Tag Archives: Eating well

A Simple Path to Healthy Weight Loss

A True Story About Weight Loss

Healthy Weight LossFor the first 60 years of my life weight loss was never my problem. I had a completely different challenge.

At 14, I reached my full height of 5 ft. 8 in., which made me taller than all my friends and all the boys.

I thought of myself as a tall, plain, and unattractive Amazon who towered above the rest of the world. It was a constant source of agony until I entered college, where  there were other girls up in the stratosphere with me. That was enough to ease the pain a little.

Finally, when I entered the exciting world of young adulthood, I began to appreciate the amazing gift I had received at birth. I had won the lottery with my gene pool, which included a tall, slender frame, high energy, and extremely good health.

Almost without conscious thought, I made choices that nurtured my body (no caffeine or alcohol, no smoking, and no drugs) and I reaped the rewards of those choices.

When I married and started a family, good health practices continued. Making sure my children had well-balanced, nutritious meals was high on my list. I also found ways to exercise, either jogging with friends or participating in aerobics or Jazzercize.

Then, Things Changed

My healthy lifestyle had served me well over the years. Unfortunately, after my divorce at age 42, it seemed to fall apart. Little by little, things began to change.

My new way of eating included multiple cans of coke daily – or more explicitly – TAB (so a double hit on my body – caffeine and artificial sweetener). Fast food became a regular part of my diet, and eventually, I began smoking and started drinking wine.

Fortunately, my exercise regimen remained constant – aerobics, Jazzercize, and social swing dancing were regular activities. Plus, when I moved to Manhattan, walking was also part of my daily routine.

So, where was the problem? Simple – my other healthy practices were inconsistent. My focus was on taking care of four children as a single mom, running my interior design business, and socializing.

I was a young, reasonably good-looking single woman who didn’t want to be alone for the rest of my life. Finding someone to love was a major goal. It seemed important to put myself “out there” and look good in the process (which was the driver for the exercise).

When you throw into the mix the problem that I am a stress eater of very unhealthy foods (favorites are ice cream, pastries, chocolate, Coca Cola, and Frappuccinos), my healthy lifestyle deteriorated rapidly.

YO-YO Dieting

For the first time in my life, I gained a little weight and began yo-yo dieting. My weight which had been between 130 – 140 pounds on my 5’ 9” frame for most of my life began to increase. I would realize the gain, lose the weight for a while, then, gain it back, plus more.

I started with Atkins, which my body doesn’t tolerate well. Eventually, I tried all the fad diets of the time: Grapefruit Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, appetite suppressants (Ayds, Dexetrim, and Ephedra – all three were eventually taken off the market), SlimFast, Scarsdale Diet, and, of course, Weight Watchers.

They all worked for a while, but they were not sustainable and none gave me the lifelong change I needed. The weight continued to yo-yo.

In 2010, some personal challenges took all my focus and energy with nothing left for self-care and healthy eating. In December, 2012, my son died and the stress eating flew out of control. I stopped exercising and started to gain weight – pound after pound.

The unhealthy eating and weight gain continued for the next five years because I was in too much mental and emotional pain to pay attention.

Reality Stopped Me Cold

One morning in early January 2018, I stepped on the scales and saw 203.8  pounds – almost 64 lbs. over my lifetime standard of 140 lbs. That was it! The unhealthy eating had to stop!

I did not want to live my life overweight and at risk for serious health problems. Not only was I extremely overweight (borderline obese), my mother had developed Type 2 diabetes in her 70s. I could see myself following in her footsteps. The choice was clear, I had to change the way I had been living for the past eight years.

The irony in this story is that I had been writing a blog for over two years that focused on clean eating and good health, which has always been my passion. I believed everything I had written; but, I had not been following my own advice.

I did a lot of research for my blog and was aware of the harmful choices I was making. I knew exactly what I needed to change in order to create the lifestyle I wanted for the rest of my life. BUT . . . I wasn’t doing any of it. Anger, overwhelming grief, sadness, frustration, and more were ruling my life.

