Here I am! Today’s the day! Diet Central . . . only not, it’s Healthy Eating . . . read on . . . enjoy the MUSICA! Comes with crazy love, as usual!First off, we should define diet. You can’t understand a word until you get the pure dictionary definition:


1. restrict oneself⚡️to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.
“It’s difficult to diet.”
synonyms: follow a diet, be on a diet, eat sparingly, abstain, fast.
I’ve never cared much for the word Diet. You can probably tell I don’t like “restrict.” And also not wild about “sparingly.” The entire subject has always been confusing, seems more for selling books than anything else  . . . low-fat, no-fat, low-carb, Mediterranean, Vegan, Atkins, cabbage soup only, the Blood Type Diet, Volumetrics, Paleo, Nutrisystem, the Baby Food Diet 😳, too many ~ and none of the ones I tried over the years “took.”  Pounds kept sneaking up on me despite the fact that I’m a life-long walker! Just wasn’t enough, I guess. I think another synonym for “diet” could easily be “failure.” All I really wanted was a little balance! So I just call my “diet” Whole-Food Eating because it’s not a diet, it’s how my mom fed us. Simple, healthy, balanced, nutritious meals. Your basic protein, roughage, fiber, fats, the stuff that feeds your brain and gives your life zing.  And, best of all, I discovered there is absolutely NO reason comfort food can’t be good for you.💖
Look at that! Yum! I’ve been talking about healthy eating on most blog posts since February . . . as I’ve gone along I’ve been showing photos of meals ~ some Girlfriends have been asking for more, so I thought I’d post the entire thing. There’s no calorie or carb-counting with this way of eating, I really made it up ~ you fill your plate and eat it all ~ cravings go away, and it’s all due to plain-old-fashioned, healthy, common-sense, whole-food eating.
It all started when I began to see (for the first time because I honestly did not know it was a real “thing”) the detrimental effect of STRESS on my body. I wondered why, no matter what I did, I couldn’t lose weight and keep it off. I was getting fluffier all the time. So, I went ALL OVER the Internet to learn about invisible stress and how chemicals like cortisol produced by the brain effect our health without us even knowing it, and how I could get my brain to produce more good chemicals and less of the dangerous ones.
I learned a lot . . . there are many ways to reduce stress, everything from exercise to meditation to aromatherapy (Google for more stress info if you feel you need it), but one way to make an instant change for good is to cut out white flour and sugar. Stress LOVES sugar and together they run you down, wear you out, and make you fat, then if you aren’t careful, they give you diabetes. If you change no other part of your diet, this will give you a very wonderful head start toward better health. Learning about stress just led me naturally to a re-education of food.

I learned that fats are good (if they’re the right kind, just Google “good fats” if you want to know). That “good, fruity, olive oil” in the recipe above is wonderful for you! Alcohol, on the other hand, is full of sugar so I decided to save it as a treat for when we go out to dinner.👍 Water is important too. If you don’t like to drink water, add ice, a little juice or mint to make it taste better, and take it like medicine if necessary. Eight 8-oz glasses a day is perfect. There IS such thing as too much water, so don’t overdo it, but it’s a very good secret weapon for a whole variety of reasons.

I know we don’t all have the same tastes, I’m only telling you about what is working for me, but I’m sure with a little editing, you can find something out of all this that will work for you. I researched healthiest whole-food eating and generally speaking, I discovered that the very healthiest, fiber-rich, stress-fighting foods that fill me up and leave me happy and satisfied, are these:
For breakfast, it’s usually Bob’s Red Mill thick-cut organic oatmeal (which, btw, is naturally gluten-free), sprinkled with crunchy, chopped mixed nuts and seeds, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, a half-teaspoon of cinnamon, blueberries, strawberries, and/or chopped apples ~ I pour toasted-coconut/almond milk on my cereal (new to me and I LOVE it) and there’s also coconut-almond cream for my tea. Sometimes breakfast is grapes, blueberries, watermelon chunks, with good granola and a little yogurt.
We have lots of salmon, chicken, grass-fed beef, omega-6 organic eggs, and salads with all kinds of crisp, fresh, organic greens and veggies. More: grapefruit and avocado salads are so refreshing in the summer, a baked sweet potato (wash it, rub it all over with butter, salt it, bake it at 375º, slit open, sprinkle with 
seeds, have butter if you like, be sure to eat the skin. Or, make this killer sweet potato recipe. Delicious peas, roasted carrots,
cauliflower rice, brussels sprouts, pea pods, broccoli and broccoli slaw, green beans, pickled onions, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, quinoa (which is good with everything, esp. avocado and hummus, see p. 84 Girlfriends Forever for delicious recipe), organic canned kidney, black, or white beans (Google for some easy recipes, or try my bean salad recipe). Beans are a good side-dish with everything, love those gigantic white beans, I never paid much attention to them before, they’re delicious and they’re good for you! There are also these wonderful veggie-based noodles called shiritaki I found at our supermarket, the brand is Pasta Zero . . . with them you can make full-on spaghetti with either turkey or beef meat-sauce (buy sugar-free organic tomato sauce in a jar, add it to sautéed chopped onion, garlic, crumbled burger, sprinkle with fresh basil).  
As advertised, there are almost ZERO calories in shiritaki noodles, no flour, no carbs, but lots of good healthy fiber, totally satisfying, so anti-“diet,” anti-“restricted,” there are no words. Sprinkle with Parmesan for perfect comfort food. Less than 100 calories in that bowl⤴️! But who’s counting!? Have two! Or make chicken-noodle soup with them, with good healthy chicken stock and all kinds of veggies. Yum.
Another favorite is toasted whole-grain Ezekiel bread, which I eat maybe three times a week … with butter, and a sprinkle of seeds ~ or mashed avocado with salt and pepper. Have it with scrambled Omega-6 free-range eggs and a side of steamed veggies. Or have the toast with this! ⬇️
Meals like this are quick to make: Flash-frozen veggies like organic peas and green beans make life REALLY easy. So do the canned organic beans.
Last night for dinner I had two scrambled eggs, steamed spinach, and half an avocado sprinkled with Trader Joe’s Chile-Lime seasoning. 
HEAVEN. Takes about 15 minutes to make. And plenty to eat . . . this is a “skinny” dinner . . . if I ate this every night I think I’d lose a pound a day. But I don’t. It’s ALL about health for me, not really about losing weight although that and getting a better understanding of stress was my original goal ~ I didn’t care how long it took, I just wanted me back.
I set times of day for eating. I don’t eat until 8 am even though I get up very early, I have two cups of tea and do my stretches then begin making oatmeal at 8am. I start lunch around noon or when I feel hungry and then dinner at 6pm. I stick to that as best I can. I hardly eat between meals, all those cravings have left me, but if I have to eat something, it’s ALWAYS healthy, a piece or two of celery dipped in organic hummus, a cup of yummy Bengal Spice tea with almond cream, usually takes away any random cravings. Guacamole with plantain chips.
OR, a square of “over 70% cacao super dark chocolate” is a WONDERFUL after-lunch treat. Now I just want to lose a few more pounds, start wearing my cute belts(!) again, and STAY this way. And since eating healthy never leaves me hungry, because I LOVE the food I’m eating, because it’s SO simple, I think I can do it.
If you’re already on your way or if you’re about to jump in, Good Luck! Hope this helps! Eat well, move more, and don’t be too hard on yourself, you are wonderful just the way you are. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Start slow. ❌⭕️
Shirtaki noodles (made from root of the konjac plant, a pure miracle), at supermarkets.
Bob’s Red Mill makes Organic Oatmeal, and lots of other wonderful products.
Also, Ezekiel Bread, and Califa Farms Toasted-Coconut/Almond Milk and Coconut-Almond Creamer. (Never thought I’d say this, but I LOVE this stuff in my tea and on my cereal, do not miss milk at all.)
Mixed seeds: get them at Trader Joe’s, or here: Amazon
Make or buy clarified butter, it takes high heat, scramble your eggs in it . . . melt in pan, get bag of organic cauliflower/broccoli “rice” and saute it, salt and pepper and Yum. Fast and easy. Have it with sweet potato and salmon.
Other good oils, coconut oil, avocado oil. ~ Olive oil YES, but it’s not good to use for high-heat cooking, put it on your salads.
Here I am, bringing the requested Blueberry Angel Food Cake recipe from Heart of the Home (the new version) to a Fourth of July party . . . Lot’s of sugar but very delicious, always a hit, and rules ARE made to be broken! I follow most of the rules at home, but I’m happy to break them when I go out!
it’s a good thing!
So much happening at the Studio, here’s a quick review!
Did you get your Year in the English Countryside 2020 Calendar? If you preordered and you don’t have it yet, you will! Kellee and Sheri sent out over 900 of them this week! Yes, they’re here! Dying to know what you think? Because it was a new format for me, mostly photographs, we only had the England Calendar up for presale, but the rest of them have arrived too, the Mini, the 12 x 12 Wall, the purse calendar and the large Blotter Calendar!
And this! My brand new “Isle of Dreams” Giclee Print has finally come in! A limited edition of 750, all hand-signed and numbered. A keepsake, for anyone who’s been to the Island and fallen in love, and for all those still dreaming. Fits a standard 11″ x 14″ frame. Read more HERE.
I’m in love with the paper! It’s so thick, just like watercolor paper . . . acid free and archival too!
And the Zinnias are back too . . . watercolored flowers from my Holly Oak garden, summer of 1984, before Heart of the Home, and hanging in my Studio ever since! 
Signed and ready to go!
And YESSSS! The newest cups came from England for approval. And they got it! They turned out SO gorgeous! Supposed to be here by September first, and if that isn’t perfect timing for fall, I don’t know what! Something wonderful to look forward too! See their bottoms and backsides HERE!
We still have a few of these left, I ordered enough so we would hopefully have them for Christmas this year, and so far so good! Bottoms and backsides, HERE!
(PS Save the fire for when the cups come in!) There’s more, but it’s time for me to go! And I have to save some surprises for next time . . . I have a good one coming!
Love you guys! Stay cool! Have fun. Spread the love. xoxoxo
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555 Responses to HEALTHY EATING!

