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10 January 2010

So Easy by Ellie Krieger

mocha java smoothie

When my friend Sharon and I were in our early twenties, she lived with my family for a summer. There was no work in Ashland, where she was living between her freshman and sophomore years in college. She has always been the sister I never had. My family feels the same. So, she moved into our spare room and we found work together in my town. We worked as waitresses at a brunch and wedding restaurant, run by a crazy family that threw pots and pans at each other in the kitchen. Woefully understaffed, the restaurant brought in demanding brides and impatient diners who had to wait far too long for their eggs benedict. Sharon and I both ran the entire time we were at work, covering 20 tables each, afraid to talk to our boss for fear she might yell at us.

It's no wonder, then, that the little time we had off we spent on the couch. I seem to remember that Sharon had us watching VH1 nearly all the time, hoping we could see Whitney Houston's video for "Want to Dance with Somebody." (Remember those days? Before the internet existed? When MTV and VH1 still played videos? And Whitney's amazing crimped hair?) Sharon was obsessed with that song, plus she loved the dance moves. So we sat on the couch, our puffy Reeboks propped up on the coffee table, watching "Sledgehammer" and "Papa Don't Preach," U2 and Janet Jackson, George Michael's wiggling ass and the Bangles walking like an Egyptian.

Most of the time, we were drinking diet milkshakes.

Sharon and I are were laughing about this the other day. What were we thinking of?

For breakfast (and sometimes for lunch), we took packets of Instant Breakfast, ice cubes, and skim milk, and blended them up into a thin, watery imitation of milkshakes. (This was long before smoothies became ubiquitous.) And every day, we'd say to each other, "Mmm. This is delicious." (It wasn't. At all.)
"It kind of tastes like a milkshake." (It tasted like a milkshake the way dirt tastes like chocolate.) Mostly, though, we felt satisfied in our minds that we were being healthy. With whole-wheat crackers for lunch, with a thin skim of hummus or cottage cheese, some fresh fruit, and lots of salads with no oil, we were convinced we were doing the best thing possible for our bodies.

Of course, after all day of starving ourselves on rice cakes, we usually tumbled into the kitchen after 10 and frantically stirred up dough for chocolate chip cookies. We ate them, warm from the oven, standing by the stove, talking and laughing so hard that no one else could understand what we were saying.

And the next day we felt contrite and started it all over again.

Sharon didn't need to lose any weight. She has always been in great shape. Looking back at photos of myself, I didn't need to lose any either. (There's nothing like having a baby to make you appreciate your 21-year-old body. Ay.) However, as two young American women in the late 1980s, we were convinced there was something wrong with us. We deprived ourselves, all day, and tried to feel the holiness of health.

If only I had known then that coffee and chocolate, good cheese and sometimes beef are considered healthy. I would have enjoyed myself so much more then.


So Easy

Now that the holidays are over, Danny and I are back to our cookbook regime. For an entire week, we cook out of one book, then we share our impressions here. (We'll be giving you a new review and doing a giveway every other Monday.) At the start of the new year, we began cooking out of Ellie Krieger's So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.

I'll tell you the truth. I expected this book to be boring. Stamp healthy on the cover and I think beige. I think about those diet milkshakes and deprivation, the feeling that we're not good enough. No butter. I have my own feelings about a healthy diet now, and it's far different than the typical picture. Certainly, my idea of healthy is worlds away from the nibbling on cardboard I did in my early 20s. So I didn't expect much from the book before I opened it.

However, so many people have aspirations of "eating healthier" around the new year, and I wanted to see if this book could help anyone.

To my surprise, I like this book. Enormously. Danny does too. Now, how is that?

Krieger's book shows, in simple recipes and lovely photographs, that real food is what's healthy. As she wrote: "My golden rule: no food is ever off limits. Rather, I categorize food as Usually, Sometimes, or Rarely....The idea is that there is no need to deprive yourself or go to extremes to be healthy. In fact, extremes are usually unhealthy and trap us into a diet mentality. Rather, balance is key. If you are eating mostly nutrient-rich whole foods, there is room for some butter in your mashed potatoes, some sugar on your strawberries, or even a slice of rich chocolate cake."

Well, where was she when I was 21?

What Danny and I like most about this book is Krieger knows food and how to make it. So many "healthy" programs seem written by people who think of food as fuel, or a prescription. There's no care to create good taste or enjoy those bites you are taking. It's all about efficiency and raw carrots. Krieger's book celebrates food instead of decrying it. She's a nutritionist and a food lover both.

The first recipe we made was sirloin steak with grainy mustard sauce and parmesan steak fries. Danny and I both thought this would be a good litmus test. If the steak tasted too "healthy," the sauce thin and bland, the potatoes a pale imitation of the real thing, we wouldn't bother making anything else out of the book. To our pleasant shock, this dish tasted rich in our mouths. The mustard sauce, with its short-cut reduction, reminded us both of the classic French mustard sauce Danny has been making for years. And the potatoes? Well, look at the bottom of this post. You'll see we loved them.

And so, we made almost every meal we ate out of this book, for a solid week. We drank smoothies (that's a mocha java smoothie on top. oh yeah.) and ate smoked salmon sandwiches, and cinnamon raisin toast with honey-walnut spread. (I wanted to try her version of the Dutch Baby, but gluten-free, but we ran out of breakfast time.) I poached chicken breasts for Waldorf salad, made the grilled beef, jicama, and apple salad, and wished it was summer so I could eat the fresh strawberry and mozzarella salad. We enjoyed the salmon with chickpea ragu (replacing the zucchini and basil with turnips and thyme) and just about lost our minds for the baked beans with applewood-smoked ham. That tasted of molasses and slow cooking, beans and back-of-the-stove simmering, a cold afternoon and an evening together. We'll be making those again. And again.

Do you hear it? These are recipes for real food. Mussels Provencal. Pork piccata. Burger with green olives. Lemon broccolini. Green apple and cabbage salad. Ratatouille with red snapper. Balsamic strawberries with ricotta cream.

I think we enjoyed the book much more than we thought we would because Krieger makes food the way we do. Local, in season, and organic (when possible). When I was in my early 20s, I had no idea which fruits and vegetables were in season that summer. I just ate what I thought had the least calories. Now, Danny and I grow excited when we pull up to the farmstand down the road from our house and see that they have white acorn squash in their baskets, or leeks just pulled from the ground. We plan our meals around the produce first, because that's the part of our plate that keeps changing.

I have to say, however, that my only hesitation about Krieger's book is her use of nonfat yogurt and dairy products. Nonfat milk looks veiny-blue nothingness to me. And I'm not even sure how they make full, rich yogurt into something nonfat. I like to use a little of the good stuff.

I know I'll receive some mean letters from people about this, saying, "Who are you to say you're healthy now? You could use a little non-fat yogurt."
We all have to decide for ourselves. Have you noticed how strident we have become in this country about what we think is healthy? Use agave instead of honey! Skip carbohydrates! Dairy is evil! So many people, publicly, insist they have the answer for the rest of us. (And there's a whiff of self-righteousness, of pointing fingers, of insisting that their way is the only way.) When did we become such twerps about health?

In the end, that's why we enjoyed Krieger's book so much. There was no wagging of fingers, no insitence on her way or heading down the wrong way, no deprivation. This woman has the glowiest skin I have ever seen. She also has a recipe for porcini-crusted filet mignon with creamed spinach and herbed mashed potatoes in her book.

The recipes work. They work well. So many of them are naturally gluten-free; the others can easily be adapted. Cooking out of this book was a gentle way for me to find balance in my diet again, after an entire holiday season of testing recipes for cinnamon rolls. Krieger helped me to think about food, and health, and how we see it, even more deeply.

And Danny approves. That's pretty unusual for a cookbook with the word healthy on it. Take his word for it. You'd like this food.

It's sure a hell of a lot better than diet milkshakes.

We're giving away a copy of this book (published by Wiley, who are our publishers, and who sent us the copy of this book). Just leave us a comment sharing your definition of a healthy diet. I think it will be a fascinating conversation. However, any comment that insults another commenter's diet will not be published. We'll choose a winner at random next Monday by using random.org.

goat-cheese potato fries

Crumbled Goat Cheese Steak "Fries," adapted from So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger


We love potatoes in this house. As much as I love perfect roasted potatoes (like the ones Clotilde wrote about today) for breakfast and mashed potatoes on special occasions, I love finding new ways to eat our favorite tuber without added butter.

These are great. I had my doubts. That little oil? Such a simple recipe? Danny and I both love french fries. Could these be anything close?

Well, let's be honest. These aren't the golden, hot-out-of-the-fryer potatoes of your dreams. However, those have to be occasional indulgences. (And particularly for us gluten-free folks, since the truly safe ones can be hard to find. Did you know that celiacs can get sick from eating french fries that have been fried in the same oil as gluten food? Think about the onion rings and french fries mingling, bubbling away. Do you know how infrequently most restaurants change their fry oil?) French fries are sometimes.

These potatoes — golden at the edges, fluffy soft inside — could be anytime. The original recipe called for Parmesan, which we loved. One night, after we fell in love with these, I made them with goat cheese dashed haphazardly on the hot, baking potatoes. Oh yes. Either way, you're going to feel healthy, and satisfied, when you eat these.


3 large russet potatoes, unpeeled
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 ounces soft chevre (also known as goat cheese)
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise. Then, cut each half into four long slices. Cut the rounded edge off the outside slices so you will have flat pieces. Put the potatoes into a bowl and toss them with the oil.

Toss the potatoes onto a baking sheet (we lined ours with parchment paper), untangle the overlapping potatoes from each other and place each one flat. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and crumble a bit of goat cheese on each potato slice. Put the baking sheet back into the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown and the goat cheese starting to melt a bit.

(If you want the goat cheese browned, turn on the broiler and put the baking sheet under it for 1 minute.)

Take the potatoes out of the oven, hit them with salt, and serve immediately.

Feeds 4.







274 Comments:

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Juanita said...

For me, a healthy diet encompasses what makes me feel the best in terms of energy and mood stability. That usually means five days of all raw food (fruits, decadent smoothies, exciting salads with unusual dressings) during the week, with a let-my-hair-down weekend. For two days, hubby and I cook up a storm trying out new recipes in our kitchen, or trawl our favourite organic market for freshly prepared masala dosa eaten at little tables under the trees, with chicken breyani or delicious grilled calamari at local restaurants if we're feeling more shee-shee. :-)

 
At 12:17 AM, Blogger samantha elise said...

A healthy diet is easy. Eat what you love, but in moderation.

Some people believe in Heaven. Some believe in the after life. However, if I don't get just one bite of something I love, I am living in Hell.

Walk to the store. Go to the Farmer's Market, smell the smells. It makes life grand to appreciate the little things that make us, us.

Cheers to you!

xoxo
Samantha

 
At 1:46 AM, Blogger kris said...

A healthy diet seems to mean something different for everyone. What works for me may not work for anyone but me but I'm the best judge of that not anyone else. Thank you for being so conscious of this fact with this healthy-food post.

