The winner of the Athenos feta giveaway is Charlene D!  She wrote, “The best summer food is whatever I can find at the local farmers’ market!! I am particularly loving heirloom tomatoes — and to think I detested raw tomatoes until 2 years ago!”


Breakfast on the floor!  Our house is a bit of a mess right now with our visitors, so the prime location for food photography was the floor. 🙂


Have I mentioned I am obsessed with making perfect sunny-side up eggs?  The key is to put it on a hot frying pan with lots of cooking spray – and then try not to touch it too much!


On sourdough bread:


With a fruit bowl:


Our plans for today include hitting the farmers’ market for some fruits and veggies so my mother-in-law, Nick, and I can spend the day canning!  I was really surprised that they were both so enthusiastic about it, but they are totally game.


Jen’s Healthy Tipping Point


Here’s the latest and greatest HTP!  I hope it inspires you as much as it inspired me to stay healthy for long-term.


Jen wrote:


Last fall, I saw my doctor for my annual physical exam, and expected everything to be normal. I was in pretty good shape at around 125 lbs and 5’5" tall.  I also ran three or four days a week, more than I had ever done before because my boyfriend and I motivate each other to go further and faster. I was confident that nothing could possibly be wrong, but a few weeks later, when I got my lab results back, I was shocked. I was only 8 points away from having high cholesterol. My consciousness was flooded by all the knowledge of my family history: my grandfather’s arteriosclerosis, my grandmother’s debilitating stroke, my father’s heart surgery and daily regimen of pills to lower his cholesterol and blood pressure.

walk in the woods

I was terrified. I cried, I lamented that I did "everything" right but still had high cholesterol, I had nightmares of heart attacks. And then I decided to do something. I raided the pantry and refrigerator, looked at the nutrition facts, and was surprised by what I had been eating. An Oreo here or there, the occasional slice of pizza, didn’t seem like a big deal because I ran frequently and worked off the calories; but I was feeding myself inferior fuel, and I decided that I had to change that. I cut the saturated fats, eliminating cheese, butter, and cream from my diet, along with most processed foods like packaged cookies, crackers, sugary breakfast cereals, chips, and so on. That left me with seemingly few foods, but then I started experimenting with cooking my own food. 


I started simply with oatmeal for breakfast every morning, and prepared my meals differently; I steamed vegetables instead of sautéing them in oil, and started eating more fish instead of chicken and turkey. I was surprised by how easily I could break my attachments to certain foods; I still enjoyed what I ate, but I approached it in a different way. I realized that food extended into my entire body, it didn’t just stop at my mouth and disappear after I had tasted it, but became a part of me. And to take care of myself, I had put good things into it. I also vowed to run every day, and my boyfriend held me to that promise; we started running more seriously, and now I can run a mile in about 8 minutes and 40 seconds. A few years ago, that was unfathomable to me. 


I thought I was healthy before, but I am amazed by how much better I feel. This winter was the first in several years in which I didn’t catch strep throat; in fact, I didn’t get sick at all! I had so much more energy, and found a new pleasure in pushing myself to my limits, taking up swimming and snow-shoeing. I didn’t lose a great deal of weight, but I’m so much stronger than I was last fall. At first, I was motivated by fear of going on Lipitor before I hit my mid-twenties, but that gradually turned into a positive force of continuing to do things that made me feel good. For me, it’s not about following a diet or an exercise routine, but embracing life and improving everywhere I can.


Did a health issue motivate you to get healthier?  Tell  me about it!



  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs July 17, 2010, 10:35 am

    Firstly, great shaped egg! Impressive 🙂
    Great HTP too – good for Jen for doing something about her health 🙂
    My health partly motivated me to change, but there were so many other factors too I couldn’t say it was one thing..

  • Dorry July 17, 2010, 10:42 am

    Egg perfection! My fiance is obsessed with making the perfect poached egg. 🙂

    Inspiring HTP story!

  • Run Sarah July 17, 2010, 10:43 am

    I love this post – great HTP. So many people aren’t away that although we may appear healthy and have a normal BMI, our cholesterol levels can be high which is a scary prognostic factor for current and future cardiovascular health. In my first year of school, before my own HTP, we had our levels checked as a learning opportunity and I was shocked at how low my HDL (good cholesterol!) was, probably because I never exercised. I’d love to have it checked out again to see if it’s improved!

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy July 17, 2010, 10:43 am

    You definitely don’t need to be overweight to have a HTP. I have friends that are naturally skinny and don’t take care of their health because of that. I think it’s almost more dangerous to be naturally thin because you think you’re OVER that .. 🙂

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) July 17, 2010, 10:44 am

    The hot pan is definitely key! Looks perfect!

