Baked Cherry Berry Oatmeal

Baked Cherry Berry Oatmeal

President’s Day weekend, I’m doing a 12.3-mile hike of Taum Sauk Peak in the St. Francois Mountains. It’s a small section of the larger 400 mile Ozark Trail. It’s also the highest peak in the state, coming in at just under 1,800 feet. It’s not the Rockies, but hey, a girl has to start somewhere! Anyway, my go-to pre-hike breakfast is always a hearty bowl of oatmeal. It’s filling and gives me a steady supply of energy, especially on the long hikes. As with most recipes, I always imagine how I can make them better. Hence, the Cherry Berry Baked Oatmeal, hearty enough to eat with a fork, it can be modified in an infinite number of ways. It’s great because I can wrap it in foil and eat it in the car. I like to top it with flaked coconut, a little drizzle of warmed maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon! 

Many baked oatmeal recipes use eggs, which are used for two things- adding protein and binding all of the ingredients together. Some recipes also use applesauce or mashed banana, which are great for reducing the calories. Unfortunately, they also have reduced binding capacity. For this recipe, I opted to use the often overlooked, great at hiding in the background chia seed! Chia not only adds protein with minimal calories, but they are also an excellent binder. They’re loaded with antioxidants and omega-three fatty-acids! I added baking powder to lift this otherwise dense and sometimes hard to swallow dish! Trust me, my ability to speak has been rendered useless by oatmeal on more than one occasion! Insert wink emoji.

You can make this a year-round treat by adding other seasonal stone fruits, like apricots and plums! You can make it on Sunday and enjoy it for the rest of the week! It’s also a nice change-up for me from my typical fruit and vegetable smoothie. The truth is, subconsciously it’s my desire to make my house smell like cinnamon and baked fruit. Enjoy!

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Baked Cherry Berry Oatmeal

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch


  • 1 cup oat milk (or other plant-based milk)
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar (plus additional 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 3 cups old-fashioned whole oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cherries and mixed berries, fresh or frozen (divided in half)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Vegan whipped cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Mix the water and chia seeds in a liquid (glass) measuring cup and set aside.
  2. Place the oats, nuts, and 1 ½ cups of the cherry/berries in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup brown sugar, banana, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the coconut oil has melted and ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat. Add chia mixture and milk, stir until incorporated.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry oat mixture and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch round or square baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, until oats are slightly golden.
  5. When oats are done, remove from oven and let cool, about 20 minutes. The oatmeal should be a little soft when you remove it and will firm up as it cools. 
  6. Meanwhile, while oats are cooling, add the remaining 1 ½ cups cherry/berries and 1/3 cup brown sugar to a medium saucepan. Over medium-low heat, simmer berries and brown sugar with a pinch of sea salt until berries break down and become syrupy, about 7-10 minutes.
  7. Serve hot berries over cooled oats and add additional toppings such as whipped cream, coconut flakes and pecans, if desired. Enjoy! 


This oatmeal keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.   

This mixture can be stripped down into a no-bake, and made hike-thru friendly by subbing protein powder for milk and using dried fruit.  Also, skip the coconut oil and baking powder.  

From Here to Eternity…

From Here to Eternity…

I will always be a vegan. Now that I know, what I know. I have seen the remarkable effects physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Sounds dramatic, right?  Well, it has been.  In my early 40’s I was carrying around an autoimmune diagnosis, 40 pounds of extra weight, I was depressed and tired.   Now, not quite 4 years later, my doctor still marvels at my annual blood-work. He is amazed that I am at my recommended body weight and not taking any medications.  Amazed because the Mayo clinic estimates 7 out of 10 of us adults are taking some form of a prescription drug, with many of us taking 3 or more meds…and 75% of us are overweight and 40% of us are obese.   Being sick and overweight has become the new norm.  Therefore it’s not surprising that the US is ranked dead last in the “healthy’ category against 10 other wealthy countries in the world.   How is that possible? 

