Friday, September 18, 2020


I recently came across this debate over a diet program in my Twitter feed. The diet apparently consists of eating between 500-1000 calories a day on top of doing one hour of cardio a day. This info immediately caught my attention because of what I've gone through in the last couple years. I nearly died in 2018 from malnutrition which brings me to this story.

I tracked down the 500-1000 calorie diet to Teddi Mellencamp who runs a program called ALL IN by Teddi. Teddi Mellencamp is the daughter of the singer of John Mellencamp and is one of the housewives on the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The reason the founder's identity is important is because it helps sell her diet and exercise program. Her business/program has apparently been talked about on the Real Housewives show and in other Housewives related television spots like the Housewives Reunion and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. 

What I gather from the Tweets and the original source of this information which happens to be a woman by the name of Emily Gellis Lande, an influencer on Instagram, numerous past ALL IN clients are coming forward (Emily shares the evidence) to talk about how unhealthy and unsafe the program is. It involves a very restrictive diet, under 1,000 calories per day, doing an hour of cardio each day, sending photos of your food and weight (scale) into an ALL IN "accountability coach" that has zero credentials. The ALL IN coaches are not licensed nutritionists or dieticians nor is there even a physician on staff or anyone with a health science degree. Apparently all the "accountability coaches" are former ALL IN clients. 

Nutritionists learning about this program are now warning it can lead to eating disorders or disordered eating.

READ THIS: Disordered Eating or Eating Disorder: What's the Difference?

When I first stared reading about this I thought it was a joke because #1 who in their right mind runs a program like that and actually doesn't get called out by medical professionals? And #2 who in their right mind would go for a program like that? From what I've read the program costs $599 to start and $399 a month. Not sure if that is 100% accurate but that is what is being shared on Emily's page, Twitter, and in articles across the internet. Why would someone pay a person to basically starve them? Which brings me to my issue with all of this.

I was always naturally thin growing up and through a good portion of my adult life. I could eat  McDonalds every day and not gain a pound. When I was a teenager I would get a Big Mac, large fries, chocolate shake, McNuggets and a fish sandwich and eat it all in one sitting. I had a voracious appetite and never gained an ounce, it was genetic. I had a very high metabolism, even after my first two births. I was 5' 6"and between 118-120 lbs. Then I had my third baby. After she was born there was a huge shift in how I physically felt. I was tired, had no motivation, craved lots of sugar and salt... I gained and gained and because my frame was small, gaining over 20 lbs was hard on my joints. When I peeked at nearly 145 lbs my knee started giving me a lot of trouble (same happened with the weight I gained during pregnancy). My back hurt a lot, and I was winded walking upstairs so I made an effort to start eating better, no more daily trips to Starbucks, and I started going to the gym again but no matter what I did that weight was NOT coming off. The more I ate healthy and exercised the more I seemed to gain. It was really bizarre, until 2018 when I became very ill. I lost nearly 25 lbs in 2 months and over an 8 month period I saw 14 doctors, had every medical test anyone can think of, I met with a dietician and even two psychiatrists to figure out if I was somehow causing myself to be sick. Very long story shorter... I was eventually diagnosed with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and nephroptosis (floating kidney). The SIBO caused me to develop extreme food sensitivities and impaired my ability to digest food and the nephroptosis was a result of the rapid weight loss that came from having malnutrition.

You are probably wondering at this point what the heck SIBO and nephroptosis has to do with the ALL IN program or any program like that. Well.. it's this...

Nephroptosis doesn't only happen to people who lose weight due to malabsorption caused by SIBO, it can happen to anyone who loses weight especially if the weight comes off quickly.

There are several reasons medical professionals advise anyone seeking out a weight loss program to make sure they don't lose more than 1-2 lbs per week.  Usually the main reason is loss of nutrients. To remain healthy we need protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water every single day. Eating one type of food all day or limiting your food too much will prevent your body from getting what it needs to be healthy and depriving yourself of essential nutrients doesn't always show up physically right away. I developed tinnitus 6 months after I lost over 20 lbs and almost a year later my hair started falling out, even though at that point I was back on a healthy diet. Those who starve themselves (anorexics or bulimics) will experience the same. The health problems can take months or years to appear. Lack of vitamins or nutrients can damage our hearts and bones and if we're very young those problems may not appear until we are in our 40s or 50s, this is why doctors urge people to be careful about how quickly they lose weight but what they don't talk about often is nephroptosis.

