3 Simple Ways to Eat Well



Dr. Natalie Cheng-Kai-On, ND

Naturopathic Doctor, Acupuncturist and Hypnotherapist

Photo Credit: Dr. Natalie Cheng-Kai-On, ND

Dr. Natalie Cheng-Kai-On, ND has practiced naturopathic medicine and acupuncture for the last fifteen years and is available for Telemedicine (video conference or by phone) appointments in Ontario. She focuses on diet and exercise – the foundation of health, to help people reach their health goals. She became a Certified Coach with FASTer Way to Fat Loss®, to help people make lasting lifestyle changes with the program’s signature six-week new client experience.

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3 Simple Ways to Eat Well

Written by Dr. Natalie Cheng-Kai-On, ND

It may sound shocking, but fast food doesn’t have to be expensive or unhealthy.

As a mother of two children and a naturopathic doctor, I understand that life is busier than ever and people often don’t have time to take care of themselves. But that doesn’t mean that it’s hard to eat a balanced meal. Of course, you can sign up for some healthy meal guides or meal delivery kits, but they can get expensive. So what can you do? Whether you live alone or you are in charge of meal planning for a household, here are three simple tips to make healthy food fast.

When you eat balanced and healthy meals, you should notice better digestion, improved sleep, more energy, better skin, less pain and the list goes on. If you eat clean for a month, but don’t notice any improvement in your health, then you should seek help from a health practitioner or naturopathic doctor. You may have underlying nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalance or other conditions that need medical supervision.

Tip #1

Divide your plate.

1/2 leafy veggies

1/4 starchy veggies or grains

1/4 protein rich legumes and beans

Top with nuts, seeds and cold pressed oil. Eat fruit in between meals. With this strategy, there’s no need to weigh food or count calories. The proportion of food is what makes this a balanced meal.

Tip #2

Season your food.

Use herbs, spices, lemon and lime to season your food. You can also add coconut or soy aminos for extra flavour.

Tip #3

Eat a whole food diet and eat enough.

When you eat a colourful rainbow of food, you will get a variety of vitamins and minerals. These are called micronutrients. Usually, people crave sugary and fatty foods because they don’t get enough nutrients or calories. I’ve seen so many people who claim to eat healthy during the day and then can’t stop their cravings at night. When you fill up on nutrients, you will notice that you won’t crave the extra junk.


Note from Monica Ng (website creator): Dr. Cheng-Kai-On, ND is my naturopathic doctor. I got a lot of helpful information from her during my consults, so I reached out to her to write an article for my site.

It’s important to stay on top of your own health and find out the best ways to maintain your body and improve your health naturally. For myself, life is extremely busy and I spend a lot of time hiking and biking. I need lots of energy to keep going. Where possible, I use natural products and stay away from chemicals. I try to eat whole foods (i.e. food that is in its original form such as vegetables) vs. packaged/processed foods and avoid food containing ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Take some time to read food labels – you might be surprised at how many additives there are.

Since I’m vegan and there is a massive movement towards eating a plant-based diet (perhaps for health, environmental reasons and ending animal cruelty), I asked Dr. Cheng-Kai-On, ND, to write this article keeping a plant-based diet in mind.

Getting fit

photo of a bike
Photo credit: Ryan M

Where to begin?

Thinking of getting fit this year but feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start?

Getting fit is not just about exercising for hours. It is a combination of exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep and mental focus (including de-stressing yourself and thinking positive).

I do not view exercise as a chore. Exercising gives me energy and relaxes me. I remember that I need to take time for myself, or I will not be healthy for my family long-term.

Find an exercise that you enjoy

I am not the type to enjoy running on a treadmill, so I constantly look for different ways to make my workouts exciting. I am currently combining dance, boxing/martial arts and yoga (so basically aerobic workout) alternating every second day with circuit weight-training (basically doing a variety of exercises using free weights like dumbbells and bar). You wonder how that’s possible? Well, you gotta use your imagination a bit!

Based on research, exercising does wonders for your health and brain. Yo! If you really must play Candy Crush or plop yourself in front of the TV, at least get on an exercise bike.

Here are just 5 simple ways to start

  1. Small steps. If you have never exercised before, you may want to consult your doctor before beginning. I would suggest that you start with walking and some light weight-lifting. If you are not sure how to lift weights, you can join the gym and hire a trainer for a few sessions, or as many people do – watch YouTube videos! Weight-lifting is really good for building muscles. And more muscle mass in turn means better calorie/fat-burning and protects against osteoporosis. If you need motivation and a goal for walking, you can buy yourself any of the watches that record your steps (such as a FitBit).
  2. Choose your exercise. If you have joint pain, an exercise like swimming or yoga might be suitable. Not sure what you like? Try everything!
  3. Master your breathing technique. I am learning yoga on my own from a book that I bought 20 years ago. The most important thing is learning how to inhale and exhale through your nose. I think most of us tend to breathe in through our nose, but breathe out through our mouth. I Googled why it is good to inhale and exhale through the nose, and discovered that when we breathe in we take in oxygen (duh!). If we breathe out through our mouth the action is quick, so the oxygen does not have as much time to absorb and fuel our bodies. So by exhaling through our noses the process is slowed down. This sounds very logical eh? I have applied this breathing technique not just to yoga, but to my everyday life.
  4. Eat healthier. Start simple by cutting out the junk and processed food. Work on incorporating more whole foods (for example, this means eating the actual vegetable like corn and not canned corn).
  5. Don’t feel guilty if you skip a day. It is ok to skip a day if you really don’t feel like working out. Don’t feel guilty about it. Just keep going the next day. It is recommended that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous exercise a week. More for children. www.canada.ca

In this thing called life, I believe our health (physical and mental) is number one. After dealing with two post-stroke parents for many years, I say that I do not want to “STROKE-OUT”.

Stay healthy!