Healthy Eating Basics: Where Should I Start?

Healthy Eating Basics: Where Should I Start?

One of the most popular questions I get from inquisitive minds often touches on the basics of eating a healthy diet. I always encourage people to take steps and little shifts to mindful and awareness food consumption that will lead to optimal health.

There are just so many "myths" and "truths" out there that have a direct impact on our lives (mental, emotional and physical wellbeing), that if we try to comprehend them all in one big chunk, we could be overwhelmed and throw in the towel before even committing to making a change for the positive.

Below are general guidelines I like to follow and suggest for people that need a gentle nudge toward the right way of doing things better when it comes to food decisions.

1. Be mindful of the refined, processed and manufactured foods that make it into your shopping cart and into your home and mouth.

Chronic inflammation, how we feel and perhaps how we act, is almost always directly linked to the quality of foods we eat—and packaged and processed foods do us no good.

Instead, aim for fresh, whole, live and organic (when possible) foods.

2. Refrain from quick digesting carbs (flour and sugar).

These food-like products increase inflammation as well because of the rapid increases in blood sugar that create abnormal reactions between proteins and sugars.

3. Eat healthy fats.

Choose coconut oil, extra virgin olive oils and other monounsaturated fats which counteract inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and fortified eggs are also great choices.

Stay away from trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, soybean oil, corn, sunflower or canola and other GMO oils, vegetable shortenings, and omega-6 fatty acids.

4. Try to eat as close to a rabbit (limit animal by-products and meats) for protein.

Red meat, poultry, and dairy products are not only very acidic to the body (diseases cultivate in acidic internal environments), they are filled with unhealthy saturated fats and linked to a number of cardiovascular diseases and inflammation.

Try non-GMO whole soybeans, legumes, nuts, and dark leafy greens like chard, and kale which all have high levels of protein.

5. Use Essential Oils, Herbs, and Spices.

Not only to add a deeper level of flavor to your meals (and infuse into your water), these beneficial, natural anti-inflammatory agents are a kitchen staple that you should be adopting into your everyday routine.

I love to use lemon or grapefruit essential oil in my waters, ginger, turmeric, basil, dill, and black pepper in my main and side dishes and peppermint, lavender and lime in my desserts.

6. Hydrate and Drink your liquids!

My go to is clean, spring water (add lemon or lemon essential oils to luke warm water in the am to reset the body and flush out toxins), raw coconut water (pumped with electrolytes, magnesium, and potassium) and watermelon water with fresh lavender, matcha green tea for a treat.

7. Eat your rainbow.

Choose a rainbow variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

These are packed with live and protective phytonutrients and antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and reactive byproducts that contribute to a host of chronic diseases and ailments.

9 Natural Ways to Prevent the Cold and Flu

9 Natural Ways to Prevent the Cold and Flu


Flu season or not, adopting sound lifestyle habits that boost your immune system and keep you healthy are on most everyone's minds, especially with current pandemic considerations.

Always be mindful and prepared during these current global and local health measures and before the weather changes, as we dive into another season (fall).  Unless you have countless hours of sick days you wish to cash in or love leaving your health to chance,  healthy, holistic and preventative measures are the best rules of thumb when trying to outsmart your body from sinking into feeling like it's got the flu or cold, which can both leave you feeling icky, to say the least. (And no one likes to continue working from home, or teach virtual homeschool while feeling like a sack of potatoes).

Below are my favorite natural and beneficial ways to prevent the flu, whether you are 2 years old or 90!

1. Get lots of sunshine & fresh air outdoors!

Unless you are living where there are fires and smoke that have colored your sky orange and the health index for quality air is in the unhealthy/dangerous range, get outdoors!!! People who get a good dose of vitamin D from the sun (at least 15 min a day) and utilize Mother Nature's fresh air will not only have their moods lifted but also create more serotonin (the feel-good hormones) released into the body.

Vitamin D boosts the immune system, just like eating mushrooms, (filled with vitamin D). People who feel better mentally and physically have stronger immune systems and will most likely avoid getting sick.

