What should I eat? I get this question all the time. People want me to tell them what they should be eating, but in reality, they innately already know. No single diet is right for every person. We all come into this world with unique genes and heritage.
My good friends from India follow a strict plant based diet combined with a lot of dairy. They revere the cow in their country, and dairy to them, is like gold. Others I know come from a heritage of farmers and ranchers. Meat is a big part of their diet. I know of a couple of people who are strictly carnivors. They don’t eat vegetables at all. Strictly meat. They are curing autoimmune disorders and all sorts of ailments with this theory of eating.
So I am continually being led down this road of bio-individuality where one persons diet is another’s poison. The only real way to know for sure is to experiment with what feels right for you.
I am of the impression that it’s best to always go back to your roots and eat that way. What was your great great grandmother eating when she was growing up? I believe these characteristics and tastes for food were directly passed on through our genes.
I come from a long line of farmers on one side of my family, and the other side were industrial workers, who probably ate whatever was quick and convenient at the time. The one thing I can tell you with surety is that the foods our ancestors were eating, were not the foods we find today in America. Trans fats, processed foods, little to no veggies on a plate…this wasn’t the norm for our ancestors. You didn’t see diabetes, obesity, heart disease, dementia, anxiety, ADHD and a whole host of other diagnoses you see now. The obvious answer to this huge change in our society is definitely nutrition!
I want you to learn how to truly listen to your body. What foods enliven you and make you feel as though you have endless amounts of energy? What foods make your skin glow and your body maintain a sensible weight? When you eat an apple, notice how you feel as you’re eating it. Do you feel like its feeding you on a deeper level nutritiously than french fries for example? That’s the place I want you to come from with every single meal you eat. While food is suppose to be pleasurable, I want you to look at food as fuel rather than pleasure (but I have many healthy recipes that indeed are both).
So what does my diet look like?
I eat a traditional diet most of the time. Ever read the book “Nourishing traditions”? I can relate to this book. This looks like organic and grass-fed meats, whole, raw or organic dairy (nothing fat-free), a plethora of vegetables and fruits (mostly vegetables and I try to buy organic produce as often as I can afford it), beans and legumes, grains (especially gluten free ones) rice, quinoa, millet, spelt (little to no corn, because I react badly to it). I drink a green smoothie or juice every single morning. I start my day off with a nice tall glass of lemon water to detox my liver. I cook meatless meals about 2-3 times a week to save money and maybe an animal or two. I eat a lot of fat. Avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, grass-fed butter and ghee, olive and avocado oils for cooking etc.. I teeter between Paleo meals, Ketogenic meals and Traditional style meals just like you’d find on the farm. I love to make my own bread, ferment my own veggies, make my own kefir and kombucha for probiotics. I use my instant pot almost every single day. I love my heavy duty cast iron pans. I’m working on drinking more water throughout the day. I sleep a minimum of 7 hours a night (I guard my sleep like a hawk).
What are my top priorites when it comes to health?
1. Sleep 7-9 hours a night…no if’s, and’s, or but’s.
2. Nutrition: When planning meals for my family or myself I start with the vegetables section. Then I add in a protein and a good fat. If I feel like I need a carb, that comes last on my plate. And don’t forget to carry that gallon of water around…just to see how much you’re actually drinking.
3. Exercise: At least 3 days a week and mostly weight lifting (I don’t count the classes I teach at the gym as my workout)
4. Relationships: If something cuts into my family time, I have to say NO or let something go. They are my number one. I also try to nurture my friendships as often as I can as well.
5. Sprituality: I get this from a lot of places…church, doing yoga, going for a walk and meditating, prayer, scripture reading, serving others! I always make sure this area is good. It makes me feel more balanced.
A typical meal in my home
Ground turkey seasoned pepper and feta cheese, sweet potatoes and carmelized onions, avocado, asparagus.