Food Choices

When I stopped eating processed foods and red meat in 2011, I lost more than forty-five pounds in less than six months. While this was a lovely bonus, feeling so much younger was the better accomplishment. A myriad of health issues that were affecting my quality of life melted away. My doctor was shocked when I showed up for a follow-up visit only six months later. She still tells me I am her inspiration for making healthier choices.

When I visited my friend’s house for the first time as my newly healthier version, she asked me, “But how do you know what to eat?” It is a question I’ve been asked many times over the years. If you don’t like or want to cook or you live alone, preparing meals may seem like a waste of time. I’ve learned to shop for healthy options that don’t require much cooking.

Each morning begins with two cups of organically grown coffee, followed by two glasses of filtered water with the juice of half a lemon in each.

Even though Mr. Mickey and I live in the same house, we only see each other for a couple of hours each day and rarely have a meal together. I rise many hours earlier, and he still works four days a week with his daughter at her business. He also dines with friends often. That means I mostly eat alone. I want those choices to be the healthiest, so I plan my grocery shopping with that priority in mind.

Breakfast might be yogurt, berries, granola, and a drizzle of local honey. I still prepare my favorite nutrition-packed breakfast porridge at least once a week. It keeps us feeling satisfied for most of the rest of the day. That recipe is here.

A baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon can be part of breakfast or late lunch. A large potato can be sliced, mashed, and stored in the refrigerator for three meals. Hot or cold, it has a lovely flavor. (I rarely eat anything after 3 pm.)

My afternoon meal may include a variety of fresh vegetables and sliced avocado, with excellent olive oil and hummus. An afternoon meal could instead be a soft-boiled egg, wild-caught sardines, and some olives. My choices change with the seasons and what looks best as I shop in the produce aisles, but fresh vegetables are always a priority.

My food choices have been similar since 2011, so I’ve shared several posts on this subject. If you would like to look back at earlier ones, they are herehereherehere and here.

62 Comments
  1. I like to eat very much like you do. I’m not wild about meat so I don’t have it often.
    My doctor keeps telling me that I need more protein. Please tell me how you get enough protein every day. Your choice’s look wonderful ! Thank you for sharing this information with us again.

    1. Animal products are one source of protein, but there are other options as well. Here is an interesting article about high-protein foods.
      Sources of plant proteins include:
      beans
      nuts
      legumes
      soybean products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame
      buckwheat
      Ezekiel bread
      quinoa
      wheat
      wild rice
      nutritional yeast
      chia seeds
      hemp seeds
      spirulina

  2. Every time I read about your eating habits I feel I need to do the same. I’m curious though on how you felt before starting this. I’m sure you have shared this before but I don’t remember what you said. Lately I have been very tired and my body aches all the time. It is surely my diet. I would love to be pain free and better my health. This was a great post at this time of the year. Thanks

    1. I had at least one migraine per week for a couple of years and seven sinus infections in one year. At fifty-five, my joints ached too much to walk across the yard. I was borderline diabetic and had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. After six months of eating a healthier diet and drinking lots of water, I had none of those things.

  3. That only works if you like those foods. Since being made to eat a bowl of woody peaches fom a tree in my granmothers yard I cannot stand the texture of fruits. Dark green and leafy doesn’t happen for me either. Way too bitter

  4. I started a Mediterranean diet in October. I follow it 95% of the time. In addition to dropping 15 pounds, I am just starting to feel less pain from my arthritis and inflammation!

  5. Thank you for doing another post on food. I always like to give some thought to improving our diet. I’ve been eating your porridge recipe for a long time. I’ve added some other grains and healthy items to it. I’m not allergic to foods except crustaceans. I added a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon to the recipe. I really love the taste. I always feel good about getting so many healthy ingredients in my body so early in the day. I’m off to a good start! You are the perfect illustration of how healthy foods can totally change a persons appearance, health, and energy.
    May your week be full of delightful experiences!

  6. Even thought I have read your similar posts before, I always enjoy reading this info again. . There seems to be new info or info presented in a different way and the info is relevant, Thank you for your tesearch and info in the posts which are informative and interesting.

  7. After following you for several years, I started to drastically reduce my intake of processed foods and increase my consumption of salads, steamed vegetables and fermented foods. I have been a vegetarian for over 40 years, leaning more towards vegan when possible, but it was the processed foods with dangerous oils and chemicals that must’ve been keeping the weight on and causing regular IBS flareups, sometimes lasting for up to five days. Now, in my 60s at 5’2″ and 106 lbs., I feel better than in my 20s, and my IBS symptoms have all been reduced to a rare flareup lasting less than a day. And it’s all because of what you’ve so generously shared with us. Thank you Susan, and have a wonderful healthy holiday.

    1. I have tears in my eyes reading your comments, Angie. It is sad that so many Americans suffer because of the processed foods filling most of our grocery shelves. I’ve asked many of my friends who are doctors, why they don’t tell people how important it is to eat real food. They get very little training in nutrition, so it is up to us to figure it all out.

