WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. -- The lightbulb went off in nutritionist Alyson Chugerman's head 18 years ago when her six-year-old daughter was thought to have attention deficit disorder.
Chugerman, a Wappingers Falls resident, saw her daughter get prescribed Ritalin. When that didn't work, her doctor prescribed other medications, and Chuggerman was concerned about where this was headed. So she had one simple idea.
"We changed our diets," Chugerman said. "We took out sugar, preservatives, and dyes. We began eating more healthy foods. We started exercising as a family. Within a month she was doing amazing. People asked what she's on. I said, 'food.'"
Chugerman decided if she could change one person's life, she could change more lives and soon became a certified integrated nutritionist. She is the author of the new book, "Eat Real, Live Mindfully, Laugh Often: Attain True Health Body And Mind Refresh," which was released in January.
"So many people are eating for convenience," Chugerman said. "They're too busy.. My clients couldn't lose weight because of toxic stress. I wanted to look at ways to allow people to give their digestive system a rest and lower the toxicity in their body."
Giving your body rest is the key to helping your body get on the right dietary track, Chugerman said.
"I want people to hit the refresh button and put everything back into place," Chugerman said. "I want to allow people to break some bad habits and start eating real food."
People need to be prepared and develop a gameplan for what they're going to eat, to ensure they don't get trapped and are forced to make a bad decision.
"Take some time on Sunday to make a list of possible recipes or foods you want to have," Chugerman said. "You can cook up a chicken and have it for dinner and lunch. Combine it with a salad or use the chicken to make a wrap. Preparation is very important."
Healthy food choices include nuts, seeds, vegetables and meats like grass fed beef and free range chicken. Chugerman said refined sugars are to be avoided, and people should steer to more natural sugars like honey and maple syrup.
Chugerman is also against the drinking of milk and believes people should avoid gluten.
"We're the only species that drink's someone's else milk," Chugerman said. "Wheat has 42 chromosomes, we only have seven receptor sites. People aren't able to digest wheat and process it."
When it comes to the title of her book, Chugerman belives that laughing often is the most important.
"People are stressed and they don't laugh enough," Chugerman said. "We need to look at life and be grateful and laugh as often as we can. Watch an episode of "America's Funniest Home Videos." Anything to bring yourself some laughter and joy. Laughter truly is the best medicine."
Chugerman also said people need to make sure they get enough sleep.
"You cannot lose weight if you're not sleeping," Chugerman said. "It puts your automatic nervous system out of balance."
When it comes down to it, Chugerman said to always remember that it's about making good choices.
"There's always healthier options," Chugerman said. "Even the children's menu at McDonald's allows you to add carrot sticks or apple slices. Instead of reaching for soda- reach for a water. If you have coffee, next time grab a tea."
To purchase Chugerman's book, click here .