When I read a defender of Teddi Mellencamp's ALL IN program say that she lost 3 lbs a week over a two month period and raved about how great she felt and how happy she was that's when I decided to write this blog post. 

Nephroptosis (floating kidney) is when the kidney drops down into the pelvis upon standing upright. It is more common in thin women than in men. I've still not come across a man who has had this condition but I've gotten to know many women across the globe, all thin, who have or had it. 

Our kidneys and their vessels are embedded in a mass of fatty tissue called the adipose capsule (perirenal fat). The adipose capsule surrounds the renal capsule (renal fascia) to help keep the kidney in place and protect it from injury. When too much weight loss or too rapid of weight loss occurs the adipose capsule can disappear (as has been noted during surgical fixation) and the unsupported kidney can drop.  To repair a floating kidney, surgery is required. HERE is a case report by one surgeon. 

It took two months of weight loss for me before I noticed my kidney in my abdomen and my surgeon said that was very unusual, most women don't notice for years. They suffer the horrific symptoms like pain, vomiting, heart palpitations, blood in urine, dizziness, etc... but because nephroptosis is a fairly unknown condition it can take a long time to get diagnosed. The combination of me being so thin and my kidney being twisted made it possible for me to palpate it. Lucky for me because that meant I could get it surgically fixed right away and not suffer for years like other women. 

So if you were to do a program like ALL IN starting today and you lost 3 lbs a week for 2 months you'd lose a total of 24 lbs. which is almost exactly what I lost and can lead to a floating kidney (nephroptosis). Would a diet like that lead to a floating kidney for everyone? Of course not but why risk it?

Every woman who I've spoken to who is currently dealing with a floating kidney or has had a nephropexy (surgical fixation of the kidney) has either been naturally thin or thin due to dieting or health issues. In all my research of this condition I've not found whether the perirenal fat ever returns once a patient has had a nephropexy and worked to gained weight. Historically doctors would have patients put on weight as a treatment for a floating kidney but since it proved ineffective along with other treatments like abdominal exercises and the use of corsets they have since evolved to only using surgical treatment. 

Patients who had surgical fixation of the kidneys have never been followed long term either so there is no way of knowing the long term effects of the surgical procedure or the loss of perirenal fat. 

My surgeon diagnosing my floating kidney.

Here are the facts about the body. Doctors usually recommend that a woman take in 1500-2000 calories per day. The average female will burn about 350 calories a day without any exercise at all. If you did cardio you'd burn off the following in addition to the 350:

(depending on age and metabolism - the following is for the average female)

1. low impact aerobics - 300-400 cal/hr

2. walking - 210 - 360 cal/hr

3. running - 300-600 cal/hr (depending on speed and incline)

5. high impact aerobics - 400 - 600 cal/hr

Weight loss is accomplished by taking in less calories than you burn. If you take in significantly less calories than you burn over several weeks to months you can drop weight very fast, but is that healthy? No.

Doctors, nutritionists, and dieticians always warn that rapid weight loss can lead to muscle loss, slowed metabolism, and nutrient deficiencies. Now you know it can lead to nephroptosis also. 

This is the problem with taking nutrition and weight loss advice from reality t.v. personalities, especially one that has zero credentials to back-up what she is advising.

Another thing a lot of women aren't aware of is that SIBO can also be responsible for weight gain. In my case it started as weight gain then shifted into the opposite but most women will be stuck in the gain category carrying around 10, 20, 30 extra pounds for years and struggling to shed and not knowing why they can't. This is another reason why a nutritionist or dietician would be more helpful because most have heard of SIBO and many have actually been trained on how to help SIBO patients by working in conjunction with their functional medicine doctors or naturopaths. HERE is an example of a woman that struggled with being overweight and lost 53 lbs after learning she had SIBO and getting treated. 

Starvation is never the way to go about losing weight. Don't pay someone to take you on a destructive journey that could lead you in the direction of worsening health. There are a lot of people in the world who get rich by taking advantage of other people's vulnerabilities and desperation. Don't be their victim. 

Friday, August 14, 2020


On May 17, 2020 I purchased more lye from Bramble Berry. I've not had very good luck with their lye lately, hit and miss on whether it ruins my soap recipe. It took a long time for me to figure out what the problem was because the problem was so inconsistent so this time I purchased a brand new container of lye and this is the result after mixing the lye and distilled water and of course my tried and true recipe came out soft!!

Lye should never be this weak. Even Bramble Berry admits this on their website.

I've had terrible luck with Bramble Berry products lately and considering I've been buying from them since 2007 it is really a shame to have this experience. All of the fall scents I purchased also smell very weak for the first time EVER and I'm hoping that is not the case when I make soap and candles with them.