Well, imagine you are sitting at a table and you keep banging your leg against the chair so long and so hard that it becomes bruised and quite painful.  Finally, someone comes along and says, “Hey, I’ve got a medication that will soothe your pain and another medication that can fix those nasty bruises.”  So you take the pills, and sure enough, the pain goes away and your skin looks better, so you think you’re healed.   But you’re still banging your leg on the chair, and now because the real problem has never been addressed, your original issue has become catastrophic.  Yet nobody ever tells you, “Hey stop banging your leg on the table.” Doctors are taught to prescribe medications for a certain set of symptoms. They are not required to recommend nutritional interventions and, in fact, nutrition is not even a requirement in most medical schools. With the AMA only allowing doctors 15 minutes to spend per patient, it’s not long enough to talk about diet anyway, it’s just long enough to write a script.  Because the truth is there is no money to be made if we are all well, only if we are sick.     

Heart disease and diabetes are directly correlated to an excessive amount of animal protein consumption and are rarely related to genetics. But a good many people believe they are simply victims of their genes, doomed to a life of middle-age weight gain, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  And we are seeing a rise in colon cancer rates for the first time in people in their 20’s, a disease not normally seen until our 50’s. A recent study by the Pentagon revealed that 71% of young men between the ages of 17-24 (over 24 million) are ineligible to serve in the military because they are physically unfit. And I am sadder, yet, that we are rearing a generation of kids who are not predicted to live as long as their parents…all because of our food choices.

Truth is, four years ago, I never gave much thought to the likes of a cow, a chicken, or a pig.  I only knew that they would eventually become food bought in a store.   I never made a connection that those packs of chicken and ground beef were once living breathing animals. I didn’t know that they were purposely hidden away on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s), because if we actually saw what was happening to them we would be disgusted and appalled.  I felt better buying cage-free eggs.  Though more expensive, I figured cage-free was better because these chickens were allowed to run around in the sun.    What I didn’t know was that baby chicks have their beaks cut off so they don’t peck other chicks in their cramped living quarters.  And that cage-free really just means that tens of thousands of chickens are crammed in warehouses instead of cages, and where there is only 1 foot of space per chicken on average. Many of them sustain painful lesions and suffer from ammonia blisters due to sitting on unsanitary floors.  A sad life indeed. 

I also didn’t know that dairy cows were forced to stand in inches of their own excrement while getting milked 10 months out of a year until they are eventually turned into ground beef.  I didn’t know that most E-coli outbreaks in lettuce and kale stemmed from a CAFO’s waste lagoon, or pools of poop, that pollute our fields, rivers, and streams.  And worse, some of these CAFO’s can make the individuals living by them very, very sick.  Don’t even get me started on Duplin County, North Carolina. 

I have also learned that it takes a lot of money and resources for us to eat these animals.  I didn’t know that lobbyists fought to have our tax dollars subsidize the meat and dairy industry.  I didn’t know that it takes nearly 2,400 gallons of water just to grow just 1 pound of meat.  I didn’t know that 800 million people could be fed with just the grain that livestock eat alone.  And that much of that grain is produced here in the Midwest.  It’s why they call Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, eastern Nebraska, and eastern Kansas the corn-belt because we grow corn for livestock.  In fact, more than 90 million acres of grain is planted here just to feed livestock feed alone.  It is also an area where cancer rates are on the rise and the levels of pesticide use are skyrocketing.   

But that’s not the only thing…about 24% (some argue it’s more like 50%) of all global greenhouse gases come from our support of commercial agriculture. These warming gases are caused by things like livestock methane gas production, and deforestation, or the clear-cutting of trees in order to make room for more livestock.  You’ve probably heard that the Amazon Jungle in South America in on fire.  That is because they are a developing nation that is looking at places like the U.S. (land of the rich and plentiful) as an example. So now they are cutting down trees in record numbers because they have discovered the economic value in cattle production; those companies who own the factory farms are the fuel for the fire.  And those who have long associated eating meat with affluence and prestige inadvertently fan their flames.    

Plant-Based eating has never been shown to cause disease. In fact, it has actually been shown in some cases to halt and even reverse many diseases. It is a way of eating that supports our bodies ability to do its job naturally, without drug intervention. It is better for the animals and better for the planet. I am hopeful the tide is turning and more and more people are waking up, so to speak. I remain mindful that a few years ago, I didn’t know any of this either.  And I am joyful at the prospect that others may follow their own journey because of myself, or countless others like me, that have inspired them to do so.  Being a vegan is one of the greatest gifts this life has given me. 