  1. Karen says:

    I can’t thank you enough Susan for this post and for all the previous ones telling us about your new “healthy eating”! It was just the perfect kick-in-the-behind 😉 I needed to start on my own “healthy eating” journey. I feel so much better and while the weight loss is slow, it’s ok since I know I’m doing good things for me and my overall health. I’ve got dinner and breakfast down but I get stuck figuring out what to eat for lunch. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and please continue to tell us more about what you’re doing – it’s great motivation. Thank you! 🌿🌸🌿

    • sbranch says:

      Eat the same for lunch as you do for dinner. A protein and 2 or 3 side dishes. Or, 2 veggies and an avocado half. Or, 2 veggies and a quinoa salad. Quinoa salad with shrimp, roasted carrots, half an avocado, maybe a tiny side of pickled onions. All so good!

      • Ann R says:

        Susan I love that you lost weight eating half an avocado! So many diets say eat no more than 1/8 of an avocado as a serving which makes no sense! They are expensive and they go bad once you cut them open. For years I gave up buying them. Nowadays I buy them or am gifted them, I found out on the internet that you can freeze them without ill effect. Another version of avo toast is mashed bananas on toast with a dash of cinnamon it’s filling and satisfys that sweet tooth. Alo ha ha

  2. Daralyn says:

    Stress … Just when I think I have conquered it, I am shown once again, no one is immune 🙂
    Trying healthy eating, at least, no fast food and much less coke. Water is actually not the enemy I once believed it to be. Thank you for the encouragement and the tips. You included some things for me to put into my rotation of meals. If I don’t have variety, I find myself drawn to the drive thru!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t think it gets conquered! I was just surprised at how stealthy it is, almost invisible, doing its dirty deeds! Love all the invisible ways to fight back! Sniffing Lavender oil everyday now, a little inhalation, just wonderful.

  3. jan lane says:

    Thanks for all of the interesting suggestions for menus and healthy eating. It gets boring sometimes to make meals. I have a husband that is almost always hungry, and perhaps the healthier food choices will stay with him longer.
    Summer days are not meant to be spent in the kitchen laboring over the stove. There are so many fruits and veggies to choose from. It is a wonderful time of year to get started on a healthier way of living. You never cease to inspire. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      I find I look forward to meals much more since I’ve been eating this way. In a way it’s all been simplified. Thank you back Jan!

      • Lynn says:

        A nice little cook book, please?! This past year has been crazy stressful and hard. The weight has been coming on steadily and I don’t eat nearly as much as I used to. Try to be careful. I’m convinced it’s the stress and time of life in general. Thank you so much for these suggestions. Glad I’m not alone on the journey and it doesn’t have to be as hard as all these silly diet crazes make it out to be.

        • sbranch says:

          I think the world being in such disarray is getting to us. Be sure to vacation from it often. XOXOXO

          • ~Del gato gordo y descarado~ says:

            You introduced us to the reasons of the Media Diet… I still use it, more and more people use it because it works.

          • sbranch says:

            Media DIET, now that’s a diet that we REALLY need. xoxoxo

  4. Meg Cooper says:

    Wow! You look great! So healthy. Thanks for sharing your ideas about healthy eating. I noticed the recipes you shared had sugar in them. Do you skip the sugar all together, or just avoid it in things like dessert?

  5. Larkin says:

    I love this post! Seeing the healthy food you are eating is inspiring. I try to follow many of the same guidelines. It feels good! It’s hard when you are pushed for time but it’s possible. I need to try those seeds. Cheers!

    • sbranch says:

      Get those canned beans and frozen veggies. HUGE help. Once a week make a big quinoa or bean salad.

  6. Carol Ybarrondo says:

    Always love your blog! Recipes sound great, and I am adding to my Trader Joe’s list! Received my calendar yesterday! It is beautiful! Love the feel of the paper, so satiny, lol! Thanks for all the work you put into all you do! Love, love, love it! My 6 year old granddaughter says I am besessed with Susan Branch. I think she means obsessed, lol! I tell her, “yes, yes I am!”

  7. Patti B. says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your English Countryside calendar arrived in my mailbox today and it is soooo cute! The photos are fab and so is the design with all your special touches! I may never write on it because it is too pretty and I don’t want to ruin it!!! Saving my pennies until I can go back and visit jolly old England again. Thanks for bringing it to my doorstep – Cheers 🙂

  8. Suzanne says:

    Thank you! I have been waiting and hoping you would write your lovely eating plan out for us. I love the “Just-eat-real-food”-ness of it!

  9. Sherry Coleman says:

    You look great! Thanks for all the healthy food suggestions! Can never have too many as it’s so easy to get back into bad habits, but my new mantra is “it’s for life”! Forever! So I might as well get used to it. 😄

  10. Elaine Woodford says:

    Loved your blog today! Great food ideas and beautiful dishes/cups. Thanks for the MUSICA with Frank Sinatra singing “Polka Dots and Moonbeams”. I’ve never that song before. And Tommy Dorsey…ahhh, Tommy. :-). So romantic. I’ll bet he was thinking of his wife when he sang that song. Thank you for the beauty of your ART in this blog. Beautiful and inspiring!

    • sbranch says:

      I have to FORCE myself not to play that song every single time!! I love it so much! Tommy Dorsey’s my favorite. I love the long intros to so many of the songs he does . . . I wonder if it was him that did the arrangements.

  11. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! So happy to see the new you! Proud of you! Your smile tells all! Is the Ezekiel Bread easy to get used to eating? (When I avoid regular whole wheat bread, my tummy is flatter… this may be a solution for when I want toast.) Also, do the Shiritaki.Noodles mix well with any pasta sauce? Thank you for this wonderful post on stress! Praying my morning rosary and being in nature amongst my little flower beds, sure does help my brain to relax and empty the built up stress. This summer I crave more peaceful moments of silence when I can! The bumble bees and Monarch butterflies make me smile! Take care of yourself Susan. God Bless.

