“Diets and deprivation do not work and they are not maintainable,” states Laura Heflin in her recent release, Live Healthy With Laura (Gatekeeper Press).

In it, Heflin relates her own experience with the strict, traditional style of dieting, the anxiety and depression that it caused for her, and how she found a better way to diet. The book takes a close look at what’s wrong with calorie-counting diets, addresses the non-physical “nourishment” of food, and examines the when and why of our eating habits. 

Live Healthy With Laura, then, is not really a “diet book” but an “eating lifestyle book” that will help you “take a stand against the stigma of healthy eating,” enjoy food, improve your nutrition and lose weight. Heflin argues persuasively that “happy” is an essential element in “healthy,” and that in order to reduce stress hormones that ruin both happiness and health, the enjoyment factor must be there. The ideal result, Heflin says, is “feeling satisfied, well-nourished, energetic, and full of life all day long!”


She shows us how through ten easy-to-understand general principles. For example, she coaches us to “Become a Planner” because unhealthy eating usually starts with impulse eating. By planning your meals, you won’t end up a hopeless victim of your empty stomach and a convenient piece of junk food. 

Heflin also addresses metabolism as part of diet and health, and how calorie-counting — a method that ignores metabolism as a factor — can have disastrous results. If the nutritional needs of the body are not met, she explains, metabolism slows, anxiety and stress increase, and hormones become unbalanced. On the other hand, some foods (and eating schedules) can boost metabolism, leading to higher energy levels and weight loss.

Another principle is “eat small and often,” and Heflin recommends eating “twice as often, half as much” and always eating within one hour of waking up. This “small and often” style of eating is called “grazing”  (seemingly the opposite of the trendy intermittent-fasting diets we’ve been hearing about lately), and it boosts metabolism.

She also advises an 80/20 eating plan, in which 20 percent of all you eat is “whatever I want” time, and we allow ourselves to indulge without guilt: “…there is just something so liberating about being able to sit down at a restaurant and order whatever I want without feeling guilty… Give me the breadsticks, spaghetti carbonara with extra bacon bits, wine, and tiramisu and I am one happy girl!”

Her advice in regard to exercise is to find the exercise that you enjoy.  Jogging, for example, is an efficient exercise in that it burns fat, increases cardiovascular health, and requires little equipment or special facilities. But some people hate jogging, and therefore should not jog. Heflin also explains why blood type may be the reason why some people love adrenalin-filled exercising and some don’t.

In a section about “Tuning In to Your Body” Heflin asks us all to “check-in” on ourselves, and listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us. She offers a list of questions to ask ourselves: How you are feeling?  How is your energy level? Your stress level? Here again, she emphasizes the need to treat ourselves well and prioritize our own wellness.


Along with the advice are a treasure trove of recipes that include healthy alternatives to standard dishes, using healthfood-store substitutes for the usual ingredients, including ideas for every meal and even rich desserts. Only the best ingredients are used — both nutritionally and flavor-wise — such as coconut, blueberries, yogurt, raw honey and monk fruit extract. The dishes I tried were delicious and satisfying and well worth the trip to the store for the less familiar ingredients (made easier by Heflin’s thoughtful inclusion of a shopping list complete with quantities required).

The recipes are accompanied by Instagram-worthy photos that’ll make you drool in anticipation. Says Heflin, “It is about what our food can do for our body! I believe that food should be as good for you as it tastes! That’s my motto!” It will be your motto too, once you see for yourself how delicious good nutrition can taste.

Buy this book!

Photo credit: Amber Harrington Photography

Laura Heflin is an AFPA-certified nutrition and wellness consultant who is passionate and fascinated with all of the aspects that make up a healthy lifestyle. Her message is refreshingly simple and clear and free of fads: a healthy, balanced lifestyle should be long-lasting and manageable according to each individual’s life and needs. She is available for personal consultation. Learn more on her website.