Plant-Based Diet Results & New Sneakers - une femme d'un certain âge

Ok, I’m Convinced…

Detail: Susan B. wears ECCO Soft 7 sneakers in "Fire" (red-orange). Info at une femme d'un certain age.

These Sneakers, Tho…

So many of you have raved about these ECCO Soft 7 sneakers, that I finally relented and tried them.

O. M. G.

They are awesome! Really, really comfortable, with very good arch support. The heel feels slightly elevated. They’re good looking too, not clunky at all. This bright red-orange color hits a bullseye in my Spring color palette (and might work for some Autumns), but there are a lot of other colors offered…

Ecco Soft 7 Sneaker in Dusty Blue. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

You Summers might like this dusty blue

ECCO Soft 7 sneaker in Fig metallic. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

while this “Fig metallic” color might work for some Autumns, if that color is warm. (I haven’t seen all of the colors in person, so am relying on retailer images.)

ECCO Soft 7 Sneaker black. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

For Winters, there’s always classic black or white

And about that plant-based diet…🥕

Back in December, I mentioned that I was going to give plant-based eating a serious go. While I haven’t completely avoided animal products (have had the occasional bit of fish or chicken, and still eat 3-5 eggs per week), I’ve only had red meat twice since then, and have mostly eliminated milk products. (Occasional bit of cheese, a spoonful of Greek yogurt here and there.)

I had my annual physical this week, and the lab results are in. After just 2 months…

  • My total cholesterol, which has been in the 220-240 range for the last 4 years is now below 200. 🎉 LDL is way down, now back within normal range. 👍
  • My blood glucose, which had inched up into the “pre-diabetic” range for two out of the last three years is now back within the normal range.
  • All of my other labs are in normal ranges. (Though they usually are.)

So I’m celebrating, and will be sticking with this way of eating. 👍🍎🥑🥬

A Few Picks From The Weekend Sales

Eileen Fisher pointelle merino wool sweater. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I went sifting through the sales with an eye toward pieces that can transition into Spring. It’s easy enough to find lots of One Hit Wonders, but I’m more interested in pieces that can add some long-term value. And that might be travel-friendly.

There’s lots of Eileen Fisher included in the Nordstrom Winter Sale. Merino wool is one of my favorite fabrics for travel, as it’s lightweight, comfortable in a range of temperatures, wicks moisture, and doesn’t pick up odors. This bateau-neck sweater is 40% off, and offered in 3 colors.

Blank NYC suede moto jacket on sale. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This suede moto jacket is 50% off, and offered in 3 colors.

Via Spiga packable rain jacket in Plus. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This packable raincoat in Plus is 33% off, and offered in both black and grey.

Aquatalia leopard loafers on sale. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A pair of leopard loafers will zhush up a simple outfit. These are from Aquatalia, so should be comfortable, durable, and weather-resistant. 30% off.

J.Crew boatneck tee on sale. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

J.Crew is offering an additional 60% off sale prices with code WEEKEND. This boatneck tee could be a good layering piece for travel. Several colors and sizes still available.

J.Crew women's icon trench. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

It doesn’t get more classic than this trench, which is 30% off with code WEEKEND. (Misses sizes to 24.)

More Weekend Sales

Anthropologieextra 50% off sale items.

Banana Republic40% off everything (including my favorite Fuzzy Trucker Jacket)

Chico’sup to 50% off select full-price styles

J.Crew – up to extra 60% off sale styles, 30% off select full-price styles. Code WEEKEND

Lands’ End 40% off full-price styles with code FIREPLACE (including swimsuits…it’s a good time to shop for best selection)

Nordstrom – Winter Sale, up to 40% off

Talbot’s70% off all markdowns

Have you tried a plant-based diet? How did it go for you?

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. February 15, 2020 / 4:36 am

    I wear ECCO shoes a lot. All my good sneakers are from them. But this style does not work on me because of the smaller toe box. It ‘s a shame too, since they are very cute!

