Summer Tomato is 5 Years Old! Let’s Celebrate with Free Stuff

by | Mar 26, 2014
dessert tomato

Dessert Tomato in Kyoto

I was one of those kids that couldn’t wait to be a grown up. Whenever anyone asked how old I was I would calculate it out for them to the hour, not wanting to lose credit for a single minute I spent on this planet. I was so confused whenever my mom seemed to forget her age (“I’m 35. Or am I 36? What year is it?”). How could she possibly forget something so important?

Fast forward three decades and not only can I not remember my own age, I can barely remember my own baby, Summer Tomato’s, birthday.

I spent most of yesterday on a flight home from New York, completely exhausted. I didn’t even check my calendar until that evening when I needed to know my schedule for today. Then I saw the date.

March 25. Isn’t that important for some reason? Oh! It’s the day I launched Summer Tomato. How long ago was that? Holy crap, it’s been 5 years!

And I didn’t even plan anything. Such a bad mom.

So much has happened since 2009, but I couldn’t help but reflect on the thousands of emails and comments I’ve received from readers telling me how my work has changed their lives. That’s what keeps me going and is why I spend so much time thinking about the future, and how I can help even more.

But before we jump too far ahead, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve all come. And like any good birthday celebration, there’s got to be some presents.

To celebrate 5 years of Summer Tomato, I’d love to hear the biggest A-Ha! moment you’ve had since discovering this blog. What epiphany did you have about your approach to food and health? What post (or chapter) were you reading when it hit you? How did it change your daily behavior?

Tell me about your biggest Summer Tomato A-Ha! moment in the comments below, and I’ll send a signed copy of Foodist to two lucky readers (US and Canada only, please).

Consider this my gift to you for 5 years of support.



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202 Responses to “Summer Tomato is 5 Years Old! Let’s Celebrate with Free Stuff”

  1. Amy says:

    Like everyone else, I’ve had several AHA moments, but for me, the most helpful recommendation I’ve implemented has been to STOP the meticulous calorie-counting food journalling (via fitbit, which would just frustrate me when the exact food wasn’t in their database) and replace it with a 2 week (the 2 weeks ends today, and I’m tempted to continue) food journal of everything I eat, along with the TIME I eat it.

    Shifting my focus from ‘calories consumed’ to the ‘time of day consumed’ allowed me to get over the guilt/stress of exceeding some arbitrary calorie limit I had put on my day and instead pinpoint my less-than-ideal habits (mindless workday snacking and late night sugar) and start figuring out how to improve them.

    Love your blog, book, and balanced outlook on health!

  2. Jana Gale says:

    My A-ha was when I was reading Foodist, and I saw how our garden was the key to our health! Knowing where your food come from is so much fun!!!

  3. Even though it is common sense, the reminder that fresh and local veggies are so much more flavorful than those that spend so much time traveling to chain groceries has made a huge impact. Not only with me, but now that i have a baby granddaughter who is just being introduced to solid foods (I am proud to say my daughter only allows fresh and organic foods that she has prepared herself) it is a joy to see how my grand baby enjoys her veggies that have no sweeteners or additives of any kind. Their natural fresh flavors shine through and also speak to the fact that if we don’t get processed foods, we don’t miss them at all in our diet! A legacy of healthy and mindful eating makes me a proud mom (and grand mom)!

  4. Casey says:

    I’m a newbie to the community, but the biggest insight so far was realizing it’s important to pay attention not only to what I’m eating, but HOW I’m eating. My mom has been telling me to eat slower basically my whole life, to no avail. After reading about the benefits of eating mindfully on digestion, satiety, and overall enjoyment, I am FINALLY motivated to slow down and experience my food. I love that you geek out on the science, but in an accessible way. Happy Birthday Summer Tomato! I’m looking forward to many more a-ha moments.

  5. Pam says:

    I just finished reading your book, I would love to have my own copy! I loved it when your dad finally got it. The day I read about him I made stir fry for dinner!

