Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.

Genesis 1:29

My journey on becoming proactive about nutrition began for me at the young age of eleven.  My Detroit, Henry Ford Hospital pediatrician diagnosed me with a hypothyroid condition and prescribed thyroid medication.  I constantly lacked energy and searched for methods to improve my stamina through nutrition.  I experimented with healthy food choices and began to feel better with my new selections.  I outgrew this health problem but always remained interested in the field of nutrition.

My husband, William H. Woodruff, D.D.S., and I took a free cooking course in September of 2006 at the Whole Foods Market in West Bloomfield, Michigan, which provided copies of a textbook titled The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: Foods That Help You Fight Back by Neal D. Barnard, M.D. and Jennifer K. Reilly, R.D.  This 8-week class sponsored by was life-changing for me. Every week we sampled new foods that were delicious.  I instantly became a vegan (no dairy, meats, fish, seafood, eggs, excessive oils).

I initially took the cancer cooking class to learn how to cook for my ill mother, a retired Detroit high school principal, who had been diagnosed with Stage 4 of lung and bone cancer.  I had become her caregiver in my home during the spring and summer of 2006, before my brother and I admitted her to an assisted living facility with a private nurse.  I kept seeking out ways to save her with proper nutrition. Her oncologist and metabolism doctor had prescribed 13 different medications for her.  I took her to regular radiation treatments. When one oncologist told her that she had only four months to live, she responded by blurting out, “Maybe I should be planning my funeral!”  I was in constant turmoil, determined to find a way to save her.  What compounded the situation was her loss of appetite, a condition that often occurs with cancer patients.  She lost weight and grew frail, beginning to lose her zest for life.  The oncologist’s prediction was accurate.  She died four months after her diagnosis during the duration of the Cancer Project course at the Whole Foods Market.  This was her second bout with cancer.  She had breast cancer twelve years earlier and had a mastectomy performed.  The initial cancer went into remission. When I prepared for my mother’s memorial service and burial, I pondered over what I could have done better nutritionally to prolong her life. She had always been bright, spunky and independent but she did not always choose the best foods to consume.  I learned in the Cancer Project sponsored course that a plant-based diet could prevent or reverse cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other diseases.  I learned about this too late to change my mother’s life but I vowed to make a difference in mine and to share this information with others. This is my forum.

For your information, no family member in my family bloodline has ever died a natural death. There has been cancer, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes in my family history.  I am eager to share what I have learned in case you are struggling with these ailments or want to prevent them.  I have degrees and professional experience in education, educational media and library science.  I have taken the time to research, take seminars and courses on the topic of proper nutrition.

According to an October 6, 2010, article that appeared in the West Bloomfield Beacon, by Erin McClary, “VegMichigan Celebrates Vegetarian Awareness Month,” Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry or fish.  Vegans do not eat any animal products whatsoever… The health benefits range from having simply more energy and losing weight to drastic results of preventing heart disease and reversing Type 2 diabetes.  VegMichigan President Harry Pianko,, said, eating fewer animal products can also help prevent certain types of cancer. There are currently more than 12 million Americans who follow a vegetarian diet.

The Orchard Maple Family Dental Health and Nutrition blog will cover information on the following topics:

(Note: The topics below containing links have already been completed.  Feel free to click on the links below to read my blog posts):


Come aboard!  Choose to eat more plant-based food and change your life now!  For starters, consider the following tips.  Try to eat a plant-based diet every other day, three or four days a week.  Also, reduce the size of your meat, fish, seafood cheese portions and make your plant-based food more plentiful on your plate.  Eat a daily vegetable salad. Try to substitute fresh fruit like an apple, pear, orange, peach, plum, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries for snacks instead or veggies such as celery, carrot sticks, cauliflower chunks with a plant based dip like hummus or a bean dip.  Eliminate the packaged junk snacks such as chips, candy or cookies. To avoid temptation, don’t walk down the packaged, snack food aisle in grocery stores.  Spend more time in the fresh, produce department instead. Buy organic produce.  Don’t stop anymore at fast food restaurants or drive-throughs.  Need a quick, protein pick me up?  A suitable, packaged snack is raw almonds or a trail mix that you can purchase at Trader Joe’s in a package of individually wrapped snacks.

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


Below is a list of my favorite books that can get you started in a plant-based direction. Revisit the Orchard Maple Family Dental Blog to be transformed!  We welcome your responses.

Barnard, M.D., Neal D. Breaking the Food Seduction

Barnard, M.D., Neal D, and  Jennifer Reilly, RD. The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: Foods that help you fight back!

Barnard, M.D., Neal D. Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes

Bennett, C.H.H.C., Connie and Steven Sinatra. Sugar Shock!: How Sweets and Simple Carbs Can Derail Your Life– and How You Can Get Back on Track

Boutenko, Victoria. Green for Life

Boutenko, Victoria. Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Towards Natural Health

Boutenko, Victoria. 12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food

Bricklin, Mark. Prevention Magazine’s Complete Nutrition Reference Handbook: Over 1,000 Foods & Meals Analyzed & Rated for Health Effect

Brown, Dr. Susan, and Larry Trivieri, Jr. The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide: A Quick Reference to Foods & Their Effect on pH Levels

Brownstein, M.D., and Sheryl Shenefelt, C.N. the guide to Healthy Living

Brownstein, M.D., David. Vitamin B-12 for Health

Cabot, M.D., Sandra. Raw Juices Can Save Your Life

Carper, Jean. Food: Your Miracle Medicine

Esselstyn, Caldwell B., Jr., MD. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

Esselstyn, Ann Crile and Jane Esselstyn. The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook

Graham, Dr. Douglas N. The 80/10/10 Diet

Graham, Dr. Douglas N. The New High Energy Diet Recipe Guide.

Kahn, Joel, MD. The Whole Heart Solution

Klein, Donna. The PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Vegetarian Cookbook: 240 Healthy and Easy No-Prep Recipes for Busy Cooks

Kordich, Jay. The Juiceman’s Power of Juicing: Delicious Juice Recipes for Energy, Health, Weight Loss, and Relief from Scores of Common Ailments 

Krizmanic, Judy. The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook

Livingston, Ellen. The Ultimate Raw Food Diet Detox and Wellness Program

Mackey, John and Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD. The Whole Foods Diet

McCauley, CNHP, NC, Laketa. Taking Every “Bite” Seriously.

Mercola, Dr. Joseph. Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Ossipinsky,LMT, CST-D, LLCC, John. An Undetected Acid-Alkaline Imbalance

Powers, Susan. Rawmazing: Over 130 Simple Raw Recipes for Radiant Health

Schenck, LAc, MTOM, Susan and Victoria BidWell. The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet 

Steen, Celine and Joni Marie Newman. The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions

Steen, Celine and Tamasin Noyes. The Great Vegan Protein Book

Terry, Bryant. Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy and Creative African-American Cuisine

Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future