Author: David Yochim

Diet Soda Causes Weight Gain?

diet soda and hot dog

Diet soda causes weight gain is an absurd statement I have heard several times over the years. Of course, the individuals who have stated this to me preceded by telling me they might as well drink regular soda instead. This line of thought is not well thought out, but maybe it should be addressed anyhow.

Could there be a glimmer of truth about this?

Is it possible that diet soda causes weight gain?

research laboratory

Where did this information even come from? Research from George Washington University is one place that has promulgated this theory. Their research does suggest that artificial sweeteners may actually increase a person’s risk of becoming obese.  Studies  of artificial sweeteners reveal that they could increase the chance of us accumulating fat in our bodies. But this is in a “dose-dependent” fashion. In other words, you have to eat a very large quantity of artificial sweeteners to increase your body fat.

What is the basis of this theory?

It is factual that weight management is a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned. So how exactly could a zero calorie sweetener in a diet soda cause you to gain weight?

 Sweet substances bind to sensors in our mouth called “sweet-taste receptors.” These receptors send a message to our brain to tell us that we are eating something sweet. In the last decade, these sensors have been found in other parts of our body, such as the bladder, the lungs and even in bones. This has raised questions about what effect sweeteners, and these sweet taste receptors, could be having inside our bodies.

 Results of research presented recently at the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago, addressed the effect that artificial sweeteners have on the cells that make up our fat stores. These cells have a glucose transporter (a protein that helps glucose get into a cell) called GLUT4 on their surface. When we eat more sugar, the cells take up more glucose, accumulate more fat and become larger.

 Studies have found that the artificial sweetener sucralose increases GLUT4 in these cells and promotes the accumulation of fat. These changes are associated with an increased risk of becoming obese. But what you need to know is that only a small number of obese people who consume artificial sweeteners have been involved with this research.

Artificial Sweeteners Effect on Insulin and Blood Sugar

Now for the rest of the story.

This same research displayed that when consumed in low quantities, artificial sweeteners have been shown to aid weight loss. They have also been shown to improve metabolic conditions. There is little support for the notion that no-calorie sweeteners stimulate appetite or contribute to obesity.

Still think diet soda causes weight gain?

People who regularly consume diet drinks are more likely to have poor diet quality and eat fewer fruits and vegetables than those who don’t drink them. It is common that people switch to diet soda when they begin gaining weight without addressing other aspects of their diet that are causing the weight gain.

Weight management will always be about calories consumed versus calories burned. With zero calories, it is a bit absurd to believe diet soda causes weight gain.

You can’t believe everything you read. All the news stories and blog postings on this topic cite the same few studies: research in rats conducted by two investigators at Purdue University and two studies that followed soda drinkers over time.

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Ending a Toxic Relationship With Food

young lady eating pasta

Toxic relationship with food?

Having a toxic relationship with food can be a common theme on a lot of weight loss social media forums. Are you one who has one too?

I was watching a video the other day of IFBB Professional Bodybuilder Greg Doucette  where he was discussing the absurdity of having a relationship with food. He made a point in a question that reverberated with me, “How do you have a relationship with food?”

I have heard this term, but never paid it much mind.

You might think it is just words in a term, but are they?

Does it do you any good to talk to your food? Can your food bring you a lasting satisfaction in life?  What kind of companion exactly is your food?

I have thought about this term, and believe we should stop referring to having a relationship with food and just call it what it is. This relationship that is so hard for people to part ways with is an addiction no matter how you look at it.

You and I both know that this “toxic relationship” is not with healthy foods. Healthy foods cannot be toxic. No, we are talking about foods loaded down with added sugar and unhealthy fats. These toxic relationships with foods are ones we cannot imagine ever giving up. We crave these foods in that relationship. These foods are what we turn to when we are stressed. Celebrations almost always involve sugary foods such as cake and ice cream. Comfort is temporarily found when we consume foods with added sugars.

