Wholesome, healthy, natural food has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a rural town on California’s north coast, fresh, local, organic food was in abundance. I also lucked out with a family with a passion for gourmet food, where everything is made from scratch. If not, you dare not mention it!

When I was little, I didn’t know the words “mac and cheese”. Instead, I plugged my nose at the dinner table as I ate sautéed chard with onions, raisins and sunflower seeds. It was the absolute worst to an 8-year-old, but now I couldn’t be more grateful to my mom for raising my brother and I with real food.

Life wasn’t always this healthy though. My mom is also a baker with high remarks amongst family and friends. Most weekends, as a kid, I would wake up to the smell of buttery raspberry almond scones, a puffy, apple German pancake, or moist chocolate chip pumpkin muffins.

As I mentioned, my mom is not the only cook in the family. My aunts and uncles are phenomenal chefs. Growing up with my family just blocks away, we enjoyed (and still do) gathering for any reason to share our gourmet concoctions. I think it is safe to say we are all food snobs.

There wasn’t much meat in our house growing up. My mom chose to stop eating red meat at age 17, and not surprisingly, this affected how I was raised. In the Spring of 2010, I decided to stop eating poultry altogether; therefore, I’m currently eating a pescatarian, but mostly vegetarian, diet. It’s not definite that my diet will not change in the future, but I’m happy and healthy living sans inhumanly-raised birds with bigger breasts than mine.

I try to make my meals aesthetically pleasing, as I think eating beautiful food enhances the enjoyment of eating. Incorporating color is also one of my theories to a healthy diet. This is easy for me to do as I love, love, love vegetables. Eating healthy is a pleasure for me, not a chore. Although my mission is to live the healthiest life I can, I do not deny myself of life’s pleasures. With each new day, I strive for that balance between health and happiness. 

My Food Philosophy: 

1. Add color wherever possible… this does not include Blue No. 1, Red No. 3, or Yellow No. 6

2. Don’t drink your sugar.

3. Avoid long ingredient lists with words you can’t pronounce.

4. Hydrate mostly by H20.

5. Balance the food groups throughout the day.

6. Avoid the word “artificial”.

7. Make your food beautiful.

8. Shop local. Buy organic.

9. Simplify your plate.

10. Indulge! 

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”

Updated February 2013.

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Bekah November 23, 2009 at 7:52 am

Yep, I would definitely agree we are quite similar! :)
I love meeting young girls who share the same goals and inspirations and life’s loves as I do!

Lovin’ the blog. Thanks for reaching out to me, so I could find you!


Christy December 6, 2009 at 8:32 pm

i LOVE that quote. i think it’s the best i’ve seen out there! wow!


Hillary December 6, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Isn’t it great?


Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama December 8, 2009 at 11:52 pm

I could not agree more!


Mandy January 13, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I really like that quote!


TheKetchupDiaries February 28, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Great rules, Hillary. Even better blog! Keep up the good work!


Jill {irun ieat} March 25, 2010 at 9:15 am

I love your philosophy and your blog!


Donna Parker April 21, 2010 at 8:01 am

As one of those family members I can verify that #4 is one of Hill’s realities. At any age and at any meal she would ask for: “just water”.


Shannon, Tropical Eats May 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

You rock. I just fell in love with your philosophy!


Sarah (Enjoying One Meal at a Time) May 15, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Cute quote!


Callie @ Callieflower Kitchen June 25, 2010 at 5:53 am

I love your rules to live by, especially making your food beautiful. It’s not necessary, but I think it makes a huge difference :) Love the blog, can’t wait to keep reading your posts!


Angela (the diet book junkie) July 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Hey Hillary, great blog! I’m also a runner with a sorta weird diet (pescatarian who drinks milk but no other dairy. oh, and loves dark chocolate. what is that called?) Looking forward to reading more of your blog :)


Kayla @ kayla.eats.healthy August 12, 2010 at 9:42 am

Okay, your rules are now my rules too! Love them! I’ve been trying to eat natural and I’ve been avoiding foods with ultra-long ingredient lists. I love to make food beautiful! My mom (and everyone else in my family) disagrees. Sometimes I spend 10 minutes or more setting up a pretty plate of food for myself, all nutritionally balanced and well placed. My family laughs at me, they don’t understand! They want food to be quick and easy. They don’t see food as an art like I do!


lindsay August 24, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Great philiosphy! I can’t believe how much preseratives can affect ones health. It was huge to mine! I was a nutrition major back in college. It’s tough, way to go!


Abby September 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm

I try to live by those exact same rules! I love rule #7! For months, I’ve been reading health blogs (including yours), and it inspired me to start my own!


Shannon @ Freshman Yr of Life September 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Just found your blog and I love it! Great page :)


Meagan September 24, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I found your blog today… I love it! It seems like we have a lot in common. That Trader Joe’s chocolate is one of my FAVORITES by FAR!


