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8 Steps to Get Real, Rooted and Rustic

8 Steps to Get Real, Rooted and Rustic.

As a nutrition professional, I´ll be the first to admit that dietitians go a little overboard with the minutia of micronutrients. While I believe it is important to understand the science behind nutrient-health association, trying to apply the academics of nutrition to every meal choice is impractical and makes eating less enjoyable.

After years of living abroad (first in France and now in Spain), I have learned that nutrition is far more than the sum of its parts. Despite my love for nutrition science, not everything can be quantified and correlated. People eat food—not nutrients—and my aim is to help you eat real food more often and with less effort. I will help you navigate the tide of superfood marketing and nutrient rebranding so that you can enjoy the simple pleasures of real food with real people.

The Health Out of Habit approach to food and health goes back to the basics.

The Rooted and Rustic philosophy blends the whole-food traditions of the past with the evolving nutrition evidence of the present.

As a dietitian, university lecturer, mother and nouveau-Mediterranean, my philosophy of eating well and living healthy sits atop a firm foundation of nutrition science, translates into simple and accurate messages, applies to the real world and preserves the dietary and lifestyle traditions of the past.

For me, the first two pillars are the most profound in that they hold the greatest potential for transforming how we eat and attain health.  The Health Out of Habit Manifesto incorporates my perspective and experience as an American nutritionist and mother of two living abroad, while also drawing upon the evidence-based research from health heavyweights, such as Dr. David Katz and his True Health Initiative, the Rogue Dietary Guidelines by Marion Nestle and Tamar Haspel, and the original “Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants” mantra by Michael Pollan.

The basics of what to eat for optimal health are well known and not shrouded in mystery. What does remain a mystery is how we can incorporate this knowledge into our lives in a world of deceptive marketing, mixed messages and unhealthy options. I can help you live healthier day-in and day-out, by developing sustainable eating habits, so that you and your family can navigate the real world of eating.

The Health Out of Habit Manifesto provides the guidance for how to make a habit out of health.


Rooted and Rustic


Prioritize plant-based foods in your diet, which translates to fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, seeds, nuts, olives, mushrooms, leaves, stems, roots, herbs and spices.  Vary the colors, textures and flavors. Choose seasonal and local when possible. Combine creatively.


Eat foods in rustic form. Enjoy food, which generally, yet not perfectly, resembles its state in nature.  Eat food—not nutrients. Choose less processed foods with fewer ingredients.  Prepare more homemade meals when possible and practical for your lifestyle.  Boost your culinary skills by being creative, resourceful and flexible.  Preserve healthy dietary traditions of the past, and share those with children.


Keep it real. Assess your overall diet and eating behaviors, rather than focusing on trends, perfect foods, or restrictive diets.  Food can be wild, dirty, messy, rustic and improvisational. What you add to your diets is way more important than what you eliminate.  Be mindful of portion sizes, instead of calculating calories or nutrients.  Respect internal cues of hunger and fullness.  Acknowledge where you are, and focus on the tiniest step forward.


Enjoy and share. Eating a variety of wholesome food is satisfying, delicious, and enjoyable. Willpower and deprivation are counterproductive for long-term health.  Sit down and make time to enjoy good food with even better company and conversation


Relax. Create time to de-stress by doing something you love.  Never feel guilty. Recharge yourself so that you have the power to nourish yourself and others.  Find your supportive community which helps you succeed. Get adequate rest and sleep. 


Be aware of the association between food choices and the health of our planet.  Promote sound nutrition science and messages of truth related to food and health.  The origin and source of our food should be transparent since it directly affects our health.  Think of meat as a flavoring garnish and cheese as a luxury. Drink wine if you like wine with your meals. Drink lots and lots of water.


Move more. Walk, dance, run, climb, swim, bike, garden, lift, step, pump, or whatever else makes you feel happy and more powerful. Consistency is more effective than perfection.


Create habit. Find routine in what works best for you, feels best for your body and fits nicely with your lifestyle. Nourish health. Power life. Find routine in what works best for you, feels best for your body and fits nicely with your lifestyle. Habit is a superfood for health.

The more you do it, the more natural it becomes to create health out of habit.

ARE YOU looking to take THAT first step in LIVING HEALTH OUT OF HABIT?


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Send me your comments, thought and opinions regarding the Health Out of Habit Manifesto. Did I miss anything? Which habits do find the easiest to start with? Let me know!

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