Change Was the Only Option

When I saw “203.8 lbs.” on the scale, I freaked out. Help was needed, and needed NOW! I opted for Nutrisystem as a starting point.

It worked! In the first month, 10 lbs. came off; but, one month was all I could tolerate. The food grew tiresome very quickly; and, much to my disappointment, there were a lot of additives in the food that I did not like putting into my body. Plus, it was expensive; so, that path was no longer an option.

Nutrisystem was a great kickstart for losing weight. It launched the weight-loss process and taught me a valuable lesson – portion control.

When  I received my first shipment and started eating the meals, the portion sizes were a surprise. They were so small – and yet, they were enough. I was never hungry and started losing weight because I carefully followed the instructions. In other words, I worked the program – and it worked for me.

I knew Nutrisystem was no longer an option, but neither was giving up an option. Determined to stay on track and to get back to a healthy weight, it was clear that I had to find another way.

I finally accepted that reaching my goal wasn’t going to be fast or easy. It would take as long as it would take. Even though the realization didn’t thrill me, I made my peace with it and continued to move forward.

Another Twist to the Story

I started Nutrisystem on January 29. Four weeks later as I was finishing up the first month of my “diet,” I began suffering from agonizing back pain. After two weeks of misdiagnoses, I ended up in the E.R. with the diagnosis of a cracked vertebrae.

I was immediately hospitalized. The first thing they did (after administering morphine for the pain) was to put me in a body brace. Four days later they transferred me to a skilled nursing facility for 3½ weeks where I was given more pain pills than I care to think about, and struggled through daily rehab to get back on my feet and walking again.

This was the perfect excuse to forget about losing weight and eat whatever I wanted. But, to my amazement, I chose not to do that. I was committed to my journey back to eating well and living well.

In a way, it solved my dilemma about what to do next. The facility had an excellent meal service (with good food). Taking what I had learned from Nutrisystem, I practiced portion control and continued to count calories. It worked perfectly.

It not only worked, it set the path that I would follow from that point on.

Everything Worked

Which brings us to the present – one year later.

I have recovered completely from my injury and returned to work. My stamina is increasing because of a dedicated walking routine. In the beginning it was only a few steps a day, and gradually increased to 4000+ steps a day. Fourteen months later and 44 pounds lighter, I am still losing – moving slowly toward my goal of 150 lbs. A frustrating reality is that the last 10 pounds are always the hardest to lose.

Yes, it has been a long, slow process, but that’s OK for several reasons:

  1. It has allowed my body to adjust to the change and I feel great.
  2. I will be able to keep the weight off because I have a completely new way of eating.
  3. There is no flabby loose skin that often results from extreme, fast weight loss.
  4. I started the journey knowing it would take time – my expectations were set appropriately from the beginning.

A New Book Tells the Story

I have just launched a new book on Amazon, WOW! You Look Fantastic. My goal for the book was to share everything I had learned during my journey so others could Cover - WOW You Look Fantastic

benefit from my experience. If you are struggling with your weight, your frustrations, and your lifestyle, this is the book for you. It will show you that healthy weight loss is possible.

I can promise you, from personal experience, that this is the way to reach your ideal weight and to live well for the rest of your life. The solutions are simple, but not necessarily easy.

You must be completely committed to making the necessary changes. You cannot let anything deter you from reaching your goal.  If you want the results bad enough, you will make them happen.

This book will give you a simple path to follow.

Good luck and ENJOY the process.


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First published on my website: https://nancynwilson.com/



Enjoy a Healthy Christmas Work Party

Healthy Christmas Work Party

Image by neillangan
Image by neillangan

The annual Christmas Party notice is posted on the bulletin board. Your reaction is to cringe. Healthy eating was finally a habit! Your kitchen is stocked with all the foods your diet requires, and now THIS.

