Top 12 mistakes when eating ‘healthy’

this article was published as my Holistic Health column in The Times Herald Record

Here are the top 12 mistakes I see right now, by people trying to eat healthier.

Are you making any of them?

I look at food journals every day, and what I see is that many people are still basing their choices on bad information about what’s healthy and what’s not.

1. Cereal. Sorry, but no matter what the advertising says, this is processed and refined food that gets metabolised as sugar. It won’t give you the mental focus or the sustained energy you deserve for breakfast.

2. Skim milk. Many (not all) people do better without any dairy, but for goodness sake, if you’re going to have some, leave the fat in. Know what you’ve got when you take it out? Higher sugars. (And blech to the taste).

3. Popcorn, chips and pretzels. Crave the crunch? Sure you do! It’s a craving diabolically fueled by the sugar rush. It’s not about calories. It’s not that these have added sugars. It’s how your body processes the refined carbs and quickly turns them into sugar.

4. Lettuce and chicken breast for lunch. Ah, the old “diet mentality.” It doesn’t work. You’re hungry an hour later, right? Even more if you do the “dip your fork in dressing” ritual. Or skip dressing altogether. Add cooked veggies, half an avocado and a generous portion of good olive oil. You won’t get that mid-day slump and boomerang back to caffeine and junk food.

5. Soy. It’s suppressive to the thyroid and has estrogenic effects you may not want. Lose it.

6. Drowning meals with water. Drink it in-between meals, not with. Don’t dilute precious digestive enzymes.

7. Bars. Most are way high in carbs and sugars, with not much else. Even if they’re organic or all natural, they still send your blood sugar skyrocketing and leave you tired and cranky later.

8. Low fat. OMG. Is this myth still around? We NEED fats. LOTS of them. Just make sure they’re healthy fats. Fats don’t raise your cholesterol or make you fat. Never have. (That would be refined carbs and sugars). Healthy fats keep you full, taste great and support every organ and system in your body.

9. Gluten-free junk food. Gluten free does NOT equal healthy.

10. Shakes. These can make a great start to your day, but for goodness’ sake, read labels. Don’t use anything with fructose, soy or artificial sweeteners. Look for 5 grams of sugars or less.

11. Fruit. Your metabolism doesn’t do a free pass for fruit. Yes, they’re natural but they’re still sugars.

12. Theoretical vs. individually healthy. Lots of things may be healthy in theory, or for your friend, your sister or someone on TV, but NOT healthy for you as the unique individual you are. Want to know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be eating to reclaim your very best health? I can help you with that!

Fran Sussman has been a holistic practitioner in Orange County since 1993, combining nutritional counseling, kinesiology and homeopathy to address a wide range of issues for clients of all ages. Find her at Sussman Holistic on Facebook or visit





%d bloggers like this: