Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Good Health

Giving you good health tips from my plate to yours, one bite at a time

BrightonYourHealth provides healthy living, healthy eating, weight loss tips, health fitness and recipes. The articles are written by a registered dietitian and nutritionist who lives in France, adores Italy (and skips over there as much as possible to eat) and has the chance to be an American who grew up on the Jersey Shore. That is me, Mary Brighton, the author of what you read on the site. My 11 years living in France show me (time and time again) how it is possible to eat and live healthy the French way while embracing other cultures nearby, such as one I hold close to my heart, Italy.

I also travel often to Italy and embrace the Italian culture and Italian way of eating and lifestyle. My articles try to promote a European health approach for back to basics methods on wellness and living healthy. Saying that, I also have America in my heart and in particular the Jersey Shore where I grew up. This cultural perspective helps me to bring you nutrition information about what works in these three countries: USA, France and Italy. Please visit the About the Author page for more information on my background.

I welcome your comments, support and sharing of articles. Our health is priceless, we need to preserve this valuable commodity! Now take a minute to return to the top of this page and click around the categories and articles. If you like what you see, you can join BrightonYourHealth’s monthly newsletter and updates.  Here is the link to subscribe and receive your free copy of “Simple Ways to Eat Like the French Without Having a Food Snob Attitude.”  Your email will always remain private. subscribe to our newsletter

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Warmly, Mary

39 Responses to “Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Good Health”

  1. Congrats on the new site – looks great!
    I would love it if you would dig into recipes and menu ideas for breakfast/lunch/dinner.
    Also, saw your post on not eating veggies- I never knew you could maintain health and not eat veggies say, only fruit like the guy in the post…. flies against everything I have read!
    Keep up the great posts!
    PS- what about a cookbook to recommend?

    • Promise , really-to let you know about some great cookbooks , recipes and menu ideas. Did you see the post on Frenchy recipes from a school lunch program? But am planning on starting a section on the homepage that would have links to good recipes. Will add some of my own quick and yummy ones like “salade mache, bettereve et noix” {lamb’s leaf salad with beets and walnuts}. Very yummy, easy and looks very appetizing.
      My dear friend in the post…another year gone by and still healthy. But he takes multivitamin too, eats fruit, exercises and loves his life. What really can we define as good health? Not having bad health? In this case, this person is just enjoying life and is OK… Could his health be even better by consuming more vegetables? Probably. Does he care? At this point-no. He is not going to start eating vegetables. Not the same comparison to someone who quits smoking for example. Realistically, this person, my friend won’t touch a veggie-so….it isn’t life threatening if you substitute.
      I also know people, who I am close to, that eat amazing diet-organic, tons of vegetables fruit etc…
      but they do not have a regular physical activity, nor many pleasurable outlets, etc…who do I think has better health? Maybe my friend who doesn’t eat veggies.
      Keep me on my toes Greg- if you have other suggestions ….

  2. Could use some interesting ideas for lunch – how to eat well while stuck in my cube? My mornings rush and I need to pack a lunch. I try not to think of a typical lunch so I mix it up – fruit, yogurt, a couple crackers and nuts/veggies – ideas?

    • Hi Greg, been thinking of ideas for you.. In the meantime, check out this great website on lunch.
      http://www.lunchtaker.com
      Do you take a break for lunch or work right thru? Access to microwave?
      Will get ideas to you… Been brainstorming…, Mary

    • Hi Greg, been thinking of your question for interesting ideas for lunch. Why not pack some leftovers from dinner the night before? Is this too boring ? From experience, pack your lunch the night before so you can spend time to put in a good balance and diverse foods.
      For lunch, to keep your work steam going and you feeling good make sure you have enough healthy fat and proteins in the lunch meal. Lean meats, eggs, fish along with some healthy fats…make a green salad and bring along a little bottle of homemade vinaigrette. A good bread with grains in it is a good bread to eat with the lean protein healthy fat lunch. Pack some nuts, dark chocolate or a good full fat yogurt for mid afternoon snack if you start to feel tired or hungry and help you through the commute home.
      Check out that website I told you about, it has a lot of great ideas for lunch (www.lunchtakers.com)