Lindsay October 1, 2010 at 1:29 am

Hi there! Absolutely LOVING your blog – I completely agree with your philosophy here, and am thrilled every time I come across bloggers who feel the same way! :)



Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic October 7, 2010 at 10:45 am

Hi Hillary, thanks for dropping by my blog. So glad you found it and now I found yours! I love the rules you live by, I completely agree with them 100%. Is that dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s? I’m gonna have to go there soon to stock up ;)


Hillary October 7, 2010 at 10:48 am

Yes, it is! I think TJ’s has a great selection for us chocoholics :)


@stampylisa November 3, 2010 at 7:20 am

i absolutely love YOUR “Food Rules”. they are totally easy and make sense, and are what i try to abide by as well. after 40 yrs of bad eating, i’ve been eating healthily for a couple, and am now vegetarian since this past spring, too. i watched Food, Inc. and decided since i’m not eating quality chicken (buffalo wings boneless style), then why eat it at all? even though we were eating mostly (hopefully) humanely-raised birds when i purchased them at farmers’ markets and small poultry farm stores, i wasn’t when i ate out someplace, so why do it at all? and i’ve never eaten much red meat, so i gave it all up. no fish either. i may have some salmon again, but only wild caught, sustainable fish. mostly, i gave it all up ’cause my family has bad hearts. if i watch my cheese intake (the only cow dairy i eat) then hopefully i can ward it all off and reverse some of the damage i’ve already done. good for you starting young like this! take good care and of course, eat more chocolate!


Cara November 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Love this! We live in very similar ways. I love how you call it your philosophy! I am also studying nutrition! I look forward to reading more of your blog!


carlee December 31, 2010 at 2:25 am

I love your philosophy! That is so nice that you had a mother too cook a balanced diet of wholesome meals, as well as treats! :)


Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner January 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Your food philosophy is AMAZING! I absolutely LOVE your 10 Rules!!! I agree with every single one of them!


LauraJayne January 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I totally agree with you – while I follow a vegetarian diet, I love my desserts – and not as occasional indulgences, but as a part of my *mostly* healthy diet every day. I want to enjoy everything I eat, not view eating as an un-fun chore! I’m glad I found your blog today!


kelsey February 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm

you are so great! i’m seriously thrilled that i found your little corner of the blog world! cheers to health, girlfriend. you rock already!


Alyssa April 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Have you ever thought about going vegan? I’ve been changing my diet since I saw Food Inc. and it changed my thoughts on red meat, chicken, and McDonald’s and Tyson meats! I would like to eventually become vegan, and being a health science major, I know all the pros and cons of it. I would love to hear your opinion on why you decided not to head that route!


Hillary April 25, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I have never given veganism serious thought. There are days where I unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) eat a vegan diet, but I’ve never had the desire to do so long term. I have not done enough research, and I believe that animal products have their purpose nutritionally.


Tori (Fresh Fruition) May 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I love your rules! I definitely am trying to live by all of those rules, too!


Jennnifer June 19, 2011 at 5:46 am

Eat local, buy organic? Great philosophy if you’re rich or haven’t been hurt by the economic downturn (which obvi you have not). For the rest of us average people, buying conventional fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. from the supermarket works just fine, and no scientific study has shown buying organic is healthier than buying conventional.


Shelley August 4, 2011 at 4:42 am

You don’t need to be nasty girl! Also FYI, there definitely has been proven results of the positive effects of eating organic foods over conventional.


Jen August 4, 2011 at 4:49 am

It’s not called nasty; it’s called being real, blunt, telling it like it is. Unfortunately, food bloggers don’t like that. And there are no “proven” results – there are individual studies some not peer-reviewed, that have shown scant evidence. As a healthcare journalist, I have studied this field for quite some time so I know to differentiate the bs from the truth.

Again, if you have tons of money, organic is great. But for the rest of the population, Safeway/Giant/the local supermarket to buy their regular fruits and veggies is just fine.


Molly July 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Too cute how you filled in for the beloved SR :P Glad you shared and I’m glad I found your blog! I totally agree on everything about your philosophy and I’m excited to read more :)


getfitchick July 11, 2011 at 5:21 am

I’m studying nutrition also and I really enjoy your blog!


Jessica Martin July 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Hey, I agree with you 100% on your rules. You seem so natural! Feel free to check out my blog too :)


Lauren @ WWoB November 4, 2011 at 7:16 am

A truly fabulous philosophy, lacking in rigidity and fully liveable. Love it.


Hillary January 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm

You’re an inspiration for us all. Hope you keep blogging!


Emily May 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm


Stumbled upon your blog this evening, what a great prospective on life you have! I am in definite agreement that food should be fuel for your body and I think you have a great balance of happy and healthiness. I’m showing students at WVU (via my blog) what it’s like to balance physical activity and eating REAL food and hope to get ideas of inspiration from keeping up with your blog!!


kalamckala October 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

HILLARY! After reading a bit more about you (and reading through a few of your recipes and awesome workouts), I’ve concluded that you and I are two peas in a pod: the craving for peanut butter and bananas, LOVE for burpees – which I seem to be alone on. Not to mention, I have yet to come across another college pescetarian college student who loves such simple things as cooking and exercising! And I share each and every one of your food philosophies. Your blog is a beautiful place. We should meet someday. (=


Hillary October 15, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Burpees and bananas, they do a body good :) Welcome!


Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction November 14, 2012 at 11:46 am

Hey girl, love your blog and your philosophy! Esp the one about adding color, and NOT yellow #6! So true!


Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health February 6, 2013 at 9:35 am

I totally agree with your philosophy! And wish I grew up with your family cooking for me. :) I feel like Northern California is such an inspiring place with all of the local farms that have good morals for producing organic and humane food.


Addy @ Six-Kick Switch February 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

Hey Hillary,
New follower here! I absolutely love your blog and especially your food philosophy — what a relief to find a like mind! I look forward to trying out some of your recipes!


Mari @ Living with Purpose September 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm

We definitely have very similar approaches to nutrition. Yay for whole foods!


Jake Long November 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Great diet philosophy. Simple, and effective.


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