    • Elle
      February 16, 2020 / 6:06 am

      Can you please share the names of the Eccos with a wider toe box?
      Thank you in advance!

  2. Laurie
    February 15, 2020 / 4:51 am

    I am a fan of the Ecco sneakers. I have several pairs and really love them for travel. They also have them in Men’s. My husband has a pair of the soft 7 slip-ons that he likes for traveling and airport security.

  3. Ruth
    February 15, 2020 / 5:01 am

    ECCO shoes are the BEST! I own at least eight pairs from them. The sneakers are wonderful, but you should try some of their boots. Their ballerinas are super comfortable too.

  4. Memee
    February 15, 2020 / 5:27 am

    Yes! I Love ecco soft 7s and have four pairs I wear all the time plus several pairs of their slip-on loafers (soft 7 W Slip-on) which are On sale for $114 on the Ecco website. Congrats on lab results!

  5. Robin
    February 15, 2020 / 5:38 am

    Susan, can you share favorite source for plant-based recipes ?

    • Susan Blakey
      February 15, 2020 / 6:10 am

      I’ll confess, I don’t do a lot of cooking. I eat a lot of salads, steamed or roasted veggies, some easy gluten-free pasta dishes. I’m hoping that once le Monsieur retires we’ll both cook more. But I’ll definitely share favorite recipes/sources as I find more of them.

      • Rose
        February 15, 2020 / 6:29 am

        Susan—what do you do for breakfast besides eggs?

        • Susan Blakey
          February 15, 2020 / 6:32 am

          I don’t usually eat a big breakfast most days, as I have yoga and pilates classes some mornings, and find I do better without a heavy meal beforehand. Oatmeal (with oat milk) is a favorite, or gluten-free crispbreads with a little almond or cashew butter, or maybe some avocado spread on top. Usually some fruit too.

          • Brenda
            February 15, 2020 / 1:26 pm

            Try the chia seed pudding on Cookieandkate’s blog, too. Great source of fibre and protein – can make 4 or 5 days worth in about 10 minutes – store in fridge and then just top with fruit and maybe some raw nuts.

      • Brenda
        February 15, 2020 / 1:24 pm

        Two great sources for recipes (one mostly vegan; the other vegetarian)

        Vegan: (Desirée is a registered dietician and very knowledgeable – has a couple of good books; latest is Eat More Plants)

        Vegetarian: I make her recipes several times a week and they are so good. Highly recommend

        Both these women are very generous in sharing recipes on their blogs and instagram accounts

    • Linda
      February 15, 2020 / 8:22 am

      Hi Robin, I’ve been a plant based eater for 11 years. I get many recipes from plant based blogs.
      check out: The First Mess ( I just made the Shawarma loaded fries, even my 12 year old boys loved it), My New Roots, Oh She Glows, and Happy Healthy Vegan are all favorites. They all have cookbooks two. I have both Oh She Glows books and cook from the all the time.

    • Mary A.
      February 15, 2020 / 8:58 am

      I have been a vegetarian for about 15 years. The New York Times Food section is really great for recipes (you do have to subscribe but it’s totally worth it). I also find recipes on Pinterest. Some good cookbooks are the Thug Kitchen series (lots of bad language in them, I guess the authors are trying to be funny, but the recipes are REALLY good) and also any cookbooks by Issa Chandra Moskowitz. These cookbooks are vegan, but if you’re just doing vegetarian you can substitute real cheese for the nut-based cheese they call for.

      • MARGARET
        February 28, 2020 / 5:10 am

        A friend put me onto the fabulous Paprika app, which collects and formats recipes (ingredients/directions) from wherever you find them on the internet. It bypasses the paywall on the NYT food pages! Plus you always have the ingredient list ready when you are at the store!

  6. Linda Lennon
    February 15, 2020 / 6:03 am

    My husband has been an Ecco fan for years. I ordered a few pairs for myself, all on sale, and I’m keeping 3 pairs. Good return policy when you create an account.