    • sbranch says:

      You really can’t tell the difference between Ezekiel and any other WW Bread, taste-wise! Easy to get used to, great toast! I think they’d be good with any sauce, just make sure to follow package and rinse really well! Morning rosary, what a lovely way to start the day. xoxoxo

  12. Gale Jourdet says:

    Thank you sooooo much, Susan, for describing your new way of choosing foods that are making you feel so much better. I am truly enlightened. Please, if you would, continue to post any new dishes and “where to find” sources for us along with your regular posts. All would be greatly appreciated by your “fluffy girlfriends.”
    Thank you again for doing what you are so good about …and that is “sharing.”

  13. Coco says:

    Dear Susan,

    Congratulations on your healthful eating, it looks so happy on you! I lost “140 sticks of butter” slowly through sensible eating about ten years ago, and it still feels so wonderful. Reading your smart, fun, anti-diet diet post reminded me of how grateful I am to love and crave good-for-me food! I also eat all things in moderation, so I never feel deprived. Fabu! :@) ~ smiling piggie face

    This is a bit off topic of your great blog post, but I wonder if you have had any further thoughts on your yard sale? I had made plans to travel to Martha’s Vineyard for it, but was very happy when you postponed to make the most of Shelly’s visit with her boys. Is a yard sale still in your plans for this summer, do you think? Any predictions on dates would be most handy for those of us who might hop, skip & jump our way cross country for that big fun! Thanks.

    Thank you for everything. There is no day of my life that is not touched by you, graced by your art and writing and shared quotations. xoxox Coco

  14. DeAnna Passmore says:


    Good morning! Thanks for always brightening my day! The bowl you have pictured, with the apples on top and the almond coconut milk behind it, is SO pretty! I’m recently diagnosed as lactose intolerant so I’ve had to endure a few “lifestyle changes” as well- but healthier for it!

  15. Marime says:

    Hi Susan,
    Writing from Spain,that Gazpacho looks yummy. Thank you for all the encouragment about healthy eating.Spanish summer parties are a tentation about food, but I will try. I also want to wear my lovely belts again,jeje. Hugs from Spain.

  16. Mary Jo says:

    Thank you, Thank you. I can follow this, because you wrote it. Not a doctor or dietician, but a friend I trust.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for that honor. If you have any questions, Google it, because there’s lots of help out there.

  17. Shirley says:

    Beautifully illustrated book as usual Susan. Your oatmeal looks so yummy. But this chocoholic wants to know how you limit yourself to just ONE square of chocolate? 🍫

  18. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    You look great! You’ll be in your tiniest belts it no time at all❤️Question, do you use a slow cooker or an instant pot to prepare your oatmeal? I usually use the quick cooking kind to save time, but this looks and sounds so yummy and healthy.

    • sbranch says:

      After I drop the oats into boiling water and turn to simmer, I can eat in about 10 min. So I just use a little saucepan.

  19. Linda Hope says:

    And if you need a bit more encouragement to eat healthy, whole foods, may I suggest watching the documentary “Fed Up.” It’s free with Amazon Prime Video. It’s a MUST WATCH! Sugar is killing us and making us overweight, and it’s in all the processed food we’ve become accustomed to eating.

  20. Jackie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing all these good food ideas. I have put shiritaki noodles on my grocery list and can’t wait to try it !

  21. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Thank you, Susan, for all the wonderful ideas and recipes in this blog post! I have been on this path for about 5 years, and we would all be much healthier if we were to follow this AND be happy with what we are eating!
    Unfortunately, I have an intolerance of “nightshade” plants so I have to be careful with tomatoes which I love in the summertime when they are ripe off the vine.
    I can’t wait to see my calendar when it comes and I’m tempted by the Martha’s Vineyard “map”, especially since we will be there next month for a week.
    Blessings, thanks and hugs…

  22. Lynn Marie says:

    What a wonderful blog all about healthy eating and getting outside to walk and move around. So simple! I received my English Countryside calendar yesterday and it is beautiful. I love all the borders you made for the photos–it may be my favorite one ever! Happy and blessed rest of summering to you Susan!

  23. Deborah Borne says:

    So glad you are discovering the joys of healthy eating! And you look fabulous!!
    When you are ready to go even “deeper” I recommend The China Study by T.Colin Campbell. It was given to me by a friend when I was battling breast cancer 10 years ago and it changed my life.

  24. Rosemary says:

    Thank you Susan for the wonderful healthy eating ideas.I have been doing Weight Watchers for 9months and have lost 26lbs. to date. Move more and healthy eating works. Thank you for the wonderful blog.

  25. Suzanne says:

    Fingers crossed that a Healthy Eating recipe book is in the works!!! You’ve given us the tools but you create such lovely toolsheds. It would be so great to have your recipes and suggestions collected in a book. THANK YOU rither way.

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha, love “toolsheds!” xoxo

      • Jill says:

        Yes, please! Cooking and inspiration for cooking are not part of my make up. If not a toolshed how about a few more tools?!??

        • sbranch says:

          You’d be perfect for the simplicity of this style of cooking/eating. I can usually make dinner in 15 min, or a half hour. It’s all so much easier because of the plainness.

  26. Rosemary LeBlanc says:

    You look wonderful Susan! Thanks so much for the healthy eating blog. I have been doing weight watchers for 9 months and have lost 26 lbs., 10 more lbs. to go.
    Eating healthier and moving more works.

  27. Betsy says:

    How exciting to see a posting from you! That always makes my day. I have a question. I’ve read about Pasta Zero and I was intrigued enough to ask a nutritionist I had the opportunity to meet at a health lecture. He said it has no nutritional value and to just eat shredded zucchini, carrots or shredded cabbage with red sauce. Can you explain the texture to me, is it similar to basic pasta? It’s not that I don’t like the flavor of different types of beans it’s the texture I have an issue with. Crazy, I know. Thanks so much.

    • sbranch says:

      I think the texture is great. They’re sort of al dente, not mushy at all. Look up their benefits on the Internet, so far I find everything right about them, and nothing bad! The first ones I found were made of soy, which I don’t eat because of the GMOs. So skip those!

  28. Janet O’Connor says:

    Hi Susan, Thank you for sharing your recipes and ideas for healthy eating! They are just what I have been trying to do too. I have found that a plant based diet is the best for me. Unfortunately, not everyone that I cook for agrees, so I wind up doing more work to please my family. I do keep trying😊
    Personally, I have found that as I have aged, my metabolism has slowed. Fruits, vegetables and simple foods seem to counter my sluggish digestion. Please keep sharing your thoughts. They are inspiring😘

  29. Mary Kopecky says:

    You are such an inspiration❣ A new healthier lifestyle cookbook on the horizon?? 🍎🍓👟🚶‍♀️

  30. Ann says:

    My mom & sisters are planning a fall trip to the island! The trip of a lifetime! Looking for suggestions on where to stay & how to get around the island while we are there.

    • sbranch says:

      You can bring a car, or rent one, we also have a great bus system, the island is 100 square miles. You can rent a house, or do a bed and breakfast, or a hotel, all price ranges. Look at our Chamber of Commerce online. When you get here, get the newspaper, they list EVERYTHING going on! Have fun! You will love it!

      • Ann says:

        What is the name of the gift shop on the island that carries the Susan Branch items?

        My mom has been battling lung cancer and she is the one that got us all hooked on your blog!

        It will be a great few days for the girls!

        • sbranch says:

          It’s in Vineyard Haven called Simon Gallery. Robin runs it. My best love to your mom. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo And ALL of you.

  31. Ridgely says:

    Wonderful eating plan! It’s much like the South Beach eating plan which I try to stick to, but am married to a sugar/carboholic so it’s difficult. 🤪. But I need to get serious with it again, menopause tanks our metabolism, so I need to be more diligent! Thanks for all the great recipes!

    • sbranch says:

      You’re welcome!!! Joe isn’t so much crazy about sugar, more about MEAT, MAN FOOD! He does pretty good and then one day will go eat a cow! He’s an ice cream guy too. Likes to do it around midnight! Love him SOOOOO much!