Take heart! There are ways you can enjoy a Christmas party and stay on track with your diet. Whether you are on a weight loss program, a heart health program, a diabetes program, or any other healthy nutrition program, there are ways you can enjoy the party. Here are a few ideas to bring that holiday spirit back while staying on track with your diet.

Sign Up

This is probably the single most important way to keep the Christmas party healthy and fun at the same time. Yes, it is extra work for you, but avoiding the problem is even harder work. If you leave the planning to others, you may not have a choice of healthy foods on the table. When you see that sign-up sheet on the bulletin board, put your name down as soon as possible. If you’re early in the planning stages, you may be able to direct the menu.

Bar Time

You will typically find a bar set up for a Christmas party. There may be soft drinks, wine, beer, or liquor for mixed drinks. Perhaps there is a punch bowl. If you are part of the planning committee, be sure to insist on plenty of water, juice, club soda, and sparkling water. Offer to make the punch using fresh juice and sparkling soda or water and skip the alcohol. If you are not on the committee, you will want to prepare yourself. Overindulging at the bar is often caused by thirst, so eliminate the thirst by filling your tummy with good fresh  juice and water before and during the party. Alternate any sugary or alcohol drinks you have with large glasses of water.

Eat Ahead

Trying to stay on a diet is difficult enough, but if you’re watching the clock tick at work, knowing that at a certain time there will be acres of food and drinks laid before you, it’s even harder. That’s why you want to plan to eat before you get to the party. Yes, it’s fun to look forward to all that food, but your empty stomach will make decisions you won’t find so fun in the long run. If your party starts after work, bring a good, big lunch with you that suits your dietary needs. If your party begins at mid-day, eat a hearty healthy breakfast and have a snack just before the party begins. You’re not being a ‘party pooper.’ You’re being smart.

Peruse Then Choose

When you walk into the party, stop and take a look around. Your senses may be overwhelmed at first, but if you slowly peruse the spread, you will begin to see what you need, and what you don’t need. Walk along the tables, go up to the bar, and make a few mental notes. The trouble with an over-loaded plate usually occurs when you start at the beginning of the table and just start scooping up servings. If you don’t know what’s ahead, how can you choose what you want to eat? So, take a look around, then go back and selectively serve up a plate that suits you and your diet.

Share Dessert

This is probably the easiest of all the strategies to stay on track with your diet. Most everyone at the party will get to the dessert table and let out a little sigh. They wish they could indulge, but can’t. That’s your cue to choose a ‘dessert buddy’ and divide one of those delicious treats between you. If you were vigilant with the other strategies, you have probably saved yourself some wiggle room for dessert. However, if sugar is forbidden, this table may be off limits. That takes us back to the first strategy – sign up. If you are part of the planning committee, make sure you propose an alternative for the usual sweet dessert.

The average Christmas party is full of dietary obstacles. Getting involved with the planning and taking a few steps to avoid the pitfalls will allow you to not only attend the party, but to enjoy it.

Merry Christmas!

6 Ways to Eat Healthier Foods

Americans on the whole should be looking for ways to eat healthier foods. Many people in America are suffering from obesity, diabetes, and a wide-variety of other health problems linked directly to diet. Something must be done and you must do it for yourself and your family.

Food production was originally highly personal. Families hunted, fished, raised cattle, chickens and pigs, tended to large productive gardens, and had fruit trees and grapevines on their property.  What the family did not produce was obtained through bartering with friends and neighbors.

Things have changed dramatically. People have moved into the cities and no longer have the land (or the desire) to “grow their own” food, which has separated us completely from the process of food production. We now rely completely on major corporations to decide which foods will be available to us – and in many cases – how they will be prepared.

Advanced technology has also been incorporated into the way food is farmed and produced. Most of the food eaten today comes from huge factory farms so massive that the contamination factor is a serious problem. The situation has hit crisis level and it is time to take control of the food you eat.


