I have wanted to write about food for a while now, but the right words didn’t come to me. My diet and your diet are very personal. What is good for one, doesn’t necessarily have to be good for another. However, like most of us I try to be the best version of myself I can be. That means thinking about my lifestyle as well. And nutrition is an important part of our lifestyle. There is a lot of evidence that one’s diet, next to our genes, has a great influence on how old we will be and on the quality of our life.
Moreover, there is a lot of research on what kind of foods have the biggest influence on our health. I have been reading and studying a lot about nutrition for years, but applying what I know to daily life is something else, I can admit! I guess that goes for many of us. So one of my new year’s resolutions is exactly that, applying what I know, and making sure I make healthy choices in my diet. So what am I committed to right now?
Several years ago I was introduced to the work of Joel Fuhrman, an American doctor and former athlete who writes a lot about health and food. He has developed his a so called “nutritarian” diet, based on worldwide research in nutrition and he did his own clinical trials. I’ll spare you the details, but the basics of his diet are very simple:
- eat Greens every day
- eat Beans every day
- eat Onions every day
- eat Mushrooms every day
- eat Berries every day
- eat Seeds every day
His philosophy is that one should get as many nutrients as possible in a meal with the lowest possible calories. The focus is on what you eat and not so much about what to avoid, although salt, oil, sugar and alcohol are to be avoided. It is mainly a vegan lifestyle, although a tiny bit of meat, fish or cheese for flavouring are allowed but not recommended. Dr. Fuhrman provides strong evidence that animal food in whatever way promotes cancer and heart disease. Things to stay away from.
So how does this work for me? My typical daily meals look like this:
- Breakfast: smoothie with fruits and green vegetables, or oats with fruit or fruit salade with oats, seeds and nuts and soy milk
- Lunch: big salad with warm vegetables on top of green leafy salads, with tomatoes and cucumber. Most of the time I have beans or legumes with my salad as well.
- Dinner: wholewheat pasta, brown rice or other grains with vegetables, sometimes with tofu, tempe or soy.
Easy, right? But there are several things that I find more complicated.
I notice that it is sometimes difficult to eat the berries and the seeds every day. Especially flax seed is recommended for the omega-3 in it. But I am not such a flax seed fan and I tend to skip it and replace it by less favourable sun flower seeds or something like that.
Also, I find it a challenge not to snack. The nutritarian diet consists of 2 or 3 meals a day, so there is no room for rice cakes with peanut butter, the occasional handful of nuts or other snacks I enjoy. Another problem is that you have to prepare ahead with this lifestyle. If you are at home, of course you can cook what you want, but in the average restaurant it can be harder to find a meal that fits the above criteria.
What I like about this lifestyle is that it really boosts my energy levels if I get all my GBOMBS in a day and that it is a flexible way of eating. Also, if I don’t snack in between meals I am sure to lose several pounds in the process as well. Something to work on, I will let you know how that goes in later updates!
If you like to read more about the Nutritarian lifestyle or about Dr. Fuhrman’s research, I can recommend his books “Eat to Live” and “Super Immunity”. To be continued & namaste!