  32. Rachel says:

    Love all of this. Sometimes we complicate our lives unknowingly and need to get back to the basics of healthy eating and moving! Please keep sharing. Love reading about your life.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s true! Complications don’t necessarily lead to happiness! It’s the little things! xoxoxo

  33. Connie Castle says:

    Hi Susan: Love this blog–for last few years I have been trying to cut
    out sugar–heard that sugar increases appetite–more sugar, more we want it.
    And hungrier we get! Not good if one wants to stay away from snacking in
    between meals. And I do love Trader Joe’s–staff very friendly and cashier
    always unpacks shopping basket or cart (a nice service perk). So will look
    for Super Seed and Ancient Grain Blend you mentioned. I go back to what
    you said about your mom–mine was the same–simple food, always a salad,
    with braized chicken, a couple of vegetables. Not a lot of desserts. I have
    been trying to get back to that and just eat simply good food with no
    additives, and no sugar. Sometimes hard to do, but I love your approach
    to “diet”–don’t like the word either. So thank you for this wonderful blog.
    From hot and steamy Michigan (heat index in low 100’s today). Am a walker
    too but will stay put today–can barely breathe out there😟

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes I think the food industry watched the success of the tobacco companies addicting people to their product and got the message. Soft drinks are SO addictive! Yeah, too hot for walking here too! Need to go after dark! xoxoxo

  34. Shirley Graham says:

    Wish I were rich so could order all cups!! You never know maybe soon!! Love your blog as usual & all the good recipes. Thanks so much!!! Grocery store has been selling peonies – can you believe? My daughter just brought me a bouquet last night. Happiness. Take care & enjoy your good food!!

    • sbranch says:

      I recently saw them in the store too, where is it spring???? Maybe Australia! But even early for them I would think! SO beautiful! xoxo

  35. Good morning, Susan! I have been eating healthy and clean for several years now, but even moreso this year – by incorporating a lot more veggies and fruits into my diet and eating less meat. We eat mostly like you do though – organic, clean foods, almond milk, no sugar. I’m at my lowest weight I’ve been at in many years and my latest blood test results (cholesterol, glucose) are also the lowest they’ve been in years. I’m going to pass on those noodles you suggested though – I’ve read about them and they don’t sound too appealing. 😉 I’ve also read that they have no nutritional value. We rarely eat pasta but when we do, I use organic brown rice pasta.

    Like you, I stay away from soy because of the GMO’s, but have you tried organic tofu? I use that once in a blue moon (the extra firm variety) for a stir-fry. The organic kind doesn’t have GMO’s.

    Keep up the healthy eating and inspiration for all us – I’m along on the ride with you! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      They do though, a serving of Shirataki noodles has 3 grahams of healthy fiber and can be a carrier for some really healthy sauces and lots of veggies. Has been really good for me for weight loss, have it every so often to change things up, and probably not necessary if your weight is where you like to be. Thank you for good suggestions! Something for everyone! xoxoxoxo

  36. SGM says:

    Wow! Look at you – so THIN! I know it’s for health reasons but being thinner is healthy too (anyone who’s had breast cancer knows about the adrenal glands turning body fat into estrogen – NO! That’s not a good thing). You are a constant source of inspiration. Thank you!

  37. Ann Y. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your “plan”…not diet! I love the whole idea! I need to lose a few pounds to feel better and want to head off any illness in the future. We do eat healthy…healthier than we ever did before. But…sugar is my downfall. I love to bake ( just baked blueberry muffins and lemon bread) and mostly I put it in the freezer for a treat/company – or I share with neighbors and friends who are feeling sick or under the weather. But I do eat my creations, too. Will have to cut back on that. The wine is another story…don’t drink a lot ( a glass at dinner on the weekends), but I guess that may have to go if I want to feel better/look better. We booked a cruise to the Mediterranean for the holidays….looking at photos from our last trip in May I look a little “puffy”. So…it is up to me! Thanks for the wonderful advice ! Can’t wait to get my calendar for next year….that big desk calendar is perfect for me to jot down everything going on around here. LOL…I was worried I would be bored when I retired from being a school librarian – hah! Both my husband and I are busier than ever and your calendar makes it easy to keep track of all our activities. Thank you again…I am inspired by you and I am going to give this a shot! I keep thinking about a sign I saw in a local gift shop – “If you had to choose between being skinny or drinking wine, which would you choose? Red or White???” You have inspired me to choose “healthy”!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL!!!!! I love that joke. Diet people say choose RED! xoxoxoxo

    • Rita Baker says:

      Ann, I too love “home baked” foods, & started cutting the sugar in half, using applesauce for the oil, also adds sweetness, & LOVE having control over what goes into my body! One time I made a “mug” chocolate chip cookie w/a flax egg, & totally forgot to put the sugar in. Did not even notice!

      • sbranch says:

        After a while sugar just doesn’t taste as good!

        • Me2 says:

          its all in the processing

          What Chemicals Does White Sugar Have?
          Refining raw cane sugar into white table sugar is a complicated process that involves hundreds of organic, inorganic and electrolytic materials.

  38. Love my England calendar!!! Thank you 🥰 You look fabulous!

  39. Chris Wells. Knickerbocker, TX says:

    Thank you for the inspiration!! The hardest part is shaking all that sugar and then there is my wine. Another person I know said she simply could not lose weight until she stopped drinking wine. Ugh! (Insert unhappy face).
    I may read this every morning for inspiration!

  40. Meg Hawes says:

    Oooh, Susan! Thank you! Thank you! It’s hotter than blue-blazes right now in the midwest and the last thing I feel like doing is cooking. I was eyeing the spine of your Summertime book on my cookbook shelf just the other day – but life gets so busy you often can’t act on what you’d like to do. (Needs some new cooking ideas, she thinks to herself…) Wella! Here you are with some good, healthy recipes to try after a trip to the farmer’s market! Thanks for the inspiration for some delicious summer meals!

  41. sharon taylor says:

    Hi Susan,

    I’m a little confused. I received your blog via email and continued reading from “Continue Reading”. Then I made a comment to you and I believe I was 6th maybe the 9th res ponder. As I’m sure everyone does they check to see if you made a comment back to them. Well my post has just disappeared. I sent it July 19th. Not being the best computer techi I don’t understand where it went. Do you? LOL Thanks, Sharon

    • sbranch says:

      I got a WHOLE BUNCH at once, and what I see when I open the computer is the most recent one first. I have 100 comments waiting to be “approved” (actually I love to read them first!) so I bet yours is buried on the bottom! I’ll go look!

  42. Kathleen H. says:

    I was one of the girlfriends who asked for more details on your eating plan. Thanks so much for your ideas. I am a cancer survivor and from my research you are SOoooo correct in eating Whole Foods without added chemicals and stuff we can’t even pronounce. I need to lose some added stress related weight… go to stress reliever is New York Fudge Chunk, got me through my divorce…but no more. I love your recipes and your wonderful attitude.
    PS. You can really see the weight loss in the July 4th picture….beautiful as always! L.ove and Hugs Kathleen

  43. Jan H says:

    Thanks a bunch for posting more about your healthy eating choices and I love the art you created – the little fluffy ewe is adorable. I enjoy reading your blog and this post is like the icing on a delicious cake! Stress is hard to manage and I’ve become “fluffier” as I’ve gotten older. I’ve suspected if I could stay the course of managing my stress on a consistent basis plus add healthy eating choices, that I would not only feel better but fly through life. love and hugs Susan.

  44. Julie says:

    Starting this healthy plan today! I have high hopes that this simple way of eating will be exactly what I need to return to the life-long healthy body weight I enjoyed for decades. At 60, the extra weight has become quite the health burden. I’m excited! Thank you Susan for yet another inspiring post, you are truly a “friend of my mind” as Toni Morrison has so beautifully written.

  45. jeanie says:

    Lookin’ good, Susan! And what a fun and userful pst! Thanks for the delicious sounding recipes, all copied and saved and eager to try out. And loving the giclee of the Vineyard and zinnias too — a fave flower! Can’t wait till I’m home from the lake (well, these days, I guess I COULD wait, except for duties call!). My new calendar should be waiting for me and I am eager to see your England. I’ve been painting Cotswolds like mad (and Bath area) and longing to see your views of my favorite country.

