Have you ever just let yourself go? I’m talking about “going to pot” or getting lazy. If so, you probably know the ramifications can be painful…something I was reminded of just last month.

My journey “south” happened slowly…over years. Once a yoga-working vegan, as my life changed (new friends, new home, different jobs) healthy habits gave way until I no longer remembered my former self. And my diet? Ugh—I was living off of peanut butter, too much bread, too much pasta, and only an occasional healthy meal. To top it off, I wasn’t taking any vitamins. This is when “The Bug from Hades” came to call!

Some kind of virus, a flu bug I believe, swept through early in September. Everyone I know who caught the darn thing were sick for two weeks—except for me, I was sick for  28 days and am just now beginning to feel somewhat normal. I believe the bug hit me harder because I had no nutritional reserves. Lesson learned; keep that rainbow on your plate!

Do you remember the “rainbow on your plate” slogan for healthy eating? There really is no substitute for a varied diet rich in fruits and veggies. You can go to the Chiropractor regularly, exercise, take herbs to strengthen your system….nothing strengthens your body like a healthy diet.

So, what is a healthy diet? There’s a bit of a debate about that and it can get confusing. My answer is:

  • It begins with a variety of veggies prepared in different ways. Different cooking methods release different nutrients so read up on your favorites and try preparing them in a new way.
  • Don’t always eat the same thing, there’s more to life than salad. Choose something new each week (or each month) and look up ways to prepare it.
  • Fruits have a lot to offer and are not just for dessert. Try cherry compote over grilled chicken!
  • Speaking of meat, keep it to a minimum.
  • You need some fats in your diet to absorb certain nutrients. Olive Oil works in most situations but pay attention to which oils you use for different cooking methods. For instance, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) does not work well with high heat. Some of the nut oils are a tasty alternative though!
  • And, unless you are growing your own food, keep taking those nutritional supplements. It’s a sad fact that most commercially available produce lacks the nutritional potency of years gone by.

Speaking of nutritional properties, here are some links you might enjoy.

Power Your Diet shares nutritional information on veggies, herbs, oils, and more. Did you know that bay leaf has antiseptic properties or that rosemary is rich in B-Complex?  http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/vegetable-nutrition.html

Need a quick reference chart for your most common produce items? The FDA offers free PDFshttp://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/labelingnutrition/ucm063367.htm

This is the FDA homepage where they list recalls and other public announcements. http://www.fda.gov/Food/default.htm

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