2019 Healthy Eating New Year’s Resolution

Andrew Siegel MD  1/1/2019  Happy New Year!

The last few months have been a difficult time of the year for staying fit and trim, with many factors conspiring to add inches to our waistlines. It starts off with Halloween sweets and shortly thereafter, the bounty of Thanksgiving. This segues into the December holidays, which provide ample and constant opportunities for over-indulging. The cold and dark season make it more challenging to exercise outside and fuel desire for comfort foods.  So, what to do?

No carb diet?Paleo diet?Keto diet?…really?  Are they sustainable?  Not a chance!

Today’s entry is about a healthy eating lifestyle—as opposed to a diet—that will help improve your shape and shed those excess pounds that crept on over the past few months. This is a style of eating that can be easily incorporated to replace calorie-rich, nutrient-poor diets that are overloaded with processed and refined junk and fast foods.  As opposed to many fad weight loss programs that are gimmicky, unbalanced, unhealthy, unsustainable and frankly ridiculous, this approach is a no-nonsense, intelligent one—clean, lean, with plenty of green—that will stave off hunger and hold caloric intake in balance with expenditure, making it effective and durable.

The keys are sensible and nutritious eating, substituting less caloric and healthier foods for more caloric and unhealthier alternatives as well as incorporating Michael Pollen’s philosophy, Mediterranean-style eating and an 80/20 strategy.


  • Seafood and lean poultry instead of red meat (when you do eat red meat, consume only the leanest cuts and grass-fed is preferable to corn-fed)
  • Lean turkey meat instead of beef for hamburgers, meatballs, chili, etc.
  • Vegetable protein sources (e.g. legumes—peas, soybeans and lentils) instead of animal protein sources
  • Avocados instead of cheese
  • Olive oil instead of butter
  • Real fruit (e.g. grapes, plums, apricots, figs) instead of dried fruit (raisins, prunes, dried apricots, dried figs) that are energy-dense
  • Real fruit (e.g. orange, grapefruit, apple, etc.) instead of fruit juice (OJ, grapefruit juice, apple juice, etc.) since real fruit has less calories, more fiber and phyto-nutrients and is more filling than the refined juice products
  • Whole grains (e.g. wheat, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, barley, buckwheat, oats, spelt, etc.) instead of refined grain products
  • Tomato sauces instead of cream sauces
  • Vegetable toppings (e.g. broccoli) on pizza instead of meat toppings (pepperoni)
  • Unshelled peanuts instead of processed peanuts (unshelled are usually unprocessed and are difficult to over-consume because of labor-intensity of shelling, the act of which keeps us busy and occupied)
  • Flavored seltzers or sparkling water instead of soda (liquid candy) with its empty calories
  • Baked, broiled, sautéed, steamed, poached or grilled instead of fried, breaded, gooey
  • Baked chips instead of fried
  • Bialys instead of bagels
  • Wild foods instead of farmed (e.g. salmon)
  • Plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream on baked potatoes and instead of mayo in salad dressings and dips
  • Frozen yogurt bars, which make a delicious 100 calorie or so dessert instead of ice cream
  • Soy, rice, almond or other nut-based milks instead of dairy
  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products instead of whole milk products

Michael Pollen’s philosophy can be summed up with his famous seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  Food translates to real, natural, wholesome and unprocessed nourishment (as opposed to processed, refined, fast foods); not too much obviously means in reasonable quantities (as opposed to consuming massive quantities); and mostly plants emphasizes eating foods grown in the soil– whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, etc. (with animal sources in moderation).

Mediterranean style eating is healthy, tasty, filling and enjoyable.  It incorporates an abundance of vegetables and fruits that are rich in phyto-chemicals (biologically active compounds such as anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber), whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.  Seafood, legumes and poultry (in moderation) are the key sources of protein with red meat eaten on a limited basis. Healthy vegetable fats are derived from olives, nuts, seeds, avocado, etc., replacing animal fats (e.g. butter).  Herbs and spices are used to flavor food, rather than salt. Dairy products are eaten in moderation. The Mediterranean style drink of choice is red wine in moderation.

The other element is the 80/20 (or 85/15 or 90/10 or 95/5) strategy.  This means that 80-95% of the time you adhere to a healthy eating style, but 5-20% of the time you give yourself a break, temporarily jump off the wagon and indulge in limited amounts of whatever temptation indulgence you would like. This avoids deprivation and serves as “an inoculation to prevent the disease.”  On the limited list are sweets including cookies, cakes, donuts, candy, etc. and liquid carbohydrates such as sugary drinks including soda, ice tea, lemonade, sports drinks, fruit juices, etc.

Additional Valuable Nuggets of Advice

  • Pathway to a healthy weight is slow and steady, demanding patience and time
  • Cook healthy meals at home instead of dining out
  • Eat slowly, deliberately and mindfully
  • Eat as if you were dining with your cardiologist and dentist
  • Get sufficient quality and quantity of sleep to help keep the pounds off
  • Avoid late night meals and excessive snacking
  • Eat only when physically hungry with the goal of satiety and not fullness
  • Stay well hydrated as it is easy to confuse hunger with thirst
  • Exercise portion control, especially at restaurants where portions are often supersized
  • Order dressings and sauces on the side to avoid drowning salads and pasta meals in needless calories
  • Do not skip meals
  • Keep healthy foods accessible
  • Perishable food with a limited shelf life is much healthier than a non-perishable item that lasts indefinitely, as do many processed items
  • Read nutritional labels as carefully as if you were reading the label on a bottle of medicine
  • Avoid foods that contain unfamiliar, unpronounceable, or numerous ingredients
  • Avoid foods that make health claims, since real foods do not have to make claims as their wholesomeness is self-evident
  • Avoid food with preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, artificial colors, etc.
  • Plants that are naturally colorful are usually extremely healthy
  • “Organic” does not imply healthy or low-calorie
  • Use small plates and bowls to create the illusion of having “more” on your plate
  • Let the last thing you eat before sleep be healthy, natural and wholesome (e.g., a piece of fruit)—you will feel good about yourself when you get into bed and even better in the morning

Wishing you the best of health and happiness in 2019,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

A new blog is posted weekly. To receive a free subscription with delivery to your email inbox visit the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community.  He is the author of 5 books, including PROMISCUOUS EATING: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

Promiscuous Eating


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3 Responses to “2019 Healthy Eating New Year’s Resolution”

  1. Victor De Pauw Says:

    Thank you for your weekly blogs. I hope they continue well into the future. May you, your family and your staff and their family experience a very happy and healthy new year. Vic De Pauw

  2. Mitchell Says:

    Hi Andy, This is a very practical and helpful blog. There are many diets that are very healthy in theory but are just not possible for most people to maintain over a long period of time. On the other hand, most of your ideas can easily be incorporated into the lifestyle of the majority of people. Many of these small dietary adjustments can have a large impact in improving a person’s health.

    I have one suggestion for you to add to your list: Eat your dinner as early as possible, and not eating any solid food after dinner. In other words, leave enough time between your last meal and going to sleep to ensure proper digestion. The body just doesn’t digest well when sleeping. This strategy will aid in both weight loss and health. I have seen this from my own practical experience.

    Happy New Year,


  3. powerful copy Says:

    Marketing Hall Of Fame

    2019 Healthy Eating New Year’s Resolution | Our Greatest Wealth Is Health

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