Vegan Pasta Con Broccoli

There are only a few meals that truly delight my heart and my palate more than a good pasta. This vegan version of the famous recipe is no exception.   It’s almost hard to believe that there is no cheese, no butter, no cream, and no oil!  The cavatelli pasta is light and creamy and is a perfect medium for this mouthwatering sauce. It’s creamy, delicious, and heart-healthy.  And best of all it can be ready in under 30 minutes.  Enjoy!



Serves 4

  • 8 ounces uncooked cavatelli pasta
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup small chopped broccoli
  • 23  cup thinly  sliced fresh Cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups white Béchemel sauce

Cook pasta until nearly done, about 8-10 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, heat large 12-inch rimmed skillet over medium heat, add mushrooms, season with oregano. Dry sauté mushrooms, stirring frequently.  If mushrooms begin to stick, add 2 Tbsp of water/veggie stock and deglaze pan.  Cook until caramelized, season with salt and pepper.   Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add tomato paste, nutritional yeast, garlic, and Béchemel sauce. Stir to combine; cook for 3-5 minutes to warm through, add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

When pasta is nearly done, add broccoli to the pasta water, reduce to medium heat and cook covered, for 2 minutes. Reserve 1-cup pasta water, set aside and drain the remaining water (Do not rinse pasta).  Return pasta and broccoli to the pot.  Add Béchemel sauce and warm through.

**If the sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Remove from the heat; add vegan Parmesan (optional) and serve.

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Heart Disease

Heart Disease

Famed cardiologist Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn once called heart disease a “toothless paper tiger that need never ever exist.  And if it does exist, it need never, ever progress.”  Yet heart disease kills more Americans every few years than ALL of our previous wars combined.  Most alarming, people who die from a heart attack get no warning sign whatsoever.  In fact, in his book “How Not To Die,” Dr. Michael Greger says of sudden cardiac deaths, “you may not even realize you’re at risk until it’s too late.” And for some, “their very first symptom may be their last.” Here one minute…and gone the next.  It’s scary, and unnecessary.  Yet a heart attack is also the number one reason that most of us, and those we love, will die.  In fact, every 40 seconds an American will die of a heart attack, which equals 610,000 annual deaths from heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.  So what is coronary heart disease, or CHD? Is it preventable? And if so, how?

Heart disease is a catchall phrase for a variety of conditions that affect the heart’s structure and function.  It falls under the umbrella of a disease referred to as Cardiovascular Disease, or CVD.  According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, “CVD is the term for all types of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, including coronary heart disease (clogged arteries), which can cause heart attacks, stroke, congenital heart defects and peripheral artery disease.”  Thanks to our Standard American Diet, or SAD (diet high in fat, low in fiber), fatty deposits build-up in the wall of our arteries and create what are called atherosclerotic plaques.  According to Greger, “the majority of people with this cholesterol-rich gunk” develop atherosclerosis (athere-meaning “gruel”) and (sclerosis—meaning “hardening”).  The build-up of these plaques, accumulate in the coronary arteries (arteries crowning the heart) and narrow the path for blood to flow to the heart.   Greger cites William C. Roberts, the editor in chief of the American Journal of Cardiology, “there are only two ways to achieve low cholesterol, put 200 million Americans on a lifetime of medications or recommend they all eat a diet centered around whole plant foods.”

