Transitions To Healthy Eating

People always ask me what I eat.  When we discuss it they always are stunned that I don’t eat this thing or that thing and how can you live without that!  I just want to say that my diet has evolved over time.  I mean I was raised on B-O-L-O-G-N-A, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Hamburger Helper.  For me it has been a gradual change and fine tuning over the years.  If I went straight from Mac & Cheese to the way I eat now, I probably would have quit in a week or two for sure.  I believe that real change is made gradually over time.  This is how you create permanent lifestyle changes and not just week or month long fads that don’t stick around.  This is why I hate the word DIET.  It’s not designed for real or lasting change. It’s sort of like weight loss.  If you lose 30lbs in a month, do you think it will stay off?  Probably not.

In light of this I have made some transitional change outlines for you to follow.  I’ve broken them down by category.


Well, we have to start with the good stuff 1st, right?  So I think everyone knows that candy is not good for you, am I right? So instead of saying you can never have another candy bar ever from this day on how about we transition it. Let’s say you’re a big fan of Snickers bars and they just satisfy your need for a sugar pick me up.  It’s hard to quit them cold turkey & make it last.  So let’s replace it with a Justin’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate candy bar or a Coconut & Dark Chocolate bar by Sunspire. You still get sugar but it isn’t so refined.  You still get chocolate and peanuts/butter or real coconut. What you don’t get are all of the chemicals that are in a Snickers or Mounds bar like hydrogenated oils (trans fats), GMO soy lecithin, corn syrup, and artificial flavors. At least Justin’s & Sunspire treats are made with real food!  Your next transition may be to trade in your Justin’s gradually in exchange for Green & Blacks 85% Dark Chocolate. An 85% dark chocolate bar has less sugar than Justin’s.  Then you can try to limit your overall chocolate intake.  Break off a couple of squares as a treat and not 1/2 a bar, or worse eek.



This is a big one.  Almost everyone that I see eats lunchmeat full of chemicals and artificial flavor and who knows what else.  And don’t fool yourself with the “Eat Fresh” place.  It is far from fresh. Processed meat, cheese and bread is not fresh. I know the convenience of lunchmeat, I grew up on it.  I also know how harmful it is to the body.  If you currently eat bologna, ham and turkey slices on a sandwich, we need to change this.  Your first transition is to buy a natural lunchmeat with no artificial flavors but more importantly, no nitrates/nitrites.  Applegate Farms is a good example.  You can get organic meat without the toxic fillers.  I would prefer you roll this up with romaine or kale leaves than put it on bread, but one step at a time.  Your next transition would be to forgo processed meats altogether.  The goal is to eat just real meat.  We’re talking grass fed beef, wild caught fish, pastured poultry and eggs.  I always try to keep my freezer full, especially when these bad boys go on sale! If you’re busy then prep Sunday & Wednesday.  Just pop a chicken in the oven and then cut it up for meals like rolling in greens or putting it on top of salads.  Cook fresh at night with veggies.  It really is easy once you develop the habit.


I’m not a big fan of conventional milk. It is full of hormones and other gross stuff that I won’t mention here (which is why they need to pasteurize it!).  The pasteurization and homogenation processing denature the milk so much that it isn’t good for you anymore and can cause serious health complications.  Your 1st transition is to buy Organic Valley Milk.  It comes from pastured cows which makes the milk more nutritious overall, plus it doesn’t have all of the antibiotics and growth hormones in the milk.  Sidebar: You know that nearly all of the antibiotics made are given to our livestock?!  So this milk is still processed which I don’t love, but at least it has more nutrition and leaves out antibiotics & hormones, a start for sure.  The next transition is to switch to either raw milk or coconut milk, almond milk, or hemp milk.  I love raw milk the best.  Yes, it’s safe!  You see they have to be meticulous, unlike conventional milk, because they can’t rely on pasteurization to clean up the messiness.  It also still has all of the immune boosting properties still active because they haven’t been destroyed by the heat.  The protein is also much more absorbable because it hasn’t been denatured by the heat.  I love this option.  However, depending on where you live, you may need to find a coop or farmer to get raw milk.  Otherwise you can try experimenting with coconut milk, almond milk and hemp milk.  All are good replacement choices.