    And by the way, love ALL you are posting on Twitter. In synch with me, for sure!

  46. Kathie 🐝 says:

    Your blog always makes me laugh. Love the lightning bolts and the Oreo with the bikini. So clever. Such great healthy eating ideas, you are just like a BFF. So positive. We need you and people like you so much in this world. Please do a new mug for your new book.

  47. Diane from New Hampshire says:

    It is a lifestyle not a diet. I keep telling myself. Great healthy eating ideas and recipes. Thank you. I received my England photo calendar and it is gorgeous. The photos are wonderful. I have read all your books and look forward to your next on your last trip. We are leaving in September for Britain for two weeks from Edinburgh to London. Love that area!

  48. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Wonderful blog! Great healthy ideas! Pretty pictures! Now I am inspired to choose healthy eating today! Will read again for tomorrow! Bless you my dear! Hugs!

  49. Debbie Boerger says:

    Hey, again. Thank you so much for all the nutrition info. I have learned a great deal from you and your research. Stress and Fat?! Wow, now so much makes sense. While we can’t totally avoid stress, we can learn to manage it. Which I like to believe I’m doing, applying some of your methods.
    So, getting to a healthy weight is a combo of good mental hygiene and good food choices. Add a bit of daily exercise, and Poof, you are good to go, shooting for 80 and beyond. 😉
    Love and thanks,
    Debbie in beautiful, warm Maine

  50. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Thank you once again, Susan, for your blog and recipes.
    Always plump since childhood and having been on every doctor approved diet, I learned to accept myself as I am and give up diets. I never cared for that word, diet, and still do not believe in self denial. What I also did was to cook healthier like I did when my children were young, walk more, and leave a stressful career. At 53 I returned to teaching. Weight loss ensued slowly, but best of all, all of the numbers in my annual bloodwork were extremely healthy. So much so that when I met the anesthesiologist just before hip surgery last year he threw my chart on the table and said these numbers do not belong to a 67 year old! When my dad came to live with us after my mom died he had diabetes 2. Now his A1C is normal, lost 15 lbs, not on any meds, and at 94 the doctor said his bloodwork overall was like that of a 30 year old.
    Pure proof, just like you said, that a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar, using olive oil, eating fresh fruits and veggies, eating regular meals at regular times, drinking water, and walking does work. I am not skinny by any means, but I am healthy.
    My husband is well cared for this way too as is Joe, I am sure.
    I hope we, your fans, are not the cause of your stress. That’s why I love reading your tweets telling us you are sitting and staring at your garden. Fresh air, sunshine, and meditation help.
    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for painting. Thank you for cooking. Thank you for tweeting and blogging. Thank you for being the sunshine in my day.
    Love you

    • sbranch says:

      Healthy is ALL that matters! Your constitution sounds wonderful! I am my own stress-causer, never comes from my darling Girlfriends. Thank YOU, for the love. xoxoxoxoxo

  51. Yvonne sullivan Sullivan says:

    Yvonne from Munroe Falls You are looking fabulous Susan.Thank you for the helpful diet receipes yes.I use to love Ezekiel bread.I too love a lot of your food choices salmon sweet potatoes but I like salad but I need to eat more veg.I’m 66 since my heart attacking last May Dr’s.want me to 8 veg a day.I too love to walk but some days because of pain.I find
    hard to do but I still try everyday.I love to have the little things in my life.Books birdies flowers lunch with my husband shopping wit h my beautiful daughter swimming with my girl friend.I love to see my hummers in my yard but right now I have a racoon who ate my flowers lol in my planters on my patio.I love to hear from you Susan Your life your books your your talent is a gift and inspiration to me that maybe I can be something.I write little stories that are true send them off to mag bird animal stories I have stories for children books but I can’t draw .I would love to meet you one day but until then you’ll be a pen palkindred spirit bosom buddy .You know I love your kitty but couple yrs ago I had to but my husky down Nikki but since then the most adorable calico kitty comes stays at my house sleeps on my patio plays in my fountain I have discussed with her that she get no birds no chipmunk no bunnies and she has obeyed so far lol in the evening her owner picks her up and goes home She’s a God send
    You losing all the weight will gave to go on a shopping spree Have a great day🐱❤🇺🇸🍰
    Hi Joe Hi Jack

  52. Kimberly L Young says:

    Thank you for sharing all those delicious ideas and encouraging words!
    Reading just before i dashed off to work and dreaming of healthy Sunday morning Breakfast in the garden. Happy Weekend to the coolest of the cool!

  53. Annie says:

    Thanks so much for this grand post! It’s such a treat to see your beautiful photos and art…and your skinny self! Please, consider putting all the info into a ‘skinny’ cookbook…doesn’t have to be long. It would be so nice to have it all in one place, instead of on little notes scattered around the kitchen. (I’ve already forgotten which seeds to put in the seed mix). How about…The Approximation, Healthy Eating, Barely Cooking Cookbook???!
    Many thanks for your bright light. It’s a real mood lifter every time you post.

  54. Deb in Wales says:

    Great post! I define “diet” as what we eat and drink, whether it’s healthy, junk or anything in between. I have to refuse to associate the word with losing {or gaining} weight. Like you, I believe in a healthy, well balanced eating plan with a few judicious treats, as you have done and achieved success with. Exercise, well I was told it burns the same number of calories to cover a mile regardless of how you do it!

    You know, I think this could be a theme for another book?

    ~~~Waving~~~From Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

  55. Gail Golden says:

    I’m right there with you on the healthy eating. My motto is: eat what God made – so that’s always natural, whole food. Thanks for sharing your eating plan and the recipes – they all look yummy. Oh, yes…I, too, discovered cauliflower rice. I make it frequently. Hubby wants his potatoes, pasta, and rice…so I substitute the cauli-rice. I jazz it up with garlic and parsley, or with mushrooms. The ways to fix it are endless! I even made a cauliflower pizza crust. Didn’t tell hubby because he hates cauliflower, but he didn’t know it and he ate it and loved it!! That stuff is a life-saver for a carb-lover like me.

    You look fab-you-lus, dahling! Can’t wait for the surprise.

  56. Patti S. says:

    Hi, Susan! I can’t wait to receive the new calendar – it looks beautiful! Are you considering doing a book sharing your healthy eating ideas and recipes?

  57. Lynda Vancina says:

    Thank you so much for this post. Since turning 50 a few years ago, my normally fast metabolism has slowed down quite a bit, and I have been struggling with 10 extra pounds that will not go away. I have flirted with many diets,South Beach, Atkins, Keto, Paleo,etc. They all have different restrictions and are so unsustainable in the long run. Avocados are good on this diet but forbidden on that one. Yes to nuts and seeds on some diets but no-no on others. Even healthy foods are restricted on so many of them. Your way of eating seems so much more sane! I do have a question; do you use any sort of sweetener in your tea? I love my tea, as you do,and have tried drinking it without sugar,but don’t find it nearly as enjoyable. What do you put in yours?

    • sbranch says:

      Morning tea I just use this toasted-coconut almond cream. Love it. For iced tea, I add a good shot of lemonade. Helps sweeten it, but not TOO sweet. I think, when I’ve stabilized at the weight I wish to stay forever, I will start putting honey in my tea again and see what happens. That was my favorite.

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Susan, are you still on the course of about 2 lbs weight loss per month? Do you feel comfortable saying how much you’ve lost and how far you still have to go? It’s motivating to the rest of us! We’re reading about YOU, not some unknown person to us. It makes it real; do-able. You’re proof of something really working, not one of those ads where they give somebody’s testimonial but then it says in the small print that the results aren’t typical (and then you feel duped).

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve lost maybe 26-28 lbs, and am aiming for 30. I don’t count, so I’m not sure but I started in February and this is July! It’s been a very easy ride. Happy too! xoxo

    • Ann R says:

      Try Marketspice Tea it’s world famous from Seattle! It has the sweetness but NO SUGAR!