To illustrate this point, Greger describes how western doctors in 1930’s and 40’s, working in African missionary hospitals, found that most of the diseases of the western world were virtually non-existent there.   Thinking they might be on to something, the doctors decided to compare the autopsies of Africans to those of Americans.  Amazingly, out of 632 Ugandans autopsied in Africa, there was evidence of only one single heart attack.   But out of 632 patients autopsied in Saint Louis, MO, doctors found evidence of 136 heart attacks…holy pork steaks!   Baffled by the results they opted to study another 800 Ugandans.  Out more than 1,400 bodies autopsied, there was still only that one person with a small “healed”lesion of the heart, meaning, that’s not even what caused their death.”  So it’s got to be about their genetics, right?  No. In fact, large-scale immigrant studies in China and Africa both showed how rates of certain diseases like heart disease, characteristically coincided with where one lives.  In other words, if you move to an area where there are high rates of disease your risk goes up.  But if you move to an area where there are low levels of disease your risk of disease goes down.   These are what they called lifestyle diseases. So what can we do to prevent heart disease?   Just focus on treating the cause and the symptoms will go away?  No, not when there is money to be made.  In 2017, Pfizer’s Lipitor generated 1.8 billion dollars in annual sales.  Greger jokes (or is he?) that because Lipitor, a cholesterol reducing drug, and the best selling drug of all time, “garnered so much enthusiasm some US health authorities reportedly advocated they be added to the public water supply like fluoride is.”   Statins like Lipitor are known to cause memory loss, increase the risk of diabetes, and may also double a woman’s risk of invasive breast cancer

Modern day Africans have extremely low cholesterol in their blood because their diets are comprised mainly of plant-derived foods, such as grains and vegetables.  That means a lot of fiber and very little animal fat.  Our western diet is mostly the opposite; comprised mainly of animal fat, and little or no plant fiber. Most of the fiber we do consume is processed (yeast breads and rolls, flour and corn tortillas, bagels, English muffins, etc.).  And why is fiber so important, you ask? Found in plant foods, soluble fiber binds to the cholesterol particles in our digestive system and moves them out of the body before they’re absorbed.  Insoluble fiber, aka, “roughage,” is also found in plant foods and essentially cleans out our intestines and keeps us feeling fuller longer.    Yet the average American consumes about half of the recommended amount of fiber per day and more than double the recommended amount of fat.

So how come our doctors don’t give us nutritional prescription?  Maybe because they don’t know any better.  Or maybe they have no interest in knowing any better.  Nutrition is not a requirement in most medical schools across the country.   Physicians are taught to look for a set of existing symptoms (dis-ease) and write a prescription(s) for those symptoms… That’s it.  Even if those pills do nothing to correct the underlying cause.  And even if the drugs cause other health problems to occur.  Medical practitioners have their required continuing education subsidized, if not entirely paid for, by the pharmaceutical industry.  In a recent poll, Dr. Marcia Angell, a Senior Lecturer from Harvard Medical School, observed a “staggering 94% of physicians surveyed acknowledged receiving financial compensation of some form from pharmaceutical companies.”  It has also become entirely standard practice for pharmaceutical companies to have a direct hand in both the design and analysis of medical research, as well as conducting clinical trials, and in the publication of those results.  And finally, many doctors themselves are not healthy people.   Overweight and out of shape, many doctors today parallel their cigarette smoking predecessors of 50 years ago.  Dr. Neal Barnard of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, observed that doctors finally realized they were “more effective in counseling patients to quit smoking if they no longer had tobacco stains on their own fingers.”  Barnard also likened a plant-based diet as the nutritional equivalent to quitting smoking.

Greger finishes the chapter on heart disease by further explaining why more doctors don’t counsel their high cholesterol patients about nutrition as an option for treatment.  Aside from not having enough time to counsel their patients on diet (this was the case as explained by my own physician), most of them said they didn’t want their patients to feel “deprived” of eating the foods they loved.






“How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?”

“How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?”

When my Grandma Francine died at 72 of cardiovascular disease (CVD), I was devastated.  Like a second mom to me, she was one of my closest confidants, my comfort, and I loved her (and still do) like crazy.  My husband and I had just gotten married, and we were still processing the loss of his grandfather, who had died of liver cancer the month before. Bedridden and unable to attend my wedding, her health had been failing for a few years. Several strokes had stripped her of a job she enjoyed, and the ability to drive a car. The last time she drove a vehicle, she suffered a mini-stroke and ended up parked in front of a random strip mall. The only thing she could remember was the sound of horns honking and cars coming toward her. By the grace of God, nobody was injured. Eventually, she was rendered speechless and robbed her of a most prized possession, her mind. So much so, she didn’t even realize she was playing in her own excrement when my aunt was driving her home from a doctor’s visit. It’s like the old saying, “Once an adult, and twice a child.”

