Food I Pack For The Day

Keeping up with my new year’s resolution to stick to the Nutritarian Diet, I am actively adjusting how I eat in order to pack in ALL of the nutrients everyday. Or at least most of them.

And what timing this is as I am currently recovering from a bit of a head cold. Just stuffed up sinuses so nothing major, but a majority of my coworkers are getting hit with the flu. Either I picked up something completely different, or perhaps the Nutritarian lifestyle is already at work, boosting my immune system so much that I am only showing one symptom of the flu? That sounds right.

In case you don’t know what the Nutritarian diet is, check out my previous post about the health study and how you can get a free book! I’m all about the books, about the books, no treble (Meghan Trainor, anyone?). The book is Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He coined the term “Nutritarian” and describes it as being “nutrient-dense and plant-rich, and includes anti-cancer superfoods, which also facilitate weight loss.”

The study focuses on the health of the Nutritarian diet and the occurrence, recurrence, and progression of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and all forms of cancer. Another key benefit from the diet is the reduced occurrences and symptoms of the common-cold. Basically, the diet is centered about your micronutrients, those elusive vitamins and minerals that are essential for daily bodily functions. The World Health Organization describes them as “magic wands” (not kidding) that “enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development.” Not only that, but the immune system relies on an adequate supply of those micronutrients to function efficiently.

Alright, you get the point.

So here’s what a typical work day looked like before I started planning ahead:

8:00AM I eat a banana on my way to work

8:30AM Get to work and immediately eat a package of the belVita brown sugar breakfast cookies

9:00AM Buy a small iced coffee with hazelnut syrup and a splash of soy milk

11:00AM Small snacks of wheat thins to tide me over until lunch

12:00PM Eat the healthy lunch I packed

2:00PM Hunger strikes and I grab some wheat thins or peanut butter pretzel bites

3:30PM Snack time again as I get antsy for the work day to end–time for a Kid’s Cliff  Bar

4:30PM Almost time to leave and workout, better fuel myself with one of the previously mentioned snacks again

As you can see, I snack a lot, mostly in the afternoon since the coffee suppresses my morning appetite for the most part.

So here’s an example of a typical day of food I take with me to work. *Note, this is not everything I eat in a day, just what I take for work so that I’m not tempted by all of the processed snack options.

Food I pack for the day

Food I pack for the day

So here’s what I take:

My oatmeal fixin’s so that I can make it at work. This replaces the belVita temptation. I take a tablespoon of ground flax seed, a teaspoon of maple syrup, and a half cup of berries–blueberry and blackberry this time. I keep the quick oats and cinnamon at work and just add water to cook it in the microwave. This is pretty filling from all of the fiber so I don’t need to snack throughout the morning (but I still have my coffee… gotta work on that).

Oatmeal Fixin's

Next, I always have a healthy lunch full of vegetables, whole grains or legumes, and starches like sweet potato. This stew did not disappoint.

Food I Pack for the Day

My afternoon snack is now carrots with hummus. Turmeric = yellow hummus. Mine is homemade but you could get store-bought as well. I just prefer mine without oil, which store-bought ones usually contain. Oil = acne for me. Another great snack is a piece of fruit like an apple with some peanut butter or some raw almonds.

turmeric hummus

And lastly, I have the banana right before I leave work so that I’m fueled up for my workout. A piece of fruit is a great pre-workout snack.

Now, with a little preparation, my snacks are definitely more aligned with the Nutritarian diet and I’m much more efficient throughout the day without the constant snacking.

What healthy choices are you making throughout the day? Do you suffer from constant-snacker syndrome like I do?

xoxo Rachel

“Super Immunity” Book Review

Super Immunity by Dr. FuhrmanAs mentioned from my previous post about joining a women’s health study, I received a free copy of the book Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It was an excellent read and has added a new layer of evidence for me that the plant-based diet is the only diet we should have.

The book is focused on micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals) which should be what we center our diet around, not macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein). You could be hitting your macronutrient goals and still be micronutrient deficient. Since the state of our health is based around those micronutrients, the nutritarian approach focuses on revving up our immune systems not just to protect against infection but also to protect against cancer, heart disease, strokes, and dementia. Dr. Furhman cites that,

“the lifetime probability of being diagnosed with an invasive cancer is 44 percent for men and 37 percent for women. However, because of the earlier median age of diagnosis for breast cancer compared with other major cancers, women have a slightly higher probability of developing cancer before the age of sixty. Currently, one in four deaths in the United States is due to cancer.”

Although these statistics are alarming, Dr. Fuhrman provides ease of mind with many recommendations on how to significantly reduce our risk of developing cancer along with reducing the risk of other diet-related diseases that commonly kill those on a Standard American Diet.

He also has a chapter regarding how to fight colds and viruses. He gives recommendations on how to prevent and combat these illnesses so that they do not affect our daily lives as often or as intensely as they may have if not for a strong immune system. He debunks many common remedies that could cause more harm than good in the mending process, such as eating chicken noodle soup. It can actually slow the recovery process by causing the body to have to work harder to digest the animal protein.

And in case you’re wondering, no–you can’t just supplement for optimal health. Many of these essential micronutrients are not easily absorbed as a supplement as they are consumed in their whole form from the plant. For optimal health, you need to be consuming it from the source. In fact, the book explains that some instances of supplementation can be more harmful than good. For example, I’m sure if you’re a woman you’ve been told to supplement with folic acid if you’re at child bearing age and could potentially become pregnant. Although folate (the natural version found in plants) is essential for preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida that occur when the fetus’s spine and back do not close during development, folic acid is the synthetic version which can cause serious health concerns if consumed in high amounts. Since many foods are fortified with folic acid, such as refined grain products, adding a supplement poses a risk of consuming too much. This is linked with the increased occurrence of certain cancers. However, there is no risk of consuming an abundance of the natural form, folate, in your diet. In fact, increased consumption of food-derived folate is linked with a decreased risk of breast and prostate cancer. Plants for the WIN!

This is just one of the many fallacies of supplementation and micronutrients that Dr. Fuhrman explains in this book. It is an excellent read for those wanting some motivation to eat healthier in the new year. He also provides a full chapter of recipes and a 2 week meal plan. Some of the recipes that I can’t wait to try are Sweet Potato Cakes with Strawberry Sauce, Thai Longevity Stew, Bean Enchiladas, and Coconut Carrot Cream Pie (say what?!).

You can purchase a copy from Amazon or receive a free copy by signing up for the 30-day trial of the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study.

Nutritarian Women’s Health Study

The time has come to share my exciting news! As you may know, I initially transitioned to this lifestyle for my health. I really just want to live forever. Is that too much to ask for?! But with things like heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, breast cancer, and Parkinson’s disease all running in my family, my risks seem a lot higher…. Or are they? Apparently, regardless of your family history, these things can still happen to you. It all boils down to diet.

For example, an ultra marathon runner who eats whatever they want and is in great shape will still have worse arterial function than the lazy vegan. You literally can’t outrun a bad diet. See the brief vid below from NutritionFacts.org that further explains how this is possible.

But I don’t just want to be the lazy vegan, I want to be a fit, active, healthy vegan! So to motivate myself to improve me eating habits and eliminate more processed foods, I’ve decided to join a health study! It’s called the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study from Northern Arizona University. It’s a long term observational study on the health of the nutritarian diet on occurrence, recurrence, and progