Veggie Fever!

By Christine M. Okezie, CHHC, Natural Foods Chef

Slowly but steadily dietary changes are happening in America as more and more people find themselves sick and tired of being sick and tired. I see signs of a growing
consciousness of the relationship between food and health everywhere. Just checkout the top selling cookbooks – most are vegetarian or plant-based. Even last month’s issue of Food and Wine Magazine proudly proclaimed with their cover article, “Vegetables are the future of American cooking.” These days, topping the New York Times Best Seller list are books about reversing diseases like diabetes and hypertension by embracing a natural plant-based lifestyle. It’s very clear that hundreds of thousands of Americans are beginning to educate themselves on what to eat and are finally realizing the profound changes we can have on our daily energy, immunity and vitality simply by changing our food.

Nothing inspires me more in my work as a Health Coach than hearing clients tell me how amazing they feel when they are able to finally understand and love their bodies again, when they achieve weight loss naturally, resolve chronic digestive problems for good and reduce their dependence on so called lifestyle medications. The best part for me is to see the ripple effect of this when their personal success starts to influence their friends, family, colleagues – indeed even total strangers who they encounter in the supermarket or gym. There is a sense of accomplishment and pride that emanates from these people who have been able to break free of the shackles of the standard American diet and they can’t help but spread their healthy lifestyle with those around them.

Yes, we have a ways to go to reverse the obesity epidemic and disease crisis and it’s daunting that the notion of just eating Real Whole Food and rejecting the food industry’s nutrient depleted food-like substances has become a revolutionary act. But I am inspired by the small steady changes that are happening in our shopping carts, kitchens, restaurants, schools and dinner tables. This is where all the power lies to reclaim our health back away from the institutions and so-called experts who tell you that there is nothing you can do beyond medications and operations.

The truth is there really is No confusion about what constitutes good nutrition.

Both common sense and science support that if we want whole healthy bodies, we should eat whole healthy foods. Whole foods are those that nature provides, with all
their edible parts intact: fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains (millet, quinoa, brown rice), beans and legumes (lentils, chickpeas), nuts, seeds, organic eggs, wild fish,
organic fowl. Whole foods should comprise at least 75% of a healthful regime. Eating whole foods ensures we get the maximum amount of what we need in the right
proportions. There is no dieting or calorie counting. If you choose quality foods that our bodies were designed to thrive on the rest takes care of itself.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

5 large ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1″ slices
1/2 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced


2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1/8-teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.
2. Place tomatoes in a medium bowl and sprinkle with basil.
3. Drizzle the tomatoes with enough dressing to coat well.


1) Serve with sliced fresh mozzarella
2) Freshly grilled crusty whole grain bread

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