“Let food by thy medicine.” ~ Hippocrates

Mary’s Reality-Based Nutrition has a Facebook page: Check it out here! and you can follow Mary on Pinterest!

I currently live in Northern California with my wonderful husband of 34 years and our fur-child Mona (the love of our lives). We love being in nature and playing in the dirt (so does Mona) in our culinary/medicinal herb garden.

I am a Registered Nurse with a general background in nutrition. I received my training at Los Angeles County General Hospital Nursing School. Nutrition was an important part of our training which ignited my passion for wellness through nutrition and diet. I have been researching, studying, and living the positive effects of food as it pertains to our well-being for over 50 years. I completed the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, Completed October 2020, T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell. This course verified that the optimal way of eating is a whole food plant-based diet. 

I am affiliated with the San Diego Cancer Research Institute (a 501(c)(3) non-profit) where I facilitated a weekly nutrition group at their free clinic for 5 years. I presented the best nutritional choices for our clients in all phases of their cancer journeys and encouraged them to make informed decisions regarding their diets.

Each one of us is a unique individual on our own unique path. One size does not fit all when it comes to personal healthcare. Therefore, it is important for us to be our own advocates when it comes to our health. The first step is educating yourself about your disease and the role nutrition plays in treating it.

That is where this site comes in because we all know, that knowledge is power! Please feel free to email me anytime at if you have any questions. Be well!

This page is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate, diagnose, or comment on any form of medicine, medical therapy or medical help. It is for information purposes only. It does not reflect the views of the San Diego Cancer Research Institute or its Board of Directors.

You may download or print these handouts.

Mary’s Nutrition Tips During Chemotherapy

Mary’s Nutritional Guidelines

The WFPB Diet

Following a WFPB, Whole Food Plant-Based, a diet without added oil or added sugar is not a decision that should be made lightly. It is a commitment that can be a meaningful life change. The health benefits are many & are worth the trouble. You will see a change in a matter of a few weeks.

Being a nurse & being a people person I have learned that it is not a good idea to make changes this large during a crisis or when in a high-stress situation. Moving towards a WFPB diet by omitting dairy & meat, omitting processed foods, omitting added sugar, and added oils, buying organic, and getting plenty of exercise and fresh air is equal to moving towards a healthier lifestyle. Making these changes one at a time over months will make them less stressful & a permanent part of your lifestyle.

There are 2 types of WFPB adherents & vegans; those looking for a healthier way of eating & those who embrace the healthy, compassionate, vegan lifestyle. Both are wonderfully healthy ways to live. I will strictly focus on the WFPB diet. The simple definition of a vegan (vay-gun or vee-gn) is a vegetarian who omits all animal products from their diet. The simple definition of a WFPB diet is a vegan diet without any added oils or added sugars. Following a healthy WFPB diet is a bit more complicated. As with any way of eating, we must take care in our nutritional choices.

Forks Over Knives: Plant-Based Diet vs. Vegan Diet: What’s the Difference? By Brian Wendel May 9, 2019

No added oil means just that. We don’t use processed oils when cooking or baking and we don’t purchase products that have oil added to them. We get our fat naturally, from nuts, grains, tofu & tempeh for example. No added sugar means no processed sugar. I use mainly date paste or maple syrup when baking & I don’t buy products with added sugars in them.

A cupcake, candy bar, cookies, bread, pasta dishes, & more can be WFPB or vegan. Not all of these products are necessarily the healthiest of choices. In general, you should follow the same dietary suggestions as anyone else. No alcohol, avoid processed foods, read the labels, avoid added sugars & added oils by checking the ingredient list, eat a plant-based diet, exercise, etc. Don’t be a WFPB or Vegan junk food junkie!

Is this a realistic choice for most people? Yes, I think it can be. But, as I said above it is a commitment not to be taken lightly. It means looking at what foods you have grown up with; your comfort foods, your cultural foods as well as what you can financially afford. It also means making sure you are eating from all the food groups & that your meals are balanced.

