Enhance Your Resilient DietJan 08, 2020
Enhance Your Mind-Body Health Through Nutrition
Once you've incorporated the six principles of the Resilient Diet into your daily habits, you may be ready for these more in-depth practices to further enhance your mind-body health through nutrition. There's no need to adopt these suggestions all at once--you can pick and choose the ones that work for you.
Practice 1: Eat more frequent meals and keep portions small.
- Always eat breakfast—after fasting overnight, your brain needs fresh fuel.
- Eat every 4-5 hours throughout the day to keep blood sugar steady.
- Ideal: Eat three meals of 400-600 calories each, along with 2-3 snacks of 100-200 calories each. Have a snack in the late morning and mid-afternoon. You may also want to add a small snack just before bedtime if you eat dinner early or wake at night feeling hungry.
Practice 2: Have a modest amount of protein with each meal and snack.
- Note that some folks may want to avoid protein at night.
- Ideal: Approximately 60-70 grams of protein daily for women of average size and activity, and 90-100 grams for men. Increase this amount if you have larger muscle mass or more vigorous activity.
- Eat meat sparingly, especially red meat. Limit meat portions to 4-6 ounces, and no more than once daily, if possible. The size of your palm is a good way to estimate the amount of protein you need for a meal.
- Seek out other sources of protein, including eggs, dairy, beans and legumes, vegetables and a variety of protein powders (e.g. whey, rice, hemp, vegetable, and soy).
Practice 3: Build your diet around whole, complex carbohydrates.
- Try to have some with each meal and snack.
- Ideal: Your greatest volume of food should be from fresh, organic plants, especially leaves. They have most of the nutrient value (including healthy fats) with very few calories.
- Try to have at least 2 brightly colored foods on your plate at each meal, and include all the colors over the course of each week: green, yellow, red, orange, blue, and purple.
- Eat some kind of cruciferous vegetable every day. Choose from broccoli, kale, collard greens, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli rabe, and broccolini.
- Include modest amounts of calorie-rich complex carbohydrates as well.
- Start with beans (red, black, pinto, kidney) and legumes (lentils, split peas, peanuts).
- Next, choose from several different root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash).
- Keep eating grains, but with slightly less frequency. Aim to rotate 5-7 different whole grains, including rice, oats, quinoa, millet, amaranth, barley, corn, and wheat. Try not to eat any single grain every day—aim to eat wheat just 2 or 3 days per week, for example. Wheat and corn, because they are so prevalent, are also the grains to which you are more likely to develop food sensitivity.
Practice 4: Include healthy fats with nearly every meal and snack.
- Make olive oil your primary oil. Use it for flavoring foods, as with dressings or marinades, and also for cooking at low to moderate heat.
- If you want a more neutral-flavored oil (e.g. for baking or for salad dressings) use walnut or flax oil.
- For high heat cooking, use grapeseed or canola oil.
- Add a variety of nuts and seeds to your diet—they make especially good snacks along with fresh or dried fruits.
- Choose walnuts, almonds, and cashews.
- Try seeds like flax, hemp, and pumpkin. Since all nuts and seeds are high in fat content, don’t eat large amounts. Just a small handful makes an ample snack.
- Eat fatty fish at least 2 or 3 times per week.
- Choose from the least toxic varieties (find a good list here).
- Cold-water fish are highest in omega-3, and smaller fish (or those caught in less polluted waters) are safest—for example, wild Alaskan salmon, herring, and sardines.
Practice 5: Stay well-hydrated.
- Make pure water your main beverage.
- Begin each day with 2 large glasses of water. Have another large glass between each meal and snack. You don’t need a lot of fluid during mealtimes—it may dilute gastric enzymes. Don’t drink much fluid in the evening.
- If you like green tea you can drink it throughout the day. It does contain a small amount of caffeine, so stop early enough to protect your sleep.
- Limit fruit juices. You are better off eating the whole fruit—you need the fiber to balance the rich concentration of the fruit’s sugar (fructose).
- Try drinks containing healthy bacteria, including kefir, and some of the new low-calorie drinks with added probiotics.
Practice 6: Eat more slowly.
- “Fast food” is a symptom of our underlying lifestyle. Counter the urge to hurry and remain in stress mode by slowing down when you eat.
- Eating should be pleasurable. Food should taste good. To really enjoy it, we must take our time. When you really pay attention to the taste, texture, and quality of the food you are eating, you will naturally make better food choices. Quality food brings more pleasure than fast or processed food.
- You will also tend to eat less by eating slowly. When you are more present and have a fuller experience of your food, you derive more pleasure from less food. You also give your body time to register that it has had enough, so you can stop eating before becoming full.
- One of the traditional values associated with eating is gratitude. Take time to notice the bounty before you, the beauty of the food, its texture and flavor. Reflect for a moment on the source of your food; the soil, sunlight, and pure water that went into its growth; the many hands involved in growing, harvesting and transporting it; the gift of its preparation for you; the restoring of your body that comes from eating healthy nutrients.
- Check out the Slow Food Movement. It's a grassroots effort to counter the fast food lifestyle and to reclaim the beauty and pleasure of eating.
The Resilient Diet
We have created the Resilient Diet to integrate seamlessly into your daily life. It is not a set of restrictive rules or detailed recipes. Instead, the Resilient Diet is made up of six broad guidelines or principles. These principles can guide your nutrition whether you cook for yourself, cook for a family, or don't cook much at all. Learn the Resilient Diet principles here.