  6. Kristin says:

    Mine was to stop counting calories. It was so great to hear you talk about food in a way that wasn’t about how many calories or grams of fat were in it, but to eat natural and healthy foods and to understand moderation in eating any type of food. That has really allowed me to step back and look at what I am eating and how much of it. Thanks for all of your awesome insights and information!

  7. Carol says:

    I love Summer Tomato and congrats on 5 fabulous years. My aha moment came when I finally got that diets don’t work. You’ve written about this several times (and it’s taken several readings for me to absorb it). It is so hard to believe this truth. The second part of the aha moment came when I realized not dieting didn’t mean simply throwing in the towel and being overweight. Slow and steady I’m building new habits around healthy eating and enjoying food. Oh and listening to my body’s cues about hunger and taste. As you’ve written, “when I stop dieting, I win” 🙂

  8. My a-ha moment was when I realized that Kevin had really fallen in love with someone. It broke my heart. Guess it was more of an oh-no than an a-ha moment, but I knew I’d never have a chance to be good enough for him. You are very smart and seem to make him happy. Congratulations on your success.

  9. Troy says:

    Aha, I found a smart person who understands real food, making and enjoying it are the keys to a real life. Thanks!

  10. Leigh says:

    Congrats on 5 years, I wish I had found you sooner than a year or so ago, when I first read about your book in a magazine. I would have loved to have had my a-ha moment that maintaining home court habits is more effective than trying to maintain a diet. If only I had been eating consciously for all these years instead of unconsciously bingeing and purging, I would be so much happier in my skin. Better late than never!

  11. Dee says:

    I would have to say you’ve been a great advisor since I discovered summer tomato in 2012. When faced with problems with food and eating, I would find out ” what would darya do” or what does Darya think about xyz… This is the only blog I follow actually. .. so I’m thinking about a-ha… it’s definitely for me, your article on”Home Court habits” …Also what resounds is what you said”is that for resolutions to actually work you need to figure out a way to change your behaviors permanently”

    Thanks for putting language to all thease issues with food, I’ve learnt and grown Allot from it. I have a copy of FOODIST already. But a signed one will be
    sweet! Actually I’m in Houston this week and next week. .. Our if you have to mail anything, I’ll give my us office address. ..

    Take care keep on touch, keep doing what you’re doing and thanks


  12. Dee says:

    Congrats on your 5 years hard work..

  13. L says:

    I love your website, it always has such easy, helpful tips for being a foodist. Here’s to five great years and to many more of mindful eating!

  14. Dana says:

    My favorite ST moment was the video you made about cooking with oils and how little science there is behind the “don’t cook with olive oil” theory. I appreciate how honest you were about the fact that you could not find much science behind the theory, and you encouraged people not to freak out over it. We should be A LOT more concerned about oils in fast food and processed foods. I still use coconut oil when cooking, but if olive oil is all I have at the moment, I don’t freak out anymore. The fact that I’m cooking real food at home FAR outweighs the small concern for a little heated olive oil in the pan.
    The best part about hearing this from you was that it made me start to re-think ALL the “unknowns” in my kitchen, which has freed me from overanalyzing debatable minutia, and helped me focus on just eating real food instead. I encourage others to do the same. Changing my mindset to “we don’t know for sure, and it’s OK” has been very liberating! It was especially empowering to hear it from YOU because I admire your credentials as well as your common sense!:) Please keep up all the great work. It’s incredibly inspiring!

  15. AJ says:

    My becoming a Sumemr Tomato foodist did not have a-HA moment. It has been an education, a journey, an experiment, a series of epiphanies, and a habit that no longer requires much thinking or willpower.

    Just like the way in which I feel gratitude for my life, my health, my family, and my friends, I feel gratitude for having learned from you, Darya. I still celebrate that real food is all my body needs and, in all honesty, it is all that my body now truly craves and relishes. I celebrate that food is not something that should be a cause of stress in my life. I celebrate being free of rules and restrictions, and opening myself up to change and flexibility. I celebrate my goal to develop mindfulness and a positive self-identity.

    Even though I have never met you or my fellow readers, I celebrate having a mentor in you and a community in your followers. It has been a pleasure to support you as best I can, but please know that I thank you for supporting me, Darya.