I definitely won't be purchasing lye or silicone molds from them again in the future, I'll post about the fragrances in a couple weeks. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


 I am pretty angry right now. Like most people I get really frustrated when I spend a lot of money and I get junk. A year ago I posted about a mold I purchased from Bramble Berry.  I bought their 2 lb mold with 2 silicone liners. When my package arrived I opened it to make sure I received what I ordered and then I stuck everything in a cupboard for future use. When I finally got around to using the mold which was months later I discovered that neither silicone liner fit properly. They were both narrow on the ends and the weight of the soap didn't fix it. There was no way to tape the mold to sides because the liner was actually smaller on the ends than it was in the middle.  Here is a photo:

I wasn't happy about this but too much time had passed for me to complain (so I felt). I figured I'd use the liner anyway and just slice off the ends. 

I rarely use the 2 lb mold but because I liked the simpleness of having a silicone liner (my other molds are 5 & 6 lb molds and they don't have silicone liners) I bought a 2nd mold. I didn't need to buy a 2nd liner because I had purchased two the first time around and one was unused. I decided to start using both 2 lb molds more often. I made about half a dozen with the first mold I bought and today I was on the 3rd use of the 2nd mold (and liner) I bought. 

Keep in mind that I wash the silicone molds by hand, using warm water, careful not to stretch. I've read quite a bit about silicone liners and wanted to make sure mine would last. 

Here is a photo of what a Bramble Berry silicone liner looks like after using only 3x.

No matter how hard I tried I could not get the liner to straighten. I poured the soap in thinking the weight would straighten the liner out (like it does with the other one) but it didn't work. I tried to tape it but that failed too, I then tried using vaseline since I've read other Soapmakers have done that with liners but it didn't work either. Measuring the liner shows it has completely warped. 

I am not the only person this has happened to. Bramble Berry Reviews.

I decided to post about it here because reaching out to BB is useless. I've tried contacting them about orders or items in the past and I never hear back.

If you have a silicone liner from Bramble Berry, how did they work for you? Also, if you know of a good company to buy a silicone liner from please let me know.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


Sharing some new soap creations that I am really happy with.

I've had this little fish tail for a while now and had an idea how I wanted to create the soap but I was using a fragrance I'd never worked with before so wasn't sure how the process would work out. The base of the soap didn't exactly become what I wished for mainly because I used shredded luffa, something I now know I hate, but the rest of the soap turned out great.

The little pearls and the eco glitter were exactly what I needed for this project. So cute!!

My daughter wanted me to make some Pride Soap for her friends. I find working with multiple colors challenging when trying to create the perfect layers so I kept putting this project off. Finally I made it. I didn't get the perfect straight layers but what I did get I thought turned out awesome! :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2020


I made some yummy scented peach soap a couple days ago and added some jojoba beads to the top. It turned out beautifully. The color is perfect, the scent is to die for, and the design is exactly what I wanted.

Here is the soap

Here is a close-up of the tiny jojoba beads

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


I made several batches of soap recently and was really pleased with the fragrances so I wanted to share my thoughts here.  All FOs are from Bramble Berry.

Electric Lemonade is #1 because it is one of my favorite BB fragrances. It smells so fresh and uplifting and it soaps really, really well. No ricing or acceleration at all and the scent holds a long time in the cured bar.

Pineapple Papaya is #2 because it is my second favorite. I am not sure if others like it as much as I do since I never really get too much feedback on this fragrance but I love working with it because it smells so good. It does accelerate trace though so it doesn't leave a lot of room for design time.

Chocolate Mint is #3. It's not a BB fragrance, it's actually two of their FOs blended. I used their dark rich chocolate and blended it with candy cane. It came out perfectly. No ricing, no acceleration and it smelled exactly like I wanted, like a peppermint patty.  Their dark rich chocolate is to die for.

Blueberry Jam is #4. I love the fragrance. It smells just like blueberry jam. I am not pleased with the design of my soap though. It didn't turn out at all like I planned and I don't remember why.

Monday, May 25, 2020


My latest creation: raspberry truffle soap. I purchased this fragrance from Bramble Berry. It soaped up beautifully. No ricing, no acceleration. The chocolate scent is much stronger than the raspberry which comes through lightly. I love the way the colors and berries came out also. I was nervous at first since the FO was suppose to color the soap brown but initially it looked like a mustard color. After a couple days it became the brown you see in the pic.