Eating sugar releases opioids and dopamine in our bodies

If we changed out the word food with the word alcohol in the preceding paragraph, what would we now call this toxic relationship? If you answered addiction, you can move to the front of the class. We do not have toxic relationships with food, we have addictions to poor food choices. That craving you get for sugary foods is the same as an alcoholic gets for a drink. Alcohol also causes the release of dopamine. When you first quit drinking, the lack of dopamine and diminished receptors can lead to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Is this not also how we feel when we first kick sugar from our diet?

Sugar activates the opiate receptors in our brain and affects the reward center, which leads to compulsive behavior, despite the negative consequences like weight gain, headaches, hormone imbalances, and more. This is an addictive behavior, it is not a relationship with food my friends. Every time we consume sugary foods, we are causing the brain to become increasingly hardwired to crave more sugar. We build up a tolerance like we would with alcohol or any other drug.

Obese man eating chips

Sugar is also much more prevalent, available, and socially acceptable than amphetamines or alcohol, and therefore harder to avoid.

Is it no wonder how obesity is now so prevalent in our society? It used to be that people of a healthy weight were the majority, now the reverse is true.  Today, in the United States, 36 percent of adults are obese. Another 32.5 percent of American adults are overweight. In all, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.

Obesity affects 1 in 6 children in the United States.

Around 17 percent of American children ages 2 to 19 are obese. That’s more than 12.7 million American children. One in 8 preschoolers is obese. Children who are overweight or obese are five times more likely to be obese or overweight adults than children of normal weight. This can increase their risk for many chronic diseases and health complications.

If your child has a weight problem, is it a toxic relationship with food?

Or, is it an actual health problem that needs to be taken care of?

Obesity is a medical condition that happens when someone has an excessive amount of body fat. Having too much body fat can increase the risk of getting additional health problems, and it can cause health problems of its own. No amount of the fat acceptance movement is going to change these facts.

Being obese can hinder your quality of life and that of your loved ones. Being overweight or obese will bring about serious health consequences like developing heart disease, strokes, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, joint problems, and sleep apnea.

  • There are more than 2.8 million hospital stays every year in the U.S., where obesity is a cause or contributing factor.
  • Approximately 300,000 people die from obesity in America every year.

Why is obesity so prevalent today?

There are many reasons why obesity has become so common. People are eating more processed and high-fat foods that also contain added sugars to make them more palatable. They are eating larger portions, exercising less, and they’re spending more time in front of electronic screens.

Weight Loss Tips for 2021!

If you are overweight, it is not because you have a toxic relationship with food. It is because you have developed a lifestyle centered around foods of an addictive nature and you do not move your body enough to compensate for all the extra calories you are consuming.  By following our entirely free weight loss plan you can lose those extra pounds. Through all of our informative articles, you can learn all about nutrition and how it affects you. After all, the more informed you are, the more likely you are to succeed.

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English Cucumber Salad

My beautiful wife made this English cumber salad the other day. This was the first time I have ever had English cucumbers, and I liked them pretty well. I am not one who normally eats raw cucumbers as I really just don’t care for their taste. But these were different, they are a little sweeter than the common cucumber.

English cucumbers were actually bred to create a cucumber without some of the more undesirable characteristics that this vegetable has, such as a tough outer skin, large seeds, and a bitter taste. They are also known as hothouse cucumber, burpless cucumber, seedless cucumber, and European cucumber.

After being dressed.

Healthy eating is not expensive!

We like to keep our healthy eating as simple and inexpensive as possible. Using fresh vegetables allows us to do so. This bowl of salad that yielded about 6 servings cost less than $6.00 US is filling enough you could make a small meal of it alone. But it pairs nicely with grilled chicken.

  • 1 – English cucumber
  • 1/2 – red onion
  • 10 ounce – cherry tomatoes


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp – Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  1. Slice cucumbers and red onion to your desired thickness, then place in a large bowl.
  2. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl.
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients in another bowl, and then add to salad and mix well.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste, then either serve right away or place in the refrigerator for a later meal. The longer this salad sits, the tastier it becomes.