  8. Bravo, Susan! Thank you for another meals update and the great article. I, too, eat as you do. As an RN for 43 years, so often I’ve heard patients beg to know what else to eat for protein besides meat. Why? Because tastes change as we age and the “ I don’t like meat anymore” complaint is a common one. Thanks for posting the article listing so many options that are easy.

  9. Susan – this post is both a Christmas gift as well as a healthy prompt for 2024. Thank you – you make a difference.
    My best to Mr. Mickey and all those you love. And my very best to you.

  10. I need to do this myself. Eat a lot better. I go through times of eating very well and exercising well and then I will let it slip. At least this time (in the middle of a slip) I wont have put all the weight back on, just half of it, so it wont be as big a slog to get it back off again in the New Year. The tricky part is that we are going away on holiday for 10 days so I will have to be careful not to completely over indulge. Lol. Thanks as always Susan for your post and I wish you and Mr Mickey all the best for Christmas and the New Year. Hard to believe we are going into 2024!!

  11. This column is one of the best Christmas gifts ever! Thank you, Susan. You’re always an inspiration! I wish you and Mr. Mickey a very Merry Christmas.

  12. Perfect timing for this reminder of healthier food choices as we all start a new year/clean state with better intentions.
    Again, thank you for always being several steps ahead!
    ❤️

  13. Hi Susan
    Thank you for reminding us of your blogs regarding your diet. I really appreciate you taking the time to direct us to your earlier post.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Mr. Mickey.
    All the best in 2024
    Kind Regards
    Gayle

  14. Hi Susan, forgive this lengthy comment, but I just have to share.
    Thank for posting your eating regimen again. It has been an inspiration . After changing my diet last year, my cholesterol went from around 200 to 134 in just a few months. But better than that — my HDL/LDL ratio even, which is phenomenal. All my other indicators, including inflammation markers, went from red to green. My GP was ecstatic, although not surprised when I explained my diet. Our meals look almost identical to yours. Lots of beans, some tofu, a few eggs, and fish. And about 7-8 servings of vegetables a day. I do not eat bread products. For us, the first week was not easy; but after that it has been easy. It can be done! Our bodies adjust. I feel amazing and I have to give you some of the credit. One side benefit is that my clothes fit much better and I am enjoying shopping in my own closet and saving money. Thank you.

    1. I realized long ago that I was eating way too much food and it was low quality. When I started eating more nutritious foods, I stopped feeling tired and hungry all the time.

  15. Perfect timing! I needed a little inspiration. I’m where you were in 2011. I love all of the healthy foods but also sweets and good hearty dinners. At my last doctor’s appt he said that I have to make lifestyle changes or start diabetic meds. He gave me a year to change my numbers. My mother was diabetic. I remember all that she went through with medications and insulin and the toll it took on her health. I don’t want that. This gives me hope that I can change my situation. I have a new walking partner (a standard poodle puppy), and I have good winter gear (I live in MT). Now I need the willpower to change my diet. Thank you for putting links to all of your previous posts. I’m going to read them all and start working on this. Seeing a real person who has accomplished this is very motivational!

  16. I love all your posts but especially the ones on healthy eating. I began organic, unprocessed eating about 10 years ago and was astounded at my body’s response – in a good way. At 72 I feel and look better than at 40. I do yoga, pilates, walk, aerobics etc. 5 -7 days a week. I’ve never been really overweight but at 5’4″, 115 pounds looks and feels a lot better than 140lbs! My dilemma is dining with friends and family who do not follow a similar eating habit. Their eye rolls and comments about “everything in moderation” are met with serving foods or dining at places where it is difficult to eat healthy. What strategies do you use when faced with this dilemma at parties or when out with friends?

  17. You are Such a wonderful inspiration and role model, may I ask – do you take supplements along with your healthy diet? I would love to learn what, if anything different, you eat during festive seasons.
    May you have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and peaceful 2024

    1. I try to stay as close to the vegetables, occasional wild-caught fish, eggs, berries, and yogurt diet all year round. Now that I have to take Letrozole after having breast cancer, my bone density is at risk. The oncologist suggested I eat whole-fat plain yogurt and take Caltrate as a supplement daily.

  18. One thing I learned from my mother as she got older ( she lived to 96) – fruits and vegetables are easier to digest and should be the main focus of one’s diet.. Her diet was whole grain toast, yogurts, fruits, fish such as salmon and lots of vegetables. Red meat, pork, some rich seafoods only cause stomach upset. I found that preparing foods simply without rich sauces, frying etc makes for a happier tummy and you sleep better.
    This was another great post! Thank you!

  19. I’ve had a similar experience when my doctor suggested if I want to live a long and healthy life to eliminate all sugar and sugar substitutes from my diet. It wasn’t easy but what a difference it made and I receive many compliments which is very rewarding.

  20. Thank you for re-visiting this subject! I’m sure we all have been wondering about your Lifestyle with Mr. Mickey….I Love it! Both of you seem to enjoy each others company AND have your private time, too. I applaud you both!! Diana

  21. Susan, I have been making the recipe for porridge that you had in your post a few years back. The recipe had some different ingredients-such as amaranth and millet. And did not have some of the ingredients from this post. Was there a reason for change, or was it just to change out consistencies and flavors? I really enjoy your original recipe and make it often. I am sure this one is just as good, just wondering?