My idea of a healthier diet consists of lots of vegetables (I try to eat a salad a day) and fruits with meats (I trim some fat but not all) to compliment and very few grains but of those, only gluten-free.

I do use dairy and try to do reduced fat but it's not the end of the world if I need to use the full-fat variety and very very rarely will I use a fat free dairy product unless it's Greek yogurt.

And I keep refined sugar to an absolute minimum.

 
At 1:55 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Thanks for this lovely post! I eyed this cookbook at the gourmet cooking store where I worked this Christmas season but never even peeked inside. I admit, I was a bit snobbish and thought it would be just another healthy/bland cookbook. Now I want to crack open the cover.

 
At 3:46 AM, Blogger MJ said...

I'd been wondering how this book was, and I have to confess, your review made me want crispy potatoes (saying something since it's early am here and I'm eating GF oatmeal). I saw one of Krieger's shows on the food network, and she was enthusiastic and practical about what most folks were willing to do in cooking - she had tips to make it easier to eat well and deliciously. I'm redefining a healthy diet for myself these days also, after a few months GF, inspired by a number of sources, including your first book Shauna, and works by Michael Pollan. I want food that feeds and satisfies body, mind and soul, that I enjoy eating, that I can feel good about inside and out, that isn't processed or packaged beyond recognition, that doesn't take all day or all paycheck to prepare, and that makes me feel better, not worse, after I've eaten. Food that gives me strength and energy as I go about my busy days and various pursuits (including running). I think you're right - food as only fuel is less than satisfying, even if sometimes one needs to take that approach. Food is communal, visceral. I understand much more now how people express love through cooking for others, having had the incredible good fortune to have someone do it for me. So much abundance in the world, so many things to try! Thanks for the review, for the book, and for the site - whenever I read your work, the love comes through and it's a joy to see.

 
At 3:55 AM, Blogger Mama JJ said...

My definition of healthy is tons of veggies from our garden, real fats (butter, coconut oil, olive oil, lard), raw milk (which we don't buy anymore since it's so stinking cost prohibitive), sourdough bread (starter made from our very own grapes), homemade yogurt, whole grains, and fresh local meats (my husband and kids just butchered 11 chickens a couple weeks ago).

And of COURSE chocolate is good for you---everyone knows that...

 
At 4:03 AM, Blogger Katie said...

My definition of healthy eating is only eating real food (preferably in season) that has been minimally processed. I usually eat whatever I want, in whatever quantities that I want, as long as I start with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, locally grown meat/dairy products, etc. I find that when I eat real food, my body is satisfied with reasonable amounts and I don't binge eat like I would with a bag of potato chips.

 
At 4:46 AM, Blogger beverly said...

This looks good. I am all for healthy food that satisfies and if it is easy, I am all for that. Love your blog. I would love to try out this cookbook.

 
At 4:51 AM, Blogger Lea said...

My idea of a healthy diet is one that includes minimal processed food, food that has been raised naturally, and all the food groups; protein, calcium-containing goodness, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and veggies (at least one at every meal). Lots of water is part of it, too.

 
At 4:59 AM, Anonymous mj said...

wow, this book sounds amazing! labs are done and i'm brand new at working on being gluten free (by a mere 3 days!) i can see why your blog comes highly rated and i am excited and thankful for the helpful tips and recipes i've read across your blog pages already. thanks for sharing ... will be peeking in regularly for sure! :)

 
At 5:03 AM, Blogger Dana said...

Hi there :)

I would love to enter to win the cookbook. I have seen the author on the Today show many times, and she always makes something yummy! As far as healthy eating... Cut back on your portion size of meat, and add to the portion size of your veggies.
You will be full, and satisfied :)

Thanks so much for the nice giveaway, and all the great recipes!

Dana
d09@goldingers.com

 
At 5:06 AM, Blogger alaskajoey said...

Healthy Diet:
think a little more
cook a little more
balance a little more

It's all in your own head- you just have to sort it out.

 
At 5:10 AM, Blogger Emily said...

I think a lot of the time your body knows what it wants, if you let it. If you allow yourself to eat all the chocolate in the world, you'll probably crave it less because it won't be sexy and forbidden. I like the idea of intuitive eating, though it's not always easy to follow.

Any besides, you get more nutrients out of salads and vegetables if you eat them with a bit of fat, it doesn't negate all the goodness that is there.

 
At 5:11 AM, Blogger Janet said...

My diet plan is pretty simple-- moderation and common sense. With an occasional chocolate chip cookie thrown in for whimsey!

 
At 5:15 AM, Blogger Marlow said...

I feel like a healthy diet is a balance. My own healthy diet means I eat everything that I may want (aside from gluten) but in portions that are appropriate for my current weight and metabolism. I'm not trying to lose weight, but also not trying to gain weight. Just a healthy balance :) ALSO I would LOVE this book. I'm looking for new recipes with easy adjustments!

 
At 5:20 AM, Anonymous gaelle@whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com said...

I agree with Ellie Krieger that in an healthy diet nothing is out of range. Everything is in, as long as it is in moderation and the diet is balanced (proteins, fruits, grains, spices, etc.) over the course of one week.
The other key, which is unfortunately not implemented well is in the US, is no (or very limited) snacking and sugar-loaded sodas.
PS: Whole-grain crackers in your 20s.. I'm impressed!

 
At 5:20 AM, Blogger Quoda said...

I'm definitely an "everything in moderation" type, except when it comes to gluten, of course. I love seasonal produce enough that I joined a community supported agriculture just last month and I am longing for May to come so I can get my shares of inexpensive, fresh produce!

I love chocolate, so I've actually been eating teff with chocolate for breakfasts. It's like pudding for breakfast.

I have been eating some vegetarian dishes, but I also eat meat. I try to get as much of the well-raised stuff as my budget allows and I use everything (I even asked for bones and meat scraps from Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham from my parents!). My dad is a hunter, so right now my freezer is stocked with really delicious venison. My parents have chickens, so I always have eggs.

The only things I try to avoid are soda and all fast food, though fast food is avoided more because of the gluten than anything. But it's a good thing, because any old cravings for McDonalds are dulled by the thought of getting glutened.

That book sounds awesome. I love cooking and would love to try out some new recipes!

 
At 5:26 AM, Blogger Roz said...

Ahhh Shauna - I need that cookbook! Pick me! Pick me!! My definition of a healthy diet is one that isn't too fatty or sugary (though if you ask me, sugar is worse than fat) or too plentiful. Lots of fruit and fresh vegetables, in season... and cooked with love. That's important! and the room to indulge yourself every now and then. What's life without sausages and chocolate cake? IT WOULD NOT BE WORTH LIVING!!!!

 
At 5:30 AM, Blogger elle said...

Eating healthy is changing your standards. Not just any food, from anywhere, done anyway. But the emphasis needs to change from food to GOOD food. It starts in the head and and then the hands. I'm happy to say I'm learning!

 
At 5:41 AM, Blogger BB said...

This looks like a fantastic book! I'm glad you shared your thoughts.

My idea of a healthy diet is one that lets me love food and love my body at the same time. Dishes are flavorful, colorful and don't have a lot of fat, sugar, salt or artificial "stuff". (Of course, some desserts and snacks are in there too.. )

 
At 5:42 AM, Blogger De said...

The idea of a healthy diet has changed for me over time. I used to go for the deprivation or the south beach ideas, but found that as soon as I stopped them the unhealthy eating/weight came back. I found that once I dealt with why I was turning to food I could make healthier choices. My healthiest choice to date has been to not immediately eat something bad for me when I'm sad. Today, with a loved one recently diagnosed with HIV, a grandmother recently discharged from the hospital (again), and a job I continue to try on being grateful for instead of hate, I am holding on to "healthy eating" with white knuckles. Sheer willpower had me toasting my fiber one english muffin and not racing to McDonald's for a hash brown this morning. Stubbornness, and a reminder of my budget, had me throwing a lean cuisine in a lunch bag, rather than resorting to the burger and fries I could get at the cafeteria at work. So that's healthy eating to me this morning, not assuming that foods rich in fat will make me feel any better. In truth, as I look at the fast food carnage when it's all said and done, it will make me feel worse. That being said, on any other day (or week, or month), healthy eating has meant making sure I have healthier options (like egg whites/egg beaters, tons of fruits and veggies, or crunchy substitutions for potato chips) and have quick, easy recipes that are just as filling (and fulfilling to make) as the unhealthy food I still love.

 
At 5:47 AM, Anonymous Sirena said...

Oh, Shauna, how I laughed at your description of those atrocious diet shakes! My college experience definitely involved a mini-fridge full of Slim Fast and a best friend with whom I shared those massive belly-laugh sessions too. Great memories!
We try so hard to cook healthy food at our house, and our (always moving and adapting) version of healthy food includes brown rice and whole grains; lean organic meat, mainly chicken and fish, and local eggs; yogurt; heart-healthy nuts, and plenty of veggies and fruit. Breakfast today was an egg-white and low-fat goat cheese scramble with Ezekiel bread and soy sausage; lunch is vegetable soup with turkey bologna sandwiches; dinner is chicken cutlets in a balsamic reduction with brown rice and almond pilaf, roasted brussel sprouts, and green salad. Although it really is a subjective and personal thing, I think our "definition" of health food hews closer to Hemingway's great definition of "what is good." To paraphrase: what is healthy is what feels good after! No guilt, no bad feeling. Good, clean, whole food, cooked simply, in small portions, with love.

 
At 5:55 AM, Blogger Anna said...

Those potatoes are gorgeous, I can't wait to try them! My grandfather always said "Everything in moderation, including moderation" I try to achieve a balance, but in my meals I almost always want to eat lots of vegetables, especially those that are in season. Most of the foods I really enjoy tend toward the more nutritious with the occasional french fries and sometimes baked goods.

 
At 5:56 AM, Anonymous LaurieA-B said...

I'm familiar with Ellie Krieger from Everyday Food magazine, which is one of my favorite food magazines. Her book sounds good. I'm with you, though, on the full-fat dairy. We switched to whole milk several years ago and will never go back. It's delicious--our Fresh Breeze whole milk--a word I had never associated with milk before.

 
At 5:58 AM, Blogger Green Key said...

The two most recent books I've read are both by Michael Pollan: The Omnivore's Dilemma, and In Defense of Food. I'm with him all the way on how to eat healthfully and well: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. By "eat food" he means eat REAL food, not "edible food-like substances" (like those diet milkshakes). Eat food your great-grandmother would recognize as food. I'd love to win a copy of this cookbook. I'm always looking for new and inspiring things to cook.

 
At 6:02 AM, Blogger karla said...

sure shauna, now "want to dance with somebody" is stuck in my head!

to me, a healthy diet is: a balance of protein, starch and vegetables. good organic meat, rice or potatoes and vegetables. the occasional dark chocolate and french fries are applicable.

as i am moving into my mid-40s i am seeing that a balance is good, that there is no reason to not enjoy the good things in life.

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger Erin said...

