Nutritionist Benefits from Mostly Plant-Based Diet

Darin Fenger, The Sun, Yuma, Ariz.

Posted Aug 10, 2012

As a nutritionist, Jane Ibbetson knew that food choices were slowly destroying her body.

She felt like sleeping around the clock.

One leg dragged and the other hip hurt.

A thyroid problem required radioactive treatments.

And trips to the doctor never seemed to end...

"Over a period of 10 years, after two knee replacements, I still felt tired, hanging onto the wall while walking, every moment painful," Ibbetson recalls. "I was on a deep downhill slide."

Then she began researching a new way of eating. What she discovered not only revolutionized her life, it also inspired a book that offers her formula to readers who have also realized the importance of eating to live.

"After only one month of changing my eating habits, I noticed with amazement that I could just get up from my chair easily and walk without pain," Ibbetson shared in her blog. "I can now walk several miles and play with the grandkids."

The Yuma woman shares her experiences, plus recipes and a step-by-step guide of what to eat in her newly published book "Smart Eating Made Simple." The self-published book presents Ibbetson's findings about the healing power of plants, which she says can put an end to life-threatening diseases and require less expensive medical procedures or medications. Healthy living, she stresses, amounts to 20 knowledge and 80 percent action.

"Most of us do not give much thought into why the body needs food, healthy food. Usually, nutrition is far from our thoughts," she said. "I do honestly believe Americans eat way too much protein in the form of meat, which pushes the amount of vegetables to a bare minimum. Vegetables are healing foods, therefore it only stands to reason that our plate should mainly consist of vegetables with a little meat."

That message is resonating well with readers. "Smart Eating Made Simple" is being distributed throughout the U.S., along with Australia and Great Britain. "It's all over the world!" the new author said with pride. "People are hearing about it in so many ways. I think it's social media that's helping spread it around."

Ibbetson's visit with the Yuma Sun came on the heels of her phone interview with a radio station in Montreal, Canada. Her next interviews were with radio station in Arkansas and Kansas.

The book is sold locally at Barnes and Noble Booksellers and Hastings Entertainment. It's also available globally through

People may be surprised to hear that even a professional nutritionist could making wrong food choices, but Ibbetson stressed that it's more complex than it sounds. She explained that first off, she was taught to trust that food companies were making good decisions about nutritional values.

"Back in the days before food chemists entered the picture, people had a close relationship with the food that eventually wound up on their plates and in their stomachs," Ibbetson said. "Plants often served as food and medicine at the same time."

She also once trusted that any produce from a grocery store automatically meant vitamin-packed freshness, but today many fruits and vegetables are picked too early and shipped from afar.

Then there's the business of nutritional beliefs and cooking habits simply changing over time.

"When I was in college Wesson Oil, Crisco shortening and Miracle Whip dressing were America's favorites. Now, these fats have practically vanished from the modern American kitchen and every cupboard is home to a bottle of olive oil," she said. "Since the Industrial Revolution, changes in food consumption occurred rapidly. Consumption of sugar and added fats increased dramatically in the 1990s. In our Western culture, the use of complex carbohydrates -- starch -- has declined, while our simple carbohydrates -- sugar -- has risen."

The Kansas native holds a master's degree in nutrition and worked as an educator and nutritional counselor for high-risk families. Before retiring, Ibbetson worked as a nutritionist for the local Women Infants and Children program.

These days, Ibbetson is clearly thrilled to have written her first book, but she's quickly learning that some of the hardest work is only beginning.

"People have to hear about my book so many different ways and times," she said, adding that she's definitely learning new skills later in life. "It's kind of stressful in a way, but yet it's good."

Entering the publishing world has meant Ibbetson has had to sharpen up her computer skills in order to reach her global audience.

"I wouldn't say I'm good at the computer," she said. "There's a 13-year-old boy at my church and he trained me on Twitter. It feels good to be learning new skills."

It also must feel good to be as healthy as Ibbetson is these days, all thanks to her change in diet.

"Do you believe I will continue eating this way? You had better believe it!" she wrote in an installment of her blog. "Plants have changed my life: eating to live, not living to eat. This is my passion and I want everyone, especially my family, to know about it, thus my writing 'Smart Eating Made Simple.' Are you sick because of what you eat?"

Darin Fenger can be reached at or 539-6860.

©2012 The Sun (Yuma, Ariz.)

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