  58. Linda Michael in Pennsylvania says:

    Thank you for posting your healthy eating plan. I have been eating Ezekiel bread toast for years (my friends call it my “Bible Bread”). I find that I’m eating many of the foods you mentioned, but I think my portions are too large. Must try to scale back a little – perhaps use a smaller plate or bowl, and trick myself! I come from the generation of people whose parents lived through the depression, and imposed the dinner rule of “cleaning your plate”. It’s a hard rule to break! By the way – you look terrific! 💜💜

  59. Amanda Davis says:

    “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates
    Absolutely LOVE hearing about your healthy eating journey, Susan! We have been on a nutritious endeavor for the past few years (no calorie counting, no fad diets, just real organic food cooked with love in “the heart of the home”). Can’t wait to try shirataki noodles (so intriguing) and Bengal tea! And totally agree, the rules do NOT apply on special occasions or vacation! I’m currently on a no-bake granola bar/energy ball kick with my new favorite ingredient: dates! Their natural caramel essence is magical. LOVE all the no sugar added dried fruit and amazing variety of nuts at Trader Joe’s (also amazingly affordable compared to other stores). It is wonderful because so many of your recipes are very healthy and emphasize fresh ingredients! Can’t wait to hear more about your adventure!

    • sbranch says:

      He had it all RIGHT even back then! Great quote! You will LOVE the Bengal Spice tea! I know, we go to TJ’s mainly FOR the nuts!! Organic, and a million dollars less than at our market!

  60. Amanda Davis says:

    P.S. You look absolutely wonderful! And try Dave’s Killer Bread (Organic) if you haven’t already! So wonderful!

  61. Bobetta says:

    You look amazing! Absolutely glowing from the inside out. Must be all that sunshine that went into growing the good food shining out once again in your face!

  62. Mich says:

    Your blog always makes my day !! Thank you for this wonderful clean eating guide. That’s the way I grew up but I think I just got away from it because processed foods were so much easier. I am now back to clean eating and Couldnt be happier.
    Thank you for spreading so much joy ❤

  63. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks much for sharing your success with food!! I am allergic to so much but will pour over this and see what I can find too!!

  64. Linda Tinoly says:

    The pictures were so tempting I went right to the kitchen and made myself a salad (this would not have happened otherwise!) So thank you!

  65. Eloise Champi says:

    Love your blog about healthy foods and lodging weight. I discovered Dr Gott years ago who wrote a couple of books on simply eating No Fat -No Sugar. You have the same idea and it works, it’s easy and low cost.
    Keep us educated and entertained –
    Eloise Champi

  66. Ginger Kwiatkowski says:

    “Vegan” is really not a diet. It is a path in life for those who do not wish to eat animals, or cause them pain. It is also a powerful way to reduce your impact on the environment. The health and fitness benefits follow.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s true for some, everyone seems to have their own feelings about vegan, some, as you note, are about the animals and the environment, and some are about personal preference.

  67. Diane says:

    Glad to see a little bit of California (TJ’s) has found its way to you! Plus smart you, for figuring out that much of the diet stuff is marketing. I guess we get smarter like that as we accumulate more years behind us. Keep up the good work with your “in-diet”; you’re looking good!

  68. Barbara Anne says:

    Hi there!

    Yummy food ideas and suggestions but will have to amend some as I have tummy issues with a diagnosis that means I have to pay attention. Sigh.

    On this momentous 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, I used my beloved Bella Luna mug for the 1st time. 🙂 It seemed just right to save it’s first use for this occasion. I was 18 in 1969 and my parents and I spent the night in a motel in Pennsylvania so we could see the moon landing on TV (thank you Walter Cronkite!). Unforgettable. You can see it all again (or for the first time) on hulu and it’s called, appropriately enough, “Apollo 11”.

    You’re looking great!


  69. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    You’re an inspiration; you’re very trim in the photo, Susan. I never thought you had any weight on you before (just that you’d be bundled up in a lot of clothes [layers] in photos) but now you’ve got skinny legs inside those long pants methinks. Congrats for taking charge and eating to live. I imagine your energy level is also improved; weight gain makes me sluggish.

    Thanks for posting the entire ‘diet’. Were you getting concerned about pre-diabetes? I had gained some weight myself when I was doing hands-on caregiving for my increasingly-ailing parents (which wound up to be six years although I eventually had to bring in home healthcare workers, just over half way into it) but IT WAS THE STRESS (til the day each died, managing every aspect of their lives; the overwhelming responsibility [I’m an only child], worry, etc. [mental exhaustion, I’m tell’in ya; caregiver burnout]), according to my physician, WHICH WAS PUSHING ME INTO THE DIABETES ZONE.

    I don’t know how diff it is from what anybody else goes thru, everybody’s bodies are their own, but diabetes and stress do not make a good mix.

    I also wasn’t getting enough sleep so of course the cortisol problem comes into play as well. (My husband has developed an insomnia problem due to some other health issues and the long-term effect of the cortisol ‘production’, I fear among other things not yet revealed, is that for the first time in his life, he’s got what looks like a beer belly and this is a guy who doesn’t touch a drop of booze and he’s tall & thin; active [although weary from lack of sleep].)

    Back to food: That gorgeous pan of roasted veggies with seeds at the top of the post; I have a question about the oil. You’re roasting at high heat, right? So what kind of oil are you tossing the veggies with and do you mix them in the pan so that the oil gets on the baking sheet to prevent sticking(?); details/refresher, please. I’m not much of a cook, but I indeed HAVE read a lot of stuff about those oil smoking points. I try to stay away from canola, in general. I had grapeseed oil go rancid on me PDQ (and it was exPENsive).

    Also, what are ways you use your roasted veggies; do you pile them on the konjac noodles; do you throw them in a salad or soup, make an Ezekiel bread sandwich with them? I’m trying to learn; in my first attempts at roasting veggies, I used ‘way too much oil (soggy and limp). As Fall comes on, I plan to do a LOT of roasted veggies in the oven. I want to experiment with root veggies I don’t normally eat, like parsnips, and I’m trying to learn to like butternut squash but it’s a slow go for me (and I don’t want the kind that is slathered in butter and spices and sweet like a dessert).

    I seem to have a lot of questions for you today. Susan’s in ‘the know’!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, very lightly tossed with Avocado oil or coconut oil, cook on high heat, salt pepper and seeds if you like them. YUM, use they all the ways you mentioned, on salads, on pasta, alone, in soup. Roast asparagus too, and green beans. It brings out a beautiful flavor. Yes, I thought about diabetes and decided to try and be against it in every way I can! You’re so right about sleep! I’m trying to do better there too! xoxoxo

  70. Pam in OB says:

    Love the inspiration and that it keeps coming….I find that not only do I love these foods……I NEVER tire of them. I find my challenge is mixing a 17:year old boy into the equation, daily….he likes these foods, but he likes other things as well, and I want to please him as well as us. And keep us all healthy. Putting one foot in front of the other and taking each day as it comes seems to be working. Thank you. It feels like you are a personal cheerleader for me. I’m sure we all feel that way!

  71. I have Type 2 diabetes and my numbers were up a bit the last dr’s visit. My sister was visiting from Houston for a month and we did a lot of “favorite places” eating out and Ice cream after! I have been eating healthier since she left…. I take all the blame . Your foods sound delicious and I’m going to work much harder. I also don’t drink enough water so that is my plan also!

  72. Arnette Webb says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your eating plan. Just plain good food. Love it. Do you take any vitamins or supplements to help you? If so could you share what you take?

  73. Dixie says:

    You look great, Susan! Healthy food does make one shine.
    I’ve been enjoying healthy foods for many years now. And I feel good!
    Thank you for the recipes.

  74. Mary McCatherine says:

    You look fabulous! Thank you for the information on being more healthy! I appreciate you taking the time to share all of this information. Have a wonderful week!

