It is a common assumption that folks know what it means to eat healthily.  As I have mentioned in my book EAT! SLEEP! MEDITATE! A NURSE’S GUIDE TO HEALTH, even though I had several years under my belt, I was ignorant about Healthy Nutrition.  I was ignorant about Healthy Lifestyle.  Growing up on the Island of Jamaica, most families ate what they grew and consumed very little meat because the meat was costly.  There was no importance placed on drinking cow’s milk.  Cheese consumption was once per year at Easter time when the traditional Bun n Cheese was savored.  The children ate the fruits from the mango trees, orange and tangerine trees in their season.  Beans and peas were the norms for Sunday dinner.  Rainwater is what we drank, along with the occasional lemonade,  limeade, or Kool-aid with lime or lemon added.  Very little sugar was added as there was always a ration. Raw salad was finely shredded cabbage mixed with grated carrot, tomato slices, and cucumber, minus any dressing. The roots like Irish potato, sweet potato, malanga, chayote squash, pumpkin, and cassava were our staples.  Rice was served on Sundays as Rice N Peas or Rice and Gungo (pigeon peas) along with the famous Jamaican Stew Chicken or fried chicken.  One small chicken was shared between the entire family of up to eight people and daddy always got the best part, which was the breast or the leg.


Clearly, we ate extremely healthy. At that time, however, we thought we were poor because we did not have the meat and fish to eat daily. My grandfather on my father’s side died at the ripe old age of 92. He was also a tobacco smoker and grew his own tobacco. We loved to watch him cut up the tobacco and roll it into a cigar or pack it into his pipe whilst sitting on his Veranda watching the sun-down, while he shook his leg or rocked in his old rocking chair.   My mother’s father died of natural causes at 101, and his only complaint was that he was hard of hearing.  No heart diseases, no blood pressure issues, and quite ambulatory till the end.  They were both in their right mind and very active till the end.   In fact, my father passed away several years before his dad at the age of 37.  You see, my dad was “successful” and could afford to eat and drink whatever he wanted to eat and drink, whenever he wanted to eat and drink.  As opposed to his father, who was tall and slender with no excess weight, and a  flat tummy.  My father was overweight, drank too much, and a chronic cigarette smoker.  One could safely label my father as a workaholic who was always very stressed out chasing the all mighty dollar.  At the tender age of 37, in the prime of his life, he suffered a massive heart attack and died in a taxicab hired to transport him to a Community Hospital.

Due to my near-death experience as a result of poor and unhealthy lifestyles, I have been forced to change the way I eat, if I want to be alive and to enjoy this short life.  My Healing experiences have confirmed that the long and healthy lives that my grandparents and now my mom who is 84 and my adopted dad who is 88 experienced and are still experiencing is due to eating a primarily Plant-Based diet.  They ate what they call “ground provisions” and very little meat or flesh.  Pastry was rare and considered a treat.

There are so many conflicting teachings online, in books, and in the medical profession about healthy foods.  Researches being done are sponsored by the Multi-Billion dollars food industry and is not in our favor. The foods that have healed my body are Real Foods such as FRUITS, VEGETABLES, NUTS, HEALTHY GRAINS, BEANS & PEAS. Minimal or no dairy. Minimal meat, seafood, and fish. A minimal amount of processed foods. Lots of fresh, clean water. These are my definition of Healthy, Nutrient-Rich Foods and I highly recommend them.

Read more in my book.  Link below.

Marva Riley, Registered Nurse.  Author of the book EAT! SLEEP! MEDITATE! A NURSE’S GUIDE TO HEALTH