2. Wash your hands often & Don't touch eyes/mouth

Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially for children, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, and/or using alcohol-based anti-bacterial hand rub when water and soap are not available will decrease the chance of getting sick by 65-80 percent!


3. Staying away from populated places, especially enclosed areas

When flu season is at its peak (mid-October through January), try to avoid going to extremely populated and enclosed areas where re-circulated air and germs can proliferate and infiltrate your body.

Top places with germs:

☉ restaurants (especially the bathrooms, menus, condiment dispensers)
☉ airplane/airport bathrooms
☉ grocery store and/or shopping carts
☉ gymnasiums and workout rooms
☉ malls
☉ doctor's offices

4. Get good rest

When your body is well rested, your immune system is up and all defenses are ready to keep your body well.

A lack of quality sleep deletes the body's ability to fight off foreign invaders. Even 20 minute cat naps in the middle of the day will help!

Shut down all electronically devices 2 hours before going to bed so the brain and optic nerves prepare for melatonin release and a good night's rest.

Adults, try to aim for 7-9 hours, and children 12-14 hours!

Make sure to limit caffeine and stimulating foods for before 2 pm, and sleep without electronics by your side (at least 5 feet away) and without lights.


5. Meditate, exercise or other stress release

I have recorded more than 30 episodes on mindfulness and meditation/stress relief on Apple and other podcast platforms. Check them out! It's called "Braincation with Dr. Nancy Lin" . Click on the link to access for free!

Perhaps on of the precursors to a cold or the flu is a compromised immune system, and the fastest way to deplete those defenses is stress.

The holidays can be very stressful with holiday shopping, family reunions, traveling, changing of the weather, deadlines for the end of the year and all the festivity celebrations can leave us feeling overwhelmed.

Without a routine stress release (through exercising, crafting, journaling, yoga, meditation or which ever else you call stress release), this hustle and bustle of the fall/winter season is not sustainable and will invite colds and flus to overtake the body.

Exercising creates good endorphins and lifts up the mood and boosts the immune system as well. Find a way to channel your stress.


6. Eat and drink your fruits and veggies!

Boost your immune system from the inside out and build an armor of strength and good feeling with the foods you choose to eat and drink.

I suggest a green drink or two a day (green apple, cucumber, spinach, kale, celery, ginger, parsley and lemon) and try eating 5-7 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables.

These live foods are choc filled with phytochemicals and micronutrients to rid the body of foreign invaders that aim to weaken the body's optimal wellness functioning.

Also, pay attention to what is local and in season. Eating those foods will ensure that the most amount of vitamins and minerals are present.

7. Oils, Oils, Oils

Don't forget to utilize your oils!

Good oils that you can consume from foods (coconut oils, omega 3 oils, hemp and flaxseed oils) as well as essential oils that can be diffused into the air, used on or in the body as anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial.

For more information on essential oils, please visit


8. Probiotics

Make sure you and your family take daily doses of probiotics.

These are the good bacteria in the gut that helps to stave off colds and the flu, maintains the homeostasis in the gut and re-balances the bacteria we need in our bodies that are destroyed by antibiotics.

Also, eat regular (not too much) amounts of fermented foods with naturally occurring probiotics (Greek yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi, coconut kefir and sauerkraut.


9. Elderberry, Colostrum and Water

These three are bonuses when boosting the immune system.

♢ Elderberry syrup

This is packed with vitamins A, B and C, but it also stimulates the immune system, has been shown to prevent colds and the flu, and tastes delicious.

It is available for children and adults.

♢ Colostrum

It is the "liquid gold" that comes from the pre-milk of a newly mothered cow. It is filled with live antibodies and is frozen and encapsulated or made into powdered form.

♢ Water

Drinking water and staying hydrated is your best everyday habit to fight against possible flu and cold season.

Also, keep the humidifier handy in your sleeping room. When the weather changes to cold, it is often dry as well.

Dry weather does not allow the body to produce mucus, which is a great first defense to protecting our bodies from foreign invaders. Infuse humidifiers with essential oils for a double dose of protection.