because some of you have already passed out on your computer keyboard. Wake up before the drool shorts it out!
I will direct you to another great review of Trim Healthy Mama from Gwen’s Nest. She covers a lot of things that I don’t…so you can get a more well-rounded view. Also, check out her Quick Start Guide if you’re considering jumping on board with the Myers family.
I will be starting to post my own Trim Healthy Mama recipes and I’ll be paring with Gwen’s Nest to bring you a new series, so be on the lookout for that!
***I was sent a free copy of THM.. All opinions are mine and I am not an affiliate. I would have paid $100+ for this book, and I ain’t lying.***
**This post is linked at Trim Healthy Tuesday.