192 calories per serving,   3.3 grams carbs,   18.4 grams fat,   0.3 grams protein,

Most of the calories in this salad come from the Olive Oil. Olive oil provides many health benefits and we recommend you add it to your daily nutrition.

Olive Oil Facts


  • Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. This fatty acid is believed to have many beneficial effects and is a healthy choice for cooking.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of which have powerful biological effects.
  • Olive oil contains nutrients that fight inflammation. These include oleic acid as well as the antioxidant oleocanthal.
  • Several large studies demonstrate that people who consume olive oil have a much lower risk of stroke, the second biggest killer in developed countries.
  • Extra virgin olive oil has numerous benefits for heart health. It lowers blood pressure, protects “bad” LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation and improves the function of blood vessels.
  • Consuming olive oil does not appear to increase the likelihood of weight gain. Moderate intake may even aid weight loss.
  • Both observational studies and clinical trials suggest that olive oil, combined with a Mediterranean diet, can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Olive oil can help reduce joint pain and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis. The beneficial effects are greatly increased when combined with fish oil.
  • Extra virgin olive oil has antibacterial properties and has been found to be particularly effective against Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacterium that can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.



Fast Weight Loss

Lim woman in oversized jeans

Fast weight loss, it seems, is the desire of most everyone who has ever gone on a diet. After years of being overweight, many individuals have become so tired of their girth, they want it gone right now. Life becomes burdensome when you have become too large to fully enjoy it anymore. Obesity brings us many physical and mental health problems, it would be nice to be able to reverse it overnight. But it would also be nice to wake up fabulously wealthy one day too, right? But we know that isn’t going to happen for any of us unless we happen to win the lottery.

Hurry up and weight!

Hurry up and wait is something that we who have served in the military grow accustomed to. We always hurry to complete a task, and then await further instruction. I saw a weight loss meme this morning that made me think of that old adage. People want to hurry up their weight loss, but then what?

What are you going to do once you have reached your weight loss goals?

Have you thought this through?

Are you prepared for the rest of your life now?

soldier standing guard

Being a retired military veteran, I often think out of the box compared to those who have never served. Not that this makes me special, it’s just thinking in terms of my personal life experiences. When I think of military training, I see an analogy between some training and weight loss. But not in the sense you might be thinking. I’m not thinking about our physical fitness training. What weight loss reminds me of is the more specialized training where we become prepared to face more training, or to face the world beyond. No matter the service component, those who want to be Special Forces undergo training for close to a year, before they can actually begin training for qualifications in their chosen field.

That year of training is similar to losing weight. It prepares you for life afterwards, or at least it is supposed to. If you rush through your training and do not grasp what you were supposed to learn, then you are doomed to failure afterwards. Fast weight loss is the same.

woman stepping on scales
Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

Fast weight loss is not good for many reasons.

If the amount of weight you want to lose is significant enough, you will not even be able to fully grasp your new look. And, it is not going to be helpful when people begin asking you if you have been sick or something. Fast weight loss can leave your face looking gaunt which will cause people to assume something must be wrong with you. Is that going to help you?

Unless you are morbidly obese, we do not ever recommend that you try to lose more than one pound of body fat per week. Two pounds loss per week is the maximum we will ever advocate. Anything more than that, and you need to be under medical supervision. Note, this does not apply to the first ten pounds since it is almost exclusively nothing more than water weight you have lost.

Fast weight loss usually comes from fad diets, drugs, or other gimmicks that are not sustainable over time. If you care more about your health than looks, you really need to lose your weight in a healthy manner. When you are only concerned about losing quickly to appease your vanity, you should know that  looking sickly is not a good look.

When you do not rush your weight loss, you will be healthier and you will feel better about yourself. Slow weight loss through healthy nutrition is something you can sustain for the rest of your life. With fad diets, drugs or gimmicks, you will soon regain those lost pounds and then some. Fast weight loss is a losing battle as proven by millions before you. And will be proven again and again by millions after you.

hour glass representing passage of time
Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

Making your weight loss permanent.

