But regardless of your reasons for deciding to tweak your eating plan, here are some fast, easy tips to creating the ideal daily diet. We talked to renowned holistic nutritionist Sally Kravich, M.S., C.N.H.P., author of Vibrant Living: Creating Radiant Health and Longevity, in search of nutrition advice that will help you look and feel younger, boost your immune system and create vibrant health.
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I like to have some kind of protein, but it’s going to depend on someone’s digestive system. Someone could start the day with a protein shake, but not the standard one from a package and they add milk or water. I’m taking about starting with a base of fruit juice or water or almond milk and water, a healthier base. A shot of Pomegranate juice is great to get some antioxidants. Then throw in some good protein powder, maybe with some flaxseed oil or green nutrients or powder. That’s your super-shake and for a lot of people a great way to start the day. It’s easy.
We're all interesting in starting our day feeling great. What's an ideal breakfast?
I also really like yogurt, especially plain yogurt. I don’t like anything with aspartame at all. Avoid that completely! Diet soda will tear your health down real fast. I recommend pure food, not fake food, and those sweeteners fall in the fake food category. Plain yogurt with fresh fruit and a little cereal thrown or ground flax seeds in works well. Oatmeal with nuts and apple thrown in is great. You always need a fruit or veggie in there to break down the other foods. You could also have a vegetable omelet or poached eggs with a piece of dark bread and grapefruit. Those are things that are good to start the day.
If someone wanted to have to most healthy lunch possible, what would you tell them to eat?
How do men and women differ when it comes to healthy eating?
For women, they’re not going to go for the red meat as much. I tend to tell women to go for the salad and protein at lunch, whether it’s salad with veggie protein like avacado, sunflower seeds or pine nuts, then adding some grilled fish or chicken. It's about keeping their proteins simple and making sure the good fat is there as well.
Can you give us a guide to an ideal evening meal?
Dinner should be your lighter meal. They work best even as full vegetarian meals, or maybe soup and a salad. The heavier proteins are better during the day. You don’t have a lot of time before you sleep to digest and you want to sleep well so keep it light—fish, veggies and some brown rice or a total vegetarian meal.
Is there just one super tip you can offer to help us eat healthier?
Can I give you two? First, get rid of all fake food, non-dairy creamer, margarines, artificial sweeteners, packaged foods that have a shelf life that have no enzymes and can’t break down in your body. Get rid of those foods. Cookies, chips, etc., ger rid of them.
Then increase your vegetables. Include something that’s dark green like spinach or kale or arugula, something orange, like butternut squash or carrots. I think parsley is essential, because it actually cleans your urinary tract. Celery is really important for breaking down fatty matter so it’s really important for the body. Anything red, from beets to radishes to tomatoes, that have the different carotenoids and betacaratenes; they are all found in vegetables and they keep your immune system healthy.
My bare minimum number of servings of vegetables is four to six servings per day. For ideal health we need six to eight servings a day (one cup is one serving, with a variety of the colors previously mentioned).