14 In Health Lifestyle Choices/ RECIPES

September is Healthy Aging Month

What is healthy ageing?

The World Health Organization defines healthy ageing as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”. (AKA – Savvy age) Functional ability is about having the capabilities that enable all people to be and do what they have reason to value. (love this explanation)

This includes a person’s ability to –

  • Meet their basic needs
  • Learn, grow and make decisions
  • Be mobile
  • Build and maintain relationships, and
  • Contribute to society

A plant-based diet is encouraged by the Blue Zone

Dan Buettner, founder of the Blue Zones (read about it HERE) suggests that healthy ageing can be found by following his nine specific lifestyle habits the Power 9 (this is how I’ve been trying to live my life)

  • Move naturally
  • Purpose
  • Belong
  • Loved ones first
  • Right tribe
  • Wine at 5
  • Plant slant
  • 80% rule
  • Downshift

I have been giving a lot of thought to healthy ageing and what steps I should have in place to live comfortably to the ripe old age of 100…yes! I want to live to 100 years old, with a sound mind and a healthy body.

In the past when I thought about the whole ageing thing…I wondered if maybe I should cut down on cocktails, cut down on useless calories. Maybe amp up the fitness….but these thoughts were based mostly on vanity! Damn, I wanted to look good, fight the wrinkles, lose any sign of grey and fit into snug jeans!

These last few months however have been a true eye-opener. I have been doing a lot of reading on healthy ageing…not so much about looking great…more about feeling great! How to be great! How to live great!

I have been working on so many blogs lately only to delete them upon completion. Suddenly my coffee table decor didn’t seem important enough to write about. I didn’t think my bedroom makeover was worthy of sharing. Recipes could wait. I deleted them all. (say it isn’t so!) Of course, now I am p***ed at myself for completely deleting them as I am sure I will want to share them all in time.

For now, Savvy Snowbirds is going to take a little pivot.  Let’s talk about growing old! Healthy ageing! Don’t ya’ll go rolling your eyes at me!!! We can do it gracefully and still fight the wrinkles and grey hairs every step of the way!!!

Let’s share our best-kept secrets. What do we eat? How do we exercise? Are we getting enough sleep? What do we do for aches and pains? Do we have issues with our ‘lady bits’? How is your mental stability? Still grateful for all that you have?

This is a lot to write about in one blog. Let’s break it down a bit.

For those that are not aware, my hubby was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumour days upon returning from Florida this past spring. Apparently, if you are going to have a brain tumour this is the one you want. Steve had surgery to remove the tumour and he followed up with 6 weeks of radiation. We are done now…to say it’s relief is an understatement. I have actually been working on a blog post dedicated to this entire chapter of our lives. I’m just not quite ready to share it yet…the point is, I have had a lot to think about in terms of living our healthiest lives.

The first thing I think of when being healthy or trying to be healthy is diet. “Let thy food be thy medicine” Hippocrates

Truer words have never been spoken. I don’t know about you ladies (and few gents) but when I make poor eating choices I pay for it…whether it’s gastro-related or inflammation of my joints….and sometimes for days.

I have written about so many diets in the past. I have listed links to them all below if you are interested in any of them.

Before I left for Florida last fall (Nov 2020) I started intermittent fasting. I did it for a couple of reasons. I wanted to lose a quick 10 lbs and I wanted to get a handle on inflammation. This diet touts the results of both of these.

I ordered the book ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’ by Canadian Dr. Jason Fung (book available HERE)

Dr. Jason Fung is a Canadian nephrologist. (Kidney Dr) He’s a world-leading expert on intermittent fasting. He has written three best-selling health books.

Intermittent Fasting

There are a number of ways to fast. I chose the 16/8 method. It involves fasting every day for about 16 hours and restricting your daily eating window to approximately 8 hours. Fasting 16 hours is as simple as skipping breakfast. I found it very easy to do. The first couple of days I did think about all the wonderful things I could be having for breakfast but instead, I chose a coffee! In no time at all, I stopped thinking about it.

For example, if you finish your last meal at 7 p.m. and don’t eat until 11:00 AM the next day, you’re technically fasting for 16 hours.

You can drink water, coffee, tea and other zero-calorie beverages during the fast, which can help reduce feelings of hunger. Tea and coffee should be taken black…which in the beginning I couldn’t do. I could not drink black coffee. Within a few weeks, I weaned myself off milk and have never looked back.

I easily lost 20 lbs in 2 months!!

