Nalida’s Bean Stew

Nalida’s Bean Stew

I sort and clean (rinse) a bag or two (if making big pot) of pinto beans or other beans (black, pink, kidney, etc.). Cook in pressure cooker 30 minutes. Release pressure. Add more water if needed. Stir and cook for another 15 min. If no pressure cooker, it will take longer on the stove. While the beans are cooking, I add about 8 or so cups of water to a large pot on the stove. Salt free 6 ounces of tomato paste, 12 ounces diced tomatoes, cup of diced onions, 2 diced sweet potatoes, 1 pound bag of frozen veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, 1/2-1 pound chopped spinach or kale, 2 cups corn, seasonings (Mexican Fiesta, Sweet Paprika, Smoked Paprika, Benson’s Table Tasty, Onion Powder, garlic, parsley, other non-salt seasonings, spices, and herbs. If making the big pot on the stove, double everything. Let it all boil and cook, stirring often then simmer when veggies are soft. It will be thick. When beans are ready, I add them and stir well. Let simmer for another 20–30 minutes stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick. Makes about 20 cups of bean veggie stew.

It can all be done in pressure cooker (smaller amount), adding all ingredients after the first round of bean cooking. I just don’t like getting my rubber gasket so dirty with all the red sauce. 🙂

For more details and a few simple recipes included with my WFPB testimony, see my book on Bookpatch at:

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Dr. Ornish’s Book Undo It

I love Dr. Ornish’s proven research in preventive and lifestyle medicine with his 4 key factors:

A primarily whole food plant based diet. But that is NOT enough as he emphasizes in his research.

Movement and exercise (walking is proven to decrease inflammation which is the cause of many chronic illnesses)

Reduction of chronic stress (add prayer and meditation—we can’t afford Not to make time for it. Increase this A Lot of one of my current goals. By the way, a good book on meditation with a Christian perspective that I’m currently reading is The Mindful Catholic by Dr. Greg Bottaro and helps with perceived stress and responding to stress.)

Love and intimacy. Research shows that loneliness kills more people than even a poor diet does. Connect with family and friends daily and spend quality time with the people you love.

“A recent study proved that chronic stress or depression increases inflammation as well. Researchers at Harvard used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to measure activity in the amygdala, the part of your brain that controls the fight-or-flight stress response as well as depression. The researchers found that perceived chronic stress or depression in the people they studied caused markedly increased ongoing activity in their amygdala, which in turn caused their bone marrow to produce cells that cause inflammation. This, in turn, caused their coronary arteries to become inflamed and clogged—causing marked increases in cardiac events such as heart attacks and strokes.”

Eat As Though Your Life Depends On It—It Does.

The first picture was in August 2013. I had started my health journey a month before and had already lost 10 pounds. I was a size 24 women’s and my husband 44 inch pants men’s (down from size 54 years before). Michael still had not committed to making a big change and still had high blood pressure. When I think of how high it used to be, I thank God for his mercy. In May 2017, almost four years after I started, my husband committed to a 100% whole food plant based Nutritarian lifestyle. He was off medication by August 23, 2017 (I remember the date because it’s one of my brother’s birthday). The second picture was the eve before the 2019 Boston Marathon, April 14, 2019. Here was Michael, free from high blood pressure, a size 34 waist and wearing a size medium race singlet that showed his muscular 💪🏼 arms, standing next to me (size 6 and wearing size small women’s sweatshirt and sweatpants). I can’t tell you how grateful I was and am to God for that moment. And the third picture on the right shows Michael the day after finishing the Marathon with his Boston Marathon shirt.

And we haven’t “arrived.” This is still a journey and we are still working and moving in it, by God’s grace. Thing is, we had to take the first step. So many people pray for good health and weight loss and we Should pray! BUT, we must also work at treating our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit that it is. Stop waiting. Start today. Just start adding more fruits and vegetables and start cutting out the sugar, salt, and oils (but add some healthy whole fats like a little bit of walnuts and ground flaxseeds). Many of us are food addicts because of overexposure to processed and junk foods but it isn’t impossible to let them go and as much as we resist hearing it because of those addictions, abstinence from the junk is the only way to freedom from poor health and obesity.