As in the military training I mentioned, your weight loss journey needs to be preparing you for the rest of your life. When you begin losing weight, you need to be learning all about nutrition and fitness. You will eventually reach your goal weight, and will need to be ready for maintaining that weight for the rest of your life. You can’t just rush your weight loss and return to your former lifestyle without regaining your lost weight. There is a ninety five percent rebound rate for people who do this. Our mission here at David’s Way is to help educate you!

If you are genetically prone to being overweight, you will need to create a nutritional lifestyle that enables you to keep your weight at a healthy level. People who lose weight and return to their former way of eating will always regain their weight. It becomes a vicious cycle for many.

Fast weight loss is never good, nor permanent.

Click this link for the most comprehensive weight loss method found on the internet. We always have been, and always will be free to all.

Tips to Stop Overeating!

Stressed woman overeating

Stop overeating today!

If we are being intellectually honest, overeating is the reason why most of us have ever been overweight. You know this, as well as I do. We never get overweight from eating small meals. Our girth does not grow when we practice portion control. We gain too much weight when we overeat, that is a simple fact. When we consume more calories than we burn we get larger. This point is not even arguable at most any level. The only caveat being those with diagnosed medical conditions that cause an over abundance of fluid retention such as a sluggish thyroid  that could add a few pounds.  When we are overweight with body fat, it is because we eat more calories than we need.

Now, with all that being said, I know that talking about not overeating is easier said than done. I, myself have always been a volume eater. Large meals are still a part of my daily life, yet I still manage to keep within my caloric needs. With a few simple modifications to how you eat, you can stop overeating once and for all.

Lifestyle modifications to stop overeating.

