Rhonda Peters is author of the cookbook So What Can I Eat Now: Living without Dairy, Soy, Eggs, Corn and Wheat. She is a Louisiana native, so we know that she knows how to cook. We are in for something delicious today for every woman who wants to make her inside as beautiful as her outside. Rhonda currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Rhonda is tons of fun and I know that one day she’ll have her own cooking show. At the beginning of my journey to change the way that I eat, that Rhonda was very influential and very helpful to me. She reached out to me on social media, sent me a copy of her beautiful cookbook.
Reclaim your sexy. We’re talking about what I call the Bombshell Body Solution.
Abiola: Rhonda, tell us how your interest in healthy eating came about.
Rhonda: I am a physicist and an electrical engineer. You can say that I’ve always been inquisitive about science and how food works. At the age of twelve, my mom put me in the kitchen and gave me a whole chicken – “You’re going to learn how to cook and cut up this whole bird and all its major parts!” I was like, “Mom! I’m too young!”
When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of twenty-three I was on every drug. Everything that you see on TV, I did it eight years ago. I was on every scientific drug before it was approved, and all of that. I was still having these flare-ups; I would wake up like I was sixty years old and couldn't even grip a toothbrush. There were times where I couldn't even put on clothes because twice a year it would be a major, intense flare up where I could not grip, put on clothes, drive or anything. I just dealt with it for five days and after five days it went away.
Then I moved to Arizona. Everybody on the west coast was doing this healthy lifestyle and this natural doctor talked about how foods could heal. In 2005 I was like, “What do I have to lose? I’m going to try this food thing because I’ve done everything.” I’ve done cortisone shots twice a year; I used to do weekly injections with what they give to cancer patients. Then it occurred to me after doing research that there’s no known cure to date for rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disease. I said, “If there’s no cure, why am I taking the medication? I’m still in pain!”
So I went on a journey in 2005; slow, baby steps, not being drastic. I just got off everything; I got off all the trigger foods and it was dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, coffee, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, chicken, turkey, pork, beef and everything. I got off and I stayed clean for a couple of years. Immediately – within two months – I had no pain.
Abiola: All of your symptoms went away within two months?
Rhonda: I got off the medication and I have not taken medication for arthritis since 2005.
Abiola: Wow! You literally did use food to heal yourself and heal your body.
Rhonda: Yes, ma’am! If you’ve ever been in pain – it was just amazing and enlightening and it’s unbelievable. When I tell people this, you can’t believe it. You’re like, “I just don’t believe it’s that easy!”
Abiola: I believe you. I happen to believe you because when I reached out to you, Rhonda I was having hive flare ups which are not the kind of pain that you were going through. But almost head-to-toe hive flare ups. It was insane that I felt like my body was literally rebelling against me. Like you said, if you take these things out of your diet and start to eat clean the body heals itself, the body rights itself.
Rhonda: It was wonderful; I was excited. At that point I started talking with people, “You can do this.” That’s when I decided to go on the journey and become this person; to share my experience like you. I said, “I’m going to write this cookbook called So What Can I Eat Now because that’s how I felt.” When the doctor said I had to remove everything that you eat in Louisiana, I was like, “Oh my God! You’ve got to be kidding me! I eat everything!” Everything that mom taught me how to cook was on the list of no’s.
It was just starting all over. I felt that I knew it was more than just me out there so I wrote the book to be a started. It’s not the silver bullet that’s going to hit everybody, but it’s recipes for everybody, whether you are trying to deal with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or you’re trying to control weight. You can find something in the book because I try not to be the weight loss book or the diabetic book because when you’re first getting started you just want to eat.
You just need food. I need something to eat! Can I just get one day of meal and that’s the way the book was set up – to at least get you through a couple of days.
Abiola: And it does! That’s how it was helpful to me but of course everyone should check with her own doctor or health care provider. How did your family react? How did you socialize?
Rhonda: It is definitely different because when you’re at home in your own world and your environment you can control it, but I traveled a lot and I hang out with my friends and it was very difficult. I’m a determined person so you have to be determined and focused when you do this plan because people tend to make you feel like you have a problem, like something is wrong with you.
You then begin to feel like something must be wrong and then you don’t want to eat or you eat and you know what’s going to happen but you’re trying to satisfy the environment. I flipped the positive and said, “Until you can feel the pain that I felt you can’t tell me you got to pick part and be a part of us because this is what we are doing.” I was in pain and it is not worth me going back.
I will take my food to my friend’s house. In 2005, there were products but they weren’t mainstream like they are now.
Abiola: I can imagine, yeah!
Rhonda: I would take my food to a restaurants and I dared people. I was ready! I always travel with food and I actually went to China on this diet in 2006! I had a small suitcase with almond milk, rice cakes, almond, butter; I had protein shakes and vitamin water in my suitcase.
Abiola: I love it! I just want to point out to people who may be reading this that whatever pain that you’re in, for some people it’s the emotional pain of carrying around excess weight that they feel is unhealthy for their body type, for some it is a physical pain with chronic condition. Whatever it is that you had to make the most self-loving choice for yourself versus trying to please the people who are around you.
Rhonda: Yes, exactly! They’re not going to be with you at night, right?
Abiola: Rhonda, it feels like for you that this has been a whole life approach, is that correct?
Rhonda: Yes, it’s been a journey and I tell people I took my time. I took my time and that’s probably because I am a physicist at heart so I’m always trying to understand how and why things work. When I started doing the pancakes and when I started making the desserts, I was like, “What is the purpose of an egg? But the salad looks ugly; I don’t feel like eating it! What can I do to make it brighter and lighter?”
Abiola: Beautiful! My upcoming book is called The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love and I define a bombshell as a woman who loves herself unconditionally, inside out, which is obvious by the care that you take with your body and with healing yourself. What makes you a bombshell, Rhonda?
Rhonda: Despite the challenges that I may have with the thyroid disease, I still put myself first. I exercise on a daily basis. I eat right. I make sure the makeup is right; I make sure my hair is right and my personality and my heart is right. All of that gives me confidence and it gives me confidence in the way that I take care of myself and that makes me a bombshell.