Heal Thy Living

Choosing food for a healthy life

Just a month after their marriage, Kelly Richard’s husband began throwing up blood and had to be rushed to an emergency room. The aspirin he had depended on to dull headaches and other physical pains during his six-year army career had eaten away his stomach lining as well as part of his esophagus. He could no longer depend on aspirin or other over-the-counter pain medications, and he had developed digestive issues as well. Facing this tangle of health issues as a new wife, Kelly began to take nutrition much more seriously. Today, she looks back on that experience as a turning point, both professionally and personally.

“I started studying holistic nutrition and using my husband as a guinea pig,” says Kelly, who owns Heal Thy Living Holistic Nutrition and Personal Training. “It’s been a long journey. We’ve been married now fourteen years, and it’s still going. It’s a daily thing. Early on, I learned that we often are taught to approach nutrition through a diet mentality, an all-or-nothing approach. But that doesn’t actually work well, and you set yourself up for failure. Instead, my husband and I have learned to approach nutrition in more of a step-by-step way. We have learned how to take small steps toward having a healthier diet.”

Kelly describes this healthier diet as “clean eating,” and in her work with clients, she recommends moving toward this goal in a slow, step-by-step process. She explains that the changes a client wants to make will not happen overnight, and she guides each client to start simply and build slowly over time. “Clean eating is not about what you can’t eat—it’s about what might be a better choice for what you are doing right now. Once you are used to the better choice, then what is the next better choice?”

Brandon and Kelly Richards

The key to clean eating, Kelly points out, is balance. “It is not about eliminating; instead, you have to balance stuff out,” she explains. “Not everybody can take drastic steps, so I start clients off with simple things, like substituting white pasta with whole grain pasta or substituting soda with water. These were the first two steps for my husband and me. Then, later, I started integrating organic foods into our diet, watching out more for foods that had pesticides, buying cage-free, things like that. Now, I’m going gluten- and dairy-free with my husband, which is a whole new direction, and he’s been enjoying it more than he thought he would.”

Kelly explains that “clean eating” is not a new type of eating. “It is not a diet,” she says. “It is eating whole foods that are simply cooked and that you can find in nature as they come. It is simply healthy eating: choosing foods that are not processed and full of additives, chemicals, and preservatives; choosing foods that do not come in a package. It is learning about what food to eat and in what amounts. For example, instead of having a huge, loaded baked potato for dinner, instead enjoy roasted red potatoes or a sweet potato sautéed in oils and herbs.”

More than a decade after her scare as a newlywed, Kelly has seen her hard work to improve her and her husband’s diet pay off. “We have made changes gradually, very gradually. It didn’t happen overnight. [Over time], my husband’s digestive issues improved. He was able to get off all of the drugs, and he’s learned to manage pain through different body work methods like chiropractic and massage. In the midst of all of this, my husband was and still is my biggest cheerleader.”

Rolled oats and blueberries

Clean Eating Daily Meal Plans by Kelly Richards

Meal Plan for Day #1


1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, scrambled

½ cup steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats with ¼ cup of frozen blueberries (thawed), 2 Tbsp almonds, and ½ tsp of honey (optional)


2 cups salad mix

½ cup grape tomatoes

¼ avocado

1 oz. feta cheese

1Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

5 oz. grilled chicken


5 oz. grilled salmon with lemon

1 baked sweet potato

3 cups sautéed spinach

Salad with grilled chicken

Meal Plan for Day #2


Blend 1 banana, 1 cup of reduced fat milk, ¼ cup chocolate protein powder, 2 Tbsp flaxseeds, 1 tsp almond butter, and ice


½ pita with 1 Tbsp hummus

1 cup arugula

¼ sliced cucumber

¼ sliced bell pepper

4 oz. seared beef tenderloin


Chicken Stir-fry

5 oz. cubed chicken breast

1 tsp olive oil

2 sliced mushrooms

⅛ sliced onion

1 cup shredded cabbage

½ sliced bell pepper

2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

½ cup cooked brown rice

Heal Thy Living

Holistic Nutrition and Personal Training

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