    I love this story since she appeared healthy, but had other issues. We just talked about this with my boys the other night when we watched “Super Size Me” with them. There was one guy on there that was skinny and ate one of the burgers a couple times a day. They wanted to know how that was possible. Genetics is so tricky, no matter what, it is up to you to try to protect yourself.

    Enjoy your company today!

  • tanya July 17, 2010, 11:00 am

    Good article ,size doesn’t mean everything, genetics plays a role also.

  • Jo July 17, 2010, 11:00 am

    For me personally it wasn’t a serious medical issue, but how I felt overall. I was so sluggish and tired all the time. I knew I needed to change. I am so glad I finally found out how to live healthy!

  • Marie July 17, 2010, 11:03 am

    Great story! I’m almost in my mid-twenties, and this reminded me that I need to get to the doctor for a check-up. I also have a very bad history of hypertension and high cholesterol in my family, and I don’t think I’ve ever had my cholesterol levels checked! Thanks Jen (and Caitlin)!

    Lovely egg 😉

    • Jen July 20, 2010, 12:18 pm

      I’m glad you liked my HTP 🙂

      Definitely get to the doctor if you have a family history of heart problems! I was always aware of it, but never really took it as a serious threat to my health since I’m young. Fortunately, I caught it before it turned into a major health problem, and I’m so glad that I had that blood test done so I was more aware and made the necessary changes!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing July 17, 2010, 11:03 am

    I recently discovered that I have osteopenia and that has REALLY affected how I eat because I need to reverse it… and that’s the only way to accomplish that goal.

  • Camille July 17, 2010, 11:07 am

    Yay Jen!
    I have never had a health issue affect my eating decisions mostly because I have tried from a very young age to be aware of my food and exercise. Hopefully I have taken such good care of myself over the years that I will never have to change my eating habits!

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om) July 17, 2010, 11:07 am

    Not my health issue, but my mom’s. She had a massive stroke one month after I graduated from college. It was the worst day of my life, and the darkness continued to stay with me through the rest of ’07 and into ’08. To numb the pain and hurt and anger, I ate. You would think I would WANT to be healthy considering my MOTHER had a stroke at 46, but food was how I treated the grief. So I packed on the pounds. But now I realize that just because I am sad or upset doesn’t mean I should treat my body poorly. I also know that I don’t want to end up like my mom. She’s had a good recovery, but there are days when she can barely walk. She’s 49 now. I don’t want to be 49 and not know if I’ll be able to walk or not the next morning.

    So it took a couple of years, but my mom’s health issues have motivated me to be a healthier person … not just physically but mentally and spiritually.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) July 17, 2010, 11:08 am

    i can totally relate to this…both of my parents AND my sister (who, by the way, is a beach volleyball player and fitness model – so she works out and eats SUPER clean) all three have to take medication for their cholesterol. i have been tested and am apparently the only person who didn’t get those same issues, but i try and make a point to be healthy in my eating and my moving so that i don’t ever have to take meds for cholesterol or blood pressure!

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om) July 17, 2010, 11:09 am

    I’m sorry to post twice, but I wanted to add a response to the HTP story shared … ever since I’ve truly started focusing on my health (since October ’09), I haven’t been sick, not even a cold. It’s so cool what happens when you start treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! July 17, 2010, 11:11 am

    I love this series on your blog, Caitlin–so inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story, Jen. I’m so glad that you figured out a way to change your lifestyle in a healthy way. I don’t have any series health issues, but I know that if I hadn’t lost 50+ pounds three years ago I would have been had some pretty big problems down the line. Congratulations to you, Jen!

  • Danielle (Runs on Green) July 17, 2010, 11:12 am

    Thanks for sharing your story Jen!
    “For me, it’s not about following a diet or an exercise routine, but embracing life and improving everywhere I can.” <– words to live by 🙂

  • Ashley July 17, 2010, 11:13 am

    This HTP story resonated with me–my cholesterol is “excellent” in my doctor’s words, but I was put on blood pressure medication a few months before I turned 25 earlier this year. It’s scary to deal with something we associate with older people when we’re still so young! I was already working on getting healthier and losing weight but lately I’ve been working on changing the way that I eat, too. I have a family history of hypertension, so it could be that even if I lose weight, get fitter, and eat better I’ll still be on the medication, but at least I’ll know I’m doing what I can for myself. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Exercise and Eat July 17, 2010, 11:15 am

    Mmm… I wish you could have made me that breakfast!

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter July 17, 2010, 11:18 am

    A very inspiring story! I started to eat healthier because in 3 months I had gotten the swine flu, the seasonal flu, passed out, a sinus infection and had a horrible cold the entire time. I had just moved into my first apartment and lived off of the top raamens, cup-o-noodles, oreo’s, pasta roni’s and frozen meals. And I wondered why I got sick?

  • Tina July 17, 2010, 11:39 am

    I love how she says she realized food extended into her entire body and affected it. I think that same mindset is a big thing that helped me start taking car of myself. Great story!

