The Most Important Rules for Healthy Eating…Yes The Most Important

 (Adapted from Body Incredible by Kat Eden)

Wendy Schnitzer, the Fit Food Coach

Wendy Schnitzer, the Fit Food Coach



You know what to do in theory – avoid processed foods and trans fats, include more protein, and load up on the fresh fruits and veggies. Easy! Unless, of course, the last time your weekly menu even partially resembled such a wholesome eating plan was before work, stress, or the perils of keeping up online took over your life. 

And these days eating healthy can be confusing at best and way too much hard work. It doesn’t have to be that complicated and if you follow these simple rules you just might find that it’s a lot easier than you thought to be one of those annoyingly perky healthy people.

 Eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible
My rule is to always choose food that is as close to its natural state as possible. Eat the whole egg, not just the white. Choose full-fat organic dairy over low-fat, antibiotic-ridden dairy and small amounts of nature’s fats (organic meat, avocado, oils, nuts and seeds) in your diet.  

Calories don’t count
If you choose to eat a balance of natural foods you’ll soon learn that calories don’t count. This is because when it comes to energy in versus energy out, 2 + 2 does not always make 4.  Lot’s of people gain weight and feel awful on a low-cal diet and lose weight by regularly indulge in meat, (good) fats, and a daily feast of vegetables, seeds, full-fat dairy, and nuts. 

It’s all about listening to your body – which is tough to do if your mind is overwhelmed with sugar and chemicals from all that low-fat food.

Avoid dieting
If you’re not going to count calories, then I guess you’d better give up dieting as well. (Bet you’ll be sorry to say goodbye). I don’t have to tell you that most diets depend on restricting something -whether it’s calories, a certain food group, foods at a certain time of day, etc.  

Well the evidence is in, and it’s not pretty. Studies have shown that the more frequently you’ve dieted, the greater your chances of being overweight and even obese later in life. Dieting also puts you at greater risk of developing food intolerance and digestive problems by over-consuming certain foods and excluding others. Throw out the diet books, switch off Oprah, and take the time to find a lifestyle diet that will work for you for the long-term.

Include protein
Protein maintains and builds muscle and stimulate the satiety hormone CCK.  Just the act of eating protein can help your body burn up to 35% more calories in digestion. 

Most people do not eat enough protein. If you think some chicken breast in your evening stir-fry or a slice of ham in your lunch focaccia is going to cut it, think again. I’m talking quality protein at all 3 main meals – and for your snacks. 

Your main sources of protein should be from natural sources such as dairy, eggs, poultry, meat, and fish. Legumes, nuts and seeds also provide some protein. 

Be smart about fat
Fats provides valuable, concentrated energy, slows the absorption of nutrients so you feel full longer and help in sugar and insulin metabolism that helps you lose weight!

Choose foods you enjoy
What’s the point in trying to be healthy if it’s all uphill work? Many people I speak to are convinced that switching to a healthy eating plan requires them to only eat rabbit food!

If you include loads of variety in your day-to-day food choices, and plenty of nature’s rich indulgent foods along the way then you’ll not only be eating as you should be, you’ll be enjoying a feast every day.

When switching to a purely natural diet it can initially be tough to adapt to foods and flavors that are not overly sugared or caked in chemicals, but trust me – give yourself a week or so and you’ll realize just how delicious real food can be. Try going back to a junk food or packaged food diet after this and I guarantee you’ll be digging your heels in every step of the way.

Be adventurous with herbs, spices, and traditional foods
Of course part of enjoyment is being adventurous with different tastes. I know I’d get pretty bored living entirely on meat and veggies night after night. The good news is that herbs and spices from all the corners of the earth are a great way to make things interesting, and have tremendous health benefits to boot.coconut oil (high in medium-chain fatty acids, are great for your liver and metabolism), and wild berries such as the goji berry (a wonderful snack which is high in antioxidants).

Chili, for example, has been said to increase your metabolism, parsley keeps your breath fresh, and garlic may help to lower blood pressure. You can also freely add organic sea salt to any of your food.  It contains over 90 essential minerals – critical for you health.

It’s also worth considering traditional foods such as raw cacao (mmm, chocolate),

Eat when you’re hungry but not before
It’s important that you listen to your body. The key to health and ideal weight is to wait until you are hungry to eat. Not starving, mind you. But you definitely shouldn’t be eating ‘just because’ it’s lunchtime.

 Quality counts
Processed foods don’t come from nature, they come from factories and our bodies don’t recognize them as food.

Unfortunately the typical supermarket fare that most of us consume is often produced as cheaply as possible, and you pay the price with your health. There’s a tremendous difference, for example, in the health-giving benefits of a cage egg compared with an organic egg.

Supermarket fruits and vegetables which often lack color and flavor, have in many cases been boosted with dyes, waxes, and even fresh smells in order to trick you into believing they’re fresh. Buy from smaller grocers, farmers markets, or organic stores wherever possible. 

