6 Foods To Maintain Optimal Health

March 18th, 2013

optimalhealth

6 Foods To Maintain Optimal Health

After my last several articles I have gotten many comments and questions asking me, “So what do you eat’?

I am going to share with you what’s in my grocery basket and walk you through a typical day of meals with me.

I first want to admit to you that I am nervous!  When it comes to food, people are very opinionated, especially those who read MindBodyGreen, as to what they feel is the right way to eat.  For this reason, I would almost be more comfortable sharing with you a photo of myself naked rather than a photo of my grocery basket. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – so here goes!

Second, I’d like to say that I do not believe that there is only ONE right way to eat; we are all unique and what is right for one may not be right for another.  In my functional medicine clinic, I teach people to listen to their body and to learn what is right for them.

I am however, confident that the diet that I eat is right for me and right for my body to function optimally.   I do also find that a similar way of eating is the best approach for the vast majority of my patients. Please take into account that people travel from around the county to see me, often after having been seen by multiple doctors who cannot figure out what is ‘wrong’ with them.  I am therefore, generally dealing with people who have multiple medical diagnoses and autoimmune diseases.

Before I start I’d quickly like to share my journey with you.

I grew up with parents who were ‘hippies’.  My mother made us homemade organic whole-wheat bread, granola and yogurt.  We had a vegetable garden.  At 14 years old I became a vegetarian and at 25 years old I joined the Peace Corps and taught cooking and nutrition to rural farmers in Paraguay. At age 32, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, Graves in which my body was attacking my thyroid causing it to be over reactive. Three years go I went gluten and dairy free and my thyroid antibodies dropped.  And over a year ago I went grain and legume free and my thyroid antibodies are now negative.  I follow what I call The Myers Way® and eat the following:

 

Vegetables:

I eat a ton of broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, lettuce and spinach.  Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, zucchini and asparagus top my list as well. I love anything green except okra or mustard greens.

My primary starch comes form sweet potatoes and squash.

Celery, cucumbers, beets and carrots tend to be the bases of my homemade juices.

I shy away from potato, tomato, eggplant or peppers as they tend to be inflammatory for me so I only eat these in very small amounts.

 

Fruit:

Berries, I love berries because they are low in sugar and full of antioxidants.  I use raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries in my smoothie most every morning.  When I need a change I will use mango, papaya, peaches or bananas though they are higher in sugar so I use them less often.  I typically toss an apple in my green juice in the afternoon.

I stay away from dried fruit because of the high sugar content and citrus, as it is inflammatory for me.

 

Protein:

Primarily I eat organic chicken breast, wild Alaskan salmon and shrimp.  Once or twice a week I will have grass-fed beef.

There are plenty of other quality animal protein sources that are typically non-inflammatory for most people such as turkey, bison, lamb, quail, duck and venison.  However after being a vegetarian for 27 years I have a not ventured that far quite yet.

 

Fats and oils:

I love avocados and coconut oil.  Avocados are simply amazing in just about anything  – salads, smoothies, soups, guacamole or plain.  I add coconut oil to my smoothies and I use olive oil on salads.  I cook with them both.

 

Nuts and seeds:

I tend to eat mostly almonds, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds.  All are great in smoothies, salads, and soups or as a quick snack.  Remember peanuts are not really nuts they are legumes so I don’t eat them. If you are following an autoimmune protocol, avoid nuts and seeds, as they can be damaging to the gut.

 

Herbs, spices, condiments and sweets:

My favorites herbs and spices are ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, rosemary, basil, oregano, curry, shallots, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar.

Organic 85% dark chocolate is my go-to sweet.

 

What’s a typical day for me?

Breakfast: Green smoothie

Lunch: Salad  Or vegetable soup

Sweet:  A piece of organic dark chocolate after lunch.

Afternoon snack: Fresh organic vegetable juice

Dinner: Protein and veggies

 

Original post and photo credit MindBodyGreen

 

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