A very sweet woman emailed to ask me what my diet entailed so this blog is for her. She wanted to know how to get, what she referred to as the ‘Pilates Physique’ through diet and obviously exercise. Let me preface this by stating that I am not a nutritionist so I can’t tell you what to eat but I am happy to share what I like to eat and why. The way we eat can be based on the body’s actual cravings or our ‘emotional taste buds’. Emotional eating is something I will discuss at a later time but I will stick to the basics here.
A macrobiotic diet parallels the diet I grew up with: the majority consisted of whole grains, miso, vegetables and some meat. Macrobiotics encourages you to eat only when you are hungry. Macrobiotics works for me in terms of the type of foods I crave but I do eat before I get hungry just because my blood sugar can’t drop too low. I need my energy to remain more consistent so I eat every 2.5-3 hours.
I also like bland food over really decadent French-brasserie type dishes. I might be a supertaster because my love for salt far surpasses my love for any other flavor. Hence my actual food cravings tend to be that of whole grains and leafy greens, topped with Bragg’s and flax seed oil. I always manage to eat breakfast, even when its small. A snack will be nuts or popcorn. Lunch is typically a wrap, soup and/or salad bar from WholeFoods. Dinner is usually my largest meal just because I have time to cook and sit down to eat.
A typical day would be something like this:
Emergen-C with water first thing in the morning (wakes me up before my shower)
Coffee w/ almond milk or soy latte
Breakfast: banana (the portable take-anywhere-eat-anytime fruit)
Lunch: vegetable wrap with hummus or tahini dressing
Mid-day snack: raw cashews with an apple or a fresh squeezed kale, cucumber, spinach juice
Dinner: stir-fry vegetables with tofu
Dessert: chocolate covered almonds
I just keep it simple. I eat when I am hungry and try to feed my body. There are days when I have more time on my hands and on those days I eat more food. For instance, I will start with a huge breakfast like a frittata with pan-fried potatoes, mid-day eat a croissant and dinner red wine and salmon. On those off days, I don’t usually snack in between meals because the meals are so massive that it ties me over for longer periods of time.
There are only a few diet rules I go by: 1) avoid processed foods, 2) avoid eating too much yeast (I highly recommend reading The Yeast Connection. I read it at 18 and it changed my life), and 3) drink water throughout the day but wait an hour after a meal (helps your digestion and makes your skin look better). I enjoy reading books about diet and nutrition. I try to stay abreast on all the latest diets and fads because its my job to know what my clients are trying. However, the best diet you adhere to shouldn’t be a fad – it should be the way you want to live your life.
If you are thinking about trying a diet that has you eating cookies all day, do you think that is really the best long-term chance of staying healthy and fit?! Look into the future of how you want to eat, how you want your children to eat and what their relationship with food be? Then pick a diet that meets those requirements both nutritionally and emotionally. Read the classic Bread and Jam for Frances as a reminder of how parents empower their children’s decision to eat properly. You aren’t going to run your best on a stomach full of cookies so streamline your diet to your lifestyle.
I also take supplements: fish oil, probiotics and a multi-vitamin. My diet is simple and it keeps me energized. The heavier more complicated foods weighs me down giving me that sluggish feeling. I am also sensitive to food and have to be cautious of what I eat. My mother has been diagnosed with colitis and her diagnosis has encouraged us both to eat more vegan type foods. We consume practically little to no dairy.
This is a topic that I will revisit time and time again. My diet has been more or less the same since I was a child so maintaining is natural because its what I know. Its never too late to change what you crave and its never too late to start anew. Don’t diet to lose vanity pounds, change your relationship with food and you won’t need to obsess over your diet again. Feed to sustain yourself and do away with emotional eating.