Valentine’s Boot Camp Regimen

-By Hertha J. Woodruff, A.M.L.S., M.A.

With Valentine’s Day being just around the corner, let’s ponder a bit.  It’s that festive time of the year to think of exquisite flowers such delicate, long-stemmed roses.  It’s a time to sport colors in hues of red and pink.  It’s a time to listen to sentimental love songs and to receive beautifully, decorated, Valentine’s Day cards.  It’s a time for candlelight and romance.  Unfortunately, it’s a time to eat what is not necessarily healthy for us!  Sadly, it’s a time to fall off that bandwagon again like many of us did over the holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day!

Just because it does taste soooooo good like all of the milk chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, all of the yummy pastries, and all of the fancy, high-fat/high-calorie, restaurant dinners that many of us go out to enjoy on February 14, we must gain control ahead of the game!

Here is my Valentine’s Boot Camp Regimen to get into motion NOW:


DO DRINK PURE WATER:  6-8 cups daily

Since sugary products are surfacing everywhere in honor of Valentine’s Day, let water be your primary beverage to drink from now until the end of the month of February and beyond.  There is no excuse not to drink water.  Water is free and plentiful.  It also can be inexpensive if you buy bottled water.  I discussed the importance of water in a blog during the month of August 2011 (Quenching Your Thirst).  We as humans are about 75% water.  Our body needs water daily to function properly.  A shortage of water can make you feel sluggish and interfere with proper digestion.  Begin to flush your system of toxins with pure water now. Stop the extra sugar consumption when you drink pop, sport drinks, energy drinks, juice, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. Stick to water to purify your body now!  Sugar is so detrimental to human health!  A blog will be posted soon where I will focus on the hazards of sugar consumption.


Do Vegan Yogurt, Oatmeal, Nuts, Fresh Fruit, & Smoothies

I found two new vegan yogurt products in an assortment of flavors on the market recently that are lower in sugar than most yogurts.

  1. SO Delicious (Greek Style, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Live, Active Cultured Coconut Milk, Fiber Rich) found at Plum Market and at Whole Foods Market – There is a store locator on the website.
  2. Amande (Live, Active, Cultured Almond Milk, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Fruit Juice Sweetened) found at Plum Market, at Whole Foods Market, and at Zerbos Health Foods – There is a store locator on the website.

I like to open one of these yogurt containers, add fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or pineapple and then take it with me in the car, etc., with a plastic spoon.  Both products are less than 200 calories each.

Dump, Dry, Sugar-Laden Cereal NOW!

Forget the dry cereal with all of the added sugar.  Eliminate this cereal when you can.  If you must do dry cereal, Dr. Neal Barnard, author of several of the books I have listed in my introduction, said on a recent PBS television promotion to look for dry cereals that use the rule of 5 and 10.  Search for dry cereals that have at least 5 grams of fiber and are less than 10 grams of sugar.  Also, try unsweetened oatmeal.  Instant or quick cooking type will be faster to prepare.  Oatmeal is high in fiber which is good for digestion.  Add fresh fruit such as berries or a sliced banana on top.  Refrain from adding sugar, honey or, agave.  Moisten oatmeal with non-dairy milk.  I prefer unsweetened, almond milk.

Do Nuts and Fruit

Sometimes I only have time to grab a package of nuts and a fresh piece of fruit like a banana, apple or pear.  Trader Joe’s has a great variety of nuts, especially the ones that are raw without added salt.  Trader Joe’s sells convenient, individually, packaged trail mixes and nuts.  Nuts are high in protein.  Eat nuts sparingly since they are high in calorie with extra fat.

Do Green Smoothies or Fruit Smoothies

I wrote a blog on Victoria Boutenko’s Green Smoothies in the fall in November 2011 (Is Your Body The Perfect Host for the Big “C?” Yes, Cancer! Part III: The Green Smoothie Revolution of Victoria Boutenko).  You may decide to not add the greens to your smoothies and that is okay.  You can do just a fruit smoothie.  The key is to not add sugar, honey, or agave.   Let the fruit such as bananas, mangoes, or pineapple, sweeten your smoothie.


Always eat at least one, large salad per day.  Fresh, raw salads are like brooms to your digestive tract.  They will clean out your system and make you feel fantastic.  Be sure to be cautious of the salad dressings.  Read labels.  Look for low fat dressings that are below 50 calories per serving.

Select a soup that is low fat and maybe bean based or vegetable based.  Stay away from the heavy cream based, high calorie soups.  Be aware that many restaurant and carryout soups are high in salt.  Many canned soups are high in salt too.  Learn to make your own soups at home.  I do it all of the time.  I begin my soups by lightly steaming chopped onions, garlic, and other veggies in low salt, low fat, chicken broth.  Then, I add more ingredients.  Watch that bread, crackers, and dessert!


Cut up veggies like celery, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli.  Dip in low calorie, low fat hummus or bean dip that you can find at places like Whole Foods Market, Plum Market, and Trader Joe’s.  It is a quick snack and satisfying because it has so much fiber.


Watch the bread basket on the table.  Again, do not eat dessert, please.  Ask your waiter not to bring bread, rolls, and crackers to your restaurant table.  Eat light stir-fry meals and plant-based meals.  Be cautious of heavy pastas that are high in calories.  Sometimes appetizers and sides may be your best bet.  Eat a light dinner. Try to eat no later than three hours before bedtime or don’t eat after 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.

DO EXERCISE:  Walking is the simplest exercise ever!  My husband, Dr. William Woodruff, and I do it often in the mall, at least 30 minutes at a time.


I have read that a good night of sleep prevents weight gain.  Sleep at least 7-8 hours per night.  I am still trying to learn from this since I have always been a night owl :-).

Be prepared before and on Valentine’s Day this year.  If you receive that lovely box of candy, take it to work to share with coworkers, share with friends, or take it to a buffet.  You can even freeze the boxed candy and just eat only one or two pieces.  Begin today to gain control!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

To view the rest of my posts, please visit the Health & Nutrition category page of our blog: Click Here

To read about my journey to becoming a vegan, please go here: Hertha Woodruff’s Vegan Journey


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