Growing up in Chicago wasn't the easiest place to be healthy. Luckily my Mother supported my decision to become a vegetarian at the age of 11. I was introduced to PETA and decided that I loved animals too much to eat them. I still remember my Grandma saying that I was going to die if I didn't eat meat. I stayed a vegetarian until I was 21. But fast food and pop, as we call it in the midwest was a normal thing. Lacking a lot of fresh foods in the winter. We ate a lot of canned and boxed foods. Looking back I realize how blessed I am to live in Los Angeles because we have so many resources here to encourage people to be healthy. We have fresh, local farmer's markets almost every day of the week, all year round and an abundance of healthy, non fast food places to eat. I get a lot of messages and emails about people asking me what diet to do. I really don't believe in diets, especially anything gimmicky like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, where everything is processed and frozen. I am a believer in clean eating and I realize that everyone has a different idea of what "clean" means. Some people think drinking a diet soda instead of a regular one is a good choice! So I decided to make a simple list for those of you that do just that. I am not preaching to the choir. The choir already knows these things. I'm preaching to those of you that grew up in an environment similar to mine, where healthy choices where minimal and even frowned upon. 1. No soda, that includes diet soda! It could possibly be one of the worst things for you! The artificial sweetners are tricking your body actually making you crave more sugar. Two or more cans a day increases your waistline by 500%! 2. Absolutely no fast food. This stuff is not even food! It's dead! Eat live food. Remember, you are what you eat so don't be fast, cheap, easy or fake! 3. Minimize or completely get rid of any boxed or canned food. There are exceptions of course. Choosing healthier options like organic, additive, and preservative free options. 4. Salad dressing can turn a salad and veggies into a nightmare so keep it simple and make your own with olive oil, balsamic and lemon. 5. Eat your veggies first. Get full on the good stuff and your digestive system will thank you too. 6. Fruit is sugar, so treat it as such. It should be looked upon as a reward and best to eat the pure fruit itself than a glass of fruit juice. 7. Fried food should be eaten on a VERY minimal basis. Example, if your on vacation and you hear the calamari is good there then that would be a good reason. It should not be eaten on a regular basis, that includes french fries. Sadly french fries and ketchup are concidered vegetables in many places. 8. Your food should spoil, if it doesn't chances are it isn't any good for you. 9. Fat free is a bunch of bs! If it's fat-free chances are its loaded with sugar and fat is not necessarily the enemy, sugar is! 10. Eat organic, GMO free and wild as often as you can. Demand that your store starts carrying these things. Supply on demand. 11. Say good-bye to cereals. Instead try oatmeal, steel-cut oats, quinoa, or buckwheat. Always buy in pure form with nothing added then you can add your own fruit and nuts. 12. Get rid of your microwave. There is nothing good that you need it for. You can boil water on your stove and you shouldn't eat anything that requires microwaves anyways. 13. Steaming should be your best friend. No frying in butter or oil. Steam rice, veggies and even fish wrapped inside of a cabbage leaf! And you can reheat food in your steamer minus the radiation! 14. Eat like your ancestors did. Think about what your ancestors ate. Eat what grows locally for each season and with as little processing as possible. 15. Subway is not considered healthy eating. Yes it is better than most but it's still loaded with chemical additives, nitrates, artificial colors, refined bleached flour and most likely GMO s. It certainly isn't "eating fresh " as their slogan displays. 16. Dairy should be minimal and when you do eat it, it should be in its rarest form. A little goat cheese and feta are great to add some flavor to recipes. 17. No more than 2 cups of coffee a day. Coffee can be great for your metabolism but drink too much and it will do the complete opposite. Green tea is great to sip on throughout the day and water with lemon, ditch the ice. 18. No matter what you eat, chew your food. Take a bite for each tooth you have or another way to look at it is to chew to liquid. This will prevent bloating and over eating. 19. Stevia instead of sugar, gluten free instead of white bread, mustard instead of ketchup, brown rice instead of white. 20. You are what you eat. Crunchy foods like chips, crackers, and cookies literally make your body hard and acidic, which turns your personality towards one who would be irrational and explosive. Softer foods like brown rice, sea vegetables and soups help keep your body subtle and your spirit light. Have you ever noticed how most vegetarians and health conscious eaters are softer spirits and those that drink, smoke and make bad eating choices are usually harder souls. Another example is sometimes vegans need to balance out their light, clean eating with other things to ground them. They usually turn to sugar, smoking, or alcohol. Its all about finding a balance for you, so that you can feel and be your best YOU! * The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.