Eat: Modern Day Wildwoman
I’ve found firsthand that some people’s superfood is indeed another’s toxin. Even if a person looks “good”, it doesn’t mean they feel good. Every body is different. Therefore, listen to yours and adjust accordingly. The following works for me and I call it Modern Day Wildwoman. Not a whole lot of rules, plenty of trusting the body’s intuition. Choose organic and/or grass-fed whenever possible, but don’t let that prevent you from eating a fruit or veggie. Natural food always wins over processed and packaged. Oh, and by the way, you can be a yogi no matter what you eat.
Veggies: Energy, anti-inflammatory, and cellular repair food that keeps one’s body humming. Pair for with protein and/or a dab of good fat for sustained energy, brain power, and to decrease the likelihood of inflammatory conditions such as acne, autoimmune disorders, constipation, and scary cancer. Notice how many colors surround you next time you check out the weekly Farmer’s Market or your grocery’s produce department; all those colors symbolize phytonutrients at a cellular level. I stash snacks such as sliced daikon radish, snap peas, carrots, cherry tomatoes, romaine lettuce leaves, really any leftover veggies I’ve managed into a tupperware on my way out the door in the morning. I eat ‘em on their own or dip in nut butter.
Roots and Other Starchy Veggies: Eating roots helps me feel grounded. Get it? Roots grow in the ground. Beets, parsnips. Mmmmm! Starch is glucose in its storage form, polysaccarides. The energy is harder to break down than simple sugar found in say, fruit. This energy is not for now; its for later. Storage. What I eat when I need to chill out, prepare for activity in a while, ground. Makes for good sleep. Winter squash…mmmm. Crave especially during winter. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
Eat abundant amounts of veggies, fill your plate up with ’em, and then add the following:
Protein: Fire food. What I eat when I need to “do”. Not a ton, just a bit with plenty of cooked/raw veggies. Think “Mostly Vegan, Sometimes Sushi…and Steak”. Fish swim, Soybeans and nuts are dense balls of energy, like the sun. Animals “do” all day long. Protein serves movement, if eaten in the right context, quality, portions for your unique type. I personally do not do well on red meat due to my constitution (too much energy, too dense), but do well on occasional fish, eggs, or poultry.
Soy: Soy gets a bad rap, but for my own sensitive Blood Type A, Vata-Pitta ayurvedic constitution, organic and non-GMO tofu and soymilk are staples. I thrived on soy while living in Asia….again, listen to your body and adapt accordingly.
Egg: Life-giver. Crave when I’m feeling depleted. Easy to digest. Think about it, an egg is life in a simple embryonic form. Remember craving an omelet the morning after partying in your undergrad days? Eggs revive.
Oils and Fats: Nature’s beauty and brain food by it’s internal lubricant. I’m big on a eating a whole avocado and calling it a meal.
Fermented Foods: Doenjang, kimchi, kombucha. Fermented foods contain gut-friendly bacteria to maintain happy digestive health which recent research shows is connected to brain health and happiness! In South Korea, where I lived for one year, each meal was served with kimchi, a fermented cabbage, and a soup made with doenjang, a fermented soybean broth. My friends and I brewed kombucha, a fermented tea, in our apartments. Looking back, in addition to the standard Asian diet of abundant vegetables, protein, with the absence of dairy and/or gluten, I credit the regular inclusion of fermented foods for feeling my healthiest ever during that year.
Listen, listen, listen to your body. Eat portions depending on activity.
Pay attention to what’s in season and what your body, not mind, wants. It’s pretty simple.
Nuts and Seeds: Sustain. Nuts and Seeds are found inside shells, fruits, squash, and I can just imagine our ancestors pocketing this high-energy, not so easily perishable sustenance after finishing off the fresh flesh that often surrounds it. These lil’ guys (and/or fruit) get me by until my next big forage/meal with friends. And depending on my activity any given day, I’ll eat nuts, or not. If I’m lounging at home writing, do I need the extra sustenance? Am I even hungry? No. But if I’m out and about, my blood sugar tends to drop rather quickly, so keeping a handful of nuts (and/or fruit or veggies) on hand is key to happy body and mind. Also, I crave nuts more than fruit when the weather gets chilly.
Fruit: Fuel for short bursts, hydrating, nature’s treat. Whole fruit is just fine due to its’ fiber content. It’s the processed juice and dried stuff that’ll spike your blood sugar.
I eat local, in-season fruit whenever by body craves it’s juicy goodness. I find fruit especially rewarding if picked myself. Anyone who’s spent time with me in the tropics or during California harvest time knows I get excited over abundant fruit tree foragings. I’ll nibble my way through jungle and urban walks alike. Nothing compares to stumbling upon a guava tree deep in the Hawaiian jungle, or a California loquat tree on a walk around the neighborhood.
Water: All the time. Guzzle, guzzle. So good for you. ‘Nuff said.
Exercise: Do natural things. Walk outdoors. Practice yoga. Garden. Play with your dog on the beach or at the park, walking, jogging intermittently; playing always. Organize the house on rainy days. Just move as nature intended (can you picture the ancient hunter-gatherer woman cave cleaning during storms? Yes!)
Remember to look good and feel good, listen to your body and adjust accordingly.