Spring into Health

Spring is here — finally! A few friends and I are taking this opportunity to “spring into health.” Want to join us?

Start by setting some goals. Mine are: (1) lower my cholesterol without medication, (2) lose one pants size, and (3) finish a 5K race. What are yours?

Now, break down your goal(s) into smaller SMART goals — weekly and/or monthly goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For example, my immediate healthy eating goals for this week are:

  • Avoid dairy
  • Avoid oil 50% of the time
  • Eat leafy greens or a salad every day
  • Reduce animal protein to 5 – 3oz. portions this week

In terms of exercise, my goals are:

  • Walk 30 minutes 3 times this week
  • Go to 2 exercise classes at the gym

For breakfast today, I had a bowl of oatmeal with 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed, 3/4 of an apple – chopped, a handful of walnuts, a liberal shake of cinnamon, and a splash of almond milk. (I use gluten-free rolled oats.)

It was time to use up the various vegetables in our refrigerator. So, for lunch I made a Thai curry, loosely based on a recipe from Simply Thai Cooking.(1)

Thai-style Vegetable Curry
1-½ onions, sliced lengthwise
1 tsp minced garlic
1 – 19oz. can coconut milk (not low-fat)
2 – 3 Tbsp. curry spices* (I used Option 2)
3 Cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, cut in 1 inch chunks
2 – 3 Cups green vegetables (I used broccoli and snap peas)
2 Cups chopped greens (I used chard)
1 Cup mushrooms, quartered
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
Basil or cilantro, for garnish (optional)

*Curry spice mix: Option 1: 2+ Tbsp. Thai curry paste (red or green, to taste) with 1 Tbsp. fish sauce; Option 2: 2 Tbsp. curry powder, 1 Tbsp. turmeric, ½ tsp. ground cumin, ½ tsp. ground coriander, 1 Tbsp. Thai red chili paste

Steam-fry** onion in large pot for 5 minutes, until it starts to caramelize; add garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. **Check out this video on steam-frying, produced by Whole Foods Market.

Remove from pot. Add curry spices to pot; heat until spices release their aroma. Stir in 1 can of coconut milk and ½ can of water. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots, cover, and cook over medium heat for approx. 10 minutes (while you prep remaining vegetables). Add higher-fiber vegetables (broccoli, peapods), including onion and garlic. Return to boil and cook for another 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables (greens, zucchini, etc.), and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Top with bell pepper and herbs, if desired. Serve alone or with brown jasmine rice. (I eat it like soup with a spoon).

Thai-Style Vegetable Curry

To your health!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a DIET?

No, this is a healthy lifestyle program that emphasizes nutrient-dense whole foods and regular exercise. As Michael Pollan wrote, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (2)

Whose dietary approach are you following?

It’s a hybrid of several approaches — Dr. Fuhrman, Eat to Live; Dr. Esselstyn, Reversing Heart Disease; Dr. Campbell, The China Study, etc. — all evidence-based.

What do you eat?

  • For breakfast: fruit, whole grains, and a few nuts
  • For lunch: soup, salad, and/or cooked vegetables; legumes; fruit for dessert
  • For dinner: salad or raw veggies with healthy dip; leafy greens; cooked vegetables; legumes, whole grains, or lean animal protein

I will continue to post some recipes with photos here, on my blog. There are TONS of recipes available online, too. For example, you can search for healthy recipes on Whole Foods Market’s website (by “fat free,” “low sodium,” etc.).

Will I feel hungry?

No. You will have plenty to eat. Dr. Fuhrman suggests eating one pound of raw vegetables, one pound of cooked vegetables, and one cup of beans or other legumes every day.(3)

Can I get some one-on-one help?

Yes, leave a comment below and I will reply. Also, I am available to do weekly coaching by telephone.

(1) Young, W. & Ayanoglu, B. (1995). Simply Thai cooking. Toronto: Random House.
(2) Pollan, M. (2008). In defense of food: An eater’s manifesto. New York: Penguin Books.
(3) Fuhrman, J. (2011). Eat to live: The amazing nutrient-rich program for fast and sustained weight loss. New York: Little, Brown.


About Susan MacLaughlin

A health & wellness coach and workshop leader, Susan empowers people to take charge of their health.
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3 Responses to Spring into Health

  1. What a good day’s food basket your meals represent. And thank you for the photos–they make me hungry for the choices you make. I’ll check out the resources that you sited and make my custom amalgam as you have.

  2. Thanks, Robin! Now if I can truly make movement part of my lifestyle, like you do, I’ll be in great shape.

  3. Carol Strandberg says:

    What a coincidence – I’ve been eating a la Eat to Live for the past week in hopes of lowering my blood pressure and getting off of some of my medications! Of course, losing a few pounds in the process would be a welcome bonus, but it certainly is the healthiest way to eat. It’s always so good to hear your words of wisdom, dear niece!

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