      In a summary: prepare in advance, diverse foods, leaner proteins, healthy fats, and why not some good snacks for the afternoon if you feel hungry or tired and need a pick me up. ** watch sugar intake in the afternoon, this makes you even more tired in the end**

  3. It’s really “oh, la, la”. thanks!

  4. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that Vie truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. Check out some easy French recipes of food served in the French school lunch program. Basic French food does not have to be hard to cook! Your blog has been very useful for me and it provides very good content and too informative, Thanks

  5. This is great. Most people rely on diet for a healthy lifestyle. Whether you call a therapist for help, or find self-help methods of your own, diet is always going to be a contributing factor to a happy and healthy lifestyle.

  6. Hello,

    I am contacting you to see if you’d be willing to look into and possibly write about a recent project designed for helping people find out their nutrient needs based on medications they take. I work for an integrative medical clinic in Indiana, and we focus on empowering people toward optimal levels of health through nutrition, physical activity, and stress management.

    The physician who started our clinic is passionate about the topic of nutrient depletion and how medications contribute to these depletions in our bodies. As a result, he created Mytavin, which is a free online calculator where you can type in your medication and/or symptoms and it will calculate the nutrients being depleted as well as the symptoms associated with the depletion.

    Would you be willing to visit our site and potentially discuss the topic of nutrient depletion on your site or even use our calculator as a tool for your readers? It’s such an important, yet quiet topic in the health field these days.

    The website is mytavin.com.

    Thank you so much for your time,

    Sincerely,

    Erica Justice

  7. You are right dear kids are the future an I really like your work, Keep going.

    • Thank you Kashif for your comment and encouragement. I will keep going….and you come back and keep reading. In the next days there will be a new layout and look to the site. Let me know what you think. Where are you from? If there are any other topics you would like to see highlighted on the site, let me know what they are. Best in health! Mary

  8. Hi Mary. Do you have tips for pregnant women as well?

    • Hello! Do you have any specific questions in mind? Currently doing some articles on children (one coming out within the next hour) and will then focus a series on pregnancy and nutrition. Please ask any questions here thru the comment section or you can email me directly at: mbrighton@brightonyourhealth.com
      Thanks for your comment and keep reading because I promise some articles on pregnancy. Also will discuss about pregnancy and nutrition in Europe. There are some different advice and standards of practice that differ from the states. Quite interesting. Had my oldest in the states, my son in the UK, my 2 youngest in France. All good experiences yet different. Let me know your thoughts and continue with feedback. Thanks alot!

  9. Healthy eating means maintaining a nutritious diet. I believe it to be important to every one. I stress a healthy life to my family and friends and I try to show them the benefits to it. I think the greatest benefit most of all is that it makes you feel and look great. If your not eating healthy, then you are not helping your body. You are filling it with what it does not want, instead, help your body out and eat healthy. The turn out is awesome. I have been eating healthy for years and I have never felt better in my life.

  10. Such a helpful site! I’m looking forward to reading through the recipes section 🙂 (would love it if you posted some on our blog http://www.TransferofHealth.com).

    Great post!

    • Hi Tiffany! Thanks so much for your comment! Loved your website. Will go back again and have a thorough read. Amazing story about your husband, why don’t stories like this surprise me? It is always a good idea to look at all avenues for health. Using the “regular” medical system, but also alternative sources as you did with your husband. Thankfully you found the way to go through this natural path. Some people don’t have these liberties, even if the health system is paying so much for for their “regular” care. Glad all is going well there. Sure, would love to post some recipes on your blog! Will check out your blog again soon and be in touch. Come back again soon & keep reading too 🙂 ! I know we have a lot of common areas. All the best to you.

  11. I had to laugh at the line about Americans being unhealthy. I totally agree with this. I am a chiropractor in St George UT and much of what I see are pain syndromes related to injury and inactivity.

    The huge question that we need to ask is “What chronic diseases are being perpetuated due to inactivity?”

