I have a masters degree in both molecular and cellular biology as well as in education. I’ve been eating a more nutrient dense diet for about seven years now and have felt an increase in energy and mental as well as emotional clarity. I have experienced setbacks on my journey to better health, but I've learned a lot along the way. The guide below is an outline of what to eat whether you’re an omnivore or interested in a more plant based diet leaning towards vegetarianism. Students and those with a heavy workload will also benefit from the guidelines as they help to increase energy levels and promote well being. If you're having difficulty losing weight the guide will also help. How you eat is the primary factor in maintaining a healthy weight, but fitness is extremely important when it comes to health as well and is best done at the beginning of the day. Also, what’s often not understood is that the integrity of your gut microbiome(gut flora, microbiota) play an enormous role in the level of health you experience and is heavily affected by what you eat and how well one manages stress in their life. The information contained within the outline is a guide as to how to properly nourish your body and microbiota. You can also find this same guidelines on my site nourishingtheinnerwell.com
Weight Loss and Energy Guide
Keep sugar intake at a moderate level. Excess sugar is the main culprit for most of today’s excessive weight gain(also excess protein beyond your physiological needs:gluconeogenesis). Eat most of your meals with vegetables(leafy greens in particular) and go for complex carbs.
Vegetables(low carb while high in minerals, prebiotic,get organic or locally grown if possible)
Plantains(use sparingly just to help replenish glycogen)
Sweet potatoes(use sparingly just to help replenish glycogen, skins are high in nutrients like many other tubers and fruits)
Fruit(go for low glycemic while high in antioxidants with fiber)
Avoid(at least until your weight and energy levels are where you want them to be, but even then I suggest only having them on occasion if at all unless your eating the unprocessed versions)
Most Grains(can be very insulinogenic and inflammatory especially if suffering from severe gut dysbiosis, if eating these get soaked and sprouted as well as fermented if possible, same goes for legumes)
Processed carbs(any processed food really in addition to anything that has been genetically modified)
Increase intake of good fats. Eating good fats with your meals will increase the bioavailability of the fat soluble nutrients in the vegetables that you eat while bringing out more of the flavor inherently present. Many of these good fats also have antimicrobial properties and essential nutrients.
Walnuts, almonds, etc.
All hydrogenated and overly processed oils(ex. Canola oil, Soybean oil as well as soy in general as it is goitrogenic as well as being estrogenic although fermented soy has benefits in small amounts)
Eat sufficient protein. Your body requires sufficient protein as it does all nutrients, but your plate should be made up of mostly vegetables.
Nuts and Seeds(preferably soaked and even sprouted to neutralize some of the phytic acid and make the nutrients contained more available for absorption)
Eggs(if you can get free range, cage free or pasture raised)
Leafy greens such as spinach which contains some of the essential amino acids
Grass-fed and raw milk if you’re able to digest it(composed of proteins that contains all essential amino acids which can be useful while on a primarily vegetarian diet)
Pasture-raised animals and wild caught fish(high in omega 3 fatty acids and fat-soluble nutrients)
Factory farmed eggs or nuts and seeds that have gone rancid
Soy unless fermented, but even than it still contains goitrogens(linked to hypothyroidism)
Spices and Herbs(as well as being delicious many contain trace minerals, packed with more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables, and have antimicrobial properties as well as functioning as a prebiotic and some can help to regulate weight and mood: cayenne, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, vanilla, etc., get in unprocessed form to prevent oxidation)
Honey(if possible get raw, contains enzymes, trace minerals and can help to satisfy a sweet tooth later in the day)
Other Sweeteners(stevia and xylitol are natural sweeteners that do not raise blood glucose levels while not causing metabolic confusion)
Avoid artificial sweeteners as many promote gut dysbiosis and the body senses the taste of sugar without a registered caloric effect in addition to altered molecular structure in my opinion).