My idea of a diet is not about freaking out over every morsel that passes my lips, but instead involvement. If I am eating poorly it is because I am not taking the time to putter around at the market or visit the farms or bakeries in my neighborhood. I know if I am taking the time, not only am I eating healthier, but I feel good about treating myself to something special instead of guilty.

Great post, I think I used to drink those same shakes.

 
At 6:06 AM, Anonymous JenniferK said...

Hi Shauna,

My view of eating healthfully has changed so much in the last ten years. At my house, we try to eat varied diets, in tune with the seasons as much as we can. If I have over-indulged in fatty foods and dairy (which I personally do not digest well, but my husband does), then I have found my body naturally gravitates to leaner, simpler foods for a bit. My motto is that if we focus on making sure everything we eat is delicious, our bodies and souls will be satisfied. If we eat highly nutritious foods at the same time, we'll get what we need. I have found it's easier to hear my body say "I've had enough" when I eat this way. I've punished my body much less over the last few years, both by not depriving, and not overreating less-than-delicious food. In my world, a perfect, luscious pear is just as delicious as caramelized onion and tapenade topped socca.

 
At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Liz said...

Everyone needs to get their five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, but beyond that I feel that what is healthy can differ somewhat from person to person. I know I do best at eating well if I have protein as part of my breakfast (peanut butter on toast, egg white omelet, heck - I had a cheese sandwich yesterday) and something hot for lunch. My main fall down is snacking, and those two behaviors help me avoid snacking.

 
At 6:14 AM, Blogger Kathie Sever said...

my definition of a healthy diet? it's the food i eat when i'm feeling grounded and balanced. it's the food i naturally tend toward when life isn't swirling so much and there is enough quiet space for me to hear the whisper of my molecules and cells asking for joyful nourishment. no rules. no resistance. not trying to fill a space with food that i should be allowing to remain spacious.

 
At 6:16 AM, Blogger Sarah B said...

Ellie's white chili is a go to in our GF house. Love it.

 
At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Shannon said...

I have come full circle from growing up in a farming family who drank milk straight from a cow to an obsessed college-student who counted every last calorie to a mother who feeds her babies and herself real, traditional, local, nourishing foods.

We like our dairy raw and whole fat, our vegetables from our own garden or the farmer down the road, and our meat pastured from the other local farmer. Oh and cod liver oil... lots of cod liver oil.

 
At 6:17 AM, Blogger Sarah B said...

Ellie's white chili is a go to meal in our GF house. Love it.

 
At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Vanessa said...

Like you, my definition of a healthy diet has changed over the years. As a child, my mom always insisted on a balanced diet of vegetables, rice and meat. Then I became a teenager and snacked lots, ate bowls of ice cream for dinner, bought McDonald's by the dozen when they had their $1.39 burger specials (brought these to school for lunch-I was the envy of my friends). In uni, it was no different, I would buy dinner from the vending machine (vending machine combos) and consume large quantities of pasta, doughnuts, beer and sugar coffees.

Everything changed when I had a health condition (not celiac). I was forced to review my lifestyle. I started to read about the foods I was eating. Another factor was witnessing my grand-parents poor health due to poor nutrition.

So to answer your question, my definition of a healthy diet goes back to the basics my mom taught me since I was a kid: eat a balanced meal with lots of veggies less meat and some rice, eat until you're 80% full-no more than that. Exercise is a given but I'm assuming you're only asking about the food aspect.

It seems like I always come back to what mom taught me and I am happiest when I eat like mom taught me. But I will shove it aside to try new concepts. I am also exploring the glutten-free lifestyle (I do not have celiac) but it is confusing. I hope to learn more through your blog. Keep up the good work.

I would love to have a copy of this book. It sounds like the type of cooking and foods I would like to make.

Vanessa

 
At 6:31 AM, Blogger Shawn said...

I am a firm believer in eating the foods God has provided us. In the US, processed foods are a huge problem, not only to our weight but to our minds and future health issues. If you can't pick it, grow it, or hunt it, you probably should leave it alone. Eat more veggies than meat, but don't be afraid of the meat. Be active! And with all you prepare for friends and family, make them feel like its the best meal they've ever had before they taste it. Let the first taste come thru the eyes and nose. And lastly, show you really care by providing for their dietary issue (not that I need to preach that to other Celiacs or those with gluten issues). I'd much more enjoy a meal of crackers and cheese with a friend/family member that made the attempt to find GF crackers, than a lavish 10-course dinner with someone who said "bring your own food, I don't know anything about your problems". Lastly, include in every meal 2 ingredients: love & laughter. Everyone will know if thats missing!

 
At 6:33 AM, Blogger belle_n_pete said...

To me, a healthy diet is food that tastes good when you eat it, feels good after you eat it, and powers you brilliantly through your days once it's been transformed from your food into you. :) And, of course, it gets bonus points if the dishes are quick, easy, affordable, and fun to make. Sounds like So Easy fits the bill - I'd love to try it out!

 
At 6:41 AM, Blogger wellunderstood said...

would love to try some new recipes!

 
At 6:42 AM, Blogger Laura said...

I'm generally a believer in all things in moderation. And my mother and grandmother taught me that the colors on your plate must be balanced. (While we love a meal of pork, sauerkraut, potatoes and applesauce, and figure it seems healthy and balanced, the color combination makes us cringe. Though there's already plenty of food on the table, we might just make some green beans and pop open some pickled red beets just for peace of mind.)

 
At 6:42 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Shauna, you would love reading the book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. He explains all the diet fabs and why they make no sense and what makes sense.

I grew up in Venice, Italy, where we ate what was in season, cooked with olive oil, and consumed lots of vegetables and fish. Sweets only on special occasions, and no too sweet. When I need to lose few pounds, I start eating lots of vegetables, cooked in the oven with a little of olive oil, or earthy soups, made with lots of legumes.

Thanks for the book review, that is a book I would not have checked out because of the "health" on the cover.

Happy cookin'!

 
At 6:48 AM, Blogger Jennywenny said...

How fun! I love ellie krieger, she's so down to earth and her recipes are very tasty.

I'm generally pretty healthy but my weight has creeped up recently, so I'm making a conscious effort to get that weight back down.

I personally tend towards eating more than I need, so using a kitchen scale to weigh some food, especially my breakfast cereal stops me from mindlessly eating more than I need.

Plus the usual-eat tons of fruit and veggies, avoiding processed food etc!

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger Keri said...

It's funny how Ellie's philosophy is similar to mine: no deprivation and allowance of sweets once in a while. I find that this philosophy has worked for me. This cookbook looks awesome!

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger Tiff said...

I see a healthy diet as multi-colored. Many dark-green and purple leaves, many different vegetables, many fresh fruits, and many different grains. If I don't have three different colors on my plate, it's not balanced enough.

A healthy diet reflects a diverse, loving community. Multi-colored and harmonious.

 
At 6:55 AM, Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

Oh, I'm so glad that you love this book - I'll definitely pick up a copy now. Ellie is just about the only person left on Food Network that I enjoy watching these days. PBS seems to have stolen all my favorites (not that I'm complaining)!

A healthy diet for me starts with no gluten. It could be as simple as that, and I would be worlds healthier than I was for the first 25 years of my life.

Traveling further and deeper into my love of food, a healthy life (let's shun that word "diet") means cooking real, whole foods with love. I don't think I would be healthy physically or spiritually if I didn't spend hours a week dancing and creating in my kitchen. The act of cooking is as much a part of my health as what goes on the plate.

Love this post, and I can't wait to read the conversations here!

 
At 6:56 AM, Anonymous Sarah said...

My ears perk up when I hear Ellie come on. Healthy food, but GOOD healthy food. I'm going to check out her book now. (hopefully by winning it here. *grin*)

Ditto to most comments here. No forbidden foods, but moderation is key. Wisconsin winters make me miss our family garden, cannot wait to get back into the soil.

After being sick for so long, I started avoiding foods in general. Would stick to bland foods, you know, like bread. ha! Who knew it was actually making me sick. My healthy diet now is my gf diet, me being the healthy part.

Great post Shauna!

 
At 6:57 AM, Blogger tallmisto said...

I'm so glad that you like this book. I enjoy her show and feel much like she does about food. I've always wondered about her books. My mom adores everything she makes.

If I ever go back and finish my nutrition degree Ms. Krieger would be a model for how I would like to teach people to eat. To teach people to love food, not see it as an enemy.

 
At 6:59 AM, Blogger The Baltimore Babe said...

Goat cheese smeared on to potatoes! How lovely. Sounds delish. Thank you for describing how to cut potatoes, sometimes I just want a good oven roasted fry.

As to diet, I've lost weight by increasing my vegetable and fruit intake and cutting back on sugars, carbs and bad fats! That is it! All w/o exercise too. Thanks again! Love the blog. :)

 
At 7:02 AM, Blogger Brenda said...

A healthy diet means eating food that will fuel by body while not breaking my soul. I want to eat what makes my body strong, without feeling a sense of obligation. I eat it because I want to, because it makes my heart happy; and a tray of raw veggies just does not make my heart happy! LOL!
Love your blog, B=)

 
At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna! A year or two ago, Ellie had a cooking show...just loved it! And you are right...her food looked amazing! For me healthy eating, is lots of fruit and veggies, good protein like fish or free range chicken, lots of water, and doing yoga. Eating fresh and local is also important to me - love what each season brings forth. Ina

 
At 7:08 AM, Blogger Cursing Mama said...

A healthy diet, for my family, is one that is full of food as nature intended it - locally grown & raised - ingredients that aren't lab created - and occasionally throwing that whole idea out the window and having something as lab created as a cheese puff.

 
At 7:26 AM, Blogger April said...

For me, a healthy diet is one that leaves my stomach happy :)! Having lived with an upset stomach for quite a while, healthy is what my body enjoys and feels good. It includes smoothies, meats, veggies, rices, etc. When I can walk away from a meal that was gluten free and tomato free and it was savory...yeah, that sounds healthy to me ;)!

Thanks for the great review!

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger Marty52 said...

Smaller portions and more fruits, veggies and whole grains has been the beginning for me. I've always enjoyed cooking and this book will keep me on the path to healhy eating. Thanks for the review and I sure hope I win! :0)

 
At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Rosita said...

My definition of a healthy diet:

variation, moderation, and make it yourself with as fresh and unprocessed ingredients as you can get your hands on.

The book looks really good.

 
At 7:35 AM, OpenID looklisteneat said...

What can I say that hasn't been said already? Moderation, moderation, moderation. Balance, balance, balance.

But when I think about it, a healthy diet is more than just moderation and balance, it's a way of eating that inspires a real joy in cooking and consuming. Starches and carbohydrates are delightful when you sink your teeth into a warm cookie but the end result of too many cookies (or carbohydrates in general) is a plaque-like buildup of lethargy and moodiness.

A diet that consists mostly of what the Earth has provided, though... well, it's inspiring! Produce, nuts, natural fats and proteins are where it's really at. A diet consisting mostly of them makes me feel like I'm glowing. Overall, I'm happier. I have more energy.

