Cathryn Larkin’s THM My Way Testimony
Can you share a bit about your background and how you found THM?
I’ve always been concerned with eating healthy, but I had a lot of misinformation. I dieted hard most of my adult life with occasional binging every month. With my mother being very sick most of her adult life, I was overcompensating, desperately trying not to follow after her. I was low-salt, low-fat, low-calorie, no coffee, and margarine eating. I was somewhere between Farm Fresh Tess and Raw Green Colleen. I also exercised a lot.
I was put on a diet of 1,200 calories a day by my doctor when I became borderline obese/diabetic, but I kept gaining. My doctor advised me to keep lowering calories until I could lose. By the time I got down to 400 calories a day I thought I would die. Calorie restriction didn’t work. Something had to be wrong with me, but my blood tests didn’t uncover anything. I kept getting symptoms and new diagnoses: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), adult-onset asthma, chronic sinus infections, systemic candida, fibromyalgia, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and a handful of other ailments. And the food allergies … I had always been sensitive to dairy, and it seemed by that time everything I ate made me feel sick. Oh, and I hit my head – one concussion too many. This time there were lots of symptoms and they didn’t clear up. I’m still healing now, but so much better than I was.
Had you tried other “diet plans” in the past?
I stayed away from most trendy diets and just tried to eat sensibly with plenty of fruits and veggies, but I really did restrict myself too much. Dieting for me always meant to go extremely low in calorie intake. We were always told it was all about the calories – restrict them, burn them and then problem solved. But instead my body stored everything and I didn’t know why. After my mother died, I got desperate. I decided, after much research, to use HCG drops and the 400-calorie diet that accompanied it. I didn’t have the results the others I knew did, so I did it again and again. By the third round I was finally at goal weight, but it was definitely damaging to my body … as much as the chronic dieting had been. One thing I noticed though, was that when I stayed totally away from gluten and sugars, my head felt clearer and my stomach didn’t hurt as much. I found THM through a new friend who had been posting THM’d recipes. I started clicking on them and I found the information that I’d been looking for my whole life!
When you began your THM journey, did you jump in with both feet or did you take baby steps?
I’m from the northeast – we don’t believe anything until we are very sure. I research everything, dissect it, and give it the test of time, just in case. But I had been praying desperately for a solution and I was positive that THM was God’s answer for me! I immediately ordered the e-book and read the whole thing in two weeks, then reread it again! I felt God’s presence and encouragement all the while. So I jumped in with both feet as soon as I got to the recipe section of the book. I continued to study, research, and fact check. I was that girl who posted online from the grocery store – “Is this on-plan?” “Is this an S or E?” Hehehe!
What were some of the first things that started happening to your mind and body once you had been on-plan for a few weeks?
I had been low-fat and salt-free for so long that my body did a happy dance for the long, overdue nourishment! It was huuuge happening for me! I felt more energy. That usual 3:00 p.m. meltdown? Gone! I had much less overall pain, too! Before long my skin, hair, and nails were getting so much healthier! I was sleeping better, too.
What are some of your “go-to” foods you find yourself going back to time and again from the original Trim Healthy Mama book? What is your favorite recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama Plan Cookbook?
From the original Trim Healthy Mama book, I love the “poop cookies” (Best Macaroon Cookies, page 376), Just Like Wheat Thins (page 396), and Wonder Wraps (page 274). I also love the Coconut Porridge (page 232) recipe.
Oh! This “new” Trim Healthy Mama Plan Cookbook is such a blessing for those of us that are dairy-free! Subbing for dairy usually meant more S meals, and less FP. Collagen Berry Whip (page 375) is my go-to! It’s a FP (or E) snack that has built-in protein!! Woo-hoo!! Superfood Chocolate Chews (pages 382-383), Skinny Chocolate Truffles (page 384), Laughin’ Mama Cheese (page 484), Hello Cheese and Hello Veggie Cheese (pages 487-488). Oh, and all things Trimmy (beginning on page 430)!!! Who needs cream? Not me!! I also love the Creamy Grains recipes (pages 252-253)!!!
Seriously, since I’m dairy, soy, corn, most grains, and a bunch of other random foods-free, the menu can look skimpy. These recipes are not only adding variety, but they are really yummy too! Throwing eggs or salmon on a salad is a staple of mine… could you believe I’d never thought of doing that before? My new favorite recipe is the Sensitive Secret Big Boy (page 417)!!
What are some of your favorite non-scale victories (NSVs)?
All those ailments I listed above? Asthma, GERD, candida… all gone!! It took a while to find what I needed for some things, especially the systemic candida (was so stubborn). The info in the first THM book gave me lots to research, as well as bouncing questions off my THM buddies. I had also thrown my hormones off and became estrogen dominant. I’ve balanced that with bio-identical hormones and herbs. God gave us the leaves of the trees for healing – there is an answer for whatever you need. Presently I’m working on healing leaky gut, the last of the brain issues, and building my strength back up again! Having so many things wrong, I wasn’t losing weight. I had actually gained when I re-concussed myself after achieving goal weight. I’m healed up so much that I’m losing steadily again! A turtle for sure, but the downward trend is such a blessing! I’ve lost 9 pounds in these last 5 months (WOW!), but especially have noticed how my waistline and thighs are sculpting! My husband loves how soft my skin is without using daily moisturizer – actually, I seldom need any moisturizing except for my face! My hair and nails grow like weeds. I can wear boots that cover my calf!
What would you tell others who are also dealing with food sensitivities and/or allergies? Tips? Strategies?
1. Don’t panic! THM can be done with pretty much any limitations!
If you’re new to allergies, it’s easy to be thrown by what you can’t eat. Better to start by making lists of foods you CAN eat- separate into S, E, and FP. You can begin to plan your menu from these lists, and the helpful appendix in the Trim Healthy Mama Plan Cookbook on pages 497-502.
If you’re already used to cooking with allergies, just learn the basics of THM – fuel separation, learning to listen to what your body needs, and juggling your fuels.
2. Keep it simple at first! Often it’s easier to modify what your family eats already, but there are lots of recipes in the cookbooks that are allergy-friendly! I like to try something new each week or so!
I went through my cookbook and tabbed the index pages. Then, I took a black sharpie and put a dot after the page numbers of all the recipes that my family and I eat without any substitutions (or I could just leave out the offenders and it’s good as is). I took another color sharpie and dotted the recipes that needed a tweak or two. I write in my tweaks or changes on the recipe’s page. This gives you sooo many more options than you can imagine! The THM Plan Cookbook is mostly gluten-free, and has so many dairy-free options.
3. Eating healing, cultured foods, and bone broth is also beneficial.
4. Reach out for support. The Allergen-Free THM Facebook Group has lots of helpful ladies, and the files section is chock full of subs and such! The Trim Healthy Membership site is really well stocked with allergen-friendly meals and goodies as well!!
How has THM changed your life?
You have no idea. Besides Jesus Christ, my husband, and my children, THM has been the biggest life change. I’m getting my health back in every way imaginable. I can eat without guilt. I can feel really good about what I feed my family. I can offer allergen-friendly alternatives to others. Cooking is one of my love languages and I feel like I’ve stepped through the barrier. I can make food that is not only nourishing and healing, but also really delicious! 🙂