Most people use highly inflammatory vegetables oils.  Vegetable oils are high in omega 6 oils.  I think it should go without saying that you shouldn’t be using Crisco or any hydrogenated trans fat.  But, Sunflower, Safflower and Canola oils are very pro-inflammatory.  Remember that inflammation not only increases pain issues but is also associated with most chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease.  The best option is to use Coconut Oil.  It is a medium chain triglyceride so it is one of the first choice fuels for energy in the body.  It rarely turns to fat because your body burns it quickly. It contains laurins which have antimicrobial antifungal properties.  Coconut oil is stable at room temperature so it will not turn rancid like vegetable oils.   It has a very high smoking point so it will not damage the oil properties when heated like vegetable oils. The thyroid loves coconut and it helps to boost metabolism.  It’s a win win oil.  Many of you have been using olive oil.  This is actually a great healthy oil, but only for salads.  You should never cook olive oil, it’s too sensitive to heat.


Basically when you eat chips you want something crunchy and salty, am I right?  First make sure your chips are Non GMO Project verified.  A lot of potatoes are genetically modified.  You also don’t want a bunch of artificial colors and flavors. You should read the label to be sure you are only eating actual food items and not chemicals. I challenge you to read the ingredient list on your Doritos bag?  Your next step should be to start switching to nuts.  Nuts are loaded with fiber, healthy oils and fat to fill you up.  They make a great salty, crunchy treat.  Beware:  make sure you are eating only nuts and maybe sea salt.  I recently posted a label on the Facebook page of Planter’s Peanuts.  The amount of additives were amazing.  We’re talking MSG, corn syrup, hydrogenated (trans) fats, flavors…not good!  So make sure you know what you are eating.  Another snack that is crunchy and salty that I like, especially in the summer months is cutting up a cucumber, pickle style, and lightly salting them.  They are like raw crunchy salty pickles without the additives. Another fresh salty item is cutting up green apples like Granny Smith’s and lightly salting them. Just a note here, when you salt these items you are not using Morton’s salt or even most “sea salts.”  You want Pink salt or Himalayan Salt here. Pink salt provides a wide array of minerals and electrolytes and will actually help with excess fluid retention and blood pressure.  How about celery or other crunchy veggies chopped with some hummus?  You can get plain hummus or flavored like garlic or roasted red pepper.

Fruits & Veggies.

It should go without saying that you are not eating these items out of the can!  I hope you’re with me on that.  Second best choice is frozen.  Best choice is fresh raw fruits & veggies. If you are eating fresh raw food you are on the right track, excellent.  The next step is to look at the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list by The Environmental Working Group.  They publish a new list every year with the 15 cleanest foods grown conventionally.  So if you can’t find organic items, these are the safest to consume while not organic.  The Dirty Dozen are the 12 worst foods to eat that are grown conventionally due to the high pesticide/herbicide volumes. Of course I would like for you to gradually move to all fresh organic produce, but like I said, it’s a process.  Don’t stress yourself out over this.  The most important first step is to start eating the most amount of fresh produce as you can then you can start refining.


I’m hoping that you aren’t drinking soda, but from what I can see a lot of you still do.  This is number one in my book. Fast food and soda is the worst thing you can do for your body & your mind.  To transition off of this crack is a process.  First, stop drinking diet if that has been your choice.  The artificial sweeteners are extremely toxic to your body and your nervous system.  To start the transition I usually have people start with sparkling juices or juice spritzers.  You can buy Natural Italian Soda at Whole Foods which should be juice and sparkling water.  Better yet you can make your own.  You just buy plain sparking water & add fruit.  You can use berries, watermelon, or a variety of citrus.  This will give you a fresh flavor that plain water doesn’t provide plus you get the bubbles.  To go from soda to plain water is a leap I know, so this helps fill the void.  After you become comfortable with this, then you can start substituting in iced teas.  I like the Prince of Peace’s Organic Jasmine Green Tea.  It is very refreshing plus you get the antioxidants of the green tea.  I always have this in my refrigerator.  Once you have transitioned off of the sparkling water to tea you can also start adding in water with lemon. Lemon is fresh and it has great alkalizing properties for the body.

This should cover the basics of food that you eat each day.  This is a great place to start.  Remember don’t kill yourself changing your diet so much that you stress yourself out and ultimately feel like a failure.  Slow gradual changes will get you there and will positively affect your health in the long run.  If you have a question regarding a particular food that you want to transition out of, leave me a comment & I’ll try to come up with a transition for you.

As always, please leave comments and questions below.  I am always available for nutrition consults to start you on your wellness journey or if you just need help tweaking your diet.

This entry was written by Dr. Shelly Masters , posted on Tuesday February 25 2014at 02:02 pm , filed under Health News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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