  75. Kimberly L Young says:

    Hi Miss Susan!!
    One more comment, I love how you do splurge when you eat out. I hesitate to say this, but as a restaurant ( Fresh seafood,salads, pasta, steaks, with GF and VG offerings) owner i try to give everyone a lovely experience and delicious fresh food. I think those trying to eat well would have a less stressful experience if they would do just a tiny bit of research before they go out to eat. Most menus are posted on line or you can call and ask questions . We try to accommodate every possible request within reason. At times it’s difficult when some want to create their own dishes using what ever ingredients might be on the menu. Mushrooms from this entree, sauteed spinach( if you offer a spinach salad, why can’t you just saute me some spinach? in butter, no salt and pepper please, and a lemon on the side,), I’ve even had a few people order extra lettuce and tomato on the side, and then ask for salad dressing so they can make a small salad…..The stories are endless…;} It can get a bit out of hand 😕 I am happy that people want to eat healthy and choose us to enjoy eating out, but with a little research before hand, they can make menu choices that work for them and also consider that there are possibly 50 more diners waiting for their lovely meals and cheerful server. Have you found it difficult to make meal choices when you go out to eat? Can you give some tips for others?
    Sorry for the soap box, we’re all in this together !

    • sbranch says:

      I really eat as healthy as I do at home, but I might have a glass of wine, and partake in the sharing of a dessert. I got especially to restaurants that make fresh and healthy their mantra. Yes, the world is spoiled and now thinks your kitchen is their kitchen and you are their private chef! It sounds like you offer the full spectrum. One more thing to put on your menu “We’re little, we’re special, so please, with all dearest love, no substitutions.” xoxoxo

      • Kimberly L Young says:

        Thank you for your response! Most encouraging.
        We’ve said yes for so many years to our lovely customers, it’s a challenge to retrain them 😉 But we are working on that in the sweetest way possible. Your the best” Life Coach” and we don’t even have to leave home to get words of wisdom.
        P.S. 4 days and counting, walk, water, meditation,no sugar, no white flour!!!!

  76. Sara says:

    Thank you so much for all this good eating advice! I’m going to look for those shirataki noodles. Never heard of them before. Already a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill products, and almond milk. Yum. You have encouraged me, because like so many of us, I really struggle with food issues, and sugar addiction and the like. Onward and upward! Thank you again.

  77. Eileen says:

    It’s omega 3’s that are in those pastured eggs. The 3’s are the good ones we need more of. We usually get a surplus of omega 6’s. Also, I just got back your two geranium paintings I had framed. Love them so much. : )

  78. Ann Marie says:

    Hi Susan. Is the cereal pictured above cereal or oatmeal?

  79. Linda says:

    Susan, you look great! Found this to be an inspiring post, also appreciated all the tips that will help me with continuing on the path of whole food eating. Plus the addition of stress relief, in the form of meditation, walking and being in nature daily. Why not try to be your best self and be able to enjoy your life to the fullest! Petting your cat helps too!

  80. Carol from CT says:

    Hi Suzee ~
    I keep some of Paul Newman’s products in the pantry. There is no high-fructose corn syrup used in the products. I enjoy using equal, small amounts of P.N. ‘s
    barbecue sauce and olive oil heated first and mixed together when I scramble eggs. The salad dressings are lovely when baking or broiling fish. Mighty tastee, saves time when you need to, and you’re not ingesting h-fr corn syrup, i.e.,
    sugar in disguise.
    So many memories of Apollo 8 and Apollo 11. Where were you when they flew?
    Every time I see a Saturn V lift off on TV, I’m an aghast 20 years old again!
    *Earth Rise Memories*…Thanks Jim Lovell … Apollo 8, December 24, 1968:

    Carol from CT … Ole Blue Eyes!:

  81. Carol from CT says:

    I made a mistake ….. the famous photo was not taken by Jim Lovell.

    The photograph, ‘Earth Rise’ was taken in outer space from lunar orbit
    by Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders
    on December 24, 1968 at a distance of 230,000 miles from the Earth.
    Sixteen months later after we had seen ourselves from the Moon,
    the first Earth Day took place.

    Moonlight Becomes You, Carol from CT
    Ol’ Blue Eyes:

  82. Dionne says:

    You look great! I can tell you lost a lot of weight in your picture! Congratulations! I am trying to get in shape and lose weight also. I am doing Whole 30. It is a medical elimination diet and I have learned so much! Not only have I gotten healthier, but I’ve learned that I am allergic to dairy and I didn’t even know it. I am using the almond and coconut milks in my teas and coffees also. They are so yummy! Thank you for sharing your recipes! I can’t wait to try the sweet potato one!

  83. Tawni Urrutia says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,
    I love this post!
    A few years ago I had bunion surgery. There were many complications, and I was off my feet for months and months. I’m a faux finisher and a runner, but all of that was on hold. You know what wasn’t on hold? Mac and cheese, grilled cheese, buttermilk cake, you get the idea. Once I was mobile again, I didn’t recognize my body or my stamina. I kinda waved a white flag, thinking this must be my new normal. My hip ached, so did my back.
    But then I saw a girlfriend, that I LOVE and admire and totally trust. She looked so great. Healthy, and vibrant! She shared with me her eating plan (and love affair with water, water, water)she had started 3 months earlier.
    I knew if Lauren could do it, I could too! She was such a great coach and cheerleader.
    That was nearly 2 years ago. I lost the 35 lbs, and got back in my old clothes, running at the track and able to climb scaffolding and ladders all day. It’s all about eating smart, delicious food. And eliminating sugar is the key! Nothing tastes as good as the feeling health and vitality! Thank you for the recipes, and the encouragement, and contagious joy! Sorry this was so darn windy!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

    • sbranch says:

      You DID it. It can be done! Thank you for never giving up, Tawni! Not windy, inspiring! Thank you! xoxoxo

  84. Vickie Getty says:

    You look simply fabulous Susan!

  85. Nancy Robinson says:

    Just received our English countryside calendar too, it’s just so dreamy! We are planning a UK trip in 2021 for our 50th anniversary so your beautiful calendar will be our companion and inspiration all next year for the planning and research! FYI I’ve followed you for many years (I’m a California girl too, and same age) and have to say I just ADORE you. We were in Martha’s Vineyard last year and I keep dreaming you would just pop up around a corner somewhere. Love you gobs!

  86. Lynn says:

    Susan – The blue in the “Isle of Dreams” print is just so beautiful. All the colors are, really. Thank you for your art. Such an inspiration.

  87. Lisa Hay says:

    Do I sense a healthy living/eating cookbook as the next SB project? Now, that would be a hit! 🙂
    Lisa Hay

    • sbranch says:

      Not yet… I kind of wonder about doing a book where every recipe only has one ingredient!! Maybe it would be a book of menus!

  88. Kelly F. says:

    I think I will join in with all of the ‘glowers’ of this post❣️❣️❣️ I believe that what you put into your body is what you will get from your body. When we choose a ‘gift’ for someone, don’t we want it to be something lovely and meaningful? I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that our bodies are our ‘gifts’ and we need to feed them with healthy, simple foods that have meaning for our life-sustaining organs. When our bodies are well fed, our thoughts become more vivid and clear as well; we begin to look at life a little differently…with a bit more clarity and focus. Start with small, simple changes and just allow yourself the pleasure of feeling just a bit more balanced. The world needs people to feel good and happy and whole. ❤️

  89. FayE in CA! says:

    Woke up to annoyance this morning…times two. Grrrr! Change is supposed to be good for us…promote patience and flexibility, but I am happy picking and choosing and I get irritated when my picks and choices CHANGE! Jeeze, Louise.

    This is a heads’ up for you and Girlfriends. (Does heads’ up require an apostrophe? Definitely more than one head in a group of Girlfriends and we all possess our heads…so, seems like there should be an apostrophe, but it looks strange to me! Off to a punctuation query when I finish this!!)

    Tried to tweet you re: the Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend and the format on Twitter has changed and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to send a message.

    AND! Get ready for this because you will be annoyed, too, Susan. Trader Joe’s has discontinued the Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend. Called all three TJ’s here and none left on shelves. I can’t seem to find a similar blend, but will let you know if I do. Bummer X a bazillion!!

    Amazon carries the Trader Joe’s brand, but it is $15.99 for a one pound bag or $37.99 for two one pound bags versus the $4.49 price TJ’s had. AND GET THIS…Amazon had the seeds at two bags for $19.65 or $9.83 per lb bag when I first looked it up two days ago. Aren’t we lucky to be both the piggy bank for wasted gov’t taxes and retail dollar fluctuation? Such a privilege to be the raped consumer. HA!

