Recently I was asked this question, “What is the one food that makes you feel the healthiest?”
I thought it was such a great question that I passed it on to the Coaching Team at Project Healthy Body, and their answers were fantastic. While we all have different foods that we thrive on, it was not surprising to see that we all tend to share the same healthy eating style. Here are 5 foods we all love and swear by.
1. Fermented Foods
There has been a lot of talk lately about fermented foods and how important they are for a healthy gut. Fermented foods have gone through a process called lacofermentation. During this process, natural bacteria feed on the sugars and starches in the food creating lactic acid. Fermentation preserves the food and creates various strains of probiotics, b vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and other enzymes which are good for your body. There are many ways to incorporate fermented foods into your diet including both food, and beverages.
Kefir and kombucha are both fermented beverages and are a great way to incorporate fermented foods into your diet, but you really have to watch for added sugar here. And I’m sure everybody has heard of pickles, but things like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, raw cheese, tempeh and yogurt are all great ways to add fermented foods to your diet. Remember these are living foods in the refrigerated section of your health-food stores or at farmers’ markets, not off the shelf of aisle 4. The sauerkraut and pickles on aisle 4, the ones you grew up eating at BBQ’s and baseball games have been pasteurized, and that process kills all the live bacteria and other beneficial microbes. Wildbrine and Farmhouse Culture are two of my favorite brands and can be found in most mainstream grocery stores now. If you have not tried pickled carrots or beets you are missing out!
Many of my coaches swear by apple cider vinegar (with “mother”)and warm water. ACV and warm water will provide your system with healthy enzymes, helps to add potassium to your diet, as well as helping to support a healthy immune system and promoting a healthy pH balance in the body. Some studies have also shown ACV to lower blood sugar, but only slightly. Another great way to incorporate ACV into your diet is by making your own salad dressings.
You can then dump that homemade salad dressing with ACV over a big bowl of spinach, and maybe add some pickled veggies too! There is a reason Popeye loved his spinach, it’s probably one of the healthiest foods you can eat! Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins K, A, B2 and C. It’s also a good source of magnesium, manganese and iron. It’s also an incredibly versatile food. It can be cooked, or raw, juiced or incorporated into smoothies. One of my favorite things to do is to throw a handful of spinach in my Vitamix, add half an apple, some healthy fat like avocado or almond butter (1 -2 Tbsp), some protein, maybe a few flax seeds, water and blend. The Project Healthy Body morning green drink is a staple in our regime and most of us anchor this with spinach.
Speaking of healthy fat and avocados, throw that on your salad too! I cannot stress enough how important it is to add healthy fats into your diet, and one our favorite ways to do that is with avocados. The healthy fat in avocados is a cornerstone of the Project Healthy Body formula and most of us eat an avocado a day! Did you know that avocados contain more potassium than bananas? They are also loaded with fiber, and coupled with healthy fat, this will leave you feeling saiated and able to focus on adulting. What’s not to love about that? You can make a quick guacamole (avocado, add a little salsa) and cut up some veggies for a healthy snack, or their creamy texture can make a great addition to your smoothies. Personally an avocado and a spoon are often all I need! Yummy!
4. Grass fed beef
Red meat (beef) has gotten a bad rap over the years, but it can and should be a part of your healthy diet if you are not a vegetarian, or vegan, obviously. Enjoy beef in moderation, and when you do add beef to your diet, maybe on that amazing salad you are making, look for grass fed beef. Grass fed beef has less total fat than grain fed beef. It also has more Omega-3 fatty acids which are heart healthy, more linoleic acid (which is a type of fat that is thought to reduce heart disease), more antioxidants, irons, vitamin E and B12.
Project Healthy Body Coach Holly Higgins, who also runs her own private practice over at Holly Higgins Nutrition, swears by grass fed beef in her diet. She was diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia (deficient B12 and Iron) and adding this into her diet changed her life as she fought to turn years of depression and anxiety around using whole foods. Holly recommends, “eating grass-fed beef at least three times per week. This contains a powerhouse of nutrients for depression and anxiety, and is particularly rich in important B vitamins.” I have added more links to information on grass fed beef in relation to depression and anxiety below. Thanks Holly!
5. Collagen Peptides
We are all obsessed with collagen!!! I incorporate collagen peptides into my diet every single day usually in my morning green drink, and often in my water bottle later in the day. Before I go any further, how many of you know what collagen peptides are? Don’t worry if you don’t, most people haven’t heard of them. Without sounding too scientific, collagen is kind of like the glue that holds us all together. Collagen improves joint health, supports bone strength, boosts skin beauty, supports connective tissues, helps prevent injuries and helps to promote healthy aging. However, as we grow older, our bodies don’t make as much as they once did. That’s okay, because you can always incorporate collagen into your diet in other ways.
Bone broth is one great way to add more collagen to your diet, but if you don’t feel like making your own broth go this route! You can buy powdered collagen and add it to your coffee, tea, soups or smoothies. Fun fact, if you add it to hot coffee or tea and whip it up with an immersion blender it adds a nice froth to your beverage. Two brands we love are Vital Proteins and Great Lakes Gelatin Co., both of which are available online, both Whole30 compliant as well! I also love Vital Proteins Beauty Water and carry their travel sizes in my purse. What I know for sure is when my collagen is on point…my hair, nails and skin are too!
If you are looking to improve your health, up your game- start by adding in just one of these 5 foods! There are so many healthy foods out there and these are just a few of the foods that my coaching team and I find are a key part of a healthy eating lifestyle!
We would love to hear what healthy foods you are incorporating into your eating plan. What food makes you feel the healthiest? Sound off in the comments and share some of your favorites. After all, who quits healthy?
I started eating red meat daily to address the reactive hypoglycemia. I am feeling so much better! I am a lot less…kellybroganmd.com
Many people – myself included! – report that Whole30 significantly improves anxiety and depression symptoms. In fact…www.hollyfisherhiggins.com