Below are six simple ways to eat healthier foods 

  1. Buy grass fed and pastured meats. Factory farms mistreat their animals and feed them sub-standard food. When you consume an unhealthy animal you are not providing adequate nutrition to your own body. Animals allowed to graze and eat a diet natural to them are leaner than their “fattened” counterparts, they have more omega-3 fatty acids, and they are more nutrient dense.
Farm Fresh Milk and Eggs
Image by Stephanie Frey

Search the Internet for local producers of grass-fed, natural beef and other safe meats (without hormones, antibiotics or GMOs). If you cannot find a local producer, look for one that will ship frozen cuts of meat.

  1. Buy pastured eggs if possible (from a local farmer).The Sprouting Seed explains thereasons  why pastured eggs are the healthiest, “The birds run free in the pasture and eat a natural diet—made up of all kinds of seeds, green plants, insects and worms. Usually grain or laying mash supplements the diet. Hens are allowed access to pasture, but also have a pen to house them and protect them from predators. This is not only more humane for the chickens, but also produces much healthier eggs.”

“Mother Earth News” reported in an article titled, Meet Real Free Range Eggs, that pastured eggs when compared with commercial eggs (that you would find at a grocery store) may contain:

• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

  1. Ferment Some of Your Vegetables. Fermenting preserves food and enhances the nutrient content. Fermentation creates healthy live bacteria and yeast, which the digestive system needs in order to do its job effectively. During fermentation the bacteria also produce B vitamins and enzymes that are beneficial for digestion.

Cultures for Health states, “Almost any vegetable can be fermented. Fermenting local, farm-fresh produce is a great way to provide good nutrition year-round. You can ferment just one vegetable or a mix of many different kinds. A tantalizing mixture is beets with carrots, ginger, garlic, leeks, onions, dulse (seaweed), and jalapeños. Kimchi recipes include cabbage, red chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and onion. Pickles can be spiced with dill and garlic; sauerkrauts can include juniper berries, caraway seeds, and more!” Read the entire article for directions on “how to ferment your vegetables.”

  1. Consume raw, pastured (not pasteurized) dairy.  If raw dairy products produced under safe conditions are available in your area, buy them. They are worth the extra cost.  Raw milk contains many components that kill pathogens and strengthen the immune system.

Studies have shown some of the benefits of raw milk to children are: greater resistance to disease, stronger teeth, and overall healthier growth patterns such as better bone structure and organ development. There are additional studies that suggest raw milk aids better assimilation of nutrients.

If the milk is produced in dirty (unsafe) conditions, all of the benefits will be compromised.  Do not buy raw milk that is produced in confinement dairies or under unsanitary conditions. Quality raw milk producers should be members of the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI). For information on safe handling of raw milk, see Safe Handling – Consumers’ Guide.

Many people with milk allergies have found they can drink raw milk.  You can also use raw milk to make your own healthy batches of yoghurt, kefir, and butter – plus you can enjoy the fresh, sweet cream that rises to the top of fresh raw milk (just like the olden days).

  1. Shop the farmer’s market for local foods.  Local grocery store chains are getting better about stocking organic fruits and vegetables, but the fact still remains that their produce is often harvested weeks in advance and transported many miles to get to you. So, even though they are organic, the term “fresh” is questionable, which means that nutrient loss is a certainty – and significant.
Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Image by elenaphoto

Every big city that I have lived in, including New York City, has a farmer’s market.  As a rule these markets offer fresh fruits and veggies that are picked the morning of the day you are buying.  If you live in or near a rural area, you can possibly find local farmers to buy from directly.  Either of these is a much better choice than the local grocery store.

If you have no idea where to start, use the Internet to check out CSAs (Community Support Agriculture) in your area. A CSA gives city dwellers the opportunity to enjoy quality, fresh produce grown locally by regional farmers. If you become a member of a CSA you will purchase a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer.  The season typically runs from June until October with weekly or bi-weely deliveries to a drop-off location in (or near) your neighborhood.