I went from 160 lbs to 140 lbs in approximately two months. I have managed to EASILY keep it off while being very comfortable with what I eat and drink. I don’t feel that I am restricting my diet at all. While I do eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, I also eat pasta and bread a couple of times a week.  I would like to be able to cut back on some very unwanted sugar-laden calories. I don’t seem to have the willpower right now….a bit of an addiction ~sigh~

To reap the benefits of intermittent fasting, it is very important to primarily eat healthy foods during your eating window. This method won’t work if you eat lots of processed foods or an excessive number of calories.

There are other ways that you can do your intermittent fast:

  • 5:2 is eating as you normally would for 5 days a week and the other 2 days you would only eat 500 calories. You can fast on any two days, they don’t have to be back to back. 
  • Eat Stop Eat involves a 24 hour fast each week….yikes!
  • Warrior Method is eating only raw fruits and veggies during the day and having one regular meal in the evening within a 4-hour window. You can basically graze for 4 hours. 

It is said that intermittent fasting can

  • reduce oxidative stress and inflammation
  • benefit heart health
  • can induce cellular repair
  • weight loss
  • prevent cancer
  • can improve brain health HA! Still waiting for my memory to come back. If you missed it you can read about it HERE
  • may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • extend your life span
  • lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes

It sounds like a miracle diet doesn’t it? LOL…I don’t know how it will help my healthy ageing quest in the future but I can tell you that right now I feel great!!! I feel great about my weight and my joints are feeling much better than in past years. Yes…years!!! I do still get inflammation when I load up on sugar. GAAAAAA ~~~~~~Help me stop!

Past diets that I have done some research on can be found below.

Read about the Blue Zone HERE

Medeteranian Diet HERE

Raw Diet HERE

South Beach Diet HERE

Weight Watchers Diet HERE

Vegan Diet HERE

Vegetarian Diet HERE

Ketogenic Diet HERE

Atkins Diet HERE

Healthy ageing, vegan recipe

This is a simple vegan recipe idea that you can tweak to make it your own. I never measure….so just wing it, you cannot make a mess of it. (I am not much of a food photographer!)


  • 1 spaghetti squash – good source of fibre, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6.
  • 2ish tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 – 1 onion chopped
  • 2-3 cups of chopped mushrooms – great immunity booster!!!
  • 1 28 oz can of tomatoes
  • 3-4 tbsp tomatoes paste
  • I like to add fresh herbs from my garden…whatever is growing
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • chilli flakes
  • grated parmesan cheese


Cook spaghetti squash in the oven.

While squash is cooking… heat oil in a large saucepan and add minced garlic and chopped onion, sautee for a few minutes. Add chopped mushrooms and continue sauteeing until water from mushrooms evaporates. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. I put full cuttings of herbs (as opposed to picking the leaves off) directly into the sauce. add chia seeds and allow to cook over medium heat for 30ish minutes. 

When squash is ready use two forks to scrape from the skin. Remove the herb cuttings from the sauce. Spoon sauce over spaghetti squash. Add some grated parm and chilli flakes. I love this with a piece of crusty bread and a side salad. 

Have you tried intermittent fasting? Do you have a diet that you stick to? What is your go-to healthy recipe? I’d love to hear from you below…drop me line. You never know who you might inspire.


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  • Reply
    Joan Livermore
    September 6, 2021 at 8:09 AM

    Love this post Marion – full of great info and so Inspiring!

    • Reply
      September 7, 2021 at 11:45 AM

      Thank you, Joan.
      You, my friend, are inspiring! I see you jogging by my house as I am sitting on the porch drinking coffee and being lazy…often it wakes me up and gets moving…either taking Tank for a walk or hitting the gym!!

  • Reply
    Steve Duffield
    September 6, 2021 at 8:43 AM

    Good Blog

    Is there a reason you didn’t mention that Billy Miller asked you out in front of me in case things didn’t work out.


    • Reply
      September 7, 2021 at 11:42 AM

      HAHA…I was saving that for another blog. BTW…do you have his number?