    1. The amaranth and millet are still good choices, but I decided to use the hulled barley instead for those two items. The barley brings down blood pressure. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial things. It’s also high in fiber, responsible for better digestion, reduces hunger, and increases weight loss.

  22. My food choices changed dramatically three years ago when I began following you. Thank you, Susan! Standing at 5′ 3″ I lost 30 pounds; and have maintained my healthy weight. Tomorrow, I turn 68! I run three days a week; and incorporate other physical activities on the other days. The healthy meals absolutely stay with you throughout the day. Having a “fitness” watch of some type will keep you inspired and accountable of daily movement and exercise. Merry Christmas, Susan, and to Mr Mickey, too!

  23. I always enjoy your food/diet related postings! My husband and I eat a Mediterranean diet basically, but we do have a weakness for the occasional goodie – he likes to bake scones and cookies. We focus on plant based meals with healthy fish & chicken a few time a month. I would like to know more about ultra processed/processed foods. I get the obvious ones (deli meats, frozen meals, candy, canned soups, etc) but what about cheeses, bread, pasta, canned fruits, olives, pickles, meats (like salmon or tuna) ….. Maybe you’d consider another blog addressing this. Happy Christmas & a Peaceful Sane New Year to you both!

  24. Wonderful post. Thank you Susan for a wealth of information, pictures, suggestions, and more through the 4 years (?) when I started reading your posts. I see your life as an extraordinary, inspiring journey. I’ll be 80 years young in a couple of weeks and I hope I will continue with your journey many more days. Merry Christmas to you and Mr. Mickey.❤️

  25. One afterthought: Why don’t we plan a short cruise, you, Mr. Mickey, my husband an myself, and all of your wonderful loyal followers? I am sure all of them would love to meet you in person and enjoy your presence?

  26. Dr William Li , How to beat your Diet,
    and live longer. He is a master of HOW TO STARVE CANCER. 7 yrs ago his mother was sent to hospice.
    She is well now at 87. But his research is the reason.His Ted talk has 11 million views. The 5 foods that over come cancer.

  27. Susan, thanks for the update on your eating practices. They are admirable in this world of crazy schedules and so many “eat out” temptations. I aspire to what you do. My husband and I did a meatless week, and I must say, we lost some weight and felt better. We’re going to try to repeat that often! The recipes were really good!
    Always love to hear about this subject.
    Happy Holidays!

  28. Susan, I have incorporated many of your dietary choices into my daily eating habits and am happy to share that I have lost 17 pounds since February of this year. This was after completing 6 weeks of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer and I hadn’t yet recovered my sense of taste or sense of smell. Oh, how wonderful the foods I prepared smelled and tasted once they fully returned! Your approach to eating really works even when slightly modified as I did so thank you for that.
    I’m always happy to see a posting from you in my email and have been following you since the Fifty not Frumpy days.
    Best wishes for the holidays and the new year.
    Susan in Arizona

  29. I’m so glad you continue to post these food choice posts. I’m sure it probably seems redundant to you, but I love them. The porridge is amazing, I’ve even convinced my husband to eat it. He’s usually against anything healthy, lol. His health has taken a hit lately, though so he’s been more open to change. Thank you again for all you do and share. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Alaska.

  30. My favorite post yet. You can’t/don’t look good if you don’t feel good. Getting your health, weight and skin care under control are all part of ‘looking good’. Thanks for the motivation!

  31. Dear Susan, Love all your food choices! As the new year approaches, your posting on this particular subject is perfectly timed! Merry Christmas to you and Mr. Mickey!!

  32. I may have missed something, but are their fruits that are incorporated in your daily foods? Thank you for the encouragement.

  33. Susan thank so much for this post (as well as all). I’ve been following you for a few years and feel I’m a better version of myself because of it. I have celiac and honestly even after going gluten free I still do not feel good. Your posts on food have been and are helpful ..especially this one…as a reminder there are some things I can do to fine tune my diet and to keep plugging away. Thank you for continuing this blog. Merry Christmas and blessings in the new year.

  34. I’m so glad I was able to read this! I’m going to follow your suggestions and eat healthier! My husband has bone cancer and needs nourishing meals. I can add most of these items to his diet along with his regular food. I found your posting by accident and try to read every one. I enjoy your postings, love your style, your observations and suggestions. Thank you so much!

  35. Susan, I recently was “gifted” an orchid. I remember your saying that you had methods to care for them.

    Can you refresh this post or tell me how I could learn to keep my plant alive.

  36. Thank you for reposting your food favorites! I remember several years ago you posted the cover of several books you had read to get started on your journey. Could you please pick out some of your favorite nutrition books and and post them again for me? You look fabulous and are an inspiration for so many of us! Merry Christmas!!

  37. Recently found you and I wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying your site. I have been exploring current and past posts and I find them all very interesting. Thank you for posting!!

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