    • Hi Dr. White, You are probably a great source of answers to this big question. Inactivity is a big problem for health related issues. Due to the ‘newness’ of America, its roads, infrastructure, the space aspects…most Americans needs cars to get around. In other countries where there is more mass transit or people live closer together and there is access to shops and basic needs, the activity of people increases. There is strong epidemiological evidence that less driving in cars means healthier people. Inactivity is a big component of chronic disease. Thanks for your comment. I embrace chiropractic care. Currently my chiropractors here use the NSA therapy. Do you know this? Continued success in your business.

  12. Hello Mary. I am a big Michael Pollan fan too. I recommend “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” to everyone I know. Also, I would like to ask what your stance on artificial sweeteners is? I read here that aspartame should be avoided: http://www.mercola.com/Downloads/bonus/aspartame/report.aspx If you’re against it, what alternative would you suggest?

    Thanks!
    -Gina

    • Hi Gina, I am against the use of artificial sweeteners. In Europe, the European Food Safety Authority is doing a huge analysis looking at scientific data to assess whether aspartame is safe for human consumption and if it is, at what levels are considered safe. The final report is not due for awhile, but it will be a neutral opinion. The EFSA is a well-respected authority on nutrition and other issues. Here is an article I wrote here on this study: http://brightonyourhealth.com/mary-brighton-personal-health-tips/aspartame-safe-or-health-risk-the-european-health-authority-to-decide
      As like anything artificial and potential toxic at large doses, aspartame should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. Babies and young children should not be having aspartame in their diet.
      However, there is the question of what to offer as a replacement? Real sugar is one thing. Honey, Maple syrup and brown natural sugar are all options. It is best to be moderate with one’s diet and not overdose on foods that have a lot of sugar in general. Drinks are a big culprit for containing artificial sweeteners. Water, juice or small amounts of real soda is better than the diet brands. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are everywhere. We need become experts in reading food labels to not be naive on what is in our foods.
      For diabetic persons, sugar has to be avoided in their diet to keep their blood sugars in control. So what to do for them? With good advice from a dietitian or diabetes educators, diabetics can have small amounts of sugar, honey and other real sweeteners when it is combined with other foods. But artificial sweeteners are often part of a diabetics’ diet. If it is in small amounts on an occasional basis, there are high chances that all will be okay.
      I have tried Stevia, which is a natural sweetener. This may be a better option than aspartame. Stevia was recently approved in Europe to be distributed and used as a sweetener and alternative to sugar.
      As a personal note, I don’t like sugary foods. Those people who do and have a large amount of sugar in their eating plan should look at food labels, try to eliminate any aspartame from their diet and ideally lower the amount of sugar they are eating.
      Thanks so much for the comment! Let me know if you have any additional questions.

  13. I just stumbled across your blog posting and was wondering what you thought of drinks like vitamin water and a new similar one I also just stumbled across http://www.freshhealthystuff.com?
    The freshhealthystuff drink has less ingredients than the vitamin water(and I can pronounce most of them).

    • I tasted vitamin water once…too sugary for me. I am going to some research and get back with you tomorrow. What i remember is that vitamin water has quite a lot of fructose in it (a form of sugar). I want to double check the ingredients. Will also look at freshhealthystuff drink too. My general philosophy is to drink real water and use the money you would spend on vitamin water to buy some fresh fruit for the vitamins. Check back tomorrow for a more thorough report. Comment appreciated!

    • Hi Joe, took an nutritionally objective look at freshhealthystuff drink. What strikes me as a real positive point is the ecological aspects. What I understand is that you use the powercaps to push in the dried powder and regenerate the drink into your own water. What I read on the website sound good:all natural ingredients. But cannot find a list of what those ingredients are. I emailed the company for this and await their answer.
      Thinking again about Vitamin Water, I found a great synopsis written by a dietitian who thinks along the same lines as me. Check out what she said here; a very thorough article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-water/AN01734 The dietitian says that Vitamin Water is not healthy.

