foods with benefits // chart your course

Sunday, March 3, 2013
Debbi DiMaggio

Writing is my therapy.

Penning my thoughts is where my goal setting begins, where I discover myself and chart my path.

It is something I do when I am trying to wind down and relax. It helps me to stop working, cleaning the house, or any number of other things that keep me from simply stopping. It’s a place where I am able to move more slowly and allow my thoughts to flow. I am prompted to open my MacBook when my mind becomes flooded with thoughts. I am usually inspired and moved to write when I have something to share. When my mind begins to reel it is at that time when I know that if I don’t stop and write out my thoughts it will consume me until I do.

I begin….and sometimes I don’t know what’s coming next.

I try to identify my mood, my feelings, and the place where I am. I always seek to inspire, teach or simply share what I am experiencing. Sharing with others creates a connection, a bond and even a friendship. At the very least, words written and common experiences shared, help to motivate us or make us feel a little better, more normal and sometimes it gives us new insights, gets us back on track and makes us realize we all want or need similar things.

Many times it’s about my children. It might be a story about a big win, or a big loss, or a lesson learned through teamwork or from a coach.

Sometimes it’s about travel or starting a new workout regiment, a New Year’s resolution or a Bucket List goal, but today it’s about eating healthy. It seems so commonplace to discuss diet and health, but now in my late 40’s the whirling thoughts seem to be on the forefront of my mind like a bright pink post-it note stuck to my forehead! So what else does a writer and teacher, at heart, hope to do – well, yes… teach, share and inspire.

January 2013 goals and resolutions kicked off like no other. Last year I focused on identifying a workout regiment that was fun and made me happy. Music usually does that, so for me, I quickly discovered that an exercise regiment with music was best.

This year it’s all about eating for the benefits of not only, weight loss and maintenance, but for health.

And my story begins here: It was December once again and the time of year when the real estate market tends to taper off. It is also the time of year when I have the “time” to make my personal appointments and focus on myself.

It was the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. My husband and son dropped me off and headed off to the Marin DMV so our son could take his driver’s test. I sat in the waiting room at the CPMC Breast Center in San Francisco awaiting my results. It was the second round testing. The first test, my annual mammogram, found an unidentifiable something, which prompted a call from my doctor that I needed to return for advanced testing.

As I sat in my dull gown surrounded by other worried women, some young, some old, some with friends, some alone, some with parents, some with children; I looked into their eyes wondering. I am certain we all had the same fleeting thoughts, none positive, of that I am certain. I tried to be strong as thoughts filled my mind like misfiring synapsis — “I will not live to see my daughter get married. I will not live to see my son play lacrosse in college. I will not… ” My next thoughts: “people beat cancer by eating healthy and following a special diet. Eating the right foods…. fruit, vegetables, salmon, and so on and son on….”

My mind was spinning like the tea cups in Never Neverland at Disneyland, faster and faster until….

A very kind woman looked over to me and said, “I love your boots!” I’ve been watching you since you came in.” The other ladies chimed in too. They all asked about my boots and were very complimentary. Everyone was so nice. That too, made me want to cry.

It was New Year’s Eve and our son had a big day ahead of him. Getting your driver’s license is such a huge milestone in one’s life. I chose to dress for my death sentence and /or for our early New Year’s Eve dinner (we were staying in as we like to, and our son, age 16, of course would be going out to ring in the New Year). But at least we would have his company for an early dinner.

The last time I sat in that room, all wearing the same uniform, feeling like a numbered prisoner, rather than a person, I decided I would look good even if I didn’t feel so happy. So I wore a cute outfit. Fashion always makes me smile.

I am sure many of you have either experienced what I went through last December or know someone who has. It never gets easier. The waiting is always the hardest part.

What’s the correlation, you are probably asking, just about now. While sitting in the waiting room I vowed to eat healthier. To start eating fruit and vegetables, and other super foods that help to reduce the risk of cancer.  ( I usually don’t eat enough fruit or vegetables, unless they are tossed in a salad. )

And so my quest to change my typical diet of breads and sweets ended on January 1st and my focus on eating healthy commenced —New Year’s Resolution 2013.

If you’ve read any of my blogs or posts you know I love to share, be it Facebook, or Twitter, my Debbi DiMaggio Blog, the Piedmont Patch Blog or on Pinterest.

Follow me on Pinterest to see my new favorite foods. Fruits and vegetables, calcium for strong bones, protein – salmon, chicken and sometimes even a hamburger wrapped in lettuce. I am trying to be reasonable so I posted a few of my favorite sweet treats too. And don’t forget to drink water, lots of it. Add lemon, lime or cucumber and pour into a pretty glass.

Here are some other fun facts and healthy tips:

Tip #1

Cayenne Pepper  I put it on everything! Popcorn, salmon, salads. ( it makes my husband and kids nuts! )


Tip #2

Wear What You Love and Adorn Your Surroundings with Things You Love Too:

Eating healthier will make you look and feel better.

Wear a favorite outfit everyday. You will be inspired to eat better, as you begin to feel better, and continue to look better, everyday.

Tip #3

Fill Your Home with Flowers:

Since you aren’t buying junk food, cakes, cookies, candy, breads and other items, then spoil yourself with a fresh bouquet of flowers – my favorites are pink peonies and tulips – purple, orange, yellow and pink.



Tip #4:   Cucumbers

Eat plain or in a salad.  Slice them up and pop in your mouth. Cucumbers are a good source of Vitamin A, C and K among other positive attributes.


Tip #5:   Lemon and Lemon H20

Drink 8 – 8oz glasses a day.



Tip #6:   Salmon

Preferably organic, sustainable and fresh.

Tip #7:   Weight Loss:  It’s no surprise nor is there a magic pill. You just need to eat less and exercise more. No bread, no sweets, no carbs. Drink lots of water. Eat fish, chicken, vegetables and fruit. Well, not just any fruit. Apples, berries, oranges are best. If you stick to those food groups, go to bed early, and exercise often, you will lose unwanted pounds. But it takes time and discipline.

And finally:

Foods with Benefits  Top 10 Cancer Fighting Foods

50 of the World’s Healthiest Foods by the Huffington Post

Two month’s have passed and I am happy to say that I have stuck to my mission. I have been eating healthy and choosing foods that are good for me.

One last note:  I met with my nutritionist, Amy Griffith, who also met with my husband and daughter. We all identify with foods differently. Since I do not cook and am a visual person, her menu plan for me was very different. ( Bianca and Adam are excellent cooks. )

The best lesson I learned from Amy, and I continue to reiterate as my mantra:  Eat the color of the rainbow.  That one sentence continues to help me focus on what to eat, or order, in my case! Thanks Amy!!


To Your Health!  Happy New Year!

Debbi DiMaggio




 Photos by, and In Her Image Photography



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