  16. Jocelyn says:

    Food can be simplified and eating it can be as well. This is a foundational site to educate myself on eating healthfully and safely.Thanks!!

  17. Mia says:


  18. Laura says:

    Everything on your website is an ah-ha!

  19. At my age you need to use aid to improve or change harmful habits. In addition to food preparation neurodocencia attracts me, so I found in “Summer Tomato” great support that channeled me improve my (Inglés) to better understand its message. Thank you.

    A mi edad es necesario utilizar ayuda , para mejorar o cambiar hábitos perjudiciales. Además de la preparación de alimentos me atrae la neurodocencia, por esto encontré en “Summer Tomato” un gran apoyo que me encauzó a mejorar mi (english) para comprender mejor su mensaje. Gracias.

  20. Halima H. says:

    The “Why I Love Weight Watchers, but would Never Go Back” article was what I needed to help me make the decision of whether or not to return to Weight Watchers. I lost 40 pounds several years ago, but after baby #3, the weight came back. I’ve tried WW twice in the past few years, but for some reason it just doesn’t feel the same. Your article helped explain why. So, thank you!

  21. Stephen Wise says:

    Whoa, I had no idea Summer Tomato existed for just a year when you let me guest post in 2010! I had assumed your site has been around forever. Congrats <3

  22. Eric says:

    My aha moment probably came when I saw, and later ate, the cabbage egg dish you made. For me this was the super easy first step into being healthier. This one was especially nice since the ingredients were easy to get. I attempted another recipe which went rather poorly since the only supermarkets in my area rarely stock anything out of the ordinary. (You want fresh tuna? Blasphemy!) I cook the eggs or another form of eggs for breakfast most days now!


  23. Dawn Ritchie says:

    Aha moments, there are so many. I do particularly enjoy the references to how mindless we are with regards to eating… so much so that I also had to read Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. I think my favorite example of mindlessness is the never ending bowl of soup test and how people just kept eating.

    I thank you for your wonderful book. I have a lot of work to do to make some healthy habits but with the help of your book and the many other resources that you share, it is possible.

  24. steven sarwi says:

    I have learned a lot from this wonderful web site ! Thanks for all the great information … Enjoyed learning abou the “evils” about sugar.

  25. Alexandra says:

    My aha moment was when I finally cooked up some whole grains, in this case I tried farro, and had it with my usual breakfast egg and vegetables scramble. I am a bread addict. So I always had to have bread, but this literally blew my mind. It was so delicious, and so filling, I was not hungry at all for hours after. I now do lentils and am exploring the world of intact grains.
    I do have a question, if you are familiar with Alvarado bread, is that a good choice?

    • Darya Rose says:

      I’m not familiar with it, but do the “ingredients test.” Are they things you recognize? Are they very processed? Do you have undesirable reactions after eating it, like fatigue or weight gain? If all those answers are no, then it’s a good fit for you.

  26. Rainer says:

    I found this blog via food babe 3 days ago and I’ve been reading ever since.
    Your post about focusing more on my brain rather than my diet helped a lot. I already knew motivation didn’t always work and I kept hoping it’d come back. I’m usually debating on whether to just eat healthy or “diet” and lose weight since I am a bit.. well more than a bit on the big side but the post helped me and I’ve decided not to diet so much and just focus on eating healthy.
    I guess that was my first aha moment.

  27. Darya Rose says:




  28. Marissa says:

    Hi Darya,

    I’m a pretty new subscriber, but I loved the recent post “In The Future Everything is Perfect”. Really reinforced the realization that if I’m gonna do something that’s good for myself, there’s no time better than the present to get it going. Case in point: I’ve had a prescription for (insurance covered!) physical therapy to try to hack some issues I’ve had in dance classes with my hips and lower back just sitting in my glove compartment for a couple months, waiting for some moment when I am less busy, more able to be focused to get the most out of this resource and keep up perfectly with the exercise routine, etc, yada. But lo and behold I finally went in and got signed up shortly after reading your post! 🙂

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