  1. Get rid of your distractions. Stop eating in front of your television. Do not nibble on foods as you surf the internet. When we eat with distractions,  it is simple to overeat because our minds are in other places rather than on our meal. If you are unable to, or not willing to eat away from your distractions, at least measure out your foods before you sit down to eat. And once your plate is empty, stop eating.Couple eating in front of television
  2. Know your trigger foods. If you know the foods that will trigger you to overeat, do not bring them home with you. Leave them in the store on their shelf. Do not bring home leftovers from a restaurant. When we have trigger foods in our home, it is too easy to overeat them. For instance, cookies are one of my trigger foods. If there is a bag of cookies in my cupboard, I could devour the entire package in short order. It is the same with ice cream for me too. I know that I have little control over my appetite for my trigger foods, therefore I do not ever bring them home.chocolate ice cream trigger food
  3.  Eat low calorie, nutrient dense foods. Fill up on healthy, low-calorie, high-fiber foods to help promote feeling full. The good thing is, you might get full while not exceeding your caloric needs for the day.
  4. Stop eating from containers or packaging. Most of us who have ever had a weight problem are known to do things like this. We might stand at the freezer door, spoon in hand, eating ice cream straight from the carton. How often do you sit down and devour a bag of chips instead of counting or measuring out an actual portion? I have been known to chow down a bag of small, powdered sugar donuts without realizing it until the bag was empty. Colorful cookies in package
  5. Reduce your stress. This is a tough one to do, but at least make an attempt to do so each and every day. I call this “making my world small”. People tell me this is easy for me to say, but they have not walked in my shoes to know. I suffer from PTSD and my lovely wife has breast cancer along with other health issues to deal with. Controlling stress levels are easier when we are proactive about our lives rather than reactive to what occurs around us. We cannot control all events, but we do have control over how we react to them.               Check out our article Stop Emotional Eating for more info!
  6. Eat fiber rich foods. Choosing foods that are rich in fiber, such as beans, vegetables, oats, and fruit, can help keep your body feeling satisfied longer and reduce the urge to overeat. Unfortunately, an estimated 95% of American adults and children don’t meet the recommended daily fiber intake. Women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day. In America, the average daily fiber intake is estimated to be 16.2 grams. fiber rich foods
  7. Eat regular meals. Stop thinking you should try to reduce your caloric intake by skipping meals. All this accomplishes is to make you more ravenous, thus more prone to overeat when you do sit down to a meal. Regular meals also helps to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels better managed which will help your satiety during the day.
  8. Keep a food journal. When you write down your food intake, it makes you more aware of how much you consume. It is a manner of holding yourself accountable for every bite that you take. Using a food journal can also help identify situations and emotional triggers that contribute to overeating, as well as foods that are likely to provoke binge eating.
  9. Dine with like minded friends. This can be a tough one because not everyone wants to eat healthier. Many times when we also have overweight friends, they will try to drag us back down with them. They are what we refer to as crabs. The harder you try to crawl out of the bucket, the harder they will attempt to pull you back in.  Seriously, if you have these types of friends, you might want to avoid going to dinners with them. This may not be easy, but looking down at your scale in remorse is not easy either. Choose your battles wisely.
  10. Fill up on protein. Protein helps keep your body full throughout the day and can decrease the desire to overeat. For example, eating a high protein breakfast has been shown to reduce hunger and snacking later in the day. Choosing a protein-rich breakfast like eggs tends to lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger .Adding higher protein snacks like Greek yogurt to your routine can also help you eat less throughout the day and keep hunger under control.
  11. Manage your blood sugar levels. Eating white bread, cookies, candy, and other carbs with high glycemic indexes will likely cause blood sugar levels to spike, then fall quickly. This rapid blood sugar fluctuation has been shown to promote hunger and can lead to overeating. By choosing foods with lower glycemic indexes you can mitigate blood sugar spikes and reduce your overeating. Beans, oats, and brown rice are all great options as they are great sources of fiber. If you are not going to stop eating foods containing simple carbs and added sugars, you are not likely to stop overeating.
  12. Either quit, or greatly limit your alcohol intake. Whether you like this or not, we all know that drinking alcohol lowers our inhibitions. It becomes too easy to get off the wagon with poor food choices when we become even a little bit inebriated. And to make matters worse, alcohol can actually make you crave your trigger foods. What would you rather have, a few hours of inebriation with a lifetime of obesity? Or would you rather feel good about yourself and your health for the rest of your life. It is your choice to make.
  13. Plan ahead. We can always plan ahead when we want to. The important thing is to commit yourself to making pre-planning a part of your lifestyle. By pre-planning, we can reduce stress, and always be better prepared for any deviations in life that might come our way. It is a matter of being proactive about your life rather than reactive! With pre-planning you can stop overeating when on the go.
  14. Quit drinking sugary beverages! Have you ever considered how easy it is to consume hundreds of empty calories through beverages? You could be drinking anywhere from 125 to 180 calories per can of soda pop. Just think of the impact that 4 to 5  of these a day will have on your weight. It only takes a caloric surplus of 500 calories per day to make us gain one pound of body fat in a week. Is a soda pop really worth an expanded waistline to you?
  15. Eat healthy fats. We have always advocated eating healthy fats. Not only are they satiating, they are also good for heart health. High fat foods have been associated with weight gain and overeating, however, choosing foods rich in healthy fats can help you eat less. Several studies have shown that adults who consume high fat, low carb diets are less hungry 3–4 hours after meals and lose more weight over time, compared with people who consume diets high in carbs and low in fat. Adding healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and olive oil to your diet may help you feel more satisfied after meals and help you to stop overeating.

Stop overeating!

Overeating can be stopped, but it is going to take a personal commitment to self in order to do so. You really need to consider if the temporary pleasure than comes from the foods we eat are worth the health risks we face from them later in life.

Maple Glaze Pork Chops (sugar free)

This sugar free, Maple Glazed Pork Chop was quite the decadent dinner tonight. Yet despite the sweet flavor, there was zero sugar involved in making them. At David’s Way to Health and Fitness we adamantly believe we can still enjoy terrific foods as an integral part of our lifestyles. yet never feel any guilt or remorse after eating them. All of our delicious recipes are sugar free and healthy to eat.

While this glaze was fantastic on pork chops, it would also be excellent on grilled chicken or pork spare ribs. The garlic and ginger make a perfect complimentary flavor to the sweet maple syrup flavor.

