It is important to note when reading this post that that what works for me has taken years of trial and error, and I am still refining my diet today. I am writing this post because 1. I know everyone is fascinated to hear what a Nutritionist eats, and 2. To show that you do not have to have a particular way of eating that is the only way you will eat forever. Your nutrition should change depending on many lifestyle and environmental factors and will be different for each person and each stage in their life. Below is a summary of what my diet includes on a general basis, and why things are or aren’t included. With a very busy schedule and an MTHFR mutation (making me more susceptible to stress) my diet is focussed on providing me with plenty of energy and high amounts of the nutrients that are depleted when the body is stressed (Magnesium, B vitamins, Zinc, Vitamin C). Also after multiple years on the Oral Contraceptive Pill, I largely follow a gut repair protocol.
Red Meat: I include red meat 1-2 times per week. For me, red meat is not something my body often feels like but I know it is a great source of B vitamins, zinc and protein. If I’m particularly stressed however I will include a bit more red meat than usual. I always choose organic or at least 100% grass fed. If I feel like my digestive system is a bit slow I will have some apple cider vinegar before my meal to help with the digestive processes of meat.
Fish and seafood: I LOVE fish. I eat fish 3-5 times per week with a combination of salmon, ocean trout, white fish, tuna, and sardines (not my favourite but so good for you!). I only limit my intake of the species with potential mercury risks (flake, marlin and swordfish). Always wild or non-farmed, it is important to do your research here and find out where your fish comes from, don’t be afraid to ask your fish monger!
Eggs: Also another favourite food and I always include the yolk! You miss out on many nutrients when you throw away the yolk. I boil 5 eggs on a Sunday and will keep them in the fridge for an easy protein fix during the week, either in a meal or just as a snack. I always choose organic. Or better yet if you can have chickens at home, you can’t get any better!
Nuts: I eat nuts daily but limit my intake to 1-2 small handfuls per day. I include all kinds of nuts (and seeds for that matter). When I have time I will soak them, however if I don’t have time I don’t stress about this (we can’t be perfect all the time!). Nuts can go rancid however so I make sure I store them properly and don’t stock up too much at a time so they’re always fresh.
Grains: Yes, I eat grains. I eat gluten free 95% of the time to help heal my gut (the other 5% is oats and meals cooked by others) and because I noticed a significant difference when I went off it – no more bloating or random stomach pains. I include up to half a cup of grains with at least 1, if not 2-3 meals per day. Usually this is 1-2 meals on days that I am less active (yoga, walking, rest day), and 2-3 meals on days I am more active (HIIT, boxing, running, strength training). If for any reason my gut function is down (illness, stress, alcohol), I might reduce the amount of grains in my diet until it improves.
Dairy: Yoghurt is something I enjoy most days of the week. I love the following brands: Barambah Organics, b.-d Farm Paris Creek, Schultz organics, Five:am or Chobani. I do have milk occasionally but I love making my own nut mylk creations so I often use this over dairy milk simply for taste preference. I eat fetta, ricotta and goats cheese and will also occasionally enjoy a slice of full fat cheese as a snack. I always choose organic full fat dairy. Note: I will avoid dairy if I am unwell (particularly in the winter) as it can promote mucus.
Legumes: I find legumes very nourishing and they are a great source of vegetarian protein so I enjoy them regularly. However I digest them best when prepared properly, soaked and cooked from scratch, rather than just rinsed from a can.
Fermented vegetables: I try to include fermented vegetables daily, just 1 tablespoon with lunch and/or dinner. I will always include them if I am having meat as the enzymes provided help with the digestion process. I am still trialling to find flavours I really enjoy but there are more and more products and recipes becoming available now it doesn’t always have to be boring old sauerkraut!
Sea vegetables: So underrated! In my eyes, these are the closest thing to a super food you can find! The problem is you need know how to make them tasty because on their own..not so yum. I love Japanese food however so whenever I make an Asian inspired dish I will always try and get some sea vegetables in there whether its wakame, arame, nori or kelp.
Raw desserts and sweets: I do have quite a sweet tooth so I enjoy indulging in a dessert but it definitely isn’t a regular habit. Raw desserts are flooding the healthy eating scene at the moment and although it’s great we’re making them from wholefoods, they are still dessert and are designed to be eaten in moderation. Once a week maybe, once a day, definitely not. Chocolate is my weakness though but to make sure don’t overdo it, I make my own and have 2 pieces 2-3 times per week. If you haven’t tried making your own, I highly recommend it!
Coffee: Coffee does not have a place in my diet for a couple of reasons. 1. I don’t enjoy the taste of coffee when it’s hot (cold drip coffee is much more up my alley); 2. I know coffee is addictive and I don’t want my body to rely on caffeine over food as an energy source; 3. Being more susceptible to stress with the MTHFR mutation I can struggle to keep my nervous system calm, which can lead to irritability and insomnia, both of which would be exacerbated from the stimulation of caffeine.
Alcohol: These days I drink a lot less than I used to. It is not uncommon for me to go 3-4 months without drinking (excluding the occasional red wine with a meal or champagne to celebrate). My body does not recover well if I have a big night drinking and it can take a week for me to get my energy back. I do believe that enjoying a few drinks every now and then can be good for you mentally and socially though so of course there are a handful of occasions where I remind myself why I don’t do it all the time! I also believe alcohol is the number one culprit in promoting aging! Every person I know that doesn’t drink and has a healthy diet looks 10 times younger than those that regularly drink..I don’t think this is a coincidence!
So as you can see my diet does include all of the food groups but how much of each depends on how my body is feeling, how active I have been and the time of the year. This will continue to change to best support my body and whatever is happening in my life at that particular time. Remember just because you eat less or more of one thing now, doesn’t mean it will be that way forever. Think about what your body needs right now, and just eat body good food :)