Dairy if your stomach can handle it can be useful to incorporate into your diet(get grass-fed or even raw if you can, I recommend having this later in the day because it’s a higher glycemic food)
Coffee(can be excellent to have in your routine if you’re well hydrated as it’s a diuretic and don’t develop dependency, full of antioxidants and is a mild laxative as well as a metabolism booster, make sure you’re ingesting a full spectrum salt for essential minerals like Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to prevent adrenal fatigue)
Dr. Berg’s wheat grass(doesn’t contain gluten) and spirulina
Exercise, Movement and Wellness Practices:
Weight Bearing Exercise(for increasing and maintaining bone density)
Sprints(Excellent to round out physical capacity and significantly increases the rate of neurogenesis)
HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training is an excellent way to increase respiratory capacity, diversify movement and increase endurance, ex:Tabatas)
Continuous Movement(sitting throughout the day can mitigate the benefits of other exercise routines and significantly contributes to overall endurance)
Some kind of a meditative practice is excellent for mitigating stress and cultivating resilience
Advancements in Understanding:
Gut-Brain Connection(heart as well in my opinion: check out the Institute of HeartMath, neurotransmitters in the gut and immune system, microbiome effects on food cravings mental states and overall health as well as constituting most of your genetics and outnumbering your own cells, probiotics and prebiotics for gut and mental health)
Stem Cells and the capacity for Oocyte formation beyond the fetal stage
Neurogenesis especially as it relates to exercise and practices that incorporate breathwork/reflection
Contribution and it’s affects on the brain
Beta-glucans as immunomodulators
Medicinal Mushrooms and Terpenes
Nutrient deficient/depleted soils(pasture-raised animals can help replenish the top-soil) and malnourishment despite being overweight
Eating whole foods that don’t have fractionated nutrients for better absorption and use of minerals, phytonutrients, vitamins and co-factors that work synergistically
Fasting, autophagy, mitochondrial resilience, epigenetics and ketosis
Hormones(leptin, ghrelin and insulin for weight loss and regulation(calories in vs calories out not exactly correct, eating carbohydrates in a condensed window later in the day mitigates the effects of insulin)
Plants as natural air detoxifiers
Food as Medicine and whole food nutrition vs fractionated nutrients found in Supplements
Dietary fiber and oligosaccharides as prebiotics
Lovemaking and the endogenous production of DMT along with other neurotransmitters that promote wellbeing and psychoactive components in everyday food
The Glymphatic System and prioritizing sleep
Appendix as a site for repopulating the gut(hopefully with beneficial bacteria)
Adsorptive clays as natural detoxifying agents
Blue light filters and circadian rhythms
Blue-green algae as a protein and omega 3 fatty acid(EPA and DHA specifically) source
Super herbs and adaptogens(chaga, reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, astragalus, etc.)
Hemp seeds for essential amino acids and seaweed for micronutrients like iodine
Increase Energy Levels:
Following this guide will naturally help to increase your energy levels. You should make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids. I would suggest not drinking water(spring water or some kind of mineralized water is preferable, findaspring.com) while you eat as it tends to dilute the stomach acid needed to properly digest your food. Also, you should include some kind of physical activity at the beginning of your day as this best aligns with our circadian rhythms(consistent rigorous exercise in the evening can disrupt sleeping patterns). You don’t need to have a gym membership or a lot of space to do some kind of exercise. A set of crunches, squats and/or sit-ups is fine. Brisk walks 20 minutes each day or so is excellent. Just be sure to get your heart rate up each day.
Some people have more pronounced gut microbiome issues(gut dysbiosis) that impairs their ability to efficiently metabolize food and not store it so a decent probiotic would help with that if needed(while making sure you’re eating prebiotics in the form of green leafy vegetables to maintain healthy gut flora) along with other complex carbohydrates. Also, If you’re transitioning to a vegetarian diet and would like to do it in steps, I would recommend going from red meat, to poultry+fish, to eggs and beyond if you care to while making sure you don't shy away from including good fats and getting adequate protein, fiber/prebiotics+minerals and water. If you would like to eat an omnivorous diet I recommend pescetarianism(stick to small fatty fish that haven’t bioaccumulated a lot of toxins) or trying to include meat from properly raised animals. In addition, for those who are primarily vegetarian it might be useful to include animal products in your diet a couple of times during the week akin to people in the Blue Zones.
DHA and EPA
Micronutrients in general
If you would like support in implementing these guidelines and personalized feedback feel free to be in touch with me at show contact info
. I do consultations, create meal plans and have a two week implementation program. Please go to nourishingtheinnerwell.com for pricing
I find that the higher quality(not necessarily more expensive) sustenance I take in, the more resilient to outside stressors I become and the less I seem to have to workout, do breathwork and consume to consistently experience a state of wellbeing.
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