At the very least, take a drive this weekend and visit local farms in your area. You may be surprised at what you discover.

  1. Grow your own or pick your own.  Gardening may not be your thing. Some people feel intimidated by the thought of growing their own vegetables and fruit. There is absolutely no reason to feel that way.  It is quite easy, especially if you start small.

Choose one or two items that your family enjoys and plant them in large pots or raised beds around the perimeter of your yard. You can either start them from seeds or buy starter plants from the local nursery.  Two easy ones to grow are tomatoes and strawberries – both tasty, healthy additions to your diet, and relatively easy to grow.

If time, hectic schedules, and no space at all are factors that would prevent you from growing your own, you can often find local pick-your-own farms.  These types of farms provide carrying containers and allow you to walk the rows and pick your own food.  Some of the delicious choices found on these farms include: sweet corn, pumpkins, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, squash, and beans.

Depending on the region in which you live, you may find pick-your-own orchards for apples, pears, apricots, plums and peaches.  When you get home you can enjoy the sweet freshness of the fruit, make a number of frozen dishes for future delight, and even learn to bottle them for the winter months when the fruits are out-of-season.

I know that each of these suggestions requires time and effort, but once you incorporate the habits into your lifestyle, it really isn’t difficult.  You can turn some of the steps into family adventures, and I promise you will be feeding your family much better than you ever have.  ENJOY!

Eat Well to Live Well

Living the good life is really quite simple: Eat well to live well! 

Eating fresh, nutritious food is more important than anything else you do to ensure a healthy body and protect yourself from illness.

The press and advertisements complicate our eating habits by pushing foods that we absolutely should not eat and creating unnecessary concerns about other foods, such as the “lack of protein” in our diets. Yet, you rarely hear anything about getting enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are equally important and much more likely to be ignored by the general population.

If you were to check the diets of the average person, chances are they would include enough protein (possibly too much) and be lacking in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This is a serious problem because all three are necessary to fight off damaging free radicals and lower the risk for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (the #1 killer in the U.S.)

So What Now?

This series has given you a great deal of information and the thought of making changes may seem overwhelming. However, I want to assure you that establishing a healthy diet and reaping the benefits from the added nutrition you would receive is not difficult. You just have to make it happen.

Make Things Happen

It is exciting to note that grocery stores are beginning to stock a wide selection of fresh, organic foods, cage free eggs, grain fed beef and even some packaged goods that are not filled with additives (although, I still recommend that you stay away from packaged goods as much as possible.)

Eating well does not require buying “superfoods” and expensive products to get the nutrients that you need.

When I talk to people about upgrading their diets to healthier foods, they often complain that they will be stuck with the same few foods over and over again, which would be horrible. But, that is a needless fear.

In actuality, most families eat the same 12 to 14 meals every month, year-after-year. They are in a recycle mode that rarely includes anything new. My guess is that once you discover the wide-variety of nutritious fresh foods available, you will be introducing more variety – not less – into your diet.

Eating well can be a fun adventure filled with colorful, delicious food that is exciting and enjoyable – far from boring.

How to Proceed

Step #1

Clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Toss out all processed foods (or give it away) – this includes everything made with white flour and sugar. If that is too painful, set a start date for your new way of eating and get rid of a little bit at a time . . . and DON’T buy any more.

Do not keep unhealthy foods around to tempt you or your children. If you are committed to eating well, you must take this step.

Step #2

Create a menu for the next two weeks. Then, make your shopping list for Week One and Week Two. After you have finished a good lunch, go shopping for Week One (never shop when you are hungry).

You will find that grocery shopping is easier when you are not buying processed foods, because there are fewer sections to visit and no labels to read. In fact, you will find that most of the foods you want are placed around the perimeter of the store.

