What are your biggest challenges with trying to eat better?

We've all been there. Struggling to figure out how to improve our eating habits and follow the best advice, diet, program, or protocol to lose weight, feel better, and reduce the chances of any getting any type of chronic disease. But what if you search and keep running into the "House of Mirrors!"  By this I mean conflicting and opposing messages that discuss the same topic but state "facts" and opinions that are diametrically opposed.  One week we hear grains are the greatest thing in the world and everyone should eat them, and the next week they are the "work the devil." What's the real story? With so many books, magazines, and websites touting the latest propaganda about certain foods, how does one begin to clear the dark clouds of confusion? It can be overwhelming and exhausting. We've been there and completely understand. Now it's your turn to speak out about this. Feel free to share your story of personal frustrations, humiliations, and triumphs! 

Here's a few questions to get you started thinking and reflecting on past experiences or present circumstances:

What has been your experience with this? 

What are your frustrations that stand out the most? 

What did you do about it? How did you handle it?

What have you found that works for you?

Where did you find good resources you can trust?

Please share your comments and if you feel others would benefit from this conversation, please "share" with them on your favorite social media sites! Thanks and we look forward to hearing from YOU!


Do You Have a "Wake up Call" Story? Tell us about it.

If you grew up in America, you’re likely among those who know they “should” eat better. Our collective eating habits and relationship with food are woven into the very fabric of our culture. My family was typical. Eat your meat, finish your milk, and veggies on the side. If this sounds familiar, it’s likely you’ve echoed the words, “I know I need to eat better.” But when? When should we eat better?  And how? How in the world do people actually eat healthy in our modern society?  At a young age, I had it all figured out. My covert strategy? Eat the occasional “Magic Salad,” which I believed would counter-balance all the negative effects of my horribly fast, food-like diet. I fanned the flames of my denial by assuring myself with notions like, “at least I’m not as big as “that guy,” or “I’m only 26…I have all kinds of time to deal with this later.” Was it ignorance, chemical-laden food bliss, or a bit of both?

At the time I had no interest in making any real changes. Nor did I care to know where my food comes from. I want it neatly packaged and ready to eat with no behind-the-scenes information or haunting images. My modus operandi was humming with precision until about age 35, when I got the news. An unwelcome splash of cold water from my doctor bluntly laying down the news I was “obese.”  What? “Wait a minute” I muttered, “those BMI calculations don’t take into consideration muscle mass right?” “Nice try” is all he said. Dang! I’m not sure if he noticed me staring at his rotund belly and portly stature. Apparently I was in good company. He added that if I continued with my “reckless eating” patterns, I could be signing up for pre-diabetes, hypertension, and a host of other medical complications. Great. Now what?

I decided it was time to go “diet shopping.”  I tried a few that sounded good, but none were sustainable for me. I reflected on my father’s premature death from cancer at age 53, and more recently my wife’s father dying of a similar type of lung cancer at the young age of 66. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s, which set in during her early sixties. Way too young.  Wondering how to avoid this, and hearing my doctor’s haunting words echoing inside me, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I knew then it was time for real change. As they say, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

A documentary landed in my lap that would forever change the way I see and “interact” with food. The film, “Forks Over Knives,” became the genie I was seeking.  Watching it somehow created a paradigm shift, rocking my dysfunctional and co-dependent relationship with food at its very core. Arising from the ashes and rubble of my past food addictions rose a sustainable new healthy way of eating, and my whole food, plant-based diet was born.

The food part was easy, but I struggled with pangs of, “Whoa I’ve become a vegan! How the hell did that happen I wondered? It seemed so quick and didn’t fit with my current self-image of being a somewhat rugged, outdoorsy-type dude. Burgers and fries were just part of my story, or so I thought. Since making this shift to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle, I’ve lost over 60 pounds, have tons of energy, and never have to worry about the next new “wonder diet.” My wife and kids are on board, making this plant-strong lifestyle an absolute joy. It’s really refreshing when you take “I know I need to eat better” off your to-do list. Your body and mind will thank you every day. It’s a good feeling knowing I’m doing everything in my power to be as healthy as possible. We all have to die at some point; I just don’t want it to be my fault.

Share your “wake up call” story and inspire others to make positive changes in their life. 

For more information and the full story, go here: 

16 Reason to go Plant-based in '16

1.) Lose Weight – When we choose plant-based foods instead of the typical fare of animal-based products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, everything moves in the right direction. Weight loss becomes easier for two main reasons. First, we’re not filling our bellies with calorie-dense, artery blocking foods packed with saturated fat. Secondly, by eating plant foods naturally low in calories and high in fiber, it fills us up quicker and we push away from the table sooner. A winning combination for weight loss!

2.) Sleep Better –By moving toward more balanced nutrition, our bodies perform exactly as they were designed. With the right nutrients, we have lower cortisol levels and our brains can shift into sleep mode much quicker. We can actually choose foods specifically for sleep. Complex carbs break down in the digestive process leaving behind tryptophan, which allows our brain to make serotonin – the magic to help us happily drift off to sleep.