  7. Suzanne
    February 15, 2020 / 6:12 am

    The minimalist baker is a site with many plant based recipes. She has a fabulous way for cooking tofu. My husband lost almost 40 pounds on the plant based diet. We do plant based at least five days per week. We do occasionally eat eggs or fish so we are not 100% compliant. Both of us have low cholesterol, sugar, and blood pressure. And my husband is almost 70. We also avoid gluten and sugar, both very inflammatory.

  8. Neats
    February 15, 2020 / 6:15 am

    I have had my colors done several times and each time am told I am an autumn. That’s good news as those are the colors I am drawn too. One thing I have always been told is the colors not up against your skin can be almost anything. Clearly that is not what you were told. I don’t understand – why couldn’t/shouldn’t you wear shoes or maybe even pants not in your color family?

    • Susan Blakey
      February 15, 2020 / 6:28 am

      Hi Neats, what I’ve found is that everything coordinates better and looks more harmonious when it’s in the same palette. For example, black pants can look harsh with most tops from my Spring palette. But it’s a matter of degree, and we definitely have a little more flexibility with shoes and maybe bags.

  9. jo
    February 15, 2020 / 6:20 am

    I have a wide toe box, narrow heel, and extremely high arch. Built in arch supports hit me in a painful place. All Birds are a no go. Except for this one experience, I can count on New Balance for a good fit. I got excited when I saw New Balance with an all black (sole included) All Bird-style shoe. To my surprise it was the same fit as All Birds! I tried two different sizes! SMH at New Balance! Still looking for a comfortable, all black (sole, too) travel shoe for all day walking. Ideas?

    • MarlaD
      February 15, 2020 / 6:45 am

      Jo, take a look at Naturalizer Morrison, it comes in black leather (but not a black sole) and other nice colors. I also have a high arch and need a wide due to arthritis in one foot and this is the only sneaker I’ve found that doesn’t hurt AND looks modern and sleek. I just ordered my third pair (on sale at Nordstrom right now)!

      • jo
        February 15, 2020 / 7:28 am

        I will check it out! Naturalizer has worked for me in the past, too! I reeeaaallly want all black if I can find it tho! Thanks!

        • Jo
          February 23, 2020 / 1:25 pm

          I checked them out. I found them to be a lil heavier on the bottom than I was seeking and a lil roomier in the heel, too. I am a hard fit, sadly. I just found some all black Nike Downshifter sneakers in a wide (true to size) that seem to be checking all the boxes for me! Thanks for your help!

      • Elizabeth
        February 15, 2020 / 11:25 am

        Thanks for suggestion, I love the look of the ecco sneaker, but I have wide feet and need a wide toebox, I will check out the Natrualizer Morrison!

      • Elle
        February 16, 2020 / 6:12 am

        We should all go shoe shopping together! I have similar requirements. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Lyn
      February 15, 2020 / 7:33 am

      My European travel shoes are Ecco, black on black lace-up leather oxfords. I actually wore out a pair after many years and replaced them with the closest match I could find. Ask your Ecco sales people what they sell to teachers. Not particularly stylish, but I can walk all day in them. They have several all black styles, including Soft 7 which has an arch that is a bit aggressive for me, but it’s probably right up your alley.

  10. Ann in Missouri
    February 15, 2020 / 6:27 am

    Ok, Susan … if you’re convinced, I’m convinced. I just ordered my first pair of Ecco sneakers in the light blue (I’m a definite summer).

    And thanks for being so consistent about letting YOUR season/coloring diagnosis guide your purchases. It’s really helped me be much more consistent with MY clothing purchases the last few months. And guess what — I’m actually wearing those clothes that make me look better than black does.

