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. Donna Cowee says:

    Congratulations love the Summer Tomato. My interest was tweaked when first started reading .. no aha moment it has grown over the years and now realize I feel better, eat better and enjoy my life more and for that can’t thank you enough.

  2. Michelle B says:

    My biggest “a-ha moment” was when I realized that I actually couldn’t rely on willpower to get me through it all! I loved your fresh approach and felt a bit more relaxed with myself and was able to treat myself with a little more kindness and understanding 🙂
    Congrats on 5 years!!

  3. MLB says:

    My biggest A-HA! moment was getting rid of frooty yogurts. I was eating the sugar equivalent of two to four Krispy Kreme donuts a day! I am losing weight and feel better without my daily “donut”. Happy birthday!

  4. Colleen says:

    I like your thinking, Darya!

  5. CC says:

    my aha was reading “10 Simple Ways to Eat Less Without Noticing”. congrats and here’s to another five years!

  6. Amy says:

    Something that made an impact on me – not relying on willpower but eating healthy food so that I don’t want to junkier stuff.

  7. David H. says:

    My biggest A-Ha moment was finding out that other guys/males were also actively seeking out advice about living a healthy lifestyle and this wasn’t just another website about dieting and aimed at women. Being a type 1 diabetic I have found tons of information on your site for keeping my glucose in check. I enjoy the approach taken here and the fact that you recognize that men, not just women, would want to benefit from a healthier eating lifestyle. Thanks Darya! And let Kevin know we miss him on Diggnation!

    • Darya Rose says:

      Awesome! Yes, I know just as many men concerned with food, weight and health as ladies. And I grew up with my dad and two brothers so am no stranger to male issues. Glad you appreciate the extra effort I make to include everyone, I had a feeling that would be a good call 😉

  8. Lou says:

    I just recently learned about the Foodist and Summer Tomato and am hoping for that aha moment that changes everything for me!

  9. Sue Lee says:

    I learned that I do not have to diet & not eat! Very different. I can eat & not be hungry by eating the food that does something positive for my body. So there are foods that are delicious line kale that I can crave now & be fully satisfied without dealing with added extra junk.

  10. Adriana says:

    My moment was when I read the “How to start working out when you hate exercising” and realized that exercise didn’t have to be torture and it was possible even for unathletic people like me to do it regularly without tremendous willpower. I’ve been enjoying working out regularly for nearly a year now and I can’t imagine going back to a totally sedentary life. Although I’m naturally very thin and was never looking to lose weight, my mood, energy, work-life balance, and fitness levels have all hugely improved thanks to you!I also found your post about not assuming that tomorrow will be perfect really helpful in many aspects of day to day life.

  11. whitney says:

    Mine was the saying where if you eat healthy and good food most of the time, eating things that are not strictly healthy some of the time is okay. I immediately stopped stressing about those occasional times where I indulge in desserts, cheese, or a plate of pasta. Happy Birthday Summer Tomato!

  12. Jené says:

    My AHA! moment was when I was reading Foodist and I realized that if I made some small changes to the way I thought about food and cooking at home it would make huge changes to my life. I have always loved veggies, so that was easy, all I had to do was make sure to have some nice fresh veggies stocked (plus some other essentials that I stole from the book) and now I look forward to getting home and making dinner. The thought of grabbing fast food on the way home is disturbing to me because I know I will make something so much tastier at home (and it is so easy!) I am losing weight very slowly, which is exciting, but more importantly I am enjoying what I eat doing it. REAL FOOD IS FANTASTIC 🙂 If I win the book I will give my copy of Foodist to my boyfriend, who is really intrigued about the changes I’ve made to my Healthstyle.

  13. Kim says:

    I listen to the audio book every time I need reminders. Thank you!

    Aha moments (lately 😉
    Portion sizes, habits, 25 chews and identifying the triggers. Thanks for helping me change the way I think about eating. Happy #5, here’s to many more!

  14. Janet says:

    My aha moment was when I listened to you in the Supersize conference and went to your website for more wisdom and encouragement. I am looking forward to a long relationship. I feel so grsteful and blessed.