When you are ready to shop for Week Two – make any necessary changes to the menu and your shopping list, then repeat the above. (You may have some food leftover from Week One, or you may have missed something important that you need to pick up.)

It is much easier for me to work in two or three week increments. Find out what works for you.

Step #3

Changing your eating habits can be challenging. I recommend that you apply the 80/20 rule. Your effort to eat well should be right on target at least 80% of the time – and you may slip 20% of the time. Don’t beat yourself up when you slip. But, acknowledge your actions and think about how you can avoid the slip in the future. Even doing everything perfectly 80% of the time will bring great results.

Slowly, but surely, you want to increase your percentage up to 100%; but in the beginning, if you are consistently at 80%, you are doing well. You may even be surprised at the changes you see in the way you feel (mentally and physically) and the increase in your energy levels as you get into the rhythm of eating well-balanced, nutritious meals.

Step #4

Enjoy your food. Food gives us the gift of life and should be enjoyed and shared with love. Eating well is not about deprivation, it is about abundance – enjoying nature’s harvest. If you are basically healthy, without serious health issues, your new diet will eliminate restrictions and constant worry over what you should, or should not eat. Tasty, delicious meals, good health, and a sense of well-being will be the norm.

Step #5

Set up your exercise routine – remember it doesn’t have to be a lot – but it must be regular.

Step #6

Get enough sleep (between seven and nine hours each night). If for some reason that is absolutely not possible, incorporate power naps into your daily routine to avoid sleep deprivation.

Closing Thoughts

Listen to  your body. Once you eliminate all of all the junk food and processed foods from your diet and begin feeding it healthy, nutritious food, your body will tell you what it needs, so pay attention.

Watch your energy levels, notice if there are energy lags, keep yourself hydrated, eat when you are hungry (don’t eat if you are not hungry), and go to bed when you are tired (preferably near the same time every day).

Have regular checkups – at least once a year, possibly more if you are older or have chronic health conditions. Ask questions about your blood work and talk with your doctor about how your diet may be impacting the results.

If you are successful in implementing all the steps at least 80% of the time, it will only be a short time (60 to 90 days) before you start feeling the difference that a highly-nutritious diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest can make in your life.

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Three Critical Contributors to Good Health

Even though everyone is  aware of the three critical contributors to good health that we will be discussing in this post, many people do not practice what they know to be true. Each person has his/her own reasons – either it is too complicated, takes too much time and energy, or s/he believes that it really doesn’t make that much difference.  The last one is particularly true of people who seem to be basically healthy.  Unfortunately that attitude is extremely short-sighted.

Let’s review the three critical contributors and you can evaluate how well you are doing with each of them.

1.     Nutrient Rich Food

Understanding the nutrients you need to stay healthy is important – and easy. There are only six categories that you must remember.

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Except for possible deficiencies of vitamin B12 and vitamin D as mentioned in an earlier post Eating Well – One of Life’s Great Pleasures, you can get all of the above from a healthy diet – including vegan. The secret is to be sure that you are eating enough of the foods that provide the necessary nutrients. When you make the proper choices – making an effort to eat a balanced diet that is close to nature with fresh, organic foods, you will be on the road to continuous good health, including recovery if you are already sick. All you need is to understand the nutrients you should be getting from your food, and why.

It is best if you eat at regular intervals throughout the day with at least three hours between each meal and snack. For most people who work 8:00 to 5:00, this works out to be about four times a day – three meals and an afternoon snack. If you work longer hours, you may also need a morning snack to keep your metabolism working well.

The reason for the three hour gap is that you system works more efficiently if you eat when you are hungry – and your body has had time to digest each intake. When you are really hungry, you mouth should water when you think about eating.  Unfortunately, most of us have completely disrupted the natural digestive process by eating too often – especially when we are not hungry – and eating empty-calorie junk food (making it even worse).

