Food Choices

The food choices we make daily result in better overall health. Genetics plays a part in the equation, but I want to point out that some of my family members are about the same age as me but do not eat clean. They are very often sick with colds, sinus problems, headaches, and other aches and pains caused by eating mostly fast, convenient, butter, sugar, and salt-loaded foods. I haven’t had a cold in six years.

“What dressing do you use on your salad?” I get this question often. The answer is none or a small amount of aged balsamic vinegar, a small amount of pure olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, or maybe lime. I avoid all condiments. There has been no mayonnaise, salad dressing, catsup, or yellow mustard in my home for years. Processed, wrapped in yellow plastic stuff that looks like cheese and luncheon meat of any type, are not things I ever eat or buy. I do not eat pre-packaged manufactured or drive-up window food.

When I get up in the morning, I have two cups of black coffee. I no longer use any creamer, and I never use sweetener. Breaking your addiction to sugar, fat, and salt is a good start to better health and enjoying how real food tastes. Two glasses of water follow the coffee with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into them. (Use a glass straw to avoid damaging tooth enamel.) As we sleep, we lose hydration, so it is essential to replace it as soon as we wake up. My breakfast includes whole, unprocessed grains, seeds, nuts, and fresh fruit every morning. I sip filtered water all day. I never drink any soda.

When we go out for a meal, we always order a dish to share, such as wild-caught fish with vegetables. I often order just a salad with balsamic vinegar dressing on the side (so that I can control if and how much of it I consume). I avoid bread and butter. The “butter” is often margarine, which I would never knowingly eat. A side order of steamed broccoli is the perfect addition to a bed of fresh greens. If we join others at a steakhouse, I order a salad with a side of sauteed onion and mushrooms.

All of my food choices center around whole natural organic things prepared as close to how it was harvested from the earth as possible. I always eat less than what is served. We American’s started supersizing and adding cheese to everything in the seventies. It is now common to be served a platter of food fed a family of three in the 1950s. If we are not mindful, we consume many more calories than we need, and those calories may come from food that has very little nutritional value. Do you ever eat an order of fast food and then find that you are hungry again in two hours?

We were taking a stroll around the Antler Hill Village grounds to enjoy the mild weather before dinner. I wore a top by Clara Sunwoo over pants by Lior Paris; both items are old from The shoes are old by BCBGeneration.

  1. Thank you for sharing! What do you eat when you are traveling? I am particularly interested in what you eat for breakfast while traveling.

    1. I try to always stick to whole natural foods even when traveling. I often take grapes, apples, oranges and nuts when we travel for extended distances. When I fly, I take almonds and an orange or apple. I sometimes order dry whole wheat toast and a two egg veggie omelet when there are no other more healthy choices on the breakfast menu.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful eating plan. Thanks for sharing. I eat in a similar manner most of the time. Adding a smoothie made with good ingredients gives me a jumpstart in the morning.

  3. You look lovely as always. I know you get comments all the time about your heels and I have a question as well. I have always worn heels as well but am finding it to be more difficult as I age. I am 56 and am a hairstylist so I’m on my feet a lot. I am also 40 lbs overweight. Could you wear 3 inch heels when you were your at your heaviest? I’m hoping if I lost the weight I could comfortably carry off heels again. I never want to give them up!!!!!

    1. This is a great question, Terri. I was not able to wear heels at all when I was 45 pounds heavier, in fact, my feet hurt even in running shoes. I have no issues with wearing heels for short periods now. I rarely wear them for more than three hours.

    1. No. I don’t take any supplements. I get what I need from a wide variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. My blood tests are perfect now. They certainly were not when I was eating the standard American diet.

  4. Hi Susan, I enjoy all your posts. Straying off the food topic, however, I’m trying to remember why type of shape wear (bra) you wrote about a while back. Could you please re-post the link?
    Thanks so much

  5. Hi Susan
    As you know I love your site and all your tips. Just worry a bit about the lemon in water. Lemon is so great for our bodies, however my dentist warned me that too much lemon erodes tooth enamel. It is very acidic. Drinking lemon water through a straw apparently helps. Love your suggestions.

    1. I only have the lemon first thing in the morning and brush right afterward. Just plain water for the rest of the day. I agree about lemon not being great for your teeth.

    1. Hi Susan, I have had the good fortune of eating Clean and knowing the importance and joy of exercise for pretty much my entire 60 years of life so far — thanks to nutrition-centric and fit-fanatic parents 🙂 I do have a bit of a bitter-sweet tooth (same as my dentist dad -haha), but it has to be made from real ingredients, and more bitter/tart than sugary sweet. I also eat organic chicken and occasionally some grass-fed beef (my body tells me when red meat is required). I’m also very lucky to live within walking distance of a whole foods market, so have easy access to clean foods. I will say though that I am not exempt from colds or sinus/migraines. For me, it’s a stress thing as much as my diet — if I fall below my ‘fighting weight’ or am under a lot of hectic tension at work or in life, I will get sick. All this to remind us that food is just one important component of health. Love your blog!

