Susan Neal grew up surrounded by orange groves in San Antonio, Florida.As a girl, nature’s foods always made her list of favorites. She enjoyed learning how what people eat effects the human body.Neal attended St. Anthony’s Catholic School and Tampa Catholic High School, before studying nursing at the University of Florida. Today, she writes about health and wellness from a Christian perspective.Her book, 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates, won the 2018 Selah Award at the Blue Mountain Christian book conference. In September, she released a follow-up title, the Christian Study Guide to 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar Carbohydrates. The book is her seventh dedicated to helping people achieve wellness through faith-based choices. She is the author of Scripture Yoga, which applies Biblical inspiration to mind, body and spiritual workouts, and has released multiple corresponding DVDs. I asked the author about the body-soul connection and how to eat right – even during the holidays.What are your tips for eating healthy throughout the holiday season?Make dishes using fresh and raw ingredients, such as broccoli salad with pomegranate or sautéed fresh green beans with garlic and slivered almonds instead of green bean casserole.Be sure to serve yourself smaller portions.Use the 80/20 rule. Eighty-percent of the time eat well, but 20 percent of the time splurge and eat a delectable dessert. You can’t be perfect all the time.Don’t eat anything processed out of boxes and bags. When at a party choose the nuts, fresh vegetables and fruits.Last weekend, I attended an early Thanksgiving dinner. I brought a fresh raw broccoli salad and everyone loved it. In fact, two people asked for the recipe.What inspired 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates?When my sister was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, she asked me, the health nut of the family, to help her improve her diet. With my help, she successfully eliminated wheat and gluten from her diet. However, the following summer she contracted rosacea, which is linked to sugar consumption. This time, she asked me to help her get off sugar. I created seven simple steps for her to follow. I wrote 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates so others could benefit.How can readers benefit from your book?I want readers to experience a healthy, abundant life that God planned for them. Our bodies are programmed to heal themselves, like the natural healing of a cut or sprained ankle, if we nourish them well. When we eat the foods God designed for us, not the ones the manufacturers fabricate, our bodies mend.How do you view faith and the human body as connected?God created human beings, and he knows what is best for them. We should get back to basics and eat the foods God gave us. Evaluate everything you eat and ask yourself, "Did God give this item to us for food?" For example, chips did not grow on trees in the garden of Eden, but almonds did. So get back to eating foods closer to their harvest.God wants each of us to live an abundant, healthy life, not in a worn out, sick body. So feed your body the foods God created.For more information and available books, visit www.SusanUNeal.com.Religion calendarBeth El Shalom Messianic Congregation, 6209 Congress St., New Port Richey, will host a Hanukkah celebration at 5 p.m. Dec. 8. The event will include singing, potato latkes, a 10-foot Menorah lighting and dancing. For more information, visit www.jewishheritage.net. Suncoast Bronze Ringers will present Christmas performance at 3 pm Dec. 9 at Hope Lutheran Church, 12321 Canton Ave., Hudson and at 3 p.m. Dec. 16 at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Seven Springs, 4651 Little Road, New Port Richey. A free-will offering will be taken. For more information, call (352) 232-1622.