      My views are: Live and practice habits as close to the earth as possible and keeping our precious earth in mind. Vitamin water is packaged in plastic bottles. Just for this fact I tend to disagree with drinking it. I am not against plastic bottles in very sparce use. But we need to think of the environment. Think Green!
      I also don’t not advocate the use of artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives. It appears that Vitamin water is not 100% natural, whereby the other product freshhealthystuff is more of a natural product (but I will see the ingredients when they come). Finally, I truely believe in trying to live old-fashioned way and back to basics. These drinks are not cheap and it may be a better nutritional idea to drink good plain water (with a splash of lemon or small amount of real juice) and buy some either high quality vitamins or real fresh fruit. The calorie content of Vitamin Water is quite high. A couple pieces of real fruit and drinking real water you are better off calorie wise, nutrition wise and economic wise. Only my 2 cents! Will do a further update when I receive the list of ingredients from goodhealthystuff.com

  14. I hear a lot of people say that teens and children shouldn’t be vegetarian. My mother is a doctor (not a nutritional one) and thinks the same thing. What do you think?

    • Hi Paul, Why shouldn’t teens and children be vegetarian? Because it is not nutritionally sound? I believe that teens and children CAN be vegetarians and still have a healthy diet that fulfills all their nutritional requirements. The big dilemma is that many parents do not know the correct way to supplement or provide an adequate, nutritionally sound vegetarian diet. At the same time, teenagers can be finicky and difficult eaters. So that if a teenager is following a vegetarian diet provided by their parents, they may not want to eat the right foods (beans, vegetables, etc..) that they are SUPPOSED to eat, even if it is front of them. On a personal note, I do not think that vegetarianism should be “pushed” on kids. Teenagers are more mature to make these decisions to follow a vegetarian diet, primarily based on their inner feelings that they do not want to eat animals. I am thinking of my daughter, who is 12 years old. We eat meat regularly at home. However, I can that often eating meat is something she finds difficult to do as she is a real animal lover. If she makes a conscious decision to be a vegetarian, we as her parents will provide a real agreement that my daughter must eat adequate iron rich protein foods to compensate for the lack of meat in her diet. Paul, I hope this answers your question. Please feel free to comment if you would like further information or have other questions.

  15. Well, my mother says that because she thinks that proteins, amino acids and everything from meat cannot be found in vegetables, milk and other sources. Also, my aunt is a nutritional doctor or something like that and she also says that and that also young people shouldn’t become vegetarians because the puberty process is not done and they will be affected by it and she said that at least fish must be eaten if not normal meat. I did my research and can’t agree with that. Have you got any idea of some good arguments? I would like to become a vegetarian but to also eat milk and eggs. Thanks for the answer!

    • Hi Paul, Here is a good website from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) that discusses proteins and amino acids. Even incomplete proteins (that you find in grains and vegetables) can be combined during the day of eating so that you meet your protein needs. Click on the link or copy and paste into your browser.
      http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html

      If you eat eggs and drink milk , combined with a carefully planned whole grain, beans and vegetable diet , you should definitely meet your protein, vitamin and mineral needs.
      To be sure you could take a daily multivitamin.
      Here is another article written by a RD (Registered Dietitian) that discusses vegetarianism in children.
      http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/ABSTRACTS/Your_Vegetarian_Child.shtml
      You would be a ovo lacto vegetarian, already an easier type of vegetarian to get all your nutritional needs. However, you still have to plan out a healthy diet and stick with it. Sometimes a teenager finds difficult to do.
      Let me know if these 2 articles are helpful and how things turn out.

  16. Thank you so much for the articles. I plan on going vegetarian this summer. I’m going to have some important exams in June and I don’t want to make any big changes as I’m pretty nervous about them. So when summer comes I’m going to show these to my mother and I think they will probably convince her. Thanks again. I hope I won’t forget about them in summer. I noted them in a file on my computer so I probably won’t forget.

  17. What a great approach to eating. It is so overwhelming with all the different approaches that we have so much access to now on the internet. I love the line… The French Paradox” does exist, I am living proof. This paradox of eating with pleasure and without deprivation and still stay healthy. this is an article out of Australia that is very similar in thinking just from an emotional perspective
    Thanks again for such a down to earth approach

    http://tinyurl.com/7eguntr

    • Hi Dawn, thanks for your comment. Love readers from Australia! You have some great dietitians in your country. Best to you and have a good day.