Her father had also died young but from a massive heart attack. He was 59 years old, a mere 13 years older than I am now. My grandmother was heartbroken and sad for many, many years after his death. So what is the take away from all this? Heart disease runs in my family and takes away people who are dearly loved, far too early. Furthermore, it begs the question, since my grandma and great-grandpa died from cardiovascular disease, does that mean my children and grandchildren will lose me the same way?

“Your Bad Habits Are As Inherited As Your Bad Genes.”

The other day I was listening to Dr. Neal Barnard, MD, on a podcast. A very articulate and tremendously intelligent man, Dr. Barnard is a trailblazer in preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. In the segment, Rich Roll (one of the best interviewers ever) and Dr. Barnard were talking about something called epigenetics.  Here is a quick analogy that might help understand epigenetics. “Think of the human life span as a very long movie. The cells would be the actors and actresses, basic units that make up the movie. DNA, in turn, would be the script —the DNA sequence would be the words of the script, and certain blocks of these words that instruct key actions or events to take place would be the genes(1)

We all have two types of genes. Some genes are “Dictator” genes. “You, Stephanie, will have blonde hair and blue eyes.” These genes give you orders, and you can’t argue with them. But then there are the other guys, the “Committee” genes. They make suggestions, and if you don’t like them, you can refuse. “Hey, Steph, how about some clogged arteries?” Nah, I think I’ll pass. Certain circumstances in life can cause genes to either be “silenced” or “expressed” over time. They can be turned off (becoming dormant) or turned on (becoming active). What you eat, where you live, who you interact with, when you sleep, how you exercise, even aging – all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications around the genes that will turn those genes on or off over time. (2)

Still with me?

So this made me wonder if there was a relationship between epigenetics and cardiovascular disease. Is CVD a familial death sentence? In his book “How Not To Die,” Dr. Michael Greger explains, “For most of our leading killers (heart disease being number one), non-genetic factors like diet can account for 80-90% of cases.” Migration studies and twin studies show us this is not just a case of bad genes. When a person moves from a place where there is a high incidence of heart disease to a place where heart disease is virtually non-existent, their disease rates decrease.

Conversely, when a person moves from a place where there is a low incidence of disease, their risk rises when they move to a place where there are higher incidents of illness. In a twin study funded by the American Heart Association, 500 twin pairs were examined for CVD. Some were non-identical (only share 50% of the same genes), and some were identical twins (they share the same genes). The results of the identical twins showed that one twin could die early of a heart attack, and the other can live a long, healthy life with clean arteries depending on what they ate and how they lived.”

Even if I have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, it doesn’t mean that I have to die from it.


“Your genes are the gun, but it’s your lifestyle that pulls the trigger.”

Bad habits also run in families. Families that grow up together and eat together end up “inheriting” bad eating habits from mom and dad. That explains why entire families are obese; suffer from CVD, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Overeating, consuming foods high in fat and cholesterol, eating fast food for breakfast and dinner, and a sedentary lifestyle are all significant factors that lead to early death from Cardiovascular Disease.

Worse, the more behavioral risk factors people have—smoking and eating a high-fat diet and not exercising, for instance—the less likely they are to be interested in information about living healthier. (3)

So what do we do about it?


Without question, diet is the most critical component of preventing, halting, and in many cases, even reversing the effects of cardiovascular disease. A high fiber diet mostly whole, plant-based foods were scientifically proven to lower cholesterol and dissolve plaque build-up in the arteries without medications or surgery.  In fact, diet is so powerful that Dr. Barnard equates eating a plant-based diet as the nutritional equivalent to quitting smoking. So does this mean a vegan or vegetarian diet? According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, striving to eat at least 90% of your calories from the unrefined plant foods, you construct a health-promoting, disease-preventing diet. But what about the remaining 10%? While I love the idea of every person eating a 100% whole food plant-based diet, I know it’s not a realistic option for everyone.

In a large scale study of the oldest living people globally, National Geographic researcher Dan Buettner examined five places in the world – dubbed “Blue Zones” – areas where people live the longest and are healthiest. The data showed the need to LIMIT MEAT. “Think of meat as a celebratory food,” Buettner said. “Portions should be no larger than a deck of cards, once or twice a week. Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausages.” FISH IS FINE. Enjoy fish up to three times weekly. Wild-caught salmon or smaller fish like sardines, trout, snapper, cod, and anchovies are okay choices. Limit portion sizes to 3 ounces (about the size of the palm of your hand.)” You need to know other severe issues with fish, such as sustainability and the health dangers of mercury consumption.