    Speaking of price change…looked at a reservation for a B&B on Priceline and found one I liked, but needed to check my calendar and daughter’s schedule before hitting the reservation button. Ten/fifteen minutes later the price hand gone up $85 bucks a night. What the heck and GRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

    Off to have Ezekiel Sesame bread with avocado, but it won’t last long enough to stop my GRRRRRRRRRRRRing. We will be going to see Pavarotti film this afternoon and maybe that will put a smile back on my face.

    Wishing you all GRRRR-free days.


    Hugs ❤️❤️❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I hope so FayE! I did just go to Trader Joe’s about 2 weeks ago and bought two bags of seeds, so don’t give up!!! xoxoxo

  90. FayE in CA! says:

    It is heads-up…no apostrophe…and the hyphen will probably be dropped as time goes by according to my query on Google. I know that inquiring minds wanted me to clarify! xoxoxo

  91. Donna L. Fleishman says:

    Thank you for your recipes and wonderful blog. On a personal note, I haven’t had a vacation in over 20 years and I plan to come visit Martha’s Vineyard this summer. I was wondering if you have thought about when you may have your yard sale. I would love to attend. It would be the high point of my summer. Thank you so very much for all the time you put into your blogs and cheering your girlfriends on and up!

    Donna Fleishman from Framingham

    • sbranch says:

      We haven’t gotten around to doing a thing about it since my sister left! Terrible. But lots of better things going on and I know we’ll get to it sooner or later! I hope you have a WONDERFUL time on the island. There’s no place more suited for relaxation in nature than here. xoxoxo

  92. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends…. how is everyone doing on these hot summer days. so far we have been lucky here, no major wildfires, and that’s a first since 2002!!! that was the year of the Biscuit fire, and we have had a ton of them since. keep your fingers crossed for us, no more wildfires… we have had enough. put up a pen in the backyard for the new babies and we let them run around in their “play pen” for awhile before introducing them into the flock, allows them to get out, and enjoy without the hens and roosters bothering them. and if our rooster is not too careful and keeps on annoying the ducks, well we may have a new breed of rooster for the summer….. bare butt rooster!!! the male ducks chase him down and pluck his tail feathers until he has a bare nub where the tail feathers were… LOL!!! all of the babies are enjoying their play time in the “play pen”. plenty of things to explore and watch like butterflies, bugs and tall grass. they love all that. especially chasing after flies. the cats are enjoying lazy days under the fans and watching the tractors go by, seems to fascinate the kittens most along with the fire vehicles as they go speeding by, they hear the sirens and watch the flashing lights. soon it will be Labor day, wow the time is going by fast. and time for my one big indulgence…. Lion burgers….. the best hamburgers in the entire valley. I only get them once a year and I enjoy them. the Lions club cooks them at the annual Labor day festival and carnival. lasts for 3 days, the weekend of Labor day. they also run the Tuff Trucks competition and its a lot of fun to go to. Tuff Trucks is where you get an old clunker/junker truck or vehicle and get it to racing standards then run it around a track with obstacles in it like jumps and whoop dedoos and lots of mud and dirt for the winning time. its just good old country guys and gals racing around the track and having fun doing it. then you can go to the carnival and enjoy all sorts of eats, crafts and exhibits. its been going on for over 10-15 years now and folks come around from all over to watch the fun. on Labor Day the Lions have a big parade that morning and the Tuff Truck winner ( or should I say survivor) gets to ride in the parade. its the last big hurrah for the summer because the next day the kids are back in school. hard to believe time is just flying by this summer and soon it will be Autumn, my favorite time of the year. well off to get a load of laundry out on the line and another in the wash. have a great day everyone. hugs….. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Love reading about all your summer fun. Us too, the fair is coming next month, Illumnation night and the Fireworks. We used to have “CRASH!” Old cars running around the track and “accidentally” crashing! Lots of ice cream and watermelon eating, clothes fluttering on the line, beach towels hanging from porch rails. Lovely time of year. And CORN CORN CORN! Hooray!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        love the watermelon eating, can’t get enough of that. we even juiced a whole watermelon and made popsicles out it… delicious and refreshing and good for you. love this milder summer weather, sure beats sweltering with 100+ degree temperatures. hope it stays this way all summer long. and we love roasting ears of corn on the BBQ ( I’ll do anything to get out of the kitchen during the summer and avoid heating up the house 😀 ) have you tried roasted corn salad??? delish…. and easy to do, just take the corn kernels off the roasted corn while still a bit warm, toss into a bowl along with 1 diced red bell pepper, 1 green one, some diced green onions, 1 large diced tomato, 1 ripe avocado, some thawed lima beans or fresh peas from the garden and toss in your favorite salad dressing…. I even add sliced up mushrooms and sliced up green beans. a great salad to go with steaks, burgers or whatever you grill up. enjoy.. 😀

  93. Regina Carretta says:

    Hello dear Susan….we just had a cousins’ reunion here in Seattle – there are 4 of us, and we get together to celebrate each other, and to spend time together, doing what is important – sitting on the deck, watching the birds, laughing, crying together, telling stories, helping each other sort out life… of my dear cousins lived in Oxford for a while, stationed in the Air Force ….that was my first visit to England, visiting dear Kathy…..when she visits me here in Seattle, she goes directly for my Susan Branch books… home she is now, in San Antonio, and I ordered “A Fine Romance” to be sent to her….she received it and it makes her so happy to read your thoughts, your views of England, your quotes, your art, photo’s…..I am so glad to share this lovely book with my dear cousin, and to see how much joy it brings….how can we thank you enough? I am ready to read it for the 4th time!
    love to you,

  94. Katy says:

    Love your blog. Just enjoyed a wonderful day on Martha’s Vineyard. A beautiful day spent exploring the island. Enjoyed some Mad Martha’s ice cream too. Also loved all the painted gingerbread houses. Thank you for sharing your island in your blog. ❤️

  95. Cindy says:

    This was a fantastic post. Soo helpful! Thank you!

  96. Karen Milano says:

    Love this post! You are so generous with your time! I just wrote down a grocery list, I’m trying to destress and lose about 20 pounds and at midlife that is so darn hard! You’ve inspired me to try again. I’ll be on island in August, hoping to grab another of your mugs, now available in Vineyard haven, right? Yay! and I LOVE that print of MV! Might treat myself to that as well.

  97. Jill says:

    Love the pictures of food! They look so yummy! Would you consider doing a cookbook of your eating plan? I’d love to have your recipes in one place so I can try all of them! BTW, got your 2020 calendar today. It’s one of your best!

  98. Melissa Myers says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thank you for sharing your health journey with us. I am starting my journey to less stress, healthier me as well. I really appreciate all your tips and suggestions. Do you have any suggestions for a yummy yogurt? I love eating it during the summer months with fruit fruit and granola.

    I also want to say that I received my 2020 English Countryside calendar and it is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for making it. =)

    All the Best,
    Melissa Myers

  99. Debbie Boerger says:

    I love the Love you hold for your wonderful family. Makes me feel all warm inside. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    I’ve been eating and eating….the Healthy Stuff. Mostly things that are cool, temp wise, as it’s been too hot to cook. Today was another milestone for me. 30 pounds shed!!! Aside from getting into nice old clothing, I feel so much more energetic. And this is a Biggie…..Bloodwork is All within the Normal Range. Wow! My doc wrote me a little note congratulating me. She’s a jewel. The lovely Tom is thrilled as well. We want to be together in this Earthly Realm for as long as we can be.

    Nice cool day, so I have torn the kitchen apart to “deep” clean, including under the stove. Rod Serling never produced such a horror show!.
    Huge Thanks to you and
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in nice, cool Down East Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Thirty pounds! Good work, Debbie! Hooray for you!!!! All this and bloodwork too! 💖 Deep cleaning is a SHOCK!!! xoxo

  100. Marisa in sunny Florida says:

    Oh My! Just received my “English Countryside” calendar and I can’t stop looking at it….just amazing! Pretty enough to frame 🙂 I bought it to my office and we are all enjoying the beautiful pictures of England. You never cease to amaze me Susan…thank you!

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