    Doy! 🙂

  11. MarlaD
    February 15, 2020 / 6:39 am

    I’m so glad to hear that plant based is working out for you! At my last check up, none of my numbers were particularly bad (I had backed away from the pre-diabetic line two years ago by making small easy tweaks) but last year my doc wanted me to start statins because “it’s recommended at my age”. I said I’d think about it, read up and decided I didn’t want to do it and worked to change my diet up again. I’ve done a lot of research on plant based and made some changes that seem normal now. I’m 3 months away from my next checkup and your results have encouraged me to step it up with the next phase of changes in hopes of having similar success!

  12. Shari
    February 15, 2020 / 6:48 am

    My husband is enamored by the “Plant Paradox” diet so we are trying to go ,mainly plant based eating…a little chicken and seafood.
    I love to cook so I’m doing ok with it. There are so many good ideas on Pinterest!
    Try sweet potato hash browns!
    I’m a new reader and love your ideas!

  13. Blyma Wolpin
    February 15, 2020 / 6:54 am

    Great news on the lab numbers! You continue to inspire in multiple domains. Question – have you tried the Camel and Guava in the J. Crew v neck merino wool sweaters? I seem to be able to mimic your palette pretty closely (lucky me, makes it so much easier), but I’m not whether those two are sufficiently saturated. Thanks! And those Ecco sneakers look divine!

    • Susan Blakey
      February 15, 2020 / 7:09 am

      Hi Blyma, I’m actually wearing the cashmere crewneck in Pale Guava today, which is a little more saturated and a little less orange than it appears on my monitor. I have the Heather Camel color in the cashmere as well. It’s a little more muted than most of my palette, but still works as a neutral backdrop. I haven’t tried the Merino sweater yet as I need to see those colors in person. None really seem to be in my palette except maybe the Faded Mint, which might be too cool or soft. We’ll see.

  14. Ania
    February 15, 2020 / 7:37 am

    What’s the difference between plant-based and vegetarian diets?

    • Susan Blakey
      February 15, 2020 / 8:12 am

      It depends on who you ask. 😉 I use the term “plant-based” to mean mostly non-animal foods, and limited processed food. I also limit sugar and bread.

      • Ann
        February 15, 2020 / 1:48 pm

        Congratulations Susan on this focus on your health. I have been a vegetarian for many years and my husband is vegan. The difference is I still eat some dairy and eggs. He eats no animal products at all, so I cook vegan. Many of the cookbooks, websites and blogs that have been recommended by others are very good. Issa Chandra Moskowitz really helped me when I started. I like to eat well, but don’t like to put a lot of effort into it, so simple is best for me. I agree with your definition of plant-based – mainly plants and some meat, which is not vegetarian. If you eat meat, use it as a condiment and not the main thing on your plate. Try to eat organic veggies, fruit and meat as much as possible.

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        February 15, 2020 / 4:52 pm

        I eat according to the Mediterranean diet – lots of veg, very little red meat (I only eat it when at friends’ houses or catering to carnivores – not many times a year – but do eat fish and some poultry. I do of course use olive oil. Since I had a very severe cow milk allergy in childhood, I’m afraid I’ll not get enough protein or calcium if fully vegan, and feel no guilt about that whatsoever.

        My appetite has about halved in recent years, which is a good thing in terms of “natural” weight loss, but I do fear not getting enough nutrients.

        • Elizabeth
          February 16, 2020 / 7:54 am

          Please consider a consultation with a dietician, usually through your doctor & free in Ontario, if you have doubts about getting enough nutrients.

      • SuD
        February 20, 2020 / 12:14 pm

        Glad to hear your numbers improved. Changing my diet to a more plant-based one took me out of the pre-diabetic range as well. Now I need to follow up with a cholesterol test. It seems that more and more studies indicate that a plant based diet is the healthiest and best for preventing or reversing certain diseases. I’m not fully there, but am aiming for 75-90% range. If you like listening to podcasts, I highly recommend “The Brain Health & Beyond” and “Nutrition Facts” podcasts. They back up the facts with science.