  6. Susan, do you take any kind of supplements? I know that those kinds of nutritional needs can be very different from woman to woman based on many issues, but I am curious about whether you feel a need for an extra boost based on your way of eating. Thanks! -Mariah

  7. Sorry for the duplicate post, and I have just read through the previous comments and found my answer! I should have done that prior to posting my comment! Apologies!

  8. Hi Susan, since finding your awesomely wonderful blog I have changed my eating habits thanks to you. At least 4 mornings a week now I have your power porridge with fresh fruit. I LOVE it !! I have to say this isn’t something I would have tried on my own. I’m so glad I found your blog, it’s opened me up to a whole new way of eating as well as style tips that I once found very daunting, but you make it very easy to understand. Thank you !!

    1. I do have one piece of Godiva or dark chocolate by Ghirardelli or Lindor chocolate truffle often. If I can find Belgian or French chocolates, that is a special treat. Which do you like best?

  9. I love all your posts. This one especially…along with your wonderful diet suggestions I would include organic turmeric..that was my prescription from my doctor.

  10. Regarding lemon juice and tooth enamel, didn’t you once write that you use a glass straw when you drink lemon juice in water? This is a great idea to avoid getting acid on your teeth.

    I am happy to say that in Wisconsin, it is against the law to serve margarine at the table unless specifically requested, so butter it is.

  11. Hi Susan, what do you do when eating at friends’ houses and they serve dessert? Do you pass or just have a small piece? I’m always concerned about offending if I don’t try what they’ve made.
    P.S. This 59-year old Canadian loves your blog!!

    1. I always enjoy a little of whatever my host has prepared for us. I try to follow the routine as I wrote in the post today about 90% of the time. I find that gives my body a chance to recover from any of the times I stray from what works best for me. I feel and look my best when I stay on track. Thank you for your kind words.

  12. Regarding the comment about lemon water eroding teeth: I was always so concerned about dental health that I carried a toothbrush in my purse to brush at restaurants. After doing this for decades, I recently learned that our teeth require about half an hour after meals to remineralize and shouldn’t be brushed right away. Just as our bones are living tissue, so are our teeth. Now I immediately rinse with plain water, but wait 30 minutes to brush, especially after something acidic such as citrus.

  13. You look awesome! I have followed a similar diet for years, mostly plant-based, and it has made a difference in my weight, skin, and energy levels. What we put into our bodies finds expression on our bodies and in our faces too …Thanks for the inspiration again.

  14. Thanks for your inspiring posts. I’ve followed your blog for awhile and am making good progress improving my diet. I can’t say my diet was poor before, but you have given me some great ideas on eating out. I use Dr. Fuhrman’s book for nutritional information.Thanks for introducing me to Eat to Live!

  15. Re your comment about how big the meals are: On a visit to USA we, Australians, noticed how big your meals were at restaurants and even your “cookies” are huge. In fact at Disneyworld where in our package deal we were allowed a certain amount of meals for the week, the first day when I queued up with our tray of food for three the server said “Is that for the three of you?” I will only count that as one!” We finished the week without using our meal allowance!
    Love your posts, thank you.

  16. Thankyou Susan, I live in Perth Australia, I am being inspired to keep trying, i am finding it hard to lose weight as i am on certain medication that are effecing my motabulisium, but i know that i can do it, I love your cloths and i am going to try and do my best to dress simular, Elaine

  17. Thank you for all the info that you share. I always enjoy you posts and wish I could still
    wear heels. I always add olive oil to my green salads at home to help with adsorbing
    the vitamins etc. I do not trust the restaurant to use olive oil, so I skip it there. JoAnn

  18. Hi Susan.
    I have been reading your blog for about a year now and totally concur with your food choices. My grandmother always ate in the same fashion and raised her children and grandchildren the same way. I am now 57 and feel soooo good. I raised my children the same way and they now are following down the same path with my grandchildren.
    I am curious….since you lead such a health conscious life style, does your beauty regime follow in the same vein? Since our skin is our largest organ what we put on it should be as carefully chosen as what we put in it.
    Love your blog!

    1. I often use coconut oil or olive oil as a moisturizer and Epson’s salt as an exfoliant. There aren’t many items in my bathroom. I use Tom’s toothpaste. My skin reacts negatively to most products so I rarely even wear fragrance. My choices in food, fashion, and skin care are always simple and pure. Thank you for visiting!

  19. It’s no wonder you are so beautiful! Do you drink wine or alcohol? I eat a very whole food diet but love me some wine…keeps the pounds on unfortunately. And what about Excercising? Do you do tons?