We have lost touch with our wonderful digestive system and the signals that it gives us by interrupting the natural digestive process. Because of that the body may have problems with mineral absorption and constipation. It is time to get back to eating nutritious foods at regular, well-spaced intervals.

Let’s look at each group of nutrients.


If you remember from grade school, proteins are known as the building blocks of life.They break down into amino acids, which promote cell growth and repair, making protein one of the most important nutrients for humans. Unfortunately, many Americans eat far more protein than is necessary. As a general rule, only 8% to 10% of your daily diet should be comprised of protein and many people will be fine with 5%. The required percentage is so small that it is easy to consume the amount of protein your body needs – with or without meat.

Meat and fish are both a good source of protein, but there are many other sources, as well. In fact, protein is in almost everything we eat, which makes getting enough protein quite simple regardless of your diet (as long as it isn’t a “junk-food” diet).

Protein rich foods include: Meat, fish, foul, eggs, cheese, green leafy vegetables, quinoa (a seed that is called “the perfect protein), other seeds (sesame, sunflower, poppy), legumes (peas and chickpeas), beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters, soy milk, and tofu – many choices.

It is not only important to eat the right foods, it is also important to eat enough calories to maintain your weight. As long as you are eating a healthy, balanced, empty-calorie-junk-food-free diet, you will get enough protein.


There is an on-going debate on how much fat and types of fats you should include in your diet. One side of the argument advocates avoiding saturated and trans fats completely and eating only moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (“good fats”) that come from olive oil, fish oil, coconut oil and the like.

The other side advocates that you should avoid any kind of processed fat. They insist that you can get all the fat you need from whole foods such as nuts, avocados, olives, and coconut.

I agree with the first group, but you should decide what makes the most sense for you. Just be sure that you are getting some fat in your diet.

Words from some of the experts:

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Some fats are found in foods from plants and animals and are known as dietary fat. Dietary fat is a macronutrient, along with protein and carbohydrates that provide energy for your body. Fat is essential to your health because it supports a number of your body’s functions. Some vitamins, for instance, must have fat to dissolve and nourish your body.

Most foods contain several different kinds of fat, and some are better for your health than others. You don’t need to completely eliminate all fat from your diet. In fact, some fats actually help promote good health. But it’s wise to choose the healthier types of dietary fat and then enjoy them — in moderation.”

Healthguide.org states, “Bad fats, such as trans fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats have been blamed for—weight gain, clogged arteries, and so forth. But good fats such as the monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect. In fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.

Trans fats and some saturated fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.”

The main consideration is the state of your health. If you are overweight or struggling with a serious condition such as diabetes or heart disease, you may want to follow the advice of the second group and eliminate all processed fat and eat only moderate amounts of fat from natural sources. Follow your doctor’s advice on your consumption of fat.

One final thought – avoid “low-fat” and “non-fat” foods. In order to adjust the taste, they are loaded with sugar.


High-fiber diets help in the following ways:

  • Maintaining healthy bowels and normalizing bowel movements
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Slowing the absorption of sugar and improving blood sugar levels
  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

How much fiber do you need? The Institute of Medicine (2012), which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults:

Age 50 or younger

Age 51 or older

Men 38 grams 30 grams
Women 25 grams 21 grams

High fiber foods include fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, oats, brown rice, nuts and seeds, and beans.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has stated that, “A diet high in fiber (and low in fat) contributes to a healthy diet that may lower, prevent, and reverse obesity, diverticulitis and type 2 diabetes. Fiber can also reduce your risks of colon cancer and breast cancer. The benefits of getting enough fiber are clear, yet most people don’t get enough due to the proliferation of overly processed foods in their diet.”

Once again we see the danger of eating a diet filled with overly-processed, empty-calorie foods!