  15. Claire
    February 15, 2020 / 8:48 am

    I had the same happen to me. My husband and I are trying to eliminate meat and probably eat vegetarian most nights. Some nights we are vegan. And my labs came back last month and they are better than they have been in years. YEARS! And this was only after three months. I’ve never had a problem with either my sugar levels or my cholesterol, but they have been inching up over time. I’m on board!

    • Marguerite
      February 16, 2020 / 11:11 am

      Susan, I joined WW, formerly Weight Watchers, last summer with great success. I love that their focus has shifted from strictly weight loss, to wellness overall. It’s a very sustainable way of eating. I’m down 20.5 pounds and my labs results are great. I was at the pre diabetic range and now normal! I also jumped off the sugar train completely. What a difference in every way. I also recommend Ecco shoes of all kinds.

  16. Leslie
    February 15, 2020 / 9:27 am

    I ordered these in black last spring and walked all over Spain for a month. I also brought along a pair of Ecco metallic velcro style leather sandals that fold flat. Between these two I was very comfortable and able to walk for hours and hours each day. They needed very little breaking in before the trip, I’m planning to add another pair in white or a color for this next round of travel. Also wear them every day. They are cute and I get asked where I got them a lot! Plus they look very chic!

  17. February 15, 2020 / 10:26 am

    Congratulations on your cholesterol numbers! So glad you tried the Ecco Soft 7 sneakers. I LOVE mine. Hubs decided to try a pair and he loves his. Great for walking all day and they handle cobblestone streets nicely. Love the Fig color but didn’t work for my more-summer travel clothes on last trip; purchased the Pewter which went with everything. Still love the Fig color and need to look for it. Would work well with my Winter colors (black in particular). Thanks for all the great information.

  18. Linda
    February 15, 2020 / 10:49 am

    Methinks you’ll be causing a run on the cute Eccos, Susan! I’m on my way to look right after this. I have a question about the plant-based diet (congratulations on your good numbers!). I have no problem eliminating meat products, but dairy is where I get hung up, particularly cheese and yogurt, which add the important (for me, at least) element of satiety to our meals. Can you talk about whether or not this was difficult for you? Thank you!

  19. February 15, 2020 / 1:34 pm

    As you might remember I love my Eccos and wore them to Scotland a couple of years ago and traipsed all about. When I tore my Achilles I couldn’t wear them for a while, but I’m edging back;). SO SOFT AND COMFY!

    And congrats on the cholesterol numbers. I’ve been working on the same issues, am now within one point of within bounds LDL. Total is still over recommended, but my HDL is very high. My doctor is not steering me towards medication, but I think I’m going to have to be stricter about dairy. I slip with cheese on occasion, although I stick to goat mostly, and I cannot drink tea without milk, so I need to stay on the lowfat straight and narrow.

  20. Sheila H
    February 15, 2020 / 4:46 pm

    I have these Ecco sneakers in the stone color, I replaced the white laces with gray elastic laces to make them slip on shoes & I love them. Planning on wearing them to Germany later this year. If that fig color turns out to be a “cool” color they will be in my closet. Love the subtle metallics in these shoes.

  21. Sheila
    February 15, 2020 / 4:49 pm

    I have these Ecco sneakers in the stone color, I replaced the white laces with gray elastic laces to make them slip on shoes & I love them. Planning on wearing them to Germany later this year. If that fig color turns out to be a “cool” color they will be in my closet. Love the subtle metallics in these shoes.

  22. Jan Whichard
    February 15, 2020 / 8:19 pm

    I have ordered and returned 7 pairs of these ECCOs and cried each time. I love them. BUT there is a seam at the side of the heel. Some times it is sewn. Sometimes it is 2 edges against each other or overlapping. With or without socks this seam makes it unwearable for me and even walking to try them out leaves a red mark on the side of my heel.

    If anyone has a solution I would love to hear it.

