The Pursuit of Growth lifestyle is a commitment to live life striving to become the best version of yourself. Your health is of utmost importance to this journey. The diet you choose to consume has a tremendous impact on your mental and physical health, and is key to a life of joy, accomplishment, and peace of mind.  There are numerous healthy diets you can follow, and research from qualified nutritionists can teach you what food combinations and portions work well for different body types and health variables.

According to a new study, few Americans have a lifestyle that is considered healthy.

In fact, less than 3 percent of Americans meet the measurable characteristics that reduce a person’s risks for heart disease, according to new research published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States. It contributes to one in four deaths and kills about 610,000 Americans every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Heart Association’s Strategic Impact Goal Through 2020 and Beyond focuses on four key ways to reduce heart disease in America: not smoking, reducing body mass index (BMI), getting adequate exercise, and eating a balanced diet.

10 years ago, I began my personal journey to consume a diet that would help me flourish in life. I researched, studied, and developed a list of universally accepted healthy foods that I would consume, and I also created a list of foods that I needed to limit in my diet. I created “Eat” and “Avoid” lists. My “Eat” list is now my shopping list, and my guide to eating when I dine out at restaurants.  My “Avoid” list contain foods that I only eat on special occasions or planned indulgence days. I typically consume 80% to 90% of my diet strictly from items on my “Eat” list, with the remaining 10% to 20% of items on my “Avoid” list (which I believe contain some of the most delicious tasting foods on the planet!)

The results of my dedication to a clean diet have made a big impact on my day-to-day life. Over the past 10 years I have missed less than 5 days of work due to sickness, I have far more energy and mental clarity than I felt in my 20’s and 30’s (I’m 43 years old), and I’m able to maintain a robust physical fitness schedule. Science confirms that my commitment to a healthy diet is a major contributor to these accomplishments. While I continue to learn and grow in my knowledge and understanding of nutrition, I’m certain of one truth.  A healthy diet requires research, sacrifice, and self-discipline.

I’ve listed my current “Eat” and “Avoid” lists in specific food categories for you to review.  I focus my consumption primarily on the food nature provides. Notice, you will not find fast foods, sugary snacks, or junk food on my “Eat” list.

Will you research, study, and create a similar list for yourself? Is your long-term health, or your short-term satisfaction more important? Your quality of life depends on it.

If you really want to know why your health is so important, just ask someone who doesn’t have it.



  • Chicken breast (non-fried)
  • Turkey breast (not cold cuts)
  • Pork
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Tuna/Yellowfin
  • Lobster
  • Crab
  • Shrimp
  • Lean steak
  • Lean ground beef
  • Lean bison
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Natural turkey bacon
  • Edamame
  • Non-sugary protein bars


  • Sausage
  • Salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Fatty ground beef
  • Fatty steak
  • Hot dogs
  • Corn beef
  • Cheeseburgers/hamburgers
  • Deli meat and cold cuts
  • High-fat cottage cheese
  • Non-Greek yogurt
  • Processed soy/tofu


  • Yams
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Arugala
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Butternut squash
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • String beans
  • Cucumber
  • Ginger


  • White potatoes
  • French fries
  • Canned veggies
  • Canned soup
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • Baked beans


  • Tomatoes
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Clementines
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Pomegranate
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Plums
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons/lemon juice
  • Limes/lime juice
  • Grapes
  • Apricots
  • Guava
  • Cranberries
  • Papaya
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Passion fruit


  • Dried fruit
  • Raisins
  • Figs
  • Dates


  • Plain oatmeal/rolled oats
  • Steel cut oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Pita
  • Plain rice cakes
  • Wheat germ
  • Cereals with zero sugar


  • White rice
  • White bread
  • White pasta
  • Flavored oatmeal
  • Flavored rice cakes
  • Bagels
  • Rolls
  • Donuts
  • Muffins
  • Sugar cereal
  • Granola
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Sugary rice cakes
  • Cake
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Pretzels
  • Pastries
  • Candy
  • Chocolate bars


  • Natural peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Almonds (low sodium)
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower seeds (low sodium)
  • Mixed nuts (low sodium)
  • Avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Flax seeds
  • Flax oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Virgin coconut oil
  • Olives
  • Natural cheeses
  • Low fat milk
  • Almond milk
  • Flax milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Nut bars
  • Fish Oil & Omega-3’s


  • Artificial peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Margarine
  • Half & half
  • Sugary coffee creamer
  • Ice cream
  • Sour cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Processed cheese
  • Sweetened coconut
  • High sodium nuts


  • Organic ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Hummus
  • Pesto
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cooking spices – pepper, oregano, basil, cumin, curry, rosemary, garlic, cayenne, red pepper flakes etc.
  • Extracts – peppermint, vanilla, etc.
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa powder


  • Sugary Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Miracle whip
  • BBQ sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Soy sauce
  • Soup mix


  • Water
  • 100% natural fruit juice
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Unsweetened green tea
  • Flavored water (no art. sweeteners)
  • Coffee
  • Seltzer
  • Coconut water


  • Soda & diet soda
  • Unnatural/sweetened fruit juice
  • Sugar sweetened iced
  • Sugar sweetened sports drinks
  • Sugar sweetened lemonade
  • Sugar sweetened coffee drinks
  • Energy drinks


  • Stevia
  • Monk Fruit
  • Raw Honey


  • Added Sugar
  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Sugar Alcohol
  • Processed honey
  • Maple syrup