If it sounds too good to be true, it is
If a product tells you it’s low-fat, or low-cal, or maybe even low-sugar you can bet there’s a problem. Healthy eating is built on real food, not chemicals and artificial sweeteners. Check the ingredients label…the longer the list with words you can’t pronounce, the worse it is for you.

Be realistic and don’t be afraid to break the rules once in a while
We all have occasions when we don’t want to make the effort, when we run out of time, or when we simply want to indulge and let loose. In my opinion this is actually an important element of healthy eating.

Binging on chocolate or chips is not healthy, but taking the time to enjoy them ‘just because’ is great for the soul and could even benefit your body if it means it keeps you on track the rest of the time.

 Coming soon is an opportunity to join me for my fall cleanse where you will be eating real food every few hours, even chicken soup!!!  You also will go into the holiday season feeling great and ready to look awesome in your evening finest. Check out the details at

 Here is a testimonial from a recent client…. 

I have Crohn’s disease. My doctor’s told me that diet has nothing to do with it and I could eat whatever I wanted. After going through severe diarrhea   and weight loss, followed by low energy, weight gain and inflammation everywhere, I sought Wendy Schnitzer’s advice. She helped me connect certain foods I was eating to the inflammation – namely gluten and soy and when I eliminated them, I felt better almost immediately. She worked with my whole family to think about eating as a way to better health. By eating real , unprocessed food, that was delicious and satisfying, I began to lose my unwanted weight without even trying. I felt well enough to want to exercise again. The ultimate proof was that my labs came back “perfect” in my doctor’s words. As an experienced yo-yo dieter, this is the first time I don’t feel obsessed by food. I have a new way of thinking about it that helps me feel creative and an active participant in the health of my whole family. I could not have gotten to this place without Wendy’s careful guidance.

Judith Shahn, Senior Lecturer,  University of Washington

 Super-Healthy Chicken Coconut Curry Recipe

This recipe would have to be one of my all-time favorites. What’s not to love about a recipe that tastes fantastic, takes less than 10 minutes to pre-prepare, and has all the ingredients for a healthy and nutrient-filled dinner with metabolism-boosting benefits!

Chicken Coconut Curry

Serves 4(possibly with leftovers)

  • 1 – 1.5 pounds chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are preferable to breast as they’re higher in purine, an important form of rich protein with fat loss and health benefits. They’re also much tastier, and cost less!
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic or 2 flat teaspoons crushed garlic if you can’t be bothered
  • One large red chili, or chili flakes to save time
  • An inch or so of fresh ginger
  • Coconut oil
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 2 tins organic coconut cream or milk (coconut oil and cream are super-good for your metabolism and a wonderful way to boost long-term energy)
  • 4 stalks celery including leaves
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large handful green or yellow beans, or snow peas if beans aren’t available
  • Half a head of cauliflower
  • Some baby corn (optional)
  • Organic sea salt
  • Fresh coriander or basil

If you know you’ll be home late or are prone to dinner-time laziness, it helps to chop the veggies in the morning and leave them in a bowl in the fridge. I chop everything pretty roughly, myself – so long as it’s clean and any unwanted stalks or heads are removed, and then it’s all good. You’ll notice my quantities are fairly vague as well – this is because I just throw in however much looks right to me at the time! Nobody said cooking has to be a fine art.

The exception is the fresh ginger, chili and garlic (if you use it) – chop fine, and throw into a wok or large, deep pan after heating with some coconut oil. While that’s simmering (keep an eye on it and stir occasionally), take 2 minutes to cut up your chicken thighs. I use cooking scissors as they’re far quicker than a knife. Throw the bird in, and get to work on your veggies. Or stop for some wine if you were smart enough to pre-chop in the morning.

Once the chicken is pretty much done (around 5-7 minutes), add your veggies, and stir-through. Within a minute or two, add your coconut milk, and throw in those bay leaves, along with a few pinches of sea salt. Let cook on low for around 10-15 minutes, or put the lid on if you want to speed this process up. Stir occasionally either way. Use this time to unpack your bag and prepare your things for the next day.

Serve with freshly torn coriander or basil mixed through and possible some additional sea salt. Pick out the bay leaves first if you can be bothered!

Homemade Ice Cream
Serves 6

1 pint organic heavy cream
1 large omega-3 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup or raw honey (to taste)
Pinch sea salt

Mix together all ingredients. Place in an ice cream machine and freeze according to instructions or place in a freezer.

Equipment: Ice cream machine 


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tracey Stover on January 18, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Hi Wendy, yeah that was a pretty broad request. Thanks for suggesting I visit your blog. It was really easy to go through the articles and find one that would work. THis is the one I chose. You’ve got some great stuff here. I am ready to get something like this up and running, thanks for the inspiration. Much love Tracey


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