May 26, 2019

A pinch of good health> Patten woman who loses 100 pounds gathers healthful recipes in cookbook

For Rosanne Dauphinee of Patten, it was a classic case of having her cake and eating it, too. Making the cake wasn’t hard because she loved to cook. But eating it was taking its toll on her health.

A combination of heredity and family tradition had combined to cause such a severe weight problem for the mother of three that she was in constant pain and could hardly walk.

Tired of the physical and mental strain of being overweight, however, Dauphinee finally took matters into her own hands and turned her life around. In the process, she created something special for other people facing the same problem, a unique cookbook filled with healthy, good-tasting low-fat recipes.

“My family are all Italian on both sides, and it means love when you have a table full of food,” she said while sitting at her kitchen table and laughing about the Italian love of food. “Holidays and weddings and funerals, everything is food. Eating is love, so eat a lot.”

But her weight was no laughing matter. Born weighing about 8 pounds, by the time she was 6 months old, Dauphinee weighed 25 pounds. At age 8, her mother was taking her to diet doctors.

“It started then — diet doctors,” she said, as she recalled a life of constantly trying to lose weight, succeeding for a short time and then gaining it all back.

Dauphinee remembered that just before her wedding 25 years ago, she went to Weight Watchers and managed to lose 30 pounds, enough so that she could fit into her mother’s wedding dress.

“Right after I got married, (I) started cooking fancy things for (my) husband, and we gained weight the first two months,” she said. “Then I got pregnant, and it was uphill from then on.

“All my life I tried all different kinds of stuff,” she said. “When I was a kid I’d starve myself or I’d go to diet doctors. I tried every new thing that came out in magazines. They never worked.”

Dauphinee recalled the amphetamines that diet doctors gave in the 1960s and how they “made me climb the walls.” Next came the high-carbohydrate-no-protein diets of the 1970s that caused her to develop a protein imbalance that made her muscles tighten up.

“I was trying to help my health and it was hurting me more,” said Dauphinee. “I always knew that nutritionally there was a better way, but staying with it was another thing.”

Because she felt it might embarrass her family, she preferred not to reveal what her weight was at its highest point.

“When I was pregnant, people wouldn’t know one way or another, and it was so embarrassing,” she said. “And when I wasn’t (pregnant), a lot of times people would say, `Oh, how sweet, when is the baby due?’ People didn’t do it intentionally, but it was awful hurtful. I was always big and they didn’t know.”

Through her late 20s and into her 30s, her feelings weren’t the only things being hurt.

“My legs and joints were so bad that I was in pain all the time,” Dauphinee recalled. “The heavier I got, the worse it got. I got bursitis in my arms and my shoulders ached.

“I had gotten to the point where I was depressed all the time,” she said. “I was always depressed about how I looked and how I felt.”

Eventually the pain in her legs and knees got so bad that she could hardly put one foot in front of the other. Her mobility had become so bad that at night her husband, Gordon, and youngest son, David, who was still at home, had to help her upstairs to go to bed.

“I felt like I was 80 years old, (but) I had just turned 40,” she said. “I was worried about what would happen when David was gone and Gordon had to work a late shift. No one would be here to help me. I thought, `I’m going to be an invalid. I’m going to be in a wheelchair. “‘

A religious woman, she said she prayed for help to overcome what was happening to her.

It was at about that time that she also realized she had to take control of her life. There was little she could do about heredity, but she could do something about what she ate.

Dauphinee had read that cutting back on fat in food, not simply calories, was the key to losing weight. It wasn’t the hot topic that it is today, but with encouragement from her nutritionist, she decided to give it a try.

“I started trying all my old recipes and experimenting, taking out the eggs and using just egg whites, and using applesauce instead of oil,” she said, adding that she read several books on nutrition to make sure she did things right. “I was always looking for ways to take out as much fat as I could, but not to the point where it didn’t taste good anymore.”

Her family liked the new recipes, and so did her friends, who started asking for copies. The best part, she said, was that no one could tell the difference between the low-fat recipes and the regular ones, a common problem that often discourages people from eating low-fat products.

More importantly, Dauphinee lost weight — 80 pounds in the first six months. She has since lost more than 100 pounds and has kept it off for more than three years.

The Patten woman eventually decided to put 150 of her recipes into a cookbook. She took about a month last fall to assemble them, researching the calories and fat content for each ingredient so that people using the book would not have to think about doing that.

“What I was after was not another diet book, but to make a book to help my friends who wanted to watch their fat, but after cooking certain ways for so many years, didn’t know any other way.”

Dauphinee tried to use ingredients that could be found locally, since the rural nature of Maine means people often have fewer food choices.

More than 1,000 copies of the book were printed, with ads solicited from local businesses to help cover the cost. All of the copies were sold within seven weeks, and the cookbook has since gone to a second printing.

The book is titled “Eat Well and Live Cookbook.” The word “live” in the title has a double meaning.

“I feel like I have a new life,” said Dauphinee. “I feel like I not only have health, now I feel like I can live. I’m not going to drop over dead.”

Dauphinee has gotten numerous letters from people who have weight problems and bought her book.

“I am grateful for the tasty results; can’t wait for a sequel,” wrote a woman from Bangor.

“Finally, recipes that my whole family will eat and they don’t realize they’re low fat,” wrote a another from Littleton.

Even Dauphinee’s dietitian, Heather Leclerc of the Nutrition Center in Bangor, wrote, “I have been recommending this cookbook to my patients who are looking for recipes that fit their lifestyle and food budget. I highly recommend it.”

Dauphinee’s cookbook can be found at several bookstores and gift shops in Bangor, as well as in southern and central Aroostook County.

Brown Sugar Muffins

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal 1 cup white flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon light salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 4 egg whites 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup orange juice 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray. Mix together dry ingredients. Beat egg white with whisk. Add wet ingredients to egg, except fruit. Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Stir in raisins. Fill muffin pans to top, Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins, 130 calories each, no fat.

Dauphinee’s cookbook can be found at several bookstores and gift shops in Bangor, as well as in southern and central Aroostook County.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

comments for this post are closed

You may also like