3.) Reduce Pain – Ready to be free of aches and pains? People switching to a plant-based diet claim their long-time knee or back pain just disappears. How is this possible? Two main reasons: inflammation and circulation. Dairy is a large contributor to inflammation leading to pain. Plant-based diets promote better circulation by “clearing out” arteries and veins allowing blood to flow to areas previously “starved” of oxygen and nutrients. Less inflammation, more circulation means less pain!

4.) Prevent & Reverse Chronic Diseases –The recipe is simple: stop eating the damaging foods, and replace them with whole plant foods. Countries that consume mostly plant foods (such as Asian countries before McDonalds arrived) have the lowest rates of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and many other chronic degenerative diseases. The numbers tell the story!

5.) Boost Energy and Immunity –Animal products “tax” the system and take a lot of energy to process. Think of it like the fuel in your car. If you’re putting diesel into a car that takes unleaded, everything goes wrong. It run rough, smokes, and doesn’t perform as designed. Put in the right fuel, and our bodies “buzz” with a new energy and our immune system is supercharged!

6.) Lower Cholesterol – Plant foods have zero dietary cholesterol, and work hard to lower the levels of cholesterol in our bodies. We stop funneling high cholesterol, fatty animal foods in, and replace with high fiber plant foods which reduce it and you have a double-whammy in the right direction!

7.) Improve Digestion – Nobody likes “bad belly,” yet so many of us suffer from stomach pain after eating that requires antacids and other medication. Our digestive system is designed to take full advantage of the fiber found in plant food to keep things MOVING!

8.) Save Lives – When we stop eating animal products, we save the lives of innocent animals. The horrific conditions of large commercial livestock and fish farming are well kept from the public eye. By caring and learning more about where our food comes from, it’s easy to see why more people are considering a plant-based diet.

9.) Conserve Water –With droughts in California and other places globally, many are wondering, “where’s all the water going?” Because pigs, cows, and chickens are not ordering take out, they must be fed something. Livestock production demands hundreds of millions of gallons of water each day.

10.) Save the Environment – Plant-based eating can lower greenhouse gases, save our land, and reduce the carbon footprint. All the methane gas that millions of animals “emit” is a major threat to the planet’s ozone layer. Less demand for animal products, means less animals on the planet reducing the impact.

11.) Enhance Athletic Performance – More top-level athletes are now embracing plant-based eating than ever before. With a more efficient vascular system thanks to plants, they are getting more oxygen to muscles. Recovery times are faster as well. For further reading, check out the work by Brendon Brazier, Scott Jurek, and Rich Roll.

12.) Never Count Calories Again – This is wonderful news for those who have been on diets where every calorie must be accounted for. Whole food, plant-based eating is the beautiful combination of naturally low calories and high fiber to fill you up, so you can toss your calorie counting chart!

13.) Think More Clearly – Eating more plants and less saturated fats from animal products opens the pathways for more blood to flow into our brains. By delivering maximum blood flow complete with all the essential nutrients, our brains will serve us well. In addition, when we are getting better sleep, our brains have a chance to “file away” all the information from our day so we can remember things more clearly!

14.) Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails – Your physical appearance is one of the first things others will notice when you go plant-based. Skin, hair, and nails are a tell-tail sign of our health. When our bodies are toxic due to poor diet, our cells breakdown causing collagen, keratin, and elastin to take the hit. Add stress to the mix and you have a recipe for blotchy skin, dry hair, and brittle nails. Removing dairy from the diet also helps reduce acne and other skin conditions causing redness and itching. Leafy greens, oats, almonds, and berries provide some serious horsepower to make us look our best!

15.) Save Money –When we scratch the meat, dairy, and eggs from the shopping list, our savings add up quickly! Buying fruits and veggies at local farmer’s markets and buying in bulk will help to keep your grocery bill in check.

16.) Be Happier – When we look and feel our best, the sun seems to shine a little brighter and we have a more positive outlook on life. Having more energy and less pain will put a smile on your face, and when others ask how you did it, simply say, “I decided to go Plant-based in 2016!” 


Scott Putnam

Whole Living Nutrition, LLC


For more information and further reading, check out the ‘recommended books’ section of our website:  www.wholelivingnutrition.com

My Plant-based Journey, Beth Putnam

Hard to believe that we are approaching 3 years on our plant-based journey. It's second nature to me now, but it wasn't always easy. In the beginning, I spent hours in the grocery store exploring new foods, seasonings, and searching for ingredients I had never heard of. I had to read every new recipe, word for word, over and over to get it right instead of whipping up our old favorites in a few short minutes that even Rachel Ray would admire! I have learned that living well takes time. Time to learn, time to explore, time to create a new normal, and LOTS of time in the kitchen!

Eating plant-based is a huge part of my life now. I am inspired to share my journey, and motivated by the many family members and friends who have decided to engage in areas of plant-based nutrition that resonate within them. (And it resonates at some level within everyone!) I've learned that everyone has their own why. I love hearing the very personal and heartfelt stories of "WHY!" I also love when people text or post pictures of their beautiful food to me!!! Once a foodie, always a foodie. My focus has changed, but I still love good food for the same reasons I always have. Food is the celebration of special occasions, and everyday life! It brings people together, empowers the body, and soothes the soul. Food is my heart, transformed.