Over the years I’ve had a lot of clients ask me about my own eating habits. I’m the first to tell you that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work the next and part of achieving health is taking the time to learn YOUR unique body and what it needs. That said, I feel like what I have developed for myself is a well balanced and healthy diet that could easily be adapted by others to include more or less of what you determine works for you.
At 38 years old I weigh the same as I did in school, look young for my age, feel happy and have enough energy to work full time plus and exercise anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours a day. I just had my first physical in 15 years and my blood work came back perfect. Place this in comparison to ten years ago when I was 20 pounds heavier, rarely exercised and had bouts of suicidal depression. I owe the changes in my life to two things and two things alone: improving my diet and exercising regularly.
Both the Blood Type Diet and Intermittent Fasting (click on each for links) are theories that I have found to work well for me. I have also found that eating Paleo style is a great path for me as I’m sensitive to sugars and grains. Additionally, Proper Food Combining is something I’ve followed for years and years. All of this I discovered through a series of trial and error and I am still learning every single day. Truly caring for your health and well-being isn’t going to be a fast, quick fix and that’s why so many fad diets don’t work. Long term results come with long term dedication and consistency.
While my basic diet is what some people would term “strict” I find it to be delicious and fulfilling and I understand the importance of balance. If I want a piece of pizza, I have a piece of pizza and if I go out for dinner I enjoy it – and have some wine! But I don’t do those things every day and I make sure that I have balance them out. If I know I’m going out for dinner I ensure my breakfast and lunch are nutrient dense with lots of greens.
So what does a typical day for a Nutritionist looks like? Mine is normally something like this:
For the last seven years I’ve followed the guidelines of Intermittent Fasting, although that isn’t what it was called when I learned about it. What I was taught was that your body cleanses itself naturally for 12 hours starting 2 hours after you go to sleep so essentially you want to eat light during that time: water, fruit, tea, coffee (if that’s your thing). I’ve followed this regime pretty much daily and feel like it makes a major difference in the quality of my health. I know many Nutritionists who will disagree with me here and many who say that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” but I don’t believe that to be true, and I think the new information coming out of Intermittent Fasting supports that.
I have 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar in the morning right when I get up. This is followed by at least 32 ounces of water over the course of the next couple of hours while I exercise. I may have an apple or small piece of fruit and perhaps tea or coffee, but usually nothing goes into my stomach until 10:30 and then it is either vegetable juice (my standby concoction is Celery, Apple, Ginger, Kale) or a Smoothie (Spinach, Banana, Strawberry or Pineapple, Kale, Blueberry). I add Greens to my Smoothies – I like Vitamineral Green by HealthForce Nutritionals, though the taste is strong so it’s best in a smoothie and not straight in water.
This is almost always a salad with some form of protein. I was vegetarian for years upon years, but no matter how perfectly I combined my proteins I always felt tired. I do fish or turkey and here and there a bit of chicken but my go to proteins are sardines, salmon, cod, squid, shrimp, halibut and garbanzo beans. I include a lot of chopped veggies: peppers, cucumber, tomato. A good plate is one with a lot of color. I hardly ever buy dressings as it’s hard to find decent ones so I make my own with olive or flax oil, apple cider vinegar and mustard (sugar free). If I want some variety I make the protein more interesting (maybe cook it in a fun sauce) or wrap the whole thing up in a brown rice tortilla. Here and there I’ll grab a salad to go or eat out and then I try to make the best choices I can – if I do sushi I try to do brown rice. If it’s deli food I go for whatever has the fewest ingredients and try to skip the bread. If I really want a sandwich sandwich I use Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread – the sprouting simplifies the digestion process.
Dinner is where I have the most variation. I always try to include a dark green leafy vegetable, even if I’m eating out and I’m a big fan of bone broth (if you want to sleep like a champ try it) so those two are pretty much always present. If I really want a starch I do brown rice pasta or quinoa here but I’ll mix in my greens. The only dairy I really do is a bit of half and half in my coffee (I limit to two cups a day) but sometimes I’ll add some goat cheese, feta or parmesan to this meal as I feel good with those. Per the principles of Proper Food Combining, I never mix two proteins together and I avoid carbs and proteins together as well (keep your protein with non-starchy vegetables). Whenever possible I also try to include some fermented veggies in my meal (those are important for the good bacteria they help build in your gut.
Snacks & Desserts
I eat a lot of raw nuts and seeds (walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds). I make my own chocolate or buy good quality chocolate, though it’s hard to find any that doesn’t have sugar. I tend to make a lot of desserts and you can find links to those here. I sweeten with raw honey, maple syrup or raw agave nectar (be careful with this and get the raw version as the processed does you no favors). I have a soft spot for chocolate chip cookies but if I buy commercially made ones I limit myself to one or two.
Whatever you choose to eat, feel good about it when you do. I’ve worked on this for years and found that your mental state matters just as much as what you’re putting in your mouth. Express gratitude for what you have, take the time to sit and enjoy it and most importantly – CHEW. As they say, your stomach doesn’t have teeth. The process of digestion starts in your mouth so turn your food to liquid there and watch how much easier you handle it all.
I’m not a huge fan of supplements – I think with a balanced diet of good quality organic foods you can get what you need unless you have a health condition that requires something added. I take my greens and I take Turmeric (trying to heal a back injury from a car accident), Niacin (helpful for depression) and Kelp (I tend to run low on T3 so that boosts my iodine).
For cooking I only use coconut oil and I drizzle flax or olive oil over my food or salads after it’s been cooked.
I drink TONS of water every day – 3 to 4 liters on average. Rule of thumb for water is to consume half your body in ounces per day. That means a 140 pound person would want to drink 70 ounces, or just over 2 liters. Sip your water versus gulping it and you’ll find you make less trips to the restroom as your absorb more.
A typical day? Today was pineapple/kale/ginger/celery juice for breakfast with some blueberries and almonds an hour later with my coffee. Lunch is a a green salad with zucchini, cucumber and tomatoes and a piece of high quality chicken (free range, organic fed, the whole nine yards). Dinner is a piece of wild caught cod and some veggies (onion, cabbage, snow peas, garlic, carrots) sautéed in coconut oil with some curry powder. If I want a treat I’ll have a bite of chocolate.
If you have questions or want recipes, tips, more ideas I’m just an email away.