  • Krystina July 17, 2010, 11:49 am

    I weighed over 350lbs and had diabetes staring me in the face every day of my life. I didn’t want to die young or have a lifelong disease, so I decided one day that I wanted life. I lost 200lbs and I will never, ever be the person I once was again. Life is so precious.

  • Emilie @ livetoeatrunforfun July 17, 2010, 11:57 am

    I canned my own ketchup last summer and it was FAB! I don’t know if you like ketchup, but it is really easy to do- you just need a load of tomatoes. You can find all different recipes online. The best part- you avoid all the weird additives in commercial ketchup, as well as the sugar.

  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope July 17, 2010, 12:03 pm

    In regards to the story, what is her cholesterol now? Was she looking at total cholesterol or HDL and LDL? My cholesterol is 196 (lab range was 120-199), so it was on the “higher” side, however, more importantly, if you look at my HDL (good) it was 89 (greater than 40 is desirable) , which is freakin’ high, which is way more important than total! Curious to see if since she’s changed everything, how her numbers look now?

    • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston July 17, 2010, 12:31 pm

      This is a good point. What really is important is the ratio between HDL and LDL.

      From American Heart Association:

      AHA Recommendation

      We recommend using the absolute numbers for total blood cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels. They’re more useful to physicians than the cholesterol ratio in determining the appropriate treatment for patients.

      Some physicians and cholesterol technicians use the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol in place of the total blood cholesterol. The ratio is obtained by dividing the HDL cholesterol level into the total cholesterol. For example, if a person has a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL and an HDL cholesterol level of 50 mg/dL, the ratio would be 4:1. The goal is to keep the ratio below 5:1; the optimum ratio is 3.5:1.

    • Jen July 20, 2010, 12:23 pm

      Hi, I’m glad that you asked this question. My HDL has risen since I’ve started running daily, from 35 to 60. I’ll have my annual bloodwork this October, so we’ll see if the total cholesterol level has lowered. Right now, I’m not as fixated on the numbers as I was at first; I just feel so much better since I started to eat better and exercise more.

  • Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt July 17, 2010, 12:07 pm

    Your egg just looks glorious!

  • Wei-Wei July 17, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Jen, I’m proud of you! You’ve learned to listen to your body and really try to find out what’s going wrong. A very interesting story 🙂


  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston July 17, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Wow this is a wonderful story and a great lesson to a lot of young people. Oftentimes people think because “they look in shape” that they are “healthy.” In fact, a skinny person can have way worse blood values than a slight overweight person.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) July 17, 2010, 12:31 pm

    I just had something similar happen. I was doing the right things and I had low sodium instead of high. It was causing dizzy spells and massive headaches. I learned that my quest to not get High Blood Pressure like my family caused Low Blood pressure and I had to start getting in some sodium. I’m working on it and I’m not as dizzy as I had been and I’m enjoying less headaches.

  • Erin July 17, 2010, 12:55 pm

    It’s so important to know numbers like that. My company offers free health screenings that test cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose and more. Thankfully mine were all healthy but it’s so important to know those numbers and be aware.

  • Sarah for Real July 17, 2010, 1:17 pm

    I have just realized that migraines have been a catalyst for my htp. After the neurologist told me I was at higher risk of stroke and permanent brain damage (yikes!) I began to change my whole way of thinking! I only realized that was my htp recently because of a party where I had the opportunity to step back into my old ways… Except that I didn’t, and I didn’t care what my old friends thought, it just felt right to me.

  • Tina July 17, 2010, 2:07 pm

    @ 29 years old I was diagnosed with osteopenia. I started running and even with the issue of Vitamin D deficiancy I still mananged to gain 4.5% in one femur and 1.5% in the other. I have some adjustments to do in my meds but to stay off the bad stuff and get enough calcium I would rather take supplements than the Rx’s, run and lift weights to build bone strength.

  • Stacey @ Tipping the (Kitchen!) Scales July 17, 2010, 3:07 pm

    Wow, love the egg – it’s so perfect on top of that piece of bread! Jen’s HTP story is great. I was motivated to change partly by my own skewed eating habits and partly by the fact that my father-in-law had to have a leg amputated. It helped me to ‘snap out’ of my own silly issues with food and to realise that if I wanted to do something about my diet, my relationship with food and to learn to love exercise, this was the time to do it!

  • Orla July 17, 2010, 3:12 pm

    My endometriosis has made me look at my lifestyle. I don’t eat dairy and have just recently stopped eating meat or meat products as the saturated fat in it affects the endo.
    It is easier to manage my condition myself as the alternative is medically induced early menopause- which at 30 is not what I want. It would be temporary but with no guarantee of restored fertility after as my fertility level is already at about 35% of what it should be.
    Thanks for sharing your experience Jen.