Check out more of our recipes in Loraine’s Kitchen and let us know how you like them!

Nutrition per serving: Calories – 159, Carbs – 3.7 grams, Fat – 10 grams, Protein – 24.2 grams



  • 1/3  cup – sugar free maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves – garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. – ground ginger

Pork Chops

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 – 4 ounce pork chops


  1. Mix all glaze ingredients well in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Brown pork chops with olive oil in a non-stick skillet.
  3. Once chops are done, add sauce to pan and bring to a simmer for 3 to 5 minutes,         then serve with vegetables of your choice.


Norwegian Salmon

Another healthy dish from Loraine’s Kitchen. Tonight, she prepared Norwegian Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon for dinner which is paired with a baked potato and topped with a simple dill sauce.

A serving of salmon — 3 to 4 ounces — is about 200 calories. It’s very low in saturated fat and a good source of protein. It’s also one of the best sources of vitamin B12. It’s also bursting in potassium and other nutrients like iron and vitamin D.

The vitamin B12 in salmon keeps blood and nerve cells humming and helps you make DNA. But for your health, the true beauty of salmon is its wealth of omega-3 fatty acids. Most omega-3s are “essential” fatty acids. Your body can’t make them, but they play critical roles in your body.

Prep by coating salmon with olive oil, and then covering it with a mixture of salt and dried dill weed. Then place into the refrigerator to sit for an hour.

After an hour in the refrigerator, thoroughly rinse the salt and dill weed mixture from the salmon and place onto a cedar plank which has been soaking while the salmon is in the refrigerator.

Bake at 350* f for 15 to 20 minutes until done. Remove from oven and place tent a piece of aluminum foil over it while it rests for 10 minutes before eating.

The Dill Sauce was a mixture of mayonnaise, lemon juice and dill weed. Get creative and create your own flavor profile with these ingredients, or create a sauce of your own. The salmon is wonderful even without the sauce.

Healthy, Homemade Potato Chips

Another easy recipe from Loraine’s Kitchen.

Many of us who have, or have had weight control problems usually love our potato chips. They are a palatable treat that are difficult for most to give up. Unfortunately, most commercially available chips are not a healthy choice to make. Now, if you love potato chips, you do not need to feel as if you are sacrificing a food that you love. you can prepare these in less time than it takes to run to the store to buy a bag, and for a fraction of the cost. The best part is that you control the flavor and fat content. You can rest assured that you know what each and every ingredient will be.

  1. Wash your potatoes and then slice very thinly. This is where a mandolin type food slicer comes in handy. A mandolin will ensure an even thickness which helps with even cooking.
  2. Spray a microwave safe plate with a light spray type olive or canola oil. It does not need much, which is great for keeping the calories down.
  3. Place the potato slices evenly spaced on the plate, and top with a seasoning of your choice. You have complete control over the flavor and the sodium content of your chips.
  4. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes until done to your desired doneness.
  5. Once done, enjoy these healthy potato chips with absolutely no guilt.

The calorie content is 110 calories per one medium size potato. The calories from the oil will be minimum considering it takes very little to keep the chips from sticking to the plate during cooking. Loraine did not use more than a teaspoon of olive oil for a whole potato, therefore the total calories for this batch was about 150 calories and was enough for the both of us.

Eat the Damn Tater

Loraine’s Sugar Free Salad Dressing

Loraine found this easy and delicious salad dressing recipe the other day, then made it her own through a few modifications. The beauty of all recipes is that you can tailor anything to suit your taste and needs.

This dressing is great not only on salads, but also spread onto fish or a burger. It has a sweet tangy flavor accentuated, but not over powered by the onion.

I put the ingredients in my recipe builder for 26 – 2 ounce servings. You might like a little more on your salad or a little less. Either way, the calories are still quite low. Give us feedback and let us know how you like it.


