Guest Blogger – Wholefood for a whole life

Some of you already know a little about me from previous posts sharing stories from our lives or from talking with me in comments. For those of you that aren’t familiar, I’m Robbie’s youngest daughter, Melissa. Mom asked me to “guest blog” today about my health and diet after many of you have shown interest in learning more. While this is the condensed version and I’m going to keep it mostly to my journey, as well as how to get started on a whole food plant-based diet, I suggest getting a beverage of your choice. It’s time to settle in and get comfortable. If there’s a lot of interest I will be happy to do more guest blogs as requested. If you enjoy what I’ve shared with you, be sure to reply, like, and reblog to let mom know you want more!

I’ve always been a very active and health conscious person, yet I struggled like most people, with the misinformation that regularly bombards us. I worked out and ran daily, regularly did calisthenics, ballet, hiking, and ate what I thought was healthy. I would splurge, drinking soda or eating sweets, but never thought it was doing much harm with occasional treats. All of my life I’ve suffered from autoimmune troubles that would cause pain or injuries. I chose to reconcile myself with this and live my life to the fullest anyway, not letting it stop me or slow me down. In my 20s I contracted Lyme disease; regretfully the doctors didn’t realize what it was and took months to treat it appropriately. The long-term damage to my joints and nerves were irreversible. Given I already suffered from autoimmune concerns, this added more complications and frustration to a growing list of health troubles. A few years later I suffered multiple herniated discs with sciatica that caused nerve damage in my foot, with some loss of feeling and weakness. Despite all my efforts with exercise, physical therapy, and staying active, by my mid-twenties arthritis and inflammation was already a problem in several major joints. At this point, not being physically capable of doing my normal activities and exercises, anxiety and depression started sinking in and becoming unbearable. The realization hit me that exercise and an active lifestyle wasn’t enough, I needed to help my body to recover and be strong enough to fight off the decline that was rapidly descending upon me. The thought nagging constantly at me was, “If I’m putting into my body things that cause inflammation every day I’m making it harder for my body to actually recover!” Something had to change.

The first step, I thought, was to remove soda and overly processed sugars entirely from my diet. This was much more difficult than I imagined it would be. Should be simple, just drink or eat something else! The problem is your body becomes accustomed and, essentially, addicted to these sugary bombs of endorphins. I had to gradually wean myself off the sodas and work hard, over several months, to lower my intake of processed sugars. While I started to regain some energy and mental clarity I was still regularly in pain and would often have a multitude of flair-ups. I spoke with my physical therapist and doctor, they would joke, “If you were overweight we’d talk about diet, but you aren’t so let’s focus on your exercises.” The exercises helped, but I was only getting by. I wanted to thrive.

By what I believe to be a gentle nudge from above, I stumbled on to a review of the book, “How not to die” by Dr. Greger. At first, I was skeptical. I study science, mostly behavioral, and with this education and experience, I’ve learned to question everything. Dr. Greger was thorough enough to include information to look up every single study he talks about in his book. This sent me down a deep, twisting rabbit hole of science and information that was not readily available to me prior. I buried myself in research and regularly visited his website while cross-referencing everything back to the studies themselves to read through all of them for any inconsistencies. I desperately wanted to prove it wrong. My doctors never spoke about diet as an option, they totally discounted it. How can any of this be true? Milk causes inflammation? Eggs are not healthy? Meat is a carcinogen?!? Processed meats are listed as Group 1 carcinogen (the same as Tobacco and Asbestos, according to WHO)? Yet time and again the studies and research showed this could be true, everything Dr. Greger said (and everyone else I looked into) was true. To solidify my resolve I watched “Forks over Knives”. While much of it is a bit over the top I felt like I had finally woken up, I had taken the red pill and was no longer in the Matrix. I couldn’t unknow what I had learned.

After a lot of soul-searching, I made the switch. Gradually I cut all animal products out of my life. There were ups and downs, many times I fell back to old habits, but I stuck with it as best I could. I started by removing meat, then eggs, eventually milk and cheese. The cheese was the hardest one to let go. A few months later I eliminated most processed foods in general and sustained a predominately whole food, plant-based diet. After some time of fully plant-based, it became easier to adjust recipes and make meals. Everything was becoming second nature and it wasn’t a daily struggle of, “What on Earth do I make for dinner?!” As time went by something amazing happened, my anxiety was mostly under control and the pain I lived with most of my life was subsiding. I called my mother and said tentatively “I don’t want to jinx it mom, but that constant nagging pain of level seven or eight I’ve always had? I actually forgot about it for several days. I haven’t had pain, sure normal aches, but not MY aches.” As I continued on this path my energy levels increased, mental clarity and sharpness heightened, the pain was minimal, and overall I was thriving. I was once again able to do my workouts and be more active which allowed my body to heal more and continue on a better path to recovery.

Do I believe everyone would have these results? Honestly, I don’t know. Do I believe everyone could benefit from a whole food, plant-based diet? Absolutely! Will it cure all your troubles? I’m not a doctor so I can’t say if that’s possible but I can encourage you to look into it yourself. Listed below are some websites and links to pages that helped me along my journey. I’m listing only Dr. Greger’s pages because he has the science and studies to back the information. If anyone is interested in other suggestions I will happily share those as well. You’re welcome to ask questions here and if there’s interest I’ll return for a Q&A or more guest blogs. The most important information I can give you is to do the best you can for you and to allow yourself to thrive. Don’t fall into a trap of “getting by.” Stay positive and keep striving to be the best version of yourself.

Dr. Greger’s site

Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, which greatly simplified my transition

We will address questions and comments on Tuesday, June 26th.

#Forksoverknives  #Drgreger   #hownottodie   #plantbased


Adventures in Foodland

Our youngest daughter is visiting this week (there will be more on that later).