    • Lisa B
      February 16, 2020 / 6:16 am

      Jan, I had the same problem and returned them. I tried wearing with no show socks but it didn’t help. I don’t know if it’s a defect in the shoe but I experienced the same problem and sent them back.

      • Jan Whichard
        February 16, 2020 / 6:17 pm

        I literally ordered 5 pair from Zappos, 1 from ECCO and tried on every pair our local ECCO store had and ordered another 2 pair from Nordstrom and just recently tried in a few pairs at Nordstrom. They all have that stupid seam!

  23. Lisa B
    February 16, 2020 / 5:59 am

    I tried the Ecco sneakers but they were too narrow for my feet and yes, there is a seam that can be annoying. Sent mine back. I’m looking for a white, stacked sneaker, wide in the toe box that has good arch support. and is a slip-on model. I know. Lots of criteria. Stacked because when you’re 5’2″ and shrinking even an inch or two makes a difference.
    I own that J Crew trench in black and have found it very versatile. Decently made but runs small through the shoulders and arms and had to order a size up for comfort and layering.

  24. Elle
    February 16, 2020 / 6:17 am

    Another great post, Sue!
    Thanks to you & all the commenters for shoe suggestions & plant based information.

  25. Patrish
    February 16, 2020 / 9:19 am

    I have many pairs of ECCO Soft 7….low tops, high tops and 3 pairs of boots all of which are 4+ years old and extremely comfortable.
    I ordered a new pair of black sneakers and had to send them back for the same comfort issues others
    have expressed. ECCO must have changed their manufacturing processing or raw material supplier as the new sneakers are not even close in comfort to the older version.
    Maybe someone in the company should be informed of the inconsistencies…

  26. deb
    February 16, 2020 / 10:05 am

    Thanks Susan for your recommendation on the Ecco sneakers. I went out and bought a pair yesterday and test wore them around the house all day and into the evening. My verdict: travel worthy and will be coming on an upcoming trip starting in Germany this spring. Thankyou

  27. Mary A.
    February 16, 2020 / 11:51 am

    Just ordered the Ecco sneakers in Warm Gray, which I am hoping is skewing more towards the taupe. I have really high arches so hoping these do the trick. Fingers crossed!

  28. RoseAG
    February 17, 2020 / 5:53 am

    My husband has been on a plant-based diet thing for several years. It’s interesting. We subscribed to the Purple Carrot meal service and that’s been fun – some winners, some duds.
    Husband isn’t too good at reading the directions so sometimes the kitchen is a huge mess when he’s done, more often I do the cooking. There is a Facebook group and it’s fun the see what other people do and hear their comments.
    As far as I can tell you mostly pay for their meal planning process. The most unusual ingredients can be found in Asian markets, if you know what you want.

    I would be happy to share one of my promo boxes with you if you’re interested. You can look at their web site and see what you think. Send me an email.

  29. Mary
    February 17, 2020 / 8:21 am

    Hooray! Great resultsfor you! Here’s the paradox— I got similar results when I was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After years of being in the pre diabetes range, I was horrified to have slipped into full diabetes. I discovered I really can’t handle carbs except in very small amounts spread out across the day. So I started eating even more low carb veggies, limited fruits, and gave up on limiting meat, eggs and cheese because I was so hungry. Figured I’d get blood sugar down first, then focus on other things. My blood sugar plummeted back to near normal levels, YAY! Side effect of my new diet– I lost 25 pounds. blood pressure fell and my cholesterol was below 170. I was stunned. I think there must be some genetic differences in how different foods affect different folks.

  30. Beth
    February 18, 2020 / 11:48 am

    i’m glad you found a food plan that works for you! We’re all so different. When I tried eating more plant based my cholesterol didn’t go down. When I started eating more lean chicken, etc. mine went down about 15-20 points. Chia seeds also made a HUGE difference in my triglycerides. They are now maybe a third of what they used to be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

powered by chloédigital