  15. Jen says:

    I have been trying to lose weight since my second child was born 5 years ago. I have tried (and failed) several diets and seemed to feel worse with each one. My a-ha would have to be giving up diets and learning to create healthy habits instead. Simply realizing that I can create habits that fit with my lifestyle rather then trying to mold into someone else’s idea of a healthy life has been life changing for me. For the first time in my life I feel successful around food. It is so motivating! I am learning to slow down and enjoy food again. This is helping me pay more attention to what foods make me feel great and discover which foods make me feel terrible. I am beginning to get my positive mood and energy back. I have even lost some weight already. I feel great and excited for the future.

    Congrats on the 5 years! Thank you for all the wonderful advice you have given. I look forward to the next 5 years!

  16. Neda Nguyen says:

    I go to UCSF, and I took a great little Nutrition elective class last quarter. You gave a lecture for us one day, and you were so adorable and inspirational that I think I subscribed via your website that very same day! There’s a lot of conflicting nutritional information out there, which can be very confusing and contradictory. Being an ex-college athlete, I would say I’m still rather health conscious about what I put into my body. However, I was in a slump trying to get more veggies (blegh) into my diet and you made it seem so effortless! So I guess my A-ha moment was sort of realizing that incorporating these things into your diet can actually be so easy and much less time-consuming than I previously believed. So thanks for that Darya!

  17. Christy says:

    My moment is reading about mindful eating. Definitely a work in progress.

  18. Amy says:

    It has to be the great recipes. I eat pretty healthy already, but had gotten SO bored with what I ate. Love reading all your recipes and trying new things! Thank you!

  19. Carolyn says:

    People in Australia read your blog too. 🙁

  20. Maher says:

    No a-ha moment yet. Thanks to life hacker, I came across your blog yesterday. I read through a few posts and couldn’t wait to sign up.

    For what it’s worth, the post that I was linked to is “the five ideal vegetables for lazy cooks”.

    I would love to win one of your books. Either way, congratulations on your five years of hard work. I’m late to the party but glad to be here.

  21. April says:

    Around three years ago I was sitting at my computer, thinking once again how I disliked my appearance and wishing I could be more like the pictures of stars I always saw. I realized then that no matter how much I liked food, I needed to value my own health, self-confidence and sanity more. I also soon realized that my love of cooking didn’t have to be set aside- rather, it was the opposite! I have come to be a much more accomplished and knowledgeable chef then before. Thank you for the giveaway!

  22. Joelee says:

    I so appreciate your enthusiasm and positivity. Always something to learn AND inspire me.

  23. Jan says:

    Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer late last year I have changed my whole eating habits. I love your recipes with “real food” not processed. I am going organic as much as possible. Love Summer Tomoto!

  24. Jill Danielsen says:

    Yes to the farm, No to the factory! It’s that easy. Ah ha!

  25. Pogonia says:

    my aha moment came when I resubscribed to your blog. My in-box was SO full that it was a chore to wade through; so I deleted many. But I rediscovered you, and was very, very happy to have you visit with me in my living room once again. I love your blog and your recipes!

  26. Mason says:

    Summer Tomato takes pop culture voodoo science down a notch by applying real life, practical advice with science-based fact to help you evaluate your food decisions and explore new options never before considered by turning you into an informed Foodist. Realizing someone out there cared about truth in food that would advocate for healthy, reasonable diets and help you personally find answers to difficult questions was a massive confidence boost.

  27. Kristine V says:

    My moment? Realizing that if I eat slower, I get full on less food. This is still a struggle for me – thanks to a previous stressful career, I can put away any meal in 5 minutes – but I always get good reminders about showing down from Summer Tomato 🙂 Congrats on the 5 years!

  28. Marjorie Henriksen says:

    My biggest AHA moment was reading and seeing some of your amazing stories and pictures from the farmers market. Realizing I love FRESH tomatoes. I had gone through 30 years of my life hating tomatoes because I wasn’t eating the great ones. Now I get extra tomatoes on everything. Your blog has helped me mix more vegetables in my diet because I can’t resist the pictures that go with the articles on the blog.

    Thank you for helping do many of us and happy 5th birthday to your creation.

  29. Simone says:

    Stop dieting! Eat healthily and cleanly every day and stop dieting! Thank you for that revelation!