    1. You are correct in that assessment about wine and alcohol. There are lots of empty calories there. I do have a glass of wine occasionally, but as with coffee, I balance it with an equal amount of plain water afterward. I do not set aside a particular time for exercise nor do I go to the gym. I am very active all day and often go for a long brisk walk after a meal when the weather is agreeable. I go up and down the stairs many times a day, and I pick up the pace whenever I am moving through my home doing chores and cleaning. I park far away from buildings and walk fast through the stores. I work in some exercise all day, every day. I rarely sit still for very long.

  20. Great post. .thanks for sharing so many of your tips. Like the way you and Mr Mickey avoid “date weight” by sharing! Current favorite chocolate here is Hersheys special dark chocolate with almonds in individually wrapped pieces. For your morning coffee..what is yor coffee of choice and do you brew or use a Keurig? Best wishes, L

    1. I use a Cuisinart Perfect Temp 12-Cup Programmable coffee maker and Peet’s French Roast coffee. I do not like the taste or even the idea of Keurig. I avoid plastic and excessive packaging whenever possible.

  21. I did read somewhere that adding healthy fats to a salad helps to absorb the nutrients of the greens. They recommended avoiding low fat salad dressings and choose full fat or olive oil.

      1. I eat salad for one of my meals almost daily. I make my own salad dressing fresh. 1/2 avocado mashed, 1 clove garlic through the garlic press, California Olive Ranch olive oil and mix these together. Doesn’t need salt for my taste and if you need less calories that day, do this without the olive oil. Our local grocery store sells this olive oil and it is certified Non-GMO organic and is one of the recommended real olive oils meaning it is not processed with other oils. If you like garlic, this will make your salad taste great. I’m sure you could think up something you do like to add flavor to your mashed avocado.

  22. Thanks so much for your response. I’m using a drip brewer also, mine is one by Kitchen Aid we found at Tuesday Morning last yr. I like a milder brew than is popular right now. Have seen Peets but have never tried it! Cool here in NC this morning, so am enjoying my coffee! I’m planning to put on a pot of vegetable soup this afternoon; will be adding some leeks which is a new vegetable for me.

  23. Thank you for all your dressing and eating tips. I am motivated to pursue a healthier diet but frequently get off track with the big 3 – salt, fat and sugar. Do you remember when you first transitioned to eating clean? Was it a smooth change or did you have some bumps?

    Any wisdom or tips would be grateful appreciated!

    1. When I started to feel so much better within the first week, it was easy to keep on track. It takes about two or three weeks to break a bad habit. You can do it! You will be glad you did!

  24. Do you enjoy eating this way, or is it a constant state of discipline? I went on a ‘fast’last year or 3 weeks eating only vegan, no sugar or white flour products. My health improved but I didn’t stay with it. How do you really look forward to your meals as much as you would a piece of cheesecake and coffee? thanks for your reassuring and formative blog!

    1. I have a few bites of cheesecake or another dessert a couple of times a week. The rest of it tastes the same, so I stop after a couple of bites. Sugar is a very addictive and destructive thing, but it does not have power over me. I truly enjoy and look forward to each new changing season of fresh fruits and vegetables.

      1. We do not need animal protein. We get plenty from seeds, nuts, grains and vegetables. B12 is the only thing you need to get through supplements because the nutrient is only found in animal foods, like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. I do not take any supplements, so I occasionally have a piece of organic chicken or eggs and sometimes have a piece of wild caught fish.

  25. Susan, I am 67 years old and am so glad to have found your site. Your power porridge recipe has been a game changer as it is leading me down a new path of eating healthier and cleaner. I have been on the Sad diet all my life and am now reading Eat for Life and making the change. Even my husband of 50 years who insisted on bacon and eggs every day has started asking for porridge. I also love your clothing tips. Have been plagued with muffin top forever and just got my first Shapeez Ultimate tankee shaper. My clothes fit so much better and I haven’t even begun to lose weight yet. Finding your site was my perfect storm and I look forward to finding your posts in my inbox! Best to you and Mr. Mickey.

  26. Hi Susan, I just discovered your wonderful blog. Love it!! I think you should write a book about healthy clean eating. It would be great!

  27. I’m 65 and currently trying to lose a few pounds ( 10 to be exact!). I cannot lose any weight unless I restrict my calories to 1,000 or less. Do you have any idea of your approximate daily calorie count? I always worry that I’m causing my metabolism to drop too low and I’m sabotaging my efforts. I eat mostly fruits and vegetables but I also eat small portions of meat.

    1. I never count calories, so I have no idea how many I consume. Trying eating smaller portions, less fruit and skip dinner occasionally. This formula always works for me when I feel my pants getting a bit tighter.

  28. I am a disabled women in my early fifty’s. You have been a blessing to me! Being sick doesn’t make you always the most creative dresser even with my college degree and work background being in the fashion industry. You have encouraged me that I can dress simple yet fashionable. Plus you look comfortable doing so. Thank you so much! Plus, now I know how to lose the weight I’ve gained. Your great! Natalie

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.