Quick Side Note: Epigenetics and Cancer. 

Dr. Dean Ornish and his colleagues took biopsies from men with prostate cancer before and after three months of intensive lifestyle changes, including a diet rich in whole plant-based foods. Without any chemo or radiation, a positive change was noted in 500 different genes! The expression of disease-preventing genes was boosted, and those that promoted the cancer were suppressed. (4)


Performing a variety of yoga postures, stretches, and exercises muscles. This helps them become more sensitive to insulin, which is essential for controlling blood sugar. Deep breathing can help lower blood pressure. Mind-calming meditation, another crucial part of yoga, quiets the nervous system, and eases stress. All of these improvements may help prevent heart disease and can help people with cardiovascular problems. (5)


It can be as simple as taking a walk. While walking 60 minutes per week can reduce your overall mortality by 3%, walking 300 minutes a week, or 40 minutes a day, can reduce your mortality rate by 14%!  So, in this case, more really is better. And physical activity doesn’t mean just going to the gym. It can mean anything from cycling and playing Frisbee to practicing yoga.


In a 2007 study that followed more than 6,000 men and women aged 25 to 74 for 20 years, researchers found that emotional vitality—a sense of enthusiasm, of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance—appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The protective effect was distinct and measurable, even when considering such wholesome behaviors as not smoking and regular exercise. Optimism cuts the risk of coronary heart disease by half. (6)

**It has also been shown that being good at “self-regulation,” i.e., bouncing back from stressful challenges and knowing that things will eventually look up again, and choosing healthy behaviors can be a significant factor in reducing heart disease. The idea is that you are avoiding risky behaviors such as drinking alcohol to excess and regular overeating.

How do you start a Plant-based diet? 

How do I begin to make a change to a plant-based diet? What behaviors do I need to improve to stick with it? I am starting from scratch, and enjoy sugars, carbohydrates, and meats. It will be a significant life change for me, but I have arthritis, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol (the latter two conditions are controlled with medications). Arthritis in my hands is painful, and anti-inflammatory drugs are not helping.

Think evolution rather than revolution. Introduce one new, plant-based recipe per month, and in a year, you have great ideas for eating for two weeks. Identify one or two types of breakfast you can eat on most days. I recommend a smoothie. It’s a great way to get at least 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables in one meal. Replace all of the simple carbohydrates, bread, and pasta with 100 percent whole-grain product. Add beans to your salads and eat more vegetables.

Any change requires some effort. If you want a different result, i.e., Better health, you have to be willing to introduce changes that may be uncomfortable at first. Our taste buds do not like change. So, essentially you have to educate your taste buds and do this with mindfulness and a sense of purpose when you are changing your diet. If you stay long enough, one month, or two off of addictive sugars and fats (and salt as well), you will stop craving those altogether. Just take the first step in your mind that you want to change to a plant-based diet if you feel that such changes will benefit you.

Make Me Wanna Holler

We are in the midst of a national health crisis. As American’s we are fatter and sicker than ever before. The latest CDC report estimates that approximately 3 out of 4 Americans are overweight, and nearly 2/3 of those who are overweight, are obese.  To calculate if a person is overweight or obese, doctors use what is called a Body Mass Index or BMI measurement. Essentially, it’s the ratio of your height to your weight.  (At the bottom of the page I have included a link to the CDC’s BMI calculator.)

United States Rankings with Overweight and Obese as Criterion:

  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over with overweight, including obesity: 70.7%
  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over with obesity: 37.9%
  • Percent of adolescents age 12-19 years with obesity: 20.6%
  • Percent of children age 6-11 years with obesity: 17.4%

And it’s not just adults who are suffering. One in three children born in the year’s 2000 and beyond will develop type 2 Diabetes. (1)  And for the first time in our nation’s history, it is predicted that these kids will not live as long as their parents.  (2)

When I was a kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents was extremely low, and quite frankly very rare.  Unfortunately, as processed foods and dollar menus at fast food restaurants have taken over that has changed.