  30. Yoojin says:

    mindful eating is tricky, no? be intuitive about the taste, feelings, texture, smell.. being mindful about what’s going into my mouth & noticing everything relating to that overwhelmed me! thanks to summertomato, it’s been getting alot more simpler. i’m not saying i got the whole thing down, but this blog has been a huge help for me to connect the physical & mental divide 🙂

  31. Johanna says:

    Happy birthday!
    I think my biggest a-ha moment – and it is a little embarrassing to admit – was reading about your whole approach towards food and lifestyle. By using your own brain, by thinking for yourself and listening to your body. By not swallowing all the golden rules, friends and magazines preach.
    Healthy eating can be so easy. And oh so tasty. Thanks for that!

  32. Ben W says:

    My biggest AHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!! moment: the realization that there is a better way. Being a foodist may not be the only way to accomplish healthfulness, but it’s the choice that makes the most sense to me. Thank you, Summer Tomato!

  33. Wendy says:

    I am new to Summer Tomato, I signed up after attending your seminar on Monday the 24th. I did have an “a-ha” moment during your presentation. You mentioned your friend who wants to get back into running and her doctor told her that she should start with one day a week. She apparently was surprised at how little she should start with and you made the comment that it is actually 100% more than she is doing now. A-HA! Brilliant and so very true! So now I know that baby steps are okay. I always seem to go full blast then fail. I am very happy to realize and accept that consistent baby steps will lead to lifelong changes and that is ultimately what I am looking for. Thank you!

  34. Megan says:

    For me, thinking more about the cues my body gives to say when I’m full or hungry.

  35. Nick says:

    What is the air speed velocity of an unladen Japanese tomato? Hi Darya, I was lucky enough to go to Japan in the summer of 2008 and travel to many different places of the wonderful country. I was there for 12 days, ate more food than I had eaten in my entire life (including lots sugar) and I lost over 11 pounds on the course of the trip. It puzzled my 16 year old self, but I have done a lot of reflection since then and broke it down to 3 factors! I was doing a ton of walking each day around the cities and villages. I was eating all fresh foods with minimal processing: white rice as the carb. Finally, I was having such an amazing experience, where I was making new friends, learning a new culture, and loving life. There were some rough moments in my life just before that, where my mom had just finished chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer and my father was extremely busy at work, so my life became school and taking care of my mom. That trip really made me embrace the foodist spirit and kick started my passion for food and living a fulfilling life. I continue to be inspired by my times, roaming the Japanese countryside, eating raw tea leaves and sushi, and try to embrace that spirit through thick and thin. You county us to be a part of that inspiration, and I can’t thank you enough for what you have been able to teach me! With foodist love, Nick

    • Darya Rose says:

      That’s awesome! I had a similar experience when traveling through Thailand for 3 weeks about 6 years ago. I was eating noodles, rice, meat and sugary coffee the entire time (getting veggies was a challenge) and lost 7 pounds (that’s a LOT for me). I agree it was the walking and chemical-free eating.

      So glad to inspire you, keep it up!

  36. Healthy habits are addictive
    Whole foods taste amazing
    Occasional indulgences enjoyed guilt-free
    Plan-Market-Cook-Freeze Saturday = cooking-free week day
    Summertomato rocks!

    Happy, happy bday!

  37. Rose says:

    My AHA! moment was learning the how’s and whys to a healthier lifestyle which includes portion control – having smaller portions and 5-6 smaller ‘meals’ throughout the day. It’s ok to leave food lleftover n your plate. Your body knows when it’s full; stop when it is. This has also helped to stay away from binging on unhealthy snacks during the day.

  38. Cathleen says:

    I just saw you speak at Sage College in Troy this week. Great presentation and thank you for coming! I was inspired to move more and bought a new pedometer to start measuring my progress. As for food, I am starting with eating (and enjoying!) breakfast every day. Can’t wait to read your book! Thanks!

  39. Tamara Lea says:

    I am new to your blog & just read your book. Congrats on 5 years! I wish I had found you earlier!

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us! Something that I was particularly appreciative of in your book is how you finally explain all of the reasons and logic behind eating breakfast (when, why, etc). I’ve heard that before, but the info was always incomplete.

    Question: I usually don’t eat until after I work out, which means I usually don’t eat until I’ve been awake for 3-4 hours. What is something small I can eat before a workout that will satisfy the breakfast requirement, but will not give me heartburn or weigh me down during my 4 mile run? After my run I like to make a hearty green smoothie.

    • Darya Rose says:

      No need to stress about your routine if it’s working for you. That said, when I used to run a small bit of that dense, intact grain-based bread with a smear of peanut butter always worked for me. A hard boiled egg or a mini portion of muesli/oatmeal can work too.