It's a dilemma, though-- a cinnamon roll would be so wonderful right now. Some days, I'd kill for a piece of chocolate cake (even if I just had one last night!). So I moderate the carbohydrates but give myself unlimited access to fresh, organic produce. I'd be happy to chomp on crisp bell peppers all day long!

 
At 7:35 AM, Blogger Brianne said...

Oh my gosh, those potatoes are making me hungry and I just finished breakfast. I don't have such a well defined sense of a "healthy diet" but I've learned to listen to my cravings and eat in moderation. For a long time if I'd want something sweet I'd deny that craving and eat everything else I could find before finally giving in and having the caramel that sated me. Now I try to pay attention to myself and if I want something I eat it (in small quantities). I save a lot of time, effort and calories this way. I also find that I don't want the stuff that's "bad" for me as often because it's not forbidden. We always want what we can't have, right?

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger Kimsue said...

I am struggling with a healthy diet, so thank you for all your ideas. I really enjoy watching Ellie on the food channel and would love to read her book.

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger Kim said...

My idea of a healthy diet is balanced. Loads of fresh fruits and veggies, a little meat and a little chocolate makes me a happy girl :)

 
At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Stephanie said...

A lot of your readers feel the same way, I think. One reason we love your site! I'm a vegetarian by choice, not vegan though. My idea of a healthy diet is aimed at whole foods and lots of colors. Our pasta is made from brown rice and cooked with greens, beans, garlic, and whatever fresh veggies we have. We roast vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper. I go for full-fat cheese, but non-fat yogurt (it's a different food from the full-fat--tangy instead of rich--but it's wonderful).
I try to use whole grains whenever possible, but definitely bake with BUTTER and whole grain. I tend to reduce sugar in baking, at least a little bit, and use a pat less butter than the recipe might call for. For snacking, I'd go for a piece of dark chocolate over chips or cake.
Of course, when food comes to the office, I usually have to walk by it. When someone brings in wheat-free goodies, however, I tend to over-indulge!

 
At 7:51 AM, Blogger Kerry said...

I think everyhting in moderation keeping in heavy on fruits and veggies. I would love to try this new book.

 
At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Stephanie said...

for me a healthy diet is listening to my body. most days that means fruits, salads, proteins & whole grains. sometimes it means french fries!!

 
At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Juliana said...

A healthy diet is one that is made up of genuine, real food. Food provided by farmers, by loving hands, and by people who love people. If it has to come from a box, it only contains ingredients I can pronounce.

Food with a clear history, a clear path from the Earth to my table, and prepared with care.

 
At 7:57 AM, Anonymous erinn said...

eating healthy is focusing on real food. real food is minimally processed and as natural as possible (increasingly difficult these days). also, try eating a wide variety of fruits & veggies - not only because theyre delicious, but because you;ll get so many different nutrients.

side note: i think there is nothing wrong with some good ole white rice (jasmine is a favorite). Rice of all kinds has been a life force for me since my celiac diagnosis!

 
At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Deborah Mele said...

I have both of her recent cookbooks and love her take on eating healthy. Your potatoes look amazing!!

 
At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Genie said...

Definitely, like many other commenters, I define a healthy diet as mostly vegetables and fruits and whole grains, with accents of meat and dairy. And on the weeks when I hit that mark, I feel so very much better than the weeks when I revert to, say, chilaquiles thrown together every morning or quesadillas thrown together at night -- cheese is great in moderation, but when I'm finding ways to incorporate it (and no veggies) into my entire week, that usually means I need to back off and find a way to get a little bit unstressed!

 
At 8:00 AM, Blogger Gabrielle said...

A healthy diet means cooking most of what you eat. However, it is not only about what you eat, but where it comes from, and how you shop for it.
I shop often, and make little trips to the market throughout the week so I can make sure what I'm eating is the freshest possible.
Eating well also means eating a very wide variety of foods, and experimenting in the kitchen.

 
At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Sam said...

I think that the best way to eat healthy is to eat real food, and to cook it yourself from scratch. I just started using dry beans instead of canned, shredding my own carrots, and other small things that in some way make cooking and eating so much more enjoyable.

 
At 8:05 AM, Blogger Swiss said...

I am looking for foods that are tasty without reinforcing the urge to overeat such as those
pushed by the fast food industry with their layering of sugar, fat, fat sugar, fat salt, sugar fat to over stimulate. So for me fresh, local, flavorful equal simply good for eating and for health. Also I must say for me, trying to give up buying books; this one is not helping.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

To me a healthy diet is a gluten and dairy -free diet with whole foods, unprocessed ingredients, and comprised of fresh fruits and veggies.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger Maria said...

I think my friend Mary summed it up well when she said "Everything in moderation, even moderation." A splurge every once in a while is fantastic.

That said - I love to cook and I find that for now, knowing what's in my food from start to finish is the easiest way to stay healthy.

 
At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Sophie said...

I'm glad you posted about this book Shauna, but also Ellie's approach in general. I work as a dietitian and spend a lot of time working with people on developing a healthier approach to food. It's such a shame when people think eating healthily is going to be all about eating the foods they don't like, and consigning all of the foods that they love to a 'never' list. I'm all for a bit of cheese and chocolate in life!

 
At 8:14 AM, OpenID gfpumpkins said...

My idea of healthy eating isn't anything different from many of the above comments. Real foods, including real fats (meat and dairy!). As little packaging as my graduate student stipend can afford me, and as many veggies as I can figure out what to do with. And of course, no gluten for me!

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger Adrienne said...

For me and the people I cook for, healthy means the same as a lot of other commenters have said - moderation, balance. Lots of veggies, not much meat, very little processed junk. Lots and lots of water. Tis the season for discussing such things, as you said, so thanks for opening up a forum for it. (Please don't enter me in the book giveaway, I had a copy but gave it away, it wasn't really for me.)

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger peasantwench said...

For me, it's all about moderation. Making sure that I'm not "too virtuous" (ie obsessively counting calories) or too indulgent (making a cake for dessert every night).

I will say that I love tomato basil rice cakes so much that I could eat through an entire bag without noticing. I try not to do that too often... :)

 
At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Mary said...

A healthy diet to me means trying to find a happy balance - not giving in to my every craving, but not depriving myself of anything either. Using common sense to buy local, seasonal, sometimes organic food and not getting swayed by deceptive health claims. Doing research - I used to insist on skim milk until I read about the additives in skim milk thrown in to make up for the lack of fat! It's all about balance, which often takes more time and effort, but is worth it for my health and peace of mind.

 
At 8:32 AM, Blogger Annie said...

Ellie Krieger is fantastic!

The key to eating healthy for me is adding tons of flavor. I love to smother a lean pork loin with fresh herbs and garlic or jazz up chicken soup with curry powder. Then I never feel like I'm missing out.

 
At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Sonja @ ActiveFoodie said...

I love Ellie Kreiger. I completely subscribe to her food/diet philosophy. I believe if moderation, and good, organic wholesome ingredients. I don't deprive myself of anything, but I also try to avoid processed food items - if I don't understand am ingredient on a label, I don't buy it. An finally, home cooking is key!

 
At 8:40 AM, Anonymous RH said...

I don't eat meat or dairy, so for me "healthy" means organic fruits and veggies, lots of whole grains, legumes, and every now and again something sweet. Sweets are healthy for my soul. :-)

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I view healthy diets as eating smaller meals a few times a day rather than three large meals. I am in graduate school with a hectic schedule that is often off hours with everybody else. I find that eathing 5 healthy meals a bit larger than snacks helps me going all day -- where 3 larger meals makes me feel tired.

 
At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Melissa said...

I think you can stay pretty healthy if you stay away from processed foods in general. Cooking for yourself is a great way to maintain moderation. Packaged foods tend to be loaded with soy and corn causing those who eat it to become, unwittingly, unbalanced in their diet.

And of course, balancing your foods appropriately. Everyone is a little bit different in this area, as you exemplify everyday in your blog. Some people's bodies can't tolerate gluten. I happen to be slightly intolerant of dairy (if I eat too much, too much for me that is, I get congested and am prone to sinus infections). So you have to listen to your body as well. Someone else's balance may not be your balance.

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger Athena said...

A healthy diet, to me, is staying as close as possible to how something exists in nature. That means staying away from super processed foods. Defatted dairy is processed more than I like, nutrients in the fat are lost.

I feel like we've lost something in our eating by trying to cut out naturally occurring fat. Does carefully trimming the fat off of a steak really do us any good? That's not something humans used to do, even 50 years ago.

My favorite simple meals consist of seared meat or fish and vegetables. I used to be a processed carb fanatic, but I'm now finding that I am happy and satisfied with a meat, veggie, and fruit dish.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Sam said...

A healthy diet to me includes any foods in moderation. A good balance of foods, lots of fruits and veggies, not a lot of sugar or unhealthy fats.

I refuse to go on any sort of diet that makes me eat certain foods or completely bans others (excepting, of course, gluten)

I love eating this way - makes me feel so alive.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Roberta Taylor said...

Echoing what so many have said, I feel that a healthy diet means eating a variety of 'real' food, and making sure that moderation is a key to my choices.

Being so far north, eating seasonally has also become extremely important to our family, not because choice is particularly limited, because an embarrassing amount of produce from Australia, Holland, and even Israel finds itself in Northern BC, but because we feel better when we eat winter food in winter and summer food in summer. Right now in the short days, it's stews, soups made thick with root veg and cabbage, and fresh warm bread or biscuits.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...

A healthy diet for me is eating as little processed food as possible, and consuming as much real food as I can in my meals. We still have dessert - I would be crazy to want to open a gluten-free bakery and not have my own goodies around all the time. But it will be after we've all had a nice meal of lentil soup, or of grilled ginger lemon chicken and a huge side of roasted broccoli. When I eat food, I want to be able to pronounce all the ingredients. If an ingredient has five syllables, it's out (five is right out!).

Oh man, do I ever relate to what you said about really appreciating the body you had after you've had a baby. I look back at pictures of myself in high school, a time when I hated everything about myself and didn't have a shred of self-esteem, and want to say, "What were you thinking? You were SMOKIN!" And now, I possess a mommy muffin-top. Not complaining, that's just the way my body is shaped now, no matter how fit I get. Maybe it's appropriate to have a muffin top since I'm a baker?

I'm still a little sad over the loss of agave in our household. I think that I really did drink the agave-sweetened Kool-Aid and believed it was as healthy as it touted itself to be. But after reading all the online articles that were a result of the latest honey vs. agave discussions, we won't use it anymore in our home.

And this concludes my novella comment. Sorry it's so lengthy!

 
At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Mary D said...

I agree with many of the ideas here, all foods are ok - how much and how frequently we eat those that are less than good for us is what counts. A great meal can certainly end with a piece of great dark chocolate, a variety of fresh foods - a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, cheeses, good bread and sweets all in moderation keep us healthy and happy.

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger The Thriftist Chef said...