32 calories

  Carbs: 1 gram

Fat: 2.7 grams

Protein: .1 gram


  • 1/2 cup – very finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup – No Sugar Added Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup – white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup – olive oil
  • 1 cup – water
  • 1 tsp – onion powder
  • 1 tsp – garlic powder
  1. Finely chop 1/2 cup of onion. A food processor works best for this.
  2. Add all the ingredients together, and stir until well blended.

Note: This dressing will congeal when refrigerated over night. All you need to do is heat it for a few seconds in the microwave and stir in a little water if needed. Enjoy!

No Hill For a Climber, Home Lymphedema Therapy

Lymphedema therapy at home

Lymphedema is abnormal swelling that can develop in the arm, hand, breast, or torso as a side effect of breast cancer surgery and/or radiation therapy. Lymphedema can appear in some people during the months or even years after treatment ends. Loraine has a problem with this now, therefore we are now doing therapy for it at home. This therapy will be a daily thing for one hour of each day of the rest of her life. It is another thing we never knew of before her diagnosis.

What is lymphedema?

Lymph is a thin, clear fluid that circulates throughout the body to remove wastes, bacteria, and other substances from tissues. Edema is the buildup of excess fluid. So lymphedema occurs when too much lymph collects in any area of the body. If lymphedema develops in people who’ve been treated for breast cancer, it usually occurs in the arm and hand, but sometimes it affects the breast, underarm, chest, trunk, and/or back. Loraine’s lymphedema is affecting her left arm and lower torso.

Why does lymphedema happen?

As part of a mastectomy for breast cancer, many people will have at least two or three lymph nodes removed from under the arm (sentinel lymph node biopsy), and sometimes many more nodes (axillary lymph node dissection). When breast cancer spreads, it usually moves into the underarm lymph nodes first because they drain lymph from the breast.  Surgery and radiation  treatments can cut off or damage some of the nodes and vessels that lymph moves through. Over time, the flow of lymph can overwhelm the remaining pathways, resulting in a backup of fluid into the body’s tissues.

I remember the discussion about the possibilities of lymphedema before Loraine’s mastectomy, but there was so much to absorb just in getting her well. We were aware of it well enough that I did write about it before she got it. But still, you do not understand the full ramifications until it has occurred. Lymphedema can sometime turn into a very debilitating condition if left untreated.

The Randy Suit

The first time we put Loraine’s compression garment on her, she reminded me of the little boy named Randy in the movie A Christmas Story. As you can see in the picture above, she is splayed out like Randy after his mother had bundled him up for the winter cold.

The “Randy Suit” is a pneumatic pump — also called an intermittent pneumatic compression pump — that has an inflatable garments attached to it. The arm and torso garments have multiple chambers  that inflate one after the other to stimulate the flow of lymph in the right direction. So far, this therapy combined with visits to her specialized therapist seems to be helping. We are going to remain optimistic!

Some may question whether this treatment is worth doing. Lymphedema can’t be cured, but you can control the swelling and keep it from getting worse. So, in my opinion, it is definitely worth it.

No Hill For a Climber, Lymphedema Prevention

Treating the chest pain that never goes away.

Shortly after Loraine’s mastectomy, she pulled a pectoral muscle and another muscle in her back. A year later, and these muscles are still knotted up. They cause her a great deal of pain which wakes her up at night in agony. The problem is compounded by the keloid scarring that was caused, or at least worsened by her staph infection that settled in before she had begun her radiation treatments.

After a year of pain, Loraine began a therapy for it this week. The treatment consists of receiving 200 units of Botox injected into nine locations with a long needle. The purpose of the Botox injections is to get the muscles to relax instead of remaining in a permanent state of spasm. She will get another 200 units of Botox soon, and will then undergo physical therapy to not only work the muscles by deep tissue massage. The therapy will also be focused on breaking down the keloid scarring to remove some of the tension on the pectoral muscle.

We have learned more than I care to know since Loraine’s breast cancer diagnosis. however, I would rather face all of her issues from a vantage point of knowledge. In my last article, I was hoping to not have much more to write in this series, but it seems there may be quite a bit more to come. Until then, God bless and thank you for your prayers and support.