  18. I love your blog! It’s so helpful and is an easy read. I recently got my I recently got my BSN Nursing degree and have shared this blog with many of my classmates. We especially liked the recipes because some of them are very different from the things that we’ve eaten before and we love trying new things! Keep up the great work with your blog!

    • Hi Nurse Kris! Thanks for your comment. We do know that nursing has lots of nutrition components in it. Thanks for sharing the recipes. Wishing you success in your endeavors.

  19. Nice website.I have also a blog like yours.It is an inspiration for me.

  20. Hi! This is a nice blog. Do you have something that may cater for specific diseases? Like diabetes? I’ve been writing health blogs and it will really help me to include diet in them. thanks

    • Bonjour! No, although I counsel clients/patients on specific diseases, I do not have any diet related information on my blog on that. Let me know if you have any other questions, Mary

  21. Yes, Americans are totally obsessed with diet and weight, but continue to get fatter and fatter, and have more and more heart disease, and a plethora of other diseases. The reason is we just haven’t figured out how we can eat more without gaining weight. Everyone loves to eat. The problem is cheap food is so accessible through subsidization of our food chain, and through our industrialization of the food chain. We can get steak now cheaper than it was 20 years ago. And we are bombarded by advice, diets, food pyramids, etc. all trying to tell us what to do. And all of them have a vested interest in telling us what to do. Doctors want us to get a bypass. The cattleman’s association tells us we need good quality protein. The Dairyman’s association tells us “milk is good food”. All the research is also funded by who? Yet, despite all the information, finding the answer to our problems is quite simple. Go back to the days of old. I call it the Caveman diet. The Caveman diet does include meat, although not very much because he only ate meat after a kill. It does include many vegetables and grains. It does not include soda, cookies, ice cream, hamburgers, eggs, milk, cheese, etc. Most of the research in this area has been discredited, and those that support the position that we can improve our health and even reverse ailments through proper nutrition are seen as wackos and blacklisted. It’s easy to see that the earth is round, but they have a vested interest in the world being flat. They sell us the drugs, they do the surgeries, they sell the meat and eggs. Smoking used to not harm us either…

  22. Lucky you in France! I thought for a minute you were going to be in Brighton!

  23. Hubert wrote,

    “I have a question and, with your experience in France, you may have the answer.

    When invited out to dinner, especially when there are new faces at the table, quite a lot of time is spent –not continuously but it adds up– by guests putting in their bit about the asparagus being so green and so well cooked; another saying that he’s never had veal this tender . .and it goes on and on with everyone simply having to say something nice to the hosts or cook . . or else appear to be impolite. It can almost get to be a contest in complimenting. And has led to many reprimands made by one spouse to another. So going out and enjoying good company can become stressful.

    I personally think that eating together is a blessing and certainly is a terrific occasion, backdrop, for hearing what people have to say, and for finding out something about them. But I’m inclined to think, I suppose as the British do (the well-bred ones in Downton Abbey :-), that we should hardly be looking at the food in our plates and, if anything, we should be concealing our chewing and gulps with our napkins –all that to minimize the “animal” dimension of the feeding act.

    The food should be there and, surely, enjoyed, but let’s not keep talking about it, first, for the reason I’ve given (that of time consumption), and then because guests will all too readily talk about what they’ve eaten last “that was simply scrumptious”. Others will say more about their favourite dish, and it can go on and on. And food will have almost become the main subject of conversation.

    It should be enough when leaving to thank the hosts for the invitation and also for the lovely meal. And there’s no harm in sending a note regarding the asparagus in particular.”

    • Hi Hubert,
      I love your comment and observations. Spot on !
      While I adore dining with the French and adore French food I do agree:
      it is also frustrating on my end to have dinners where everyone is making comments about the food. Sometimes the topics get heated (organic foods, GMO etc…) and we talk about the food and where it comes from…
      Wine also gets commented on too.

      Does any other readers feel the same or would like to differ?
      Warmly, Mary

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