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With – or without – Will Smith, eat healthy during the summer

It's unusual for me to sit back and listen to rapper Will Smith's "Summertime," a hodgepodge of rhymes and phrases about the advent of summer. The intro/chorus goes like this: "Summer, summer, summertime/Time to sit back and unwind."

When I think about summer, I think about the hot blazing sun beaming down on me. And, of course, the unhealthy foods that people tend to eat because cooks at home tend to prepare minute-meals rather than suffer over a hot stove when it's sweltering outside.

I'm sure many of you opted to barbeque on the grille this past Memorial Day. Pork ribs, beef ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers are familiar entrées that even I once enjoyed before I changed my diet to ensure longevity of life. I'd weighed 300 lbs. and suddenly realized that I was on my way to meeting the grim reaper. In fact, I gorged more during the summer months.

I'd eaten myself nearly to death before I realized that I could live life more abundantly, if I eat a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables. Now that I'm a vegan, I've learned to enjoy life.

"Just a little somethin' to break the monotony," Will Smith sang.

For me, it was a diet change that freed me from the lethargic summer months decades ago. What about you?

Some of you were just like me: You overate until your hearts were content and your stomachs filled with little room to spare. Well, for those who don't get the point, you'll keep eating and eating until you lapse into ill health. Your saving grace, without a doubt, will be a diet change consisting of more fruits and vegetables.

Have you had any problems with your health lately? If so, I'm sure the problem stems from an inadequate consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and an over-indulgence of pork, beef, chicken and other unhealthy animal products. If you've been having headaches, blurred vision, breathing heavily and sweating profusely, you may need to change your diet.

I'm often asked how does one change his or her eating habits. With a cornucopia of food items to choose from, you'd need sheer will power and the support of loved ones and friends to keep you on task. You'd also need to change your lifestyle and avoid distractions. And, by all means, don't put yourself in a predicament where you'll relapse.

Not many people, I'm sure, are willing to give up eating food that tastes good and that may not be healthy for them. And then too, if you are invited to a feast and actually go, it may be extremely difficult to say no when the aroma of food is wafting across your nose and your taste buds are increasing the moisture in your mouth. Without thinking, you may find yourself gorging on foods you've been trying to avoid.

Diabetics will have a problem too if they're enticed by the sweet goodness of strawberry cheese cake, German chocolate cake, carrot cake, and fried pies, for example. No one can eat just one slice. I couldn't do it even when I swore I wouldn't eat another slice.

Let me say this: I got an opportunity to work with a group of people recently who asked me to help them change their eating habits. As we were going through a basic food understanding, I could tell by talking to them that a lot of the information that they'd gleaned from reading food labels was being misunderstood and, I don't mind saying, a bit misleading.

When we discussed fat grams in food, they were puzzled and didn't know that 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories, and that the average person can eat 200 grams of fat per day. I explained to my inquisitive friends that most calories are from fat and could be one of the reasons that some people can't lose weight.

Food labels shouldn't be hard to read. Most people, I'm sure, don't like counting calories and keeping up with the amount of fat that they consume each day. Obesity and diabetes, for one thing, are on the rise and too many people are fighting to stay alive.

Will Smith – aka the Fresh Prince – rapped about summer madness in Philadelphia, but the madness that he put to music does not equate to the countless Americans who gorge on the wrong foods when it gets too hot in the kitchen to prepare a healthy meal.

(Dr. Timothy Moore teaches nutrition, heart disease and diabetes reversal through a plant-based lifestyle. He is a professional speaker, wellness coach and personal plant-based chef. He can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit him on the Web sites at www.cheftimothymoore.com or www.twitter.com/cheftimmoore.)

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