  • Sara July 17, 2010, 3:33 pm

    That is a really AWESOME looking fried egg!! Fried eggs (in my opinion) are one of the prettiest things anyone can cook 🙂

  • Jessica @ Rawtumn July 17, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Beautiful story and happy canning!! That kit looks great!

  • Sarah July 17, 2010, 3:45 pm

    The day that I called the ambulance for my dad (early 40s) when he had a heart attack scare when I was 16 was probably the day I swore I would strive to put my health first. That was one of the scariest days.

  • Michal July 17, 2010, 4:31 pm

    Such a great story! In my case, family history wasn’t the driving factor, but becoming healthy has made me feel much freer from my family’s health history – I realized that I could take control for the better, which has drastically changed my outlook and my future plans.
    I love that she talks (wrote) about how her relationship to food changed, because I completely feel the same. I was surprised at how easy it was to give up foods like cheese!

  • Stacey@ July 17, 2010, 5:49 pm

    Can’t wait to see how that canning works. I’m interested in getting one of those.

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) July 17, 2010, 6:02 pm

    your bowl is supa cute! where is it from?

    • caitlin July 17, 2010, 6:59 pm


  • GirlonRaw July 17, 2010, 6:59 pm

    Hey, we wouldn’t have known that was the floor if you didn’t tell us 🙂

  • Megan (Braise The Roof) July 17, 2010, 7:03 pm

    What a great reminder of how important it is to not only feed our mouths but rather to feed our entire bodies. I also had a health scare in the past 6 months that made me reevaluate how I fuel my body. Now I focus on whole, nourishing (and delicious!) foods rather than processed, low-calorie, low-fat foods. The real deal is always the way to go!

  • SP July 17, 2010, 7:08 pm

    This is a great story and inspiring. 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS, a hormonal disorder whose symptoms are similar to that of pre-diabetics – high blood sugar, sleep apnea, being overweight/obese. I had all of these symptoms. On top of that, I had a very low self-esteem because of my weight. This diagnosis was the kick in the butt I needed. Over the next 2 years, I lost 75 pounds. Now I’m a vegetarian, whole-food eater who has run several half-marathons and training for a marathon. Becoming healthy has by far been my greatest accomplishment! And now I’m helping a good friend get healthy, which is so rewarding.

  • Julie @ pickley pear July 17, 2010, 7:17 pm

    I love eggs! Sunny side up dipping the yolk in bread, yum! Thanks for Jen’s story. High cholesterol and diabetes both run in my family so I am careful.

  • Ellen@FIrednFabulous July 18, 2010, 10:07 am

    What a great story! I always think that I’m pretty healthy, but I know if I examined my diet more closely, I’d probably find a lot of things I could improve on. I don’t eat processed foods too often, but my froyo addiction is my downfall!

  • Faith @ LovelyAsCharged July 18, 2010, 10:34 am

    That’s such a great story. Congratulations, Jen, on taking the improvements in honor of your health!

    I’m a borderline hypoglycemic and both hypoglycemia and diabetes run in my family, so I’ve always been motivated to “outsmart” the sugar issues I’m genetically set up for.

  • Becca July 19, 2010, 9:26 am

    Yay Charlene! You’ve given me hope – my fiancé despises raw tomatoes while I eat them as snacks, and inhale homemade salsa by the bucketload. One day he might convert 😉

    Jen – what a great story. So many people like to present the option to us of a) take medication and feel better or b) don’t take medication and feel horrible. You have achieved c) work hard to become as healthy as possible, naturally.

    We can’t control everything, but we can do our best!

    • Jen July 20, 2010, 12:35 pm

      That’s exactly the kind of thinking that I can’t stand in the pharmaceutical industry, that medication is the only option. Lifestyle factors are huge in determining health, and it’s a great feeling to take your health into your own hands, rather than depend on medication to “fix” everything. Thanks to all of the responses, I’m glad that this has people thinking about their family history and how health is not easily inferred from physical appearance.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople July 19, 2010, 1:54 pm

    I started my healthy journey right after I got married because I wanted to have kids right away and I really wanted to be healthy for them.

    I had no idea I would lose 95 pounds, and yet three years of trying and still no baby for us! But it’ll happen if it is meant to!

  • Michelle July 19, 2010, 3:17 pm

    Great post! That egg looks delicious 🙂

    My dad had a heart attack 2 years ago and had to be brought back with an AED. Walking in right after he had been revived, riding in the ambulance with him, going to all his cardiac rehab with him, it all woke me up! I started exercising more and making healthier choices with my food. I was already pretty healthy, but one change I thought I needed to make was low-sodium everything. Then this March I passed out while working out at home and all my tests revealed that I had… low sodium! It really made me realize that BALANCE is important, and cutting out all salt was not such a great idea!

    I love reading about other people’s HTPs!!! Please keep posting them!

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