Local. That feels the most natural and healthy to me. I grew up on a farm with a butcher for a dad, so 90% of everything I ate came from within 1/10 of a mile of where I lived. I got away from that when I moved to New York, where everything affordable came in small boxes and plastic containers.

I've gotten back to eating locally (not QUITE as local as my childhood, but no tomatoes from China), and I feel like I can taste food again. Living in the Northeast, this also means buying very seasonally - while September is a sad time, it makes May and June that much more exciting. It's also taught me the importance of conserving, paying attention to, and planning what to eat - there's nothing is as wonderful as adding some fresh-off-the-ears frozen corn to a big pot of January chicken soup or using some previously perfect frozen peaches for a remarkably fresh smoothie.

 
At 9:10 AM, Anonymous ana said...

To me a healthy diet is one that supports your body. And your heart - literally and figuratively. So eating within the typical guidelines (choose your flavor for the guidelines). I also agree with wheover said moderation is important.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Johanna B said...

For awhile my definition of healthy eating was raw foods. Then I was diagnosed with celiac. Now I believe that real food is important. None of the fake stuff enters my house. I eat as close to nature as I am able and for me it is working.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger Isa said...

For me, healthy is "everything in moderation, even moderation." Eat as many whole foods as possible, but don't deprive myself of the things I really enjoy. If I think of them as treats to be enjoyed occasionally, I don't binge on them when I've had a bad day...

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger Krista said...

Since my diagnosis and change to gf, I am constantly in awe of the healing power of food. Who knew?!

I am one of those celiacs who is overweight so I have spent a good chunk of my life trying to lose weight. After trying every diet out there I finally figured out that a "diet" wasn't going to work for me. I decided that nothing was off limits and that I needed portion control and moderation. I have been using the "Usually, Sometimes, or Rarely" idea ever since and have never been happier or healthier. Whole, real food in season and moderation seem to make me feel the best. (I have lost 48lbs since June, too!)

 
At 9:38 AM, Blogger Jennifer Leigh said...

A healthy diet is not about limits and restrictions. It's about honoring your body, and giving it what it needs and craves, tempered with moderation and experience.

For me that means limiting the amount of grain and sugar I eat, and being careful to get enough protein and fiber. I don't worry much about fat, other than trying to choose foods with healthier ones.

Beyond the macronutrients, a healthy diet is one that's sustainable, for me and for the planet. I can't just think of food as fuel for every meal. I need to savor the food I'm eating, and find it satisfying. That means good mixes of flavors and rich spicing. I also need to feel like the food I'm eating has been created in a healthy way, so I buy fresh and local when I can.

 
At 9:42 AM, Blogger asherandeva said...

a healthy diet for me is a rainbow of colors and 3/4 of my plate as vegetables. I'm working on healthier breakfasts right now--they really make a big difference.

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Molly said...

A healthy diet for me is food that keeps me on my feet both literally and figuratively in a variety of ways. I too must make sure that I only eat a limited amount of wheat in my diet to to a skin condition I have called psoriasis which covers a good portion of my body but is the worst on my feet. So a healthy diet that is balanced, varied and wheat free allows me to actually walk because it helps clear my skin and because of the energy it gives me to get up and go!... Fruits and vegetables are my favorite , so I have to make sure I also have those to feel good and make my stomach happy.

 
At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Lori in SC said...

My healthy diet is based on whole foods. But just because they are all natural doesn't always mean they are good for you. I have allergies to wheat, soy, corn and peanuts so those foods are off limits. I also believe in eating your favorite not so healthy foods once in a while, so I don't feel deprived. Luckily my favorite food in the world is shrimp so I don't have to go without too much : )

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger The Chatty Housewife said...

My definition of a healthy diet is eating real, fresh food. It's simple to prepare. It's energy giving and life preserving. It's filling and fulfilling.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Dorian said...

A healthy diet: eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full. Pay attention to what "Hungry" or "full" feels like to you and recognize when either of them means more or less food for the stomach...sometimes it's about feeding the heart, or the head, or the soul.

Food won't fill that hunger ; )

For me, the food needs to be simple, from scratch as much as possible, local and organic whenever possible...and tasty.

Mmm...tasty. A few bites of real, honest-to-goodness food is satisfying in a way that all the multi-processed ready-made foodstuff in the world never is for me.

~M

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Catie said...

My idea of healthy eating is gluten free. I'm relatively recently diagnosed and so I'm figuring out what is healthy/safe for me. I'm not a very healthy eater but I'm striving to have even more of a balanced food lifestyle than when I switched to being gluten free.

 
At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me a healthy diet means listening to what my body wants to eat. Most of the time it is food that is in it's natural, wholesome state. I do have allergies/intolerances to foods and my body had lead me to avoiding these foods. It has also lead me to a diet that incorporates more nutritionally balanced foods. I also believe in eating a bit of everything that I want to eat. I don't feel deprived when I do this nor do I feel like I am missing out on something by eating or not eating a certain food. I truly believe that eating in moderation is the healthy diet for me.

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Lisaz said...

My diet theory is this: everything in moderation. Even moderation. (That goes for exercise too.) I am in pretty good shape, but I have family that is so obese, I worry about them. My feeling is, if you deny yourself something - than all you will do is obsess over it, and eventually binge on it.

I do my potatoes very similarly - but without the cheese and with a season salt mix. I'm happy to hear it's healthy because it always felt like a guilty pleasure!

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger Keegan said...

I too used to think healthy meant deprivation, but have slowly come to learn that it means all-encompassing with moderation. Deprivation will only lead to misery and life's too short. I love natural foods, whole produce, leaner meats, and plenty o' nuts. Food should be enjoyed, not scrutinized. This sounds like an amazing book that I am definitely going to have to go check out!

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger Dianna said...

A healthy diet is simply one in which the food you eat is real: made with real ingrediants (and not out of a package or can). That's the healthy part. As for the diet, well, you had better enjoy it as well!

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger StaceyWP said...

A healthy diet is full of whole foods, produced by nature. Things that make you feel healthy, warm, happy, energetic, fulfilled. A healthy diet feeds the soul as well. It means having healthy relationships in your life, a job/career that you love or makes you happy in some way, it included some sort of physical activity that you love...perhaps dancing in the rain, and a healthy diet fulfills you spiritually...this means different things to different people.

You should feel fulfilled both in body and soul!

 
At 11:00 AM, Anonymous aubrey said...

a healthy diet is something we all strive for at one time or another. that perfect balance of good yet satisfying, and the occasional bad for you snack sneaked in there. plenty of fruits and veggies of course and to stop stuffing your face at the end of the day with anything you can see or touch...

 
At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like to say all things in moderation. However, my definition of moderation needs help. I guess that my idea of moderation is not what I need to lose these last 15 pounds from my last pregnancy 2 1/2 years ago.


Janine

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Jenny Matthews said...

For me, a healthy diet is eating wheat & dairy free, avoiding sugar and drinking lots of water! (I have yet to master control over sugar.) Other than that, I try to just be balanced & practice moderation of portion size. When eating out, my husband and I almost always pick an entree to share. Sure, I might be hungry enough to eat a whole one when I'm ordering, but after eating 1/2, I'm usually full & content. Plus, no leftovers means that I don't eat extra calories 2 days in a row. It also helps the pocket book!

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Mara Rose Gaulzetti said...

Growing up my parents always insisted that we eat "real" food. Margarine, and low-fat items were not allowed in our house, in fact my mom insisted that whole milk is nutritionally superior to skim because it's balanced in terms of fat, carbohydrates and protein. My school lunches were awesome and not what one would consider "health foods". I remember eating BLTs on whole grain bread, or lentil soup in a thermos (made with Pernod, ham and tarragon, yum) or a boiled egg with some celery and homemade mayonnaise. I never felt deprived as a child, or that food was something to fear. I always felt that dinner time was a time of nourishment for my body and soul; a time to be with my parents and my brother. We slurped down summer squash and green beans and picked our lamb chops clean. We ate our baked potatoes with butter and sour cream, and never felt guilty about the fat content. I learned to love eating real food, and I never missed the junk foods that my friends got to eat when I sat down at my family dinner table. I loved watching my mom cook, and picking the veggies in the garden that would turn into our supper. Real food is life's greatest pleasure.

I feel blessed to have such an easy love affair with good quality food. It's made me a woman who's very confident with my health and my body. Being a woman in our society can be tough; the pressure to look a certain way, and to be thin, bombards us whether we acknowledge it or not. I think my parents' greatest gift to me was to view food as something sacred, delicious, enjoyable and nourishing instead of something bad, fattening or unhealthy. Eating was an act of love in our home, a time to relax and come together as a family. There was no need to clean your plate, and no pressure to eat more or less. The food was presented to us simply, cooked superbly and we were encouraged to take our time, to laugh and converse and listen to our bellies telling us that we were indeed sated. This philosophy has helped me keep the same wight since high school, a healthy weight that makes me feel strong and physically capable as well as beautiful and satisfied with myself.

I still eat delicious real foods. I still listen to my body to know when I've had enough. I still look at the act of preparing and eating food as one of love and connection with people and my environment. I love food, I love eating and preparing food. I love being in the company of my family and friends and feeding them and watching them eat. I hope one day to have a family and teach them to have an easy love affair great food just as my parents taught me.

I see exercise in a very similar way; I love biking to the market or grocery. I love skiing because it's fun, not because it burns calories. I go hiking and snowshoeing because of the sense of quiet the woods and views provide...it's well and good to speak of balance, but for me the key to health is being present in and enjoying the moment whether that's eating a great aged steak and some garlicky greens, or hiking up a 14er to a spectacular view of the continental divide. Delicious!

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger Nina said...

Thanks for this review. I've always liked Ellie's Food Network show and now I'd love to have her book. I think a healthy diet is one that makes you feel good, with more energy and less inflammation and achy joints and bones. Having a lot of food allergies, I have to really monitor which foods make me feel good and which foods make me feel sick. My version of a healthy diet may not be like others who don't have all the allergies. On top of figuring out which foods make my body feel good, I also try to chose foods that make my soul feel good . . . organic, local, and unprocessed.

 
At 11:28 AM, OpenID seemommysew said...

I think when I think of a healthy diet, I think of real foods, and a good balance of them. I most certainly do not think of non-fat, sugar free, imitation products and I don't think of brownies made from cottage cheese and splenda! Food that makes me feel good and leaves me with plenty of energy.

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger elizabeth said...

**GASP** ... how long have you been a mind-reader ?? ... I am a personal trainer and/but I LOVE good food, like the food you write about ... notice I said "and/but" ? ... I have been on a see-saw for several years - been there, done that, drank the fat-free protein milkshake and non-fat yogurt .. back and forth between raw milk and almond milk - plain chicken breast and the "good stuff" ... I am dying to get and read this book in my quest for balance .. it sounds awesome so thanks for reviewing it :)
..but for me, a healthy diet ... what I WANT it to mean is .. food from whole foods, the way it is meant to be, that tastes great, so great that you don't keep eating in an effort to get "something" more ... and balance between hot and cold, sweet and salty, clean and rich ... I could go on and on :)
... so, I am going to get this book and work on my balance LOL!!