A few tips from my personal experience:

  • Don’t become a fanatic. You don’t need to convince anyone else. Being an example is far better than being rude & confrontational. I have seen a vegetarian throw a huge fit because a tiny piece of meat from a dish fell onto her plate at a restaurant. It was so embarrassing for everyone. No, it wasn’t me!
  • Be flexible when you go out to eat. I have never had a problem with asking for a vegan choice. It is a bit trickier if you are WFPB & not using added oils. But it can be done! Check out the menu online first or ask when you get there.
  • Take a WFPB entree with you when you are invited out to your family or friends for a meal. It is a rare hostess that does not welcome an additional dish to serve?

Don’t throw out your tried & true recipes. It is not that difficult to substitute ingredients to make the recipe WFPB. Here is a great place to start.

Center for Nutrition Studies: Plant-Based Ingredient Substitutions By Evelisse Capó, PharmD, DipACLM, May 24, 2019 — Updated October 25th, 2021 While you are there, check out their recipes.

This section is here to assist those of you who want to try a WFPB or vegan diet, to support those of you who are already WFPB or vegan & to keep us all up to date on the scientific research supporting the WFPB & vegan way of eating. As people become more interested in nutrition, the WFPB diet specifically, & the medical profession realizes that there is a specialty called Nutritional Medicine, we will see more research studies published. 

Start here: Center for Nutrition Studies: Eating Right: 8 Principles of Food and Health. By T. Colin Campbell, PhD, November 16, 2017 — Updated August 19th, 2022

Vegan Diet Research Studies

  1. Forks Over Knives: Is Soy Bad for You? Here’s What the Science Says. By Karen Asp Jul 22, 2022
  2. Forks Over Knives: 12 Studies from 2019 That Make the Case for Avoiding Meat By Joel Kahn, MD Sep 2, 2019
  3. Huffington Post: A Vegan Diet (Hugely) Helpful Against Cancer  Good article. By Kathy Freston, Contributor
  4. Medical News Today: Vegans have a ‘healthier biomarker profile’, Published Wednesday 3 April 2019, By Tim Newman Fact checked by Jasmin Collier
  5. Forks Over Knives: 8 Striking Nutrition Studies That Make the Case for Avoiding Meat.  By Andrew Beauchesne, MD Apr 23, 2018
  6. Forks Over Knives: Swapping Out Animal Protein for Plant Protein Reduces Frailty in Older Women by 42%  By Megan Edwards Jun 9, 2022
  7. Forks Over Knives: Compared with Vegan Men, Daily Milk Drinkers See 60% Higher Rates of Prostate Cancer: New Study. By Megan Edwards Jun 16, 2022

WFPB websites, blogs & recipes.

These are links to websites & blogs that I personally like. I will continue to update this page. Come back often to see what is new! 

Blogs & Recipes

***Make sure you follow me on Facebook & Pinterest for more recipes & nutrition information.…Mary 🙂

Book List

I love to read. There are so many wonderful cookbooks & reference books out there. I would like to share my favorites with you. I have gotten most of these books from the library, so don’t feel you have to rush out and buy them. I do not get remunerated if you buy from Amazon but if you do buy from Amazon, please use Amazon Smile: SDCRI.


Favorite Books

  • How to Eat: Thich Nhat Hanh  Mindful eating…  “How to Eat clearly and succinctly explains how you can incorporate eating as a form of meditation. The book provides practical advice on how to become truly nourished through the mindful preparation, serving, eating, and cleaning up of food.”
  • Michael Pollan: All his books are amazingly practical!
  • Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements: Linda Skidmore-Roth RN, MSN, NP  ” Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements! Reviewed by nurses and herbalists alike, this authoritative resource presents herb and supplement profiles in a convenient, A-Z format for fast reference.” 
  • The China Study by T. Collin Campbell
  • What the Fork Are You Eating: Stephanie Sacks.  For those of you who want to know what is in your food.

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