The Wall Street Journal

And sadly, it’s not just children’s physical health that suffers.  In a recent national survey of overweight sixth graders, 24 percent of the boys and 30 percent of the girls experienced daily teasing, bullying or rejection because of their size. (3)  Tragic.


The United States is ranked number one in the world for crisis care. If you’ve been in a car accident, and you need to be put back together again, you’re in the right place. However, if you’re worried about your health, you may be in trouble.  

The United States health care system ranked dead LAST in the developed world.  (4)  Yet, we spend the MORE on health care than anyone else in the world, (5) and we are still the sickest nation on earth.  “We endure some of the worst rates of heart disease, lung disease, obesity, and diabetes in the world.” (6)

So why do we spend so much and get so little?  In his book, “The China Study” Dr. T. Colin Campbell says it best, “Health care is really disease care, and it’s big business.  Every year over a trillion dollars is riding on what we choose to eat and how we choose to treat sickness and promote health.” (7)

In the first quarter of this year, McDonald’s reported a profit of $1.1 billion.  Yes, that’s 1.1 billion dollars in 3 months.  Their gain equals our loss.

“The combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together ($33.7 billion). (8)


Drug companies rely on the fact that Americans will eat poorly, get sick, take drugs, then get really sick. The two biggest culprits are heart disease and cancer.  And guess what?  When you put yourself in harms way you run the risk that own health care system will kill you.

Medical errors, which include misdiagnosis, or not treating the root cause, adverse drug reactions or interactions, improper transfusions, and mistaken patient identities, (What???) (9) are all too common, thus making our own health care system the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. My own Dad spent 7 days in the hospital last month because of adverse drug interactions. One of the drugs he was given, he didn’t even need to take!  I was once overdosed on morphine, (by a nurse who didn’t read my chart correctly) even though the doctor’s orders were for Tylenol.  




We have a choice.  We can choose how to spend our money.  And we can choose what to put in our mouths.  We are busy people.  I am a mom of three kids, believe me, I know. Balancing school, work, sports, travel, and everything else we do, it would be really easy for me to drive thru somewhere and pick up food.  Or throw a pre-made processed meal in the oven because I’m too tired to cook.

What you put in your body HAS TO BE A PRIORITY.  What you feed your kids fuels their growth and their brains. It also sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating.  When nutrition becomes a priority, it becomes a conversation and a tool for learning.  By the way, did you know there is as much protein in a nut (peanut, almond, cashew) butter and jelly sandwich as there is in a McDonald’s hamburger?

My kids know how to convert sugar from grams to teaspoons.  When they want something sugary from the grocery store, they have to calculate the sugar content. Nine times out of ten when they know how much sugar is in something they voluntarily put it back.

I often hear people say that they can feed a family of 4 from the dollar menu way cheaper than they can feed them at home. Here’s why:  The reason fresh organic fruits and vegetables are expensive is because the government doesn’t subsidize fruits and vegetables.

A subsidy is a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service remains low or competitive. A cheeseburger from McDonald’s is only a dollar, because our government subsidizes the wheat, dairy, and meat industries.  They’re keeping us overweight and unhealthy.


But Americans are getting smarter.  Thanks to their Wild Oats Marketplace, Wal-Mart is now a viable competitor of Whole Foods.  Whole Foods is now lowering their prices because the demand for healthy foods is at an all time high. Sales of organic foods in the U.S. jumped 11.3 percent, to $39.1 billion last year, according to the Organic Trade Association. (12)  YES!!!

Doctors are NOT required to take courses in nutrition.  So find a GOOD nutritionist and do what they say.  I chose to adopt a plant-based diet, and in 4 months my blood pressure went from 126/170 to 116/58. My reflux and joint pain are gone, and in 6 months I had lost 34 pounds.

My doctor was amazed and asked me how I did it.  I told him I was tired of not feeling good and didn’t want to be a slave to pills. So I decided to change my diet and exercise.  I said, “No offense, Doc, but I don’t want to see you anymore.”  He laughed and said, “On one hand, I wish all of my patients were like you, but on the other hand, I have to pay my bills.”



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