Eat as though your life depended on it because it does.


The Only Way Out Is Through

The Only Way Out Is Through

“But it’s too hard!” is one of the things I hear sometimes when people ask how Michael and I have lost a lot of weight and I explain. It actually isn’t hard. It’s a process. It’s a journey. It’s some work. But everything worth it is all those things. Once you gain the knowledge, make the commitment, and pray and move through the obstacles, it becomes doable and oftentimes easy or easier. It’s like going through a short highway tunnel. It seems SO long when there’s traffic and you really just need to get to the other side to take your exit.

But the only way out is through. And once you get there, you continue to move forward and travel along this journey of health, fitness, and wellness.


Treadmill Mom, Marathon Man

Treadmill Mom, Marathon Man

A few years ago I jokingly dubbed myself Treadmill Mom after I was asked to be part of the documentary Big Change The Film. I said to the director, “Are you sure you want me in this? I’m not like the first two people already on it. I don’t do Marathons. I do 5Ks Slowly, I do exercise DVDs, and I walk and run on my treadmill. I’m Treadmill Mom.” He assured me that they wanted a regular person that people could relate to. I eventually owned that name and am grateful that I can walk and run on a treadmill when I couldn’t even do a 1-mile walk DVD without great effort at the beginning of my journey.

When my husband started training for the Boston Marathon, our older daughter started calling him “Marathon Man.” She’s still calling him that after he successfully completed it this past Monday, April 15, 2019. And he’s already strategizing on how he can improve his running and fitness even more moving forward and what other races, including a half marathon, he can participate in the near future. He has a passion for it.

Several people have asked me if I’m going to now do a marathon. No. As I’ve said to everyone who has asked me or suggested it to me, my daily life and responsibilities are my marathon and I don’t have the time, commitment or passion to pursue that. It’s not for me.

You don’t have to run a marathon to be successful at making a big lifestyle change. You don’t even have to run to lose weight, maintain weight loss and be healthy. Statistics show that losing and maintaining weight release is 80–90% of the story while exercise is 10–20%. Exercise is important for so much more than weight loss and maintenance though; it’s essential for overall good health and fitness, mood balances, and fighting diseases. Walk, box, kick-box, cycle on regular or stationary bike, hand cycle, swim, play a sport like soccer or basketball, stretch with various forms of stretching, do strength training, etc. Do what you can and what you like or just give something a chance and you may start to like it. This week I did walk/runs on my treadmill and walks outdoors. This morning I did three 10-minute segments of The 10-Minute Solution Knock-out Body Blast kickboxing DVD that I got on Amazon (along with the weighted gloves). It’s a workout that is effective, makes me sweat, and that I enjoy.

When I was a size 24, I never imagined that I would one day be a size 6 and be able to do “normal” things like walk and run on the treadmill. So just keep moving. Eventually you’ll form a habit and if you choose what you like then you’ll be able to stick with it.


#TreadmillMom married to #MarathonMan 🙂


Finished the race…

Dorchester Reporter article on Michael’s Boston Marathon race!

A Dream Turns Real: Blindness no obstacle; marathoner finishes run

By Daniel Sheehan, Reporter Staff

April 18, 2019

Michael Besson approaches the Marathon finish line on Monday with his guide, Theresa Funk.

Photo by Marathon Foto

Dorchester resident Michael Besson completed his dream of running the Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the 26.2-mile-long course in just over five hours. The blind, Haitian-born runner firsttold his inspirational story to the Reporteras he trained for the race last December.

At one point in his life, the 57-year-old Besson weighed as much as 500 pounds. But a lifestyle change to a plant-based diet spurred a dramatic weight loss and kindled in him a passion for fitness.