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

I do my best to eat whole foods from local, open sources I can visit if I want to. Mostly vegetables from our CSA, bread I make myself from wheat from the same farm, chicken & eggs from a different CSA. Taking pride in sourcing everything and making it myself makes me want to do more, because it feels good.

Also, a while ago I did a two-week sugar detox and my relationship with food changed *dramatically.* Cravings for processed things went away. Fruit started to satisfy my sweet tooth. Hunger felt like a natural state, not a problem so big that it triggered my fight-or-flight response. Now I can have the one cookie that I want, instead of eating the whole box.

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

For me, a healthy diet means eating gluten free using whole foods and fresh ingredients. I absolutely love your website and so look forward to buying your cookbook. Ellie's new cookbook sounds amazing. Thank you for all you do for us gluten free folks. It was you who helped me figure out what has been wrong with me all my life. Thank you so much!

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous beyond said...

a healthy diet is as many whole foods (and as few processed foods) as possible. everything in moderation is a good rule to live by.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

What is a healthy diet? For me, it's lots of vegetables, organic when I can get them, whole grains, lean meats, and low fat dairy on a regular basis, with the occasional no-holds barred meals at special places or for special occasions.

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Meagan said...

I so agree with your comments about health, Shauna. I have been learning about "real food" too and have been reading Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions, and most recently (I have yet to finish) Nina Planck's Real Food What to Eat and Why. I highly suggest reading these both. They will change the way you think about food. They realign our thinking to the way we should think about food. The most nourishing food are the things people have eaten for centuries. Real raw whole milk, butter, cheese, grassfed beef, chicken, turkey, real unrefined oils like coconut, olive, real vegetables organic local and in season, soaked grains + nuts, real eggs, honey, maple syrup. I have discovered a whole new way to live. Food is about nourishing the body. Not about eating nutritionally dead and toxic food.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Bansidhe said...

Truthfully? I'm still trying to figure out what a healthy diet is. :)

I'm really happy with eating seasonal fruits/vegetables, being mindful of my sodium intake, and trying to buy more organic. (I have a thing against high-fructose corn syrup, and avoid it as much as possible.)

Really, it's all about 'fresh is better' and attempting to stay local/organic in my case.

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger Mab said...

My healthy diet is generally the best ingredients I can source with the money I have. Sometimes this means free-range organic roast chicken, sometimes it's toast and butter amd sometimes it's cereal with chocolate. Balance and no guilt are key. If I want chocolate, I'll eat the damn chocolate.

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger CatherineMarie said...

Healthy is real food, real meals, real snacks, real exercise. Food like our grandmothers used to eat, like our mothers used to make...meals with meat and two veg, and chocolate cake for dessert... A real doughnut once in a while... Food that smells and tastes like food, that makes you salivate. Food that you enjoy, not inhale or eat mindlessly.... food that tastes good. Full, rich flavors... (and the more good stuff I eat, the less junk I want). Things that are as close to the original as possible (real chocolate, free-range chicken...)

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger Irina said...

Eat everything in moderation and be physically active - I think it's as simple as that.

 
At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Leigh said...

I believe that a healthy diet is a good balance between what you feel like eating and what you know you have to eat. I've realized a healthy weight is more about how I feel versus the number on the scale. Whether this takes telling yourself that you can have a burger at lunch if you have a lighter salad at dinner or having a few smaller meals instead of three larger ones: it depends on the person.

After working for a wonderful cooking company, I have learned a lot about food. Knowledge really is the key. Knowing what you are putting in your mouth is the key to a healthy diet. Luckily this company (Parties That Cook) is opening in Seattle and hopefully it will be able to teach people as much as they have taught me!

 
At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Samantha said...

A healthy diet is trying to eat gluten free.

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

I'm all about good food and moderation - not that it's actually working for me, but I'm enjoying it!

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger Christina said...

I'd love to win this book! Actualy, I may just go and buy it. For our family, healthy means not processed. We love to go to Farmers Market and frequently plan what we eat around what we find there. It's so exciting to see my kids get excited about finding purple cauliflower at the Farmers Market, and turn down the boxed cake being offered at the birthday party. Even funnier is the confession, "It tastes like plastic, mom." Yes, I agree. Lets go home and bake something real!

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger Lora said...

My idea of a healthy diet is to eat more fruits/veggies and as little processed food as possible. This actually isn't that difficult - at least for me. I love to cook and almost every meal eaten at my house is made from scratch. OK, the exception is my son's breakfast - he loves cold cereal. I try to have a sweet as an occasional treat, not an all the time thing. This last one's been hard these past few weeks as I come down off the Christmas sugar rush!

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger kelly lynn creations said...

A healthy diet is eating a variety of different foods and occasionally splurging on what you know isn't good for you (burger and fries, anyone?).

Lately I've been trying to have more fruits and vegetables on hand. This makes a big difference when I am looking for a light snack.

I would also say that a healthy diet is just one component. It is also necessary to take care of yourself through exercise.

Looking forward to hearing more about the cookbook review this week.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Healthy eating/healthy diet. I think that is a personal thing, what is healthy for you might not be for me. For me it its a gluten free, cow's milk free diet. I try to keep it fairly low fat and high in fruit/veggie/fiber but am not above a chocolate fest either...Moderation, if I eat alot of "bad" stuff one day, I try to balance it our for several days of healthier foods. I like to be as creative as I can with what I can have. I hate boring foods. I think this sounds like agreat cookbook and would love to win it! I enjoy you blog and book and can't wait for the new book too!
Thank you.
Robin

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger One Knitty Chick said...

A healthy diet means eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and eating sugars and 'naughty' foods in moderation. My personal healthy diet also includes staying as gluten-free as possible, since I am highly gluten sensitive, and (this is a big one) eating NO red meats or pork. I was diagnosed with an allergy to all types of meat from hoofed and cloven hoofed animals about 15 years ago. If red meat or pork products, especially the oils/fats, touch my food I get sick to my stomach for hours, even days, at a time. I stick to poultry, fish, eggs, tofu and beans for my proteins. I incorporate as many fruits and vegetables into my diet as possible. I bake my own gluten-free breads and treats, trying not to devour them at one time. ;) If I feel that my pants are a bit tight when I put them on, or the scale makes me frown, I double-check my portion sizes and intake of greens and water until I feel great again. Moderation is key for me.

My healthy diet encompasses what makes me feel best physically, mentally and spiritually. Keeping my weight in check makes me feel fit and spiritually happy, so calories are important, but my physically sensitivities and allergies are my top priority. Adding more hearty greens to my diet helps me feel better than just monitoring my trigger intake. Dark chocolate makes me feel even better. :)

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger M said...

A healthy diet means enjoying everything in moderation. Luckily, I love fresh fruits and vegetables, so I never feel deprived because I am not eating really rich, fatty things. That being said, I appreciate comfort food during the winter, again, in moderation.
-Michelle

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Ryan Elizabeth said...

I try to eat smaller portions, whole foods, and more fruits and vegetables, because I know I never get enough! I often think I'd like to try to eliminate "white" foods from my diet entirely, but, well...hmmm. And I never beat myself up - why would I, if I'm doing all this for *me*, after all? Sheesh!

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Gena @ Girl Gone Domestic said...

Eating the foods that make me feel best, and eating fresh whole foods.

 
At 1:33 PM, Blogger Misty said...

My idea of healthy is making Yummy food with your own two hands (or better yet many hands) in the comfort of your home. Letting the smell fill your house. Inviting your kids no matter how old or young in the kitchen to find what is causing this beautiful aroma. Having the Boys or My husband stop by to hug my waist or leg just to steal a bite because they can't wait! This I feel is A Healthy Diet because that love & connection through food is healthier for my heart than any marathon!!!

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Veronica said...

I guess I take my idea of healthy eating is the idea my mom planted in my head as a child. Eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal, and eat everything else in moderation. According to my mom it is not a meal until a fruit (at breakfast) or a veggie (at least one) is on the plate.

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Mindy said...

What a lovely post. It certainly makes we want to try some of the recipes you mentioned.

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I look forward to reading this book and eventually adding it to my ever growing collection.
I think we all need to remember what works for one person as a healthy diet may not work for another. We are all different and it is important to embrace our bio-chemical individuality. Of course I think there are some always no-no's for everyone such as high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Thanks for your wonderful works!!

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger G. said...

I Love Elie Krieger! My idea of a healthy diet...eating as close to what God created as possible. Fresh, wonderful foods that give us energy. I'm all for a splurge or two as well. For me, it's eating whatever makes me feel good and gives me energy and whatever doesn't...I try not to eat. Try is the operative word. :) We all have our moments of weakness. :)

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Andi said...

For all his detractors, I still have to say I think Pollan's ideas about eating "real" food and mostly plants is what I strive for. Of course, it's not entirely that simple (I try to eat whole grains, living foods, and a wide variety of colors and veggies and fruits) but mostly, as long as my diet is varied, I eat foods in moderation and (mostly) *real* foods I can't be doing that badly. (I do prefer non-fat dairy, but I understand your point about taste)

 
At 1:56 PM, Anonymous shaunta said...

Healthy diet to me has always meant trying to figure out what combination of food wouldn't make me sick. Give up that, eat tons of this, never even look at the other thing...

Now I know I can have it all, as long as it doesn't have gluten.

Yay!

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Susan said...

I am very much into real food! Since I used to be a medical editor, I delve into studies more than most. You would be surprised how the tide is turning (in medical literature -- this information will not filter down to physicians for years) against canola oil, agave nectar, margarine, and soy products.

I do find it funny that people choose "healthy" prepackaged low-fat concoction on the shelf with ten ingredients I can't pronounce! An apple, some kale, or a nice piece of grass fed beef need no labels.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Nellie said...

in my view a healthy diet, is comprised of fresh unprocessed foods and does not include any refined sugar. Fresh vegetables, organic nuts, fruit, goat cheese and probiotic yogourt are staples of my diet.

 
At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Natalie T said...

Healthy eating for me is about balance, variation, happiness, and being gluten free.
Most of my meals I cook or prepare at home, and consist of fresh, minimally processed foods.
But I also bake, love coffee, chocolate, red wine, ice cream, and the occasional hamburger with fries and beer.
For me, the high calorie treats are both indulgences, and incredibly important for keeping me full and keeping me happy.

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger beastmomma said...

A healthy diet is one in which the food you consume is prepared with and cosumed with passion. For 2010, I am trying to eliminate associating food with guilt. I want to savor and enjoy what I eat and in the process make good decisions.

 
At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Lindsay said...

A healthy diet is first and foremost about listening, cleansing, celebrating these bodies we've been giving and their living capacity for expanding potential. It's about building a healthy physique, providing joy and creating community, it is also a means for changing consciousness, how you feel about yourselves and others. you are what you eat after all.

