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Transformed at 40: Stephanie McGarrigle

 Wake up Call

In 2017, Stephanie McGarrigle of Saint John received what amounted to a death sentence. "I was barely able to withstand simply sitting on a bench at a park while my kids played...”At 39, Stephanie weighed 330 lbs. She was overweight, but in addition to that, she had narrowly survived a bout of severe clotting in her lungs. As a stay at home mother of two, the news of a life-threatening ailment had a soul-resounding impact. It was a wake-up call that lead her to completely revolutionize her diet.

 “I had never actually heard of the keto diet until I was already doing it. I was so sick, full of inflammation, lacking functional mobility... I started to eat grain free, gluten free, low carb, and it was my mother who actually suggested I go even lower carb, which lead me here, to keto and intermittent fasting as my way of life.”

The Road to Change

Stephanie chronicled her journey on Instagram, where Master Indian Spice first learned of her journey through the delicious food photos and dramatic before-and-after photos she had posted there.

According to her the dietary changes were the easy part; like many who begin a ketogenic diet, the results were quick and dramatic, but long-lasting results were a little more difficult to maintain.

“I can honestly say that the first 16 to 18 months of my journey were virtually effortless. I began this out of desperation to feel better and regain my mobility, but the weight started coming of rapidly, and continued to melt away to the tune of 150lb in one quick year. I lost a little bit more before undergoing a surgery early in 2019. I've subsequently had a second surgery this year, and have struggled here and there with old binge eating habits creeping in, but I never have and never will give up.”

Any change to the core of habits that make up ones daily life takes persistence and focus. What helped Stephanie the most was focusing on her reason for wanting to make the change.

“The biggest tip or advice I can give to anyone who needs to get a handle on their health is to figure out their why. You need to have a reason to get you going, and then it truly comes down to focus and discipline. I used to believe it was about being motivated, but now I know it's about self-discipline and consistency. If you feel like you've fumbled or failed, just keep trying over and over until it sticks and becomes your new normal.”

Cooking with Master Indian Spice

Along the way, Master Indian Spice became a part of Stephanie’s culinary repertoire.

“I discovered Master Indian Spice kits at a local store called the Pumpkin Patch in Saint John, NB and they literally changed my entire life. I always believed curry gave me heartburn/acid reflux, and I avoided it for most of my life. I had no idea that curry dishes were more than yellow curry powder. I fell in love with butter chicken at a local restaurant, which is expensive and puts me at risk of gluten exposure, as I am celiac, so the kits, assembled at home with my own ingredients, were life changing. I had tried SO many bottled versions of sauces, and they never tasted right, or even good. On a keto diet, it's hard to find sauces and spice blends without filler ingredients that should be avoided, like high fructose corn syrup, or sucralose, so these fit the bill of being real, whole food ingredients.

“At first, I was diligent about following the kit instructions to the letter, but most recently, for example, I fried up ground beef and used a butter chicken kit with the beef, using coconut oil and Rotel (tomatoes and green chillies). With leftovers, I made a soup using beef broth, more coconut milk, and the saucy butter chicken flavoured beef that was leftover, and it was the nicest meaty, keto/carnivore soup you could have imagined!"

A New Path

Stephanie's life has changed completely, and the dietary changes have put her on a new trajectory as a fitness instructor. "I've been working towards two different certifications to instruct fitness classes at my local YMCA (Aqua Fit, and Drums Alive!), and that would never have happened while I was obese and unhealthy!" 

Whenever you make a change for the better, it's an act of kindness for the people in your life, and for your community. You're showing up, and making a new positive difference you couldn't have made before you decided to make that change. So we want to say thank you to Stephanie McGarrigle for making that change, and Master Indian Spice is proud to a small part of her story.

May 27, 2020 — Ben M