I learned how to count calories when I was twelve, and they’ve haunted me ever since. Though I was a slave to nutrition facts for many years for all the wrong reasons, I’m proud that I can now enjoy food for its nutritive powers and eating for the sensory experience. Reading labels HAS made me skilled at estimating the nutrition content of foods, which helps me eat a balanced diet. So while I encourage everyone to learn the basics of nutrition, I caution against obsessing over numbers. In general, I suggest eating low-fat dairy, lean meats & seafood (if you’re an omnivore,) cooking with olive & canola oils to reap the benefits of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and loading your plate with whole grains, vegetables and fruit at every meal. I also suggest eating small meals and snacking all day long to avoid getting so hungry that you want to eat everything in sight. Finally, it’s a good idea to avoid foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce; the more additives and preservatives, the further the food is from the earth. Your body likes whole foods!

Also, please know that the nutrition facts I publish here, while always as accurate as possible, are educated guesses rather than scientific proof. I draw from the labels of the foods in my recipes when possible, and when there are no labels to consult, I cross-check data on websites like fitday.com, nutrition.gov and nutritiondata.com.