Organic Carrots
Image by Steven Depolo

If your eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, plus whole grains, nuts, beans, chicken, fish (including shellfish), and meat, you will get all the vitamins you need, except for vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which you may have to get through supplements. Ask your doctor for a blood test to check your levels. Be careful about taking supplements without checking. Too much can be as bad or worse than not enough. See the previous post: Nutritional Deficiencies.

If you want to find specific foods that are rich in each of the vitamins, read this article: The Best Foods for Every Vitamin and Mineral.


Minerals that you need for good health are: Calcium, Iron, Chromium, Copper, Fluorine, Iodine, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Sodium, Zinc, Phosphorus, and Selenium. Some of these probably sound familiar, others not so much, but they are all important.

The good news is that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables will be automatically rich in these minerals. So, if you eat a well-balanced diet that includes many foods close to nature – in particular a variety of plant-based foods, you will be getting all the minerals you need.

For a detailed list of specific foods that contain each of the vitamins and minerals, please read Vitamin and Mineral Sources from WebMD.


We have all heard, “Drink lots of water” – “Stay hydrated.” Everyone is aware of the importance of water in a healthy diet.  The experts tell us that we should drink 8 glasses of water a day, which is a good guide. But, you do not have to get all your water from a glass. When you eat high-water content fruit and vegetables such as: green leafy vegetables, carrots, citrus, melons and strawberries, you are also taking in water. On days when you are consuming those foods, you will not have to drink quite as much water to stay hydrated.

Fresh, filtered tap water is recommended.

Drink enough so that you do not feel thirsty. When you are thirsty – drink! When you ignore the thirst signals, you may begin to feel hungry, which could be a false signal. If you struggle with a need to “snack” in-between meals, try drinking a bottle of water first. If the hunger persists, eat a piece of fruit, or celery and carrots dipped in hummus to give you a little more water and also curb your hunger until dinner time.

2.     Regular Exercise

Woman Walking on the Beach
Image by Mike Baird

Eating nutritious food is critical for good health and staying well. However, a regular exercise regimen is also important. I am not talking about running a marathon or lifting weights, etc.  In fact, a lot of exercise is not required.

There are many ways to approach this, depending on your health and physical capacity.

  • Walk 15-20 minutes every day.
  • Take a 5-minute walk after every meal.
  • 30 minutes of aerobic exercise coupled with 10 minutes of resistance exercise (this can be done 3 to 5 times a week).

Whatever you choose, do it regularly; it will make all the difference in how you feel. It also helps your digestive track work more efficiently, exercises your heart and lungs, “oils” your joints, and helps you sleep better. 

3.     Adequate Rest

Get Adequate Rest
Image by Phase4Photography

Your body needs rest to work at peak levels. On average, people need eight hours of sleep each night. Some can work well on seven, but any less than that is harmful to your body. You may be one of those who is convinced that four or five hours a night is enough – and it may seem that way, but the truth is that you are depleting your body’s resources and it will catch up with you eventually.

Your body will tell you the amount that is enough. Figure out the amount of sleep that makes you feel the most energetic – somewhere between seven and nine is the required amount for most people. Too much sleep can also be bad for you. I know that if I sleep more than nine hours, I feel sluggish all day – and yawn a lot.

The goal is to make it through your work day without hitting a wall at some point. If that happens, you are not getting enough sleep. One way to deal with the “wall” is to take a 20-minute power nap, it will work wonders.

People sometimes complain of difficulty falling asleep. If you are among that number, there are some things you can try:

  1. Don’t eat for at least three hours before bedtime. I try not to eat after 8:00 (6:00 is even better).
  2. Avoid liquids for more at least an hour before bedtime.
  3. Get into a routine – go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

Getting enough rest will not only give your body the break it needs to rejuvenate and help you feel better in general; it will also increase your productivity and help you control your eating. The need to snack on sweets and caffeine will diminish. You will be able to choose much healthier foods because the need to fight fatigue with empty calories will no longer drive you.

Everything goes together when it comes to nutrition and a healthy body.

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