  40. Karen G says:

    My aha moment was when I realized I didn’t have to just eat raw broccoli and cauliflower, vegeys can be eaten in many ways and be so yummy.

    Happy Birthday.

  41. Linda says:

    I’m new to the site. I have my book coming as I type. I’m excited to read it. I watched a video you did and I do hope there are more to come. Keep up the great job of helping all of us.

  42. Cassie says:

    My “a-ha!” moment came while reading your guest post on, When Is A Calorie Not A Calorie?. I finally could understand what happens in the body when you eat whole food vs processed. I’d never been able to fully grasp that idea before, but you explained it in a way that was easy to understand. That day crackers, granola bars, cereal and a ton of other processed “food” no longer held their appeal which has drastically changed my shopping decisions. 🙂

    “If you stretch out the same amount of glucose and insulin over a longer time period (a long, slow peak rather than a spike) those same calories can be burned as fuel in your muscles instead of being stored [as fat]…
    What causes a blood glucose spike is a meal loaded with quickly digesting carbohydrates. These foods are very rare in nature, but are abundant in our Western culture and are called processed or refined carbohydrates.”

  43. Brianna says:

    Honestly, this was a hard one as there are so many different AHA moments once I discovered Foodist and Summer Tomato. I think what really impacted me most is every thing you post on here, which probably seems a bit broad so let me narrow it down a bit. See, reading your book was great, I loved it and it taught me a lot about simple choices to change the way you eat for the better, but I struggled a lot to stop binge eating at least once a week because of stress or whatever reason I would tell myself that I needed to in order to feel better about eating so much. I understood from reading your book that in the past, you have tried every diet out there, just as I had, but you are the original Foodist and how could I possibly ever be as good as you? At this point I had not yet been on Summer Tomato, once I did though, mindful eating became so much easier because I saw that so many other people have the exact problems I was having. You reinforce your readers with the Foodist’s POV through and through with research and examples and it all helped so much. The recipes are also something I always look forward to, anyway, thank you for all of this, it is awesome. Happy Five Years!

  44. Congratulations on your 5 years! I wish I had the same dedication you have to my blog! Really admire you!

  45. Jeff says:

    My aha was reading about ho to cook rice correctly. We’ve always used a rice cooker but it also doesn’t always work well. The rice cooking directions made the rice perfectly.

  46. I have to say I have an aha moment almost every time I read :). I love your focus on whole, real foods, making this a lifestyle rather than a diet, and focusing on making it do-able for everyone!

  47. Daria says:

    I’m seeing a dietitian right now and have lost some weight. I would be interested in seeing how your approach to weight loss differs from her info. She has me using the diabetic food exchange lists to keep track of my daily intake. Congratulations on you 5th anniversary!

  48. Maria says:

    I received the free chapter of Foodist and I would love to have the book as well. I have an aha! moment whenever I read something from Darya! I suppose the biggest aha! moment I’ve had is her reminder to me to get back to basics. I grew up eating mostly whole, real foods and healthy foods, thanks to my Mom who mainly cooked from scratch, and because English was her 3rd language, she never got the hang of cooking anything from a box, the directions confused her! Somehow over the years I got away from that and I am trying to get there again. I am trying to learn as much as I can about healthy eating and I have been struggling for years with yo-yo weight gain and loss. Congratulations on 5 years! I have been getting the Summer Tomato newsletter for quite a while, I have changed some of my food shopping, and always looking to improve. Thank you Darya for the many lessons!

  49. Jennifer G. says:

    Hello all,
    For me the biggest “A-Ha” moment was when I realized food didn’t have to be hard at all. Instead of focusing on all the food that is unhealthy for you, focus on what is and when you start to eat this way it all comes together. You feel better, sleep better, and even WANT to exercise to keep healthy. I love this website and all the good information on it. Diet is no longer a word for me and I just focus on eating the best foods I can.

  50. Lisa Passey says:

    My “a-ha” moment came when I was reading about slowing down and chewing your food slowly. I eat all my meals quickly because I always have something else I need to get to. I eat at my desk at work and actually eat while I am working. My goal was to get the food in quickly so I can get onto the next thing. Now, my goal is to chew my food slowly and, even, count the number of chews. It is actually very relaxing to eat this way. AND, I am actually eating less. YES!!! Thanks for the “a-ha” moment.

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