Part 1: Slowly and surely, he lost 200 pounds


When Andrew, my husband, was a teenager, he ate a lot. After a soccer game with friends, he stopped at Subway to feed himself 2 foot long subs as snack. Then, on the way home, he stopped at gas station to get some candies / soda. When he arrived home, a nice Southern style dinner with a lot of carb is waiting for him and he enjoyed. Back in that time, Andrew’s metabolism is still in good condition so he does see why not keep enjoying all the good food.

Until he graduated his college and got a job, things change. Stay in the office all day, lack of outdoor activities and keep eating a lot of food starting causing him to overweight. Year 2003, when he was 29-30 years old, he reached over 420 pounds (or 190 kg). Unfortunately, there is no photo of him at that time (420 pounds plus, maximum weight he was embarrassed and would not weigh; so do not know maximum weight he got to ) but this photo can tell you that he was a big and tall guy.

PICTURE 1Picture 1 – Andrew year 2002/2003- over 420 pounds (or 190 kg)

Year 2008,  Andrew decided to change his eating habit then he started dropping weight; below is him at 410 pounds:

Picture 2Picture 2 – Andrew year 2008,  410 pounds (or 185 kg)

Andrew decided to change after the doctor told him that he may have to take diabetes pills and the body started being weak (allergy) which caused him to take allergy pills every day. For Andrew,  he does not care how he looks but there are many hidden problems causing by his overweight issue: potential diabetes, allergy, snoring, hair loss… so changing the weight is his top priority.

The losing weight journey is not over yet. Andrew is still working on it. However, Andrew is willing to share his experience, tips and any secret of his losing weight journey if it can motivate somebody to lose weight. “No pain, no gain”, this is so true. Andrew chose the slow way to reduce his weight which took long time but he knows the body needs time to adapt any change. For his case, it has been 7 years on this journey. There are a lot of weight loss pills, hardcore workout to burn fat,… out there but shocking the body with extreme medication and hardcore workout are not good for the body in a long term progress so Andrew chose to go with the natural way.

Andrew in the past (2007): Height 6ft4, 420 pounds, pants size 54, potential diabetes, gout, pills daily, snoring, hair loss, got rejected by all insurance companies for life insurance.

Update of Andrew (2014): Still same height 6ft4, 230 pounds.Pants size 38. No diabetes, no pills, no snoring. Got accepted by all life insurance companies. Still having hair loss. and gout. And of course, many people could not recognize him.


Picture 3 – Andrew year 2014, 230 pounds (or 104 kg)

It is a  long way but Andrew makes it to this point by working on it slowly and surely. Exercises and natural food are his secret, not fancy at all, but it works.

 PICTURE 3Picture 4 – Andrew year 2014, 220 pounds  (or 100 kg)


I was with Andrew during his journey as a coach, a care giver and a strict wife. And I will write more about how he made it in other post.

If you have any question, please write a comment and I will be glad to answer.

Salad for gout flare up patient

My husband is a gout patient and this causes his mood on and off for many years. Whenever the gout attack shows up, we both have to fight with it really seriously. Our rule of thumb is no medication to calm down the gout pain. We stick with the natural cure which takes longer time to heal.

If any of the person in your family has gout, you may have the idea of gout flare-up and how much pain it causes. My husband has a very high pain threshold but this did make him awake the whole night to suffer the pain. The pain really bothers my husband and he could not walk. He has to use a stick to get balance and reduce the joint pain happening during each step.

Let’s talk a little bit about gout. Gout develops when excess uric acid forms crystals in the body and this causes the joint pain due to the movement of the crystals in the joint fluid. So the only option to deal with gout attack is controlling the uric acid level. And to lower the acid uric, all the food we consume needs to be watched.

Of course we have to come up with a strict diet and no matter how long this takes, I believe that the stricter the diet is, the shorter the healing time is.

It’s been a blessing, since we notice that gout flare up at the early stage, there is no swelling point showing up yet. So after one week of strict diet, the pain is gone.

And I would love to share you the diet that my husband has been ‘enjoying’ for 1 week. Of course, it is not fun to have the same meal everyday but it cures so he is happy with that. This is the diet that my husband was on during the gout attack period. He has this 3 times per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner, all the same. There are many different meals out there can help with gout attack but I found this diet works the best for my husband.

What you see in this photo is a lunch serving I pack for my husband.

Gout flare up with comment

Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Mix For Gout Flare Up

Super simple and super quick

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Yield: 1 Serving


  • Half of a lime
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 1 iceberg lettuce head
  • ½ cup of shredded salad
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbl of Apple Cider Vinegar (chose the organic one, which has The Mother)
  • 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful of small sweet peppers (if any)
  • 2 cups of cherry juice (or 2 handful of cherries)
  • 3-5 bananas


  1. Chop and toss all the vegetables in a large bowl with the extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Mix the veggies well. Squeeze the lime to the salad then mix.
  3. Serve with 2 cups of cherry juice and bananas (or your can split the banana to snack during the day)


Gout flare-up patient needs to eat at least 5 bananas a day. Banana is natural anti-inflammatory food which helps the joint to stop swelling (so you don’t have to take Ibuprofen). Cherry juice or cherries will help you heal quicker.





See how I recycle Budlight bottles!

See how I recycle Budlight bottles!
Using Budlight as vases.
I got a huge flower boutique from my neighbor who is a hard working farmer. Well, all my stuffs were still packed in the moving boxes and I still have not had time to unpack them. So there are not enough vases to take care all of the flowers.
Having a house gathering last weekend and there are a lot of empty beer bottles around the porch. I came up with this idea: using Budlight as vases.
Look at this. They are beautiful, aren’t they?

IMG_2247 with signature

Grow your own lemongrass

When I was a child, my mom and my grandmom always cook herbal shampoo for me to wash my hair. Like any Vietnamese child, I wash my hair with the homemade herbal shampoo twice a week. Life keeps me busy so I could not treat myself with this herbal shampoo when I grow up. And I missed this so much because I remember how beautiful my hair was, back to that day. Well, until now, I can grow my own lemongrass and other herbs, so I plan to make the herbal shampoo myself. I will soon share you the recipe how to make it, because I swear, your hair got the best nutrition from this shampoo recipe.

Lemon grass is a mixed use plant. It can be grown for culinary, beauty or landscape. If you have mosquito in your yard, lemongrass will keep them away from you. Not only mosquito but also snakes and other bugs hate the smell of lemongrass as well so this is perfect to get rid of them without put chemical to your yard. I love the smell of lemongrass, it is very fresh and relaxing. Sometimes when my husband and I go to the river walk after work, instead of using insect repellant, we just cut some stalks of lemongrass and carry them with us while walking. And it works like a charm.

Also I love lemongrass because I can use it to cook some tasty dishes: lemongrass chilli chicken, stir fried beef with lemon grass…I even can make tea from lemongrass so it is a plus point to add this herb to your garden.


Here I will show you how to grow your own lemongrass from stalks you buy in the store:

Step 1: Cut the stalk to 4-5 inches, keep the bottom of the stalk

Step 2: Deep the stalk bottom to water so the root will develop

Step 3: Put the stalk in the potting soil, keep moist. Put it an angle (not straight) so it will bear more baby plants for you

Sometimes, you may see no root coming from the stalks (because the store may cut it too deep so the root cannot develop). So to get better chance, buy 2-4 stalks to play with.

It is easy, isn’t it?