Painful childhood memories of being ostracized for his weight problem inspired him to run the marathon in support of The Play Brigade, a local organization dedicated to inclusion in sports and recreation for children with disabilities.

On Tuesday, the day after running the race, Besson said he was sore but “overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.” He thanked his wife, Nalida, and his guides, Julianna Malloy and Theresa Funk, for helping him achieve his dream.

“During this long marathon training season,” he wrote in a statement, “I learned that when someone wants to accomplish something, it calls for a lot of discipline and sacrifice. You also have to have a passion for what you are doing. Music and now running are my passions. When you have accomplished that goal, you feel a lot of emotions because you know you have worked very hard for it. That’s how I feel today.”

According to Besson, the positivity of the other runners and supporters made the grueling race easier. “When the bus brought us from Boston to Hopkinton, I saw how far away it was and even slept on the bus, but I told myself that I could run this distance. When I got off the bus and went into the tent in Athletes Village, I was happy because so many people appreciated me and my journey and were already congratulating me.

“When it was time for me to run, I started with a smile even though I knew it was a long route…so many people along the route were clapping and encouraging everyone and yelling my name because my second guide, Theresa, had my name written on her shirt, and that gave me extra energy. Even my fellow runners were encouraging me. I felt great. When I ran across the finish line I was so happy because I felt like my dream was accomplished.”

According to Besson’s wife, Nalida, he plans to write a book about his life and the journey to his marathon experience.

The Boston Marathon is April 15, 2019 and Michael is ready, by God’s grace

Right on Hereford, left on Boylston Street.

With less than a week before the Boston Marathon, I keep thinking about this final route and tearing up. I’m so happy for and proud of my husband Michael (Bib number 23952) who’ll be running for inclusion of children with disabilities representing The Play Brigade charity. Next Monday, will mark the end of a journey toward a longtime goal but in many ways, the beginning of a new journey. Please keep him in your prayers.

Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. I’ll be waiting for you to cross that finish line with your guide Michael! ❤️

Michael’s Play Brigade Fundraiser page:

Focusing on what is good

Day 70:

“Fix Your Mind On What Is Good”

~With so much going on these days and with all the challenges that I face, today’s devotion was everything!

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8–9”

“In the struggles and the busyness of everyday life, staying focused on the Lord is certainly a challenge. Be disciplined to make time every day to pray and reflect on God and His goodness. This is the work of the heart and the path to true recovery and freedom. Today, I encourage you to take your eyes off of food, the scale, the diets, and the insane weight goals. Then, fix your mind on what is true and honorable, right and pure, lovely and admirable.

If you really want to live in peace, start focusing on the health of your soul. Don’t be caught up in the insanity and busyness of the world, and don’t be overwhelmed by discouragement when it comes your way. Fixing your thoughts on the heart of God is a choice you have to keep making. I hope you will put one foot in front of the other today: Practice, practice, and practice some more, and you will find your piece.”

Excerpt From


Dr. Rhona Epstein

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Michael’s Fundraisers for The Play Brigade

Michael’s Fundraisers for The Play Brigade

My husband, Michael, is blind, and he is raising money to run the Boston Marathon in 2019 for inclusion of kids with disabilities in play, recreation and sports for The Play Brigade. All profits will go towards Michael’s goal. Please share and support as much as you can. Thank you!

Michael’s Play Brigade Fundraiser page. An organization that empowers with inclusion.

Play Brigade Info:

Braille Run 🏃🏽 🏃🏿‍♀️ T-shirts! Available for a limited time.

Get your braille/print “run” unisex t-shirt in various colors. All profits will go to Michael Besson’s Boston Marathon Run for The Play Brigade, supporting inclusion.

Please share with your networks to support The Play Brigade. Thank you!

Kids’ tees:

Adult Tees:

Nalida’s Etsy Shop for braille “run” Jewelry