I am an advocate of the highest levels of real food: vegetation-rich omnivorous traditional nutrition, which incorporates Ayurvedic & other ancient herbalist/philosophical systems; that is lots of organic produce prepared properly, foraged wild foods, superfoods, structured intelligent spring water, pastured organic raw dairy and pastured organic eggs, grass-fed and/or wild meats for strength and robust health.

 
At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Ricki said...

I think my version of "healthy diet" is much like Krieger's. At nutrition school, we learned about the NAG diet: natural, alive, good-quality. This translates to unprocessed, real foods; many raw options; and organic, local. Like Krieger, though, I don't believe in deprivation--you can create astoundingly delicious dishes using NAG foods!

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger Diana said...

I'm re-learning what a healthy diet is. I've had to go gluten free as of last May. It's been a tough journey but your book Shauna made this journey much easier. Thank you. Healthy diet for me is no gluten, less sugar and tastes good.
DLBrandmayer @ gmail.com

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger Gentle Reader said...

I guess I believe moderation is the key to a healthy diet. That and balance. And eating consciously. When I don't think about what I'm eating, I tend to eat badly. But when I'm thinking, I'm eating more local foods, more raw foods, more fruits and vegetables in general...

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger jilliany said...

omgosh I love your blog!

-- Jillian
http://gotthyme.blogspot.com/

 
At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Donna C said...

Good question! A healthy diet for me is one that makes me feel energized and good about myself. What works might be different for different people. As I usually feel better at a lower weight, it also includes food that keeps my weight in control. Splurges with moderation allowed. It would have lots of veggies, some fruit, high quality protein, healthy fats (olive oil, avocado,etc.) and unrefined carbs.

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger maggie said...

I don't have anything really new to say about a healthy diet. I agree with most everyone who has already posted! I eat healthy to feel healthy.

I only know that for me, it means really good bacon every so often - the kind that seems to melt in your mouth and make you wonder how you could go so long without it!

 
At 4:47 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

Great post! I think this book would be fantastic as I am participating in a biggest loser competition at work and I would like to win by eating tasty healthy food instead of bland health food.

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger Guin said...

I'm still learning about a healthy diet (aren't we all?). My latest revelation/rule of thumb is to feed myself as I would feed a loved one. If I had to feed someone I love, would I set a bag of chips in front of them and say, have at it? Nope. So, I need to feed myself as I love myself. Which means giving it the things it needs to function well. And potatoes. Good Lord, potatoes, please!

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger Laurel said...

Ooh. I've wanted to try this!

 
At 5:27 PM, Anonymous AngAK said...

I'll hop on the moderation bandwagon. Not that I can do it very often, but it seems to be the most sensible. Moderation, and less carbs for me in 2010. I hope this works to make me healthier.

 
At 5:33 PM, Blogger russell said...

I've been struggling with a healthy diet lately. I needed to get my cholesterol down and it needed a redo of some of the standard things I used to keep in my fridge. I've started with getting a box of organic vegetables every two weeks.

It's been a good start - if the fridge has vegetables in it, I will cook with them. So that works.

 
At 5:35 PM, Anonymous m said...

I grew up in a Japanese household with an excellent cook -- my mom. Japanese food is intrinsically healthy, so that's my diet. It's good for me and oh, so comforting. Also, I'll cut costs in other areas of my budget to find better ingredients, especially vegetables.

(About the nonfat yogurt, I love Straus Yogurt. It's so thick and creamy that you'd never know it was nonfat.)

 
At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Karla said...

Sounds like most of us are on the same page...moderation, common sense and eating foods where you can actually see the ingredients. None of the mysterious ingredients that you don't know what they look like, nor can you pronounce them. And one more thing for a healthy diet: eat sitting down and if you're lucky enough to eat with people you love and connect with, all the better.

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger Nicole said...

For me healthy eating is giving my body what it needs while not forgetting to also sometimes give it what it wants. I struggle with this. I have since I was an anorexic teenager and every day is a battle. Some days I do well and balance the veggies and the grains and the goodness with a big ol hunk of cheese or chocolate. Other days I drown myself in fast food and then there are days I just won't eat at all. Ultimately, it all balances, somehow and when I get it right...everything works.

I love Ellie Krieger. She's amazing and so is this post.

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger Louis said...

I believe a healthy diet is easy and personalized. I have often read something is healthy and when I try it it doesn't agree with me. I use my intuition a lot when eating. I try to eat things that are not processed and are in season. Of course, I have to have my treats and everything has to taste good.

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger Leesh said...

to me, a healthy diet is one in which my body doesn't want to explode but rather a place where it flourishes.

 
At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I already have a copy of So Easy so if I am the fortunate random winner I'll give it to someone who can also appreciate this cookbook as much as I have. I bought it for one reason only and that was the recipe for Fig Bran Muffins which Ellie suggested make for a great grab and go breakfast. People I'm here to report she was absolutely right and man, oh, man are those muffins fantastic! Easy to make, delicious and so very flavorful. Plus with all the fiber they really are quite filling and make for a perfectly portable self-contained breakfast. If you don't win the book giveaway, try to pick up a copy anyway just for this muffin recipe. I plan to keep working my way through the other content which all looks delicious but I thought this muffin recipe was well worth the price of admission.

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Megan M said...

I just want to say I love your blog :) My idea of healthy eating is really just cutting back on processed foods, meats, and fats. We try to reduce the amount of meat we eat and replace it with lots of vegetables....

 
At 7:10 PM, Blogger Kathleen said...

A healthy diet is one that sustains me - physically and spiritually. Eating a healthy diet I'll go through the day sated, not craving my next snack or meal and I'll enjoy how it looks, smells and makes me feel. Ahh...

 
At 7:20 PM, Blogger Learning to cast, love and follow said...

I define "healthy" food as having ingredients that, I heard someone else say, any grandmother or great-grandmother would recognize.
I have stopped using anything with partial or fully treated fat. The fat I choose must be natural, flavorful and thoughtfully used.
For the rest of my food, organic is a must anymore. Although, I try to be tolerant and behave graciously to the generous people who invite me to dine with them.
Ultimately, as often as possible(since I'm an empty-nested single-mom)one of the most important ingredients to an " all around healthy" meal, is to have loved ones gathered 'round to linger and enjoy it together.

 
At 7:25 PM, Blogger Amy in CA said...

Shauna, thank you for this post. I'm an awkward bumbling cook who through the good fortune of unemployment finally learned how to make decent chicken enchiladas and tortilla soup. I love reading your posts but confess that I gravitate to recipes limited to five ingredients. This book sounds wonderful.

 
At 7:39 PM, Blogger Mama EZ said...

mmmm, that does look good! I love her idea of a healthy diet, as it's one I agree with completely. A little of this, a little of that, a lot of those veggies and fruits and whole foods. When I slow down and really do this sort of cooking our whole family benefits!

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger Lacey said...

A healthy diet is one that is based on whole foods- fruits & vegies. I like to add touches of meat, cheese and spices to add delicious flavor.

 
At 7:58 PM, Blogger melissa said...

I've started doing Weight Watchers since right after Christmas. I'm not eating different things (I still eat balanced, seasonal meals and as local as I can get it most of the time, just like I did before)--what it's done is more easily track how much I'm eating. It's portion control and mindless snacking I have a problem with, not eating good food. I believe in eating as fresh as possible, as seasonal as possible, and as much variety as possible. My grandma used to say, "Variety is the spice of life."

I love Ellie Krieger. She is someone I could eat with.

And yogurt made with nonfat milk doesn't have to be blue veiny nothingness. I don't know if you can get it there but Fage (Greek strained yogurt) makes a 0% version of their plain strained yogurt that is *incredibly* thick, creamy, and tangy just as good yogurt should be.

 
At 8:04 PM, Blogger Doug V. said...

Great post, I'll definitely check out this book. Healthy eating in our house means fresh food, nothing processed. If we do eat something from a package, the fewer ingredients the better, the shorter the shelf-life the better. Food you can really taste and smell. Every gluten-free meal in our house is an adventure.

 
At 8:48 PM, Blogger Hilary said...

Diets support mind body disconnection, encouraging people to trust an external set of rules instead of the wisdom of their own bodies. Too bad so much of this is fueled by self-loathing and cosmetic fitness. Don't get me started!

 
At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Stacy said...

Healthy for us is fresh food from our CSA share (winter shares, too!), and lots of variety. Very little white bread. Nothing is off-limits. I decided to cut down on junk food by making a rule--I can eat whatever I want, but I have to make it. Last Saturday, after a bit of prep work and standing around the deep-fryer, I got about 12 potato chips (after sharing) and was too tired to make more. Somehow it was more satisfying than handfuls of Lays everyday...

 
At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Missy said...

For me a healthy diet is something that consists of whole foods paired with fabulous spices. Nothing with stuff that is created in a lab, aside from the xanthan gum for binding. But these foods should make you make noises of happiness and satisfaction, and maybe surprise. It should always be fun and leave you feeling great!

 
At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Sondi said...

For me, a healthy diet means eating fresh foods that I've cooked myself so I know everything that's in it.

 
At 11:12 PM, Blogger Palmer Public Library said...

My healthy diet consists mainly of whole foods, with small indulgences. I love the usually, sometimes and rarely categories. We grow a lot of our own veggies and fruits, eat meat in moderation,and keep the portions reasonable.

 
At 11:24 PM, Anonymous miranda said...

To me healthy is what comes from my garden. I dont get a lot of time to garden. My husband and I are a young couple. Well as young as 30 is these days. We are just starting out with our first home, lots of hours at work and lots of chores. So spending time in the yard gardening tomatoes is is just as good for me as the fruits them selves. Plus I cant think of much thyat tasts better than a fresh garden tomato.

 
At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Julie Z. said...

balance... organics... fluids... foods as close to their natural state as possible... foods that inspire you and awaken your senses... foods that make your body feel good... and the recognition that this means different things for different people!

 
At 11:54 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Hmmm. Healthy diet. I'm in the process of re-evaluating that one myself, as my doctor and I seek to identify my food sensitivities.

But Michael Pollan puts it well: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That's my goal.

Also, to stick as much as possible to the allergen-free diet my doctor had me on. And to cook my own food. I'm not sure there's much that's healthier than seeing for yourself what goes into your food.

 
At 1:25 AM, Anonymous Jennifer K said...

A healthy diet to me? Enough proteins and fats to keep you satisfied (proteins such as grass-fed beef, naturally raised meats, etc... and absolutely no trans fats). Plenty of veggies and fruits for vitamins, minerals and fiber. And, of course, make sure no allergies or intolerances - cause if it doesn't work for you, then it's not healthy.

 
At 2:37 AM, Blogger hausfrau said...

As always I enjoy your writing style. Thank-you!
I believe in a diet of everything in moderation. I exclude nothing from the family diet but remember that some of the things we eat are treats. Delia Smith and Nigella Lawson are the cooks who accompany me in my kitchen, and they both make the oven chips you mention with minimal olive oil (and no cheese). I never deep fat fry, 'real' chips are an eating out/take-away occasional treat.

