What I Traded For 50 (And Beyond)

All of my life I have been thin. I have been a dancer and a yogi and I love food. I am a foodie! I love healthy food but, for decades, I just did not put a whole lot of thought into what I ate. Even in my 40s, when I began to notice that foods like pancakes and pasta, or anything with sugar in it made me feel bad, I didn’t really change my eating habits. I made small changes, like eating bread from sprouted grains, but I kept right on enjoying all kinds of foods.

By the time I hit 50, those subtle ‘I don’t feel so good’ hints became much more obvious. I could tell I just wasn’t vibrating at the same energy level whenever I ate anything with refined sugar or flour. I would feel bloated and my digestion would suffer. I had the same problem with dairy. Even wine, which I loved, was taking a toll on my sleep, not to mention dehydrating me.  I realized that it was time to stop overlooking the hints, listen to my body and make changes. I saw this future for myself – of travel, adventure, teaching workshops around the world, helping others make the connection to yoga and energy that I have been so blessed with… my husband. I wanted to be around for all of this.

Listening to my body – I mean really listening – was the smartest thing I could have done. I am really happy to say, post menopause, that I managed to sail through it without prolonged episodes of mood swings, hot flashes or insomnia, like so many women have. Some of that may be genetics, but I am confident that changing my diet changed the course of how my body would react to the hormonal fluctuations of menopause. And I am so grateful.

Now, at 55, I could never go back to those old eating habits. No more sugar, flour, alcohol, dairy, or coffee. I have an occasional glass of wine with dinner and not have any ill effects, but I have no interest in any other alcohol. I don’t consider myself vegan, vegetarian or 100% raw, but my diet consists mainly of fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, with animal protein like eggs and fish in very limited quantities. My sweet indulgence is 85% dark chocolate. I oil pull for 30 minutes most mornings with coconut oil, take a fish oil supplement, occasionally Vitamin D3, CoCorcumin and Spirulina or Chlorella every day, and often use priobiotics. My diet consists of a green smoothie combo I created that I’ll include, salad for lunch most days and sautéed veggies with a protein source and quinoa or sweet potatoes for dinner.  But, I also like cooked food. I travel so I need to eat in restaurants. I have to surrender a little control now and then, but I still enjoy it so it is worth it.

I didn’t make these changes overnight. It took time, and I was not always diligent – I swung back and forth for while before feeling better outweighed temptation. I also found that the Vegan Cleanse I did for 3 weeks in January 2012 helped reset my body and brain. It led to co-creating the Eat Green Challenge webinar with Cate Stillman, which you can find on the home page of my website. The webinar explains how to do this transformational cleanse and it is still available for $97.

How you get to 50 and beyond is up to you, but I promise you that healthy changes will meet with positive results.

Green Smoothie Recipe
(Best made in a high speed blender)

green drink



Dandelion greens
Lettuce or spinach
One apple
Fresh Ginger (powder is fine as well)
Fresh Turmeric (powder is fine as well)
Coconut milk

Additional Optional Ingredients:

Pinch of ground cloves

Ice or frozen fruit of choice

Any additional fresh fruit if more sweet is desired

Super foods of choice: spirulina, chia seeds, cocurcumin, maca, cacao, bee pollen

More good fat if desired: coconut flakes, coconut butter, almond butter, or avocado (choose one)

Banana is optional


  1. Use any variety of the ingredients listed above, add or subtract any that you like.
  2. Cut the rind from all the citrus, remove any seeds and put the fruit into the blender whole. Amounts are up to you and your desired level of sweetness. Ice makes it cold and even more delicious, but it is optional.
  3. Blend on high to desired consistency. If you like a smoother beverage, add more liquid. If you like it chunky, use less liquid and blend on a lower speed for less time.


  • Greens. I like my smoothie dark green, but you can use any combination of greens you like.
  • Start out slow. Please note that if you use all of these ingredients at once you may have digestive disturbance. The best advice is to keep it simple at first and see how you feel. Also, drink this mixture slowly.
  • Quantity. We each drink one quart of this every morning.
  • Need more protein? If you need more protein you can add hemp powder or make some eggs to eat while you sip your smoothie.
  • Preparing Ahead.You can make this at night and drink it the next morning if you have to get going early. You can also freeze it in a glass mason jar and then defrost it as needed.

There are many great green smoothie recipes out there. Once you get the hang of it I know you will find your favorite combo. You get to control the amounts of everything. The important thing to notice is how you feel and how it digests.



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About Desiree

Desiree travels the world full time sharing her compassion and her joy with others interested in the transformational power of yoga. Together with Michelle Marchildon, she has written “Fearless After Fifty: How To Thrive with Grace, Grit and Yoga.” She has produced a DVD series entitled “Yoga to the Rescue” and is a regular contributor to Yoga Journal, having also appeared on its cover.