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Life in Balance: Good things await when healthful living becomes a passion

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11 2012 6:02 p.m. MDT

Grilled vegetables make a fantastic — and healthful — side dish.

Dian Thomas,

This past week, I had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles and attend a celebration for a woman who started her dream job 25 years ago. She is a person who has had a profound influence on my health.

As many of you know, I had a media career that sometimes took me on the road more than 250 days a year. My life for 25 years was spent more on the road than at home. The side-effect was a weight gain of more than 125 pounds. At my top, I reached 326 pounds.

One day, I was in Santa Monica, Calif., talking about being in the media. A woman in the audience came to me afterward and inspired me to change my life and health. Jackie Keller, founder of NutriFit (www.nutrifitonline.com), gave me her card and said, "I can help you lose weight."

She kindled the spark that helped me realize I really could do it without medical intervention. She has worked with me as my wellness and health coach and helped me to lose more than 115 pounds — and most importantly, to keep it off.

When Jackie was a teenager, her parents traveled to Israel for a vacation. She received a call from her mother that her father had passed away from a heart attack. Since then, she has made it her mission to help people live longer and healthier lives.

"I have a personal commitment to help people circumvent heart disease and other chronic ailments," she explains.

"It drives almost everything I do. It is my passion."

Twenty-five years ago, Jackie quit the corporate world and started her dream job by going into the homes of her clients and cooking healthful meals.

This has grown into a company that creates, prepares and delivers healthful meals to individuals and families who strive for a healthier lifestyle throughout Southern California, and now everywhere in the continental United States.

When I visited their commercial kitchen, her staff had prepared more than 3,000 items that day and neatly packed them into cooler bags to be delivered in the middle of the night to their customers.

I am always amazed at the amount of preparation, organization and management required to create wholesome food and deliver it to support people in a healthier life.

Jackie has also shared her ideas and passion for healthful living in a range of media, from NBC's "Today" show to writing successful books.

She has created more than 2,400 recipes. I want to share one of Jackie's recipes that is perfect for this season of wonderful vegetables.

TV personality and author Dian Thomas shares her journey of weight loss, exercise and life on the run every other Wednesday in the Deseret News and at www.DianThomas.com. She also takes tour groups to China. Contact her at www.dianthomas.com/travel.htm.

Grilled Vegetables

Servings: 2

Serving size: 3/4 cup

1 small eggplant

1 whole zucchini

½ whole red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips

1/8 cup red onions, cut into pieces

½ whole yellow bell pepper, julienned

½ whole green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips

2 tablespoons fat-free Italian dressing

Slice vegetables 1/4-inch thick and place in bowl.

Pour Italian dressing over vegetables and mix.

Marinate for about 30 minutes.

Grill vegetables over medium-high heat until soft, then serve.

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