 
At 4:13 AM, Blogger Kristi said...

After watching the documentary, Food Inc, my husband and I decided to try a vegetarian diet, existing of a little processed food as possible. This means that I do A LOT of cooking since I’m now making almost everything from scratch, but it’s totally worth it. I probably don’t have to tell you what a difference this has made to how we feel. I have way more energy and I don’t find myself craving foods the way I did before. Now, I just need to get my tween weened off of the boxed and canned food.

 
At 5:00 AM, Blogger emily said...

A healthy diet is moderation, balance and keeping the freshest, least processed sustenance at the front of your priority-to-eat list.

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger jenA said...

My best definition of a healthy diet is to eat a little bit of everything, and a little bit more of the best things. I listen to my body, remember good tastes and textures on my tongue and let my nose lead me to new things.

 
At 6:27 AM, Blogger Virginia said...

Hmmmm, a healthy diet? The phrase always makes me laugh with glee. A healthy diet is the one that fills me with nutrition, yes, but also gives me the energy, spirit and love I need to move through every day with a smile on my face. Listening to my body and letting it tell me what it needs more of - sometimes I get cravings for a grass fed burger that would scare the roughest cowboy - and sometimes I feel the need for a comforting GF veggie pot pie shared with friends, laughter, and wine. In the end, it's all about balance - my warmest memories have always involved gathering around with abundant food & giving thanks to those sharing it.

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger J.C. said...

I've been a fan of Ellie Krieger for years. Her show is on our TIVO. I really feel her concept of a healthy diet works well. She concentrates on eating mostly healthy fats, but also understands that fats are where a lot of the flavor is so she teaches you how to use them wisely and get the most flavor bang for your buck.

So for me eating healthy means eating fruits and veggies with abandon and when I eat protein I try to eat ones with a healthier fat profile, chicken, turkey, fish, leaner pork, etc. Then use other flavorful fats like in cheeses wisely to get the biggest payoff in flavor. I also never tell myself I can't have something if I have a craving - I just try not to eat the whole pan of brownies in one sitting!

 
At 6:54 AM, Blogger Natty said...

A healthy diet to me is not to eat too much of one thing. And more importantly for me, to eat locally. I buy right from the farmers for almost all my families meat and dairy needs, and when the farmers market is in season I buy EVERYTHING right from the farmer (dairy, meat, veggies, that all I need in the summer and fall!)

A healthy diet is self control and knowing where your food is coming from. Healthy for the mind, body and soul.

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger Marjorie said...

dieting is a word I won't allow in my vocabulary... just thinking of it causes me to get anxious and wonder how many calories are in the lunch I brought to work with me today. So, being gluten free and valuing balance and health, my philosophy is to eat real food as much as possible, avoid huge amounts of sugar and to enjoy my meals! I did try to keep my snacking to a minimum during the holidays, but you have to give in sometimes when there are yummy gluten free desserts around! this cookbook sounds amazing, and if the recipes are healthy and relatively easy to prepare, I might actually try a new dish or two! (coming from someone who makes it a goal to cook once a week, this is saying something!)

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger erinka said...

I have to say, I love this trend in healthy eating: nothing off limits, indulge in moderation.

I do find that eating several smaller meals a day works best for me. I think there is something to keeping a fairly stabilized level of blood sugar. When I eat every few hours, I am less hungry, more energetic, and I feel more mentally alert too.

Thanks for posting about Krieger's book. I'm going to look it up.

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger mayapamela525 said...

For me a healthy diet includes moderation and balance, with heavy doses of fruits and vegetables. I strongly believe in a largely plant based diet with room for cookies, cake, ice cream, and other treats! And an open mind to trying new produce or foods cooked in unusual methods, like avocado based chocolate pudding.

americangourmande.wordpress.com

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger The Golden Papaya said...

I agree with many of the above posters, who emphasize unprocessed whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Beyond gluten-free, I've recently eliminated all grains and legumes--a paleo/primal diet, with emphasis on meat, good fats, and lots of greens, which seems to be working well for me right now.

 
At 8:23 AM, Anonymous EstherBezzy said...

Eat the foods you love, in moderation. A healthy diet fuels your body AND your soul. Take pleasure and give thanks for all that you eat.

That said, we try to eat local when possible. Our little bean does love broccoli though, so I do buy it even when it's not in season here.... You should know (and be able to pronounce) all the ingredients in your food, so stick with whole and minimally processed foods. As a celiac, I actually consider myself pretty lucky in this area; I happen to dislike the taste of most of the processed gluten free food, and do nearly all of my baking from scratch.

Use natural fats & oils! Coconut oil actually imparts a lovely buttery flavor (though too much imparts too coconutty a flavor for our tastes). Avoid hydrogenated oils. Yay for butter, olive, avocado, coconut, and all of the other delicious fats and oils out there. And nothing makes home fried potatoes taste better than a little schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) and a pinch of kosher salt.

On another note, my family and I sat near Ms. Krieger and her family at a favorite local bistro. We all were enjoying the steak night specials of delicious steaks and garlic frites!

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger Anna said...

honestly, i think a healthy diet is "everything in moderation" - i hear it a lot, and i don't always follow it, but if i make one effort (like gluten-free, dairy-free, little sugar), everything else falls into place! i eliminated those items because of food allergies but it has also helped me recognize what i put into my body in general. then, if i avoid the irritants, i can enjoy bits of anything else!

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Inquirer said...

Healthy these days - with 2 active boys and their busy schedules - is what they eat that doesn't come out of a box. Sounds too simple? Try feeding them without a drive thru in between choir and basketball and before Cub Scouts. I have grown to rely on the easiest things - which are also the best. Fresh fruit after the game is much better than a sugary snack. Crackers with some nice cheese before scouts when I no dinner is going to be "really" late. Simple works for us! (and tastes better!)

 
At 9:26 AM, Blogger Theresa said...

For me, a healthy diet means variety and lots of fruits and veggies, with home cooked meals from scratch.

The grocery store near my house puts 3 different fruits and 3 different vegetables on special each week, a great thing for my student budget and it's also led me to experiment with new fresh foods I might otherwise skip and keeps my meals interesting!

 
At 9:42 AM, Blogger Tisha said...

A healthy diet is an ethical diet. Who grew the vegetables? Who picked them? Where did the animals graze? Who slaughtered them? If the food was grown by agribusiness, picked by undocumented workers living in slave-like conditions, slaughtered by workers in danger of losing their thumbs to the pressure to keep up the line speed, and shipped from 3000 miles away, the food will be bad for you and bad for the planet.

If the chickens were raised by small family farmers, allowed to wander, forage and nest according to their chicken-ly nature, they will be higher in omega-3s, lower in cholesterol and they taste better too.

Same goes for beef, grazing on the grass that nature intends as their natural food. Lower in fat, higher in omega-3s, tastier and better for you.

Vegetables fertilized by compost, grown by local farmers is also higher in nutrients.

The connection between ethics, health and pleasure is no accident. It speaks to the interdependence by which we are connected to the earth, to one another, and to all life.

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger Anya said...

You know, when all's said and done, if my husband and I sit at the table with our four children, and we're all happy, smiling, chatting and thankful, then I'm satisfied it's been a healthy meal...

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

eat real food with abundance: a lot of vegetables and fruit and whole grains.

appreciate special foods in appropriate quantities: rich meat dishes and high quality cheeses and decadent desserts.

that's about it!

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Helen said...

How interesting to read all these comments! I follow what I believe is a healthy diet. I love fruit and vegetables so it is easy for me to include these with every meal. I try to eat what is in season. It is summer where I am, so now I'm eating a lot of salad and seafood and summer fruits. In the colder months I eat more red meat and soups and stews and potatoes. I believe food should be delicious as well as nutritious - for me herbs and spices are essential for variety and interest. I try to choose leaner cuts of meat, usually free range, and eat meat no more than once a day. I never ate beans or lentils as a child, but have learnt to enjoy them. I choose the healthier fats (olive and seed oils) and have butter in moderation. Dairy mostly low-fat (occasional treats like cream). Lots of eggs. Nuts & seeds. Wholegrains rather than anything refined or processed. Preparation is important and as I cook for myself almost all the time this is something I can control - I'm still learning about techniques. I don't think fast food and overly processed stuff has a place in a healthy diet, even in moderation, and I'm fortunate that I don't like them much. My particular struggles are with portion size (I'm greedy!) and with my sweet tooth. For me refined sugar is evil - it is addictive and causes mood swims and energy dips. I can only include very small amounts very occasionally and I find this very hard.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger tammy said...

At this point I am still working on defining what I think is a healthy diet. I do know that it will have to be for me one that is gluten free. I go in for some test this coming Monday and after that...no more gluten. Can hardly wait!!

Anyway...I would think a healthy diet was comprised of lots of fresh, whole foods with very little processing. The fewer ingredients on a label the better.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger Lee Ann said...

A healthy diet seems to be ever changing for me. When I have small babies, a healthy diet is no one going hungry. When the babies grow up a little, it's having a green vegetable at every meal. And when I feel like my feet are back on the ground after a season of sleep deprivation, it's planning out meals that are organic, gluten free, can include a 4 year old helper, and keeping in mind my own limits so that the stress of cooking doesn't consume the whole house. I guess a healthy diet, for me, is elastic based on the needs of my family and myself.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

Balance in eating habits as well as overall balance in lifestyle and choices. I am a stay-at-home mom with a 3 1/2 year old and 5 month old twins. Winter is hard in Ohio - I can really start to climb the walls and make poor choices. Not just with food but with my well being: staying up too late, watching t.v. as my "relaxing" activity, getting into a negative mindset about my situation...does not make for a healthy lifestyle. So I battle those things as I battle the urge to snack all day. On that note, I just buy as few processed foods as possible. Except for Atomic Fireballs. I pop one of those and my craving for carbs disappears! In general, I cook all of our family's meals without processed foods and we sit down at the table to eat together and talk about whatever in between bites.

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger Diane said...

Healthy eating for me is lots of veggies and fruits, a little meat or fish and now and then a dessert -- gluten free of course. Does this always happen? Of course not, but I'm trying.

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Katie Falbo said...

Eat less, move more. Ensure that what you do eat is organic, local and seasonal at [most] all times.

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger ksp said...

Real food - stuff that your grandma would recognize - is the foundation of a healthy diet.

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Jessica B said...

For me, a healthy diet means feeling wonderful, as I have since I became gluten free! I now feel like I am helping my body stay strong and work well, instead of causing it to break down because of the foods I was eating!

I am thankful that I am able to be, feel, and eat healthy!

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Niki said...

To eat healthily, i cut out the overly processed foods and try to eat simpler. Big salads with minimal dressing. Chicken or fish on the grill. I admit that eating healthier is so much easier for me in the summer, when all of the yummiest vegetables are freshest. I need to get back on the bandwagon and get my body back in shape. Maybe this cookbook would help? I'd love to find out!

 

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