  • Reply
    Mary Lynn
    September 6, 2021 at 10:04 AM

    Marion great to have you back doing your blog, finally something to read with my coffee, i am going to try the intermittent fasting diet, actually TODAY. You are right getting old is not that bad if you are healthy. BTW can you have wine on this diet if you do it in the 8 hours? Wonderful to see you the other day and you look amazing.
    ML xo

    • Reply
      September 7, 2021 at 11:42 AM

      Thank you for the compliment! You are the third person that has told me they are going to try intermittent fasting…it truly is easy ML! I LOVE food and can pretty much stick to it. Obviously, there are some days or nights when it goes out the window…but 90% of the time I am good.
      …age is all but a number if you are healthy!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Colasimone
    September 6, 2021 at 10:12 AM

    Welcome back Mare…..I’ve missed all your stories. We are so happy that Steve’s treatment is behind you and your new journey begins. You’re so right about making better choices especially when it comes to what we put into our bodies. I don’t think I want to live to 100 but, whatever age “He” decides is my expiry, I pray I still have my mind. Will never give up hair color or Botox 😂

    • Reply
      September 7, 2021 at 11:39 AM

      HAHA I am getting highlights this week. I haven’t had botox in years…but WOW I have RBF!! What can I do about THAT?
      Grateful to be on the next journey as well Sue. xo

  • Reply
    Betty King
    September 6, 2021 at 5:00 PM

    Glad to see you are back! There is a saying “you are what you eat”. A movie to watch called The Game Changers is very interesting and informative. It’s all about plant base diet.
    Great that you lost 20 lbs. but didn’t think you needed to lose the weight. I like the 16/8. It is doable. It also helps to skip the cocktail hour!! Not ready to do that yet!! Hugs BBma

    • Reply
      September 7, 2021 at 11:36 AM

      Glad to be back BB!!! I did watch the movie called the Game Changers! It was excellent. HA – I didn’t think I had 20lbs to lose either…but now when I look back at some pics I really had some chubby cheeks going on…both ends! LOL The 16/8 is very doable…last winter when we were out for a later dinner and cocktails I just changed my brunch time the next day to an hour later. It really is quite simple.
      Hugs right back to you.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2021 at 5:04 PM

    I will try this, Marion! Over my lifetime I have done Atkins, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, South Beach, Weight Watchers, The Virgin Diet, and so many more I can’t even recall anymore but ‘m sure I have the books to prove it somehwere… and all I ever accomplished was losing 5-10 lbs. that came back when I stopped the ‘program’. I am in my mid-60s and 20 pounds overweight. The fact that you lost 20 lbs. in 2 months just by following intermittent fasting is blowing me away. I am definitely going to try not eating anything until lunch and see what happens. I am truly so exhausted from all the conflicting information out there. J.J.Virgin and other leading nutritionists say you need to eat within 1 hour of waking to kick start your metabolism into fat-burning mode – so that’s what I’ve been doing. (Plus I always wake up hungry!) But I can’t argue with your actual results! You inspire me. So I will give this a go and let you know what happens. Thank you so much for sharing. And I am happy to learn that your husband is doing well after such a scary diagnosis.

    • Reply
      September 8, 2021 at 2:25 PM

      Hi Laurie, thanks for stopping in to read Savvy Snowbirds. I am not a nutritionist but I do work closely with one and I passed this all by her before I started. I didn’t want to get into something that could be harmful or was just a fad. My nutritionist does not advocate diets at all but she does believe in all of the healthy benefits of IF -Intermittent Fasting. Her opinion is that weight loss is just an added bonus to all of the other great things this lifestyle touts. I have had so many emails and texts asking me questions about IF. Apparently, you are not alone with all of the confusing information out there. My own personal experience is exactly as I stated. I lost 20lbs without really trying. I strongly recommend you read more about IF. I mentioned the book I used in the blog. You should also speak with a professional – Dr or nutritionist to be sure this is the right thing for you to be doing. I am interested in how you make out with it…please keep me posted!!! And yes…the hubster is doing very well indeed!

  • Reply
    Val Cater
    September 8, 2021 at 9:28 AM

    Hey Mare! Yes, self preservation and healthiness are so vital to our livelihood especially after trauma. Think you both are living proof of that!😉🥰 Having been plant based for many years now, I can guarantee it’s the better choice for health, skin, internal cleansing, inflamation, etc, etc, etc…..and weight loss! You and Steve both look fabulous and I’m sure your mental health is on the positive track after all this time. You both are HEROS!❤️❤️

    • Reply
      September 8, 2021 at 10:58 AM

      ah shucks, Val!!! Thank you so much! You are very inspiring. I love going out for dinner with you and just copying what you eat…I know I’ll have a healthy meal!! Except for all the wine after! LOL…you always look amazing…so put together! Looking forward to our very healthy and early (good for my intermittent fasting clock) dinner this evening.

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