She is slowly switching over to an entirely plant-based diet in an effort to control pain, inflammation and other problems caused by an auto-immune disorder.

So, last night we broke out my new Instant Pot, a Christmas, birthday and mother’s day present, and made a fantastic, very filling meal.

I’ll be posting photos of our adventures and recipes as the week goes on. Plus, if anyone is curious or has questions, we’ll be glad to answer or attempt to answer them.

Brief, Interesting History of Memorial Day

Originally, Memorial Day started out with little fanfare when, after the Civil War, many areas began paying tribute to the 600,000 plus fallen soldiers. (More lives were lost in the Civil War than any other American conflict.) Initially, it was known as Decoration Day. Women of the South began the tradition of placing flowers on the graves of their fallen. In 1868, not long after these impromptu tributes, General John Logan proclaimed the 30th of May to be the day of commemoration.

General Logan served in the Mexican-American War and was a general in the Union Army. In addition to being a state senator, US Congressman and US Senator, he was the head of an organization for Union Civil War veterans. His efforts to commemorate fallen soldiers lead many to believe his movement makes him the most prominent figure among those most responsible for Memorial Day being recognized as an official holiday.

Many people place flowers on the graves of the fallen soldiers. In fact, there is a small controversy regarding why the date for Memorial Day was chosen for May 30th. One faction believes it to be because there had been no battle on that date, another believes it to be because it is the optimal time for flowers to be blooming.

Northern states quickly picked up the tradition, and by 1890 all were paying tribute to their fallen on May 30th. However, the Southern states held their honors on different days.

Congress enacted the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, making Memorial Day the last Monday in May in order to allow for a three-day weekend. The act went into effect in 1971, and Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday. It is now celebrated nationwide on the last Monday in May.

(Information compiled from the History Channel website and Wikipedia)

Thursday’s Terms (GDPR Compliance)

There have been some changes to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation is the European Union (EU) law taking effect on the 25th of May 2018. The goal is to give EU citizens control over their personal data, and to change data privacy approach of organizations across the world).

If you follow my blog, your email address is collected at the point you begin to follow.

If I have a blog post that includes a giveaway I am hosting, then it will either be Rafflecopter or PromoSimple. I collect your email address in the event you win so you can be contacted to let you know you won.

If you subscribe to my blog, the type of notifications sent to you are about my recent blog posts, if there are giveaways, if I am on a book tour, in addition, other book-review related items may be included.

You can unsubscribe at any time. To unsubscribe click the unsubscribe button or the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the emails you receive. You also have the option to unsubscribe from my blog (Captive Dreams Window) by unfollowing me on WordPress. Otherwise, no action is required.

Your privacy is important to me, I NEVER sell your information for any purpose.

As I understand it, this is the information I need to let you know, and currently only pertains to those in the EU.


I Can Only Imagine Individual and Small Group Study Series from City On A Hill


My Review

I recently saw the movie I Can Only Imagine, about the story behind the blockbuster hit written by Bart Millard and sung by the group MercyMe.

The song has always resonated deeply with me, in fact, I have requested it be one of the songs sung at my Mom, Dad, and baby Brother’s funerals. To me, somehow, it seemed fitting and appropriate. After seeing the movie, it is even more evident to me.

So, you can imagine my delight when the opportunity arose for me to review several products that expanded on the movie.

The DVD features Bart Millard in 4-episode installments featuring lessons God has taught him, along with scenes from the movie. I enjoyed the DVD, though there were some tough situations portrayed, as there are in the film, too. However, Bart Millard’s style is open and relatable, making the lessons easy to identify with and absorb while challenging us to reimagine our future.

The devotional, broken into four 7-day studies, for a total of 28 days, concentrates on the life of Jesus and what His life means and can mean to us. The emphasis is on the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, written in a story like version. Included within each day’s lessons are questions for reflection and scripture; then the week is concluded with a call to action. Scattered throughout are interesting facts and different songs to enrich your study experience.

The leather journaling notebook is 100% vegetable tanned leather handcrafted in Haiti. It has 128 pages and is refillable. In addition to its incredible, aromatic leather smell, it provides the opportunity for you to record your prayers and their answers, along with your questions and answers and any reflections you may have as you study the Bible.

I received the I Can Only Imagine Study Series from FrontGate Media. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Purchase link   
Promotional code: use frontgate10 for a discount of 10% off the I Can Only Imagine Series and/or Journal

Publisher’s Product Descriptions


Want to hear more of Bart Millard’s incredible testimony after watching I Can Only Imagine? This 4-Episode Video Series features Bart Millard, lead singer of MercyMe. Bart shares his true testimony of redemption and hope, along with the lessons God has instilled in him. Contains select scenes from the I Can Only Imagine movie. Each episode is approximately 12 minutes.


Find hope and purpose in this 28-day study of Jesus’s life and ministry. This beautifully designed 28-day study journal is effective as a stand-alone study or as a participant’s guide for the I Can Only Imagine Video Series. Embark on a journey through the Gospels to discover Jesus’ encounters with broken people. Each day will include scripture, reflective questions, and prayer— all working together to reveal God’s incredible heart for you.


Journaling has always been a healing exercise for Bart Millard, lead singer of MercyMe and writer of the song, “I Can Only Imagine.” Bart’s journals act as a record of God’s amazing grace throughout his life. Using this refillable leather notebook, begin to create your own library of prayers, thoughts, and questions and start to see the evidence of God at work in your life.


(One entry only per person)

Release Day for Amy Clipston’s Room on the Porch Swing!!!!

It’s RELEASE DAY for ROOM ON THE PORCH SWING!! Join Amy Clipston TONIGHT at 8 p.m. EST for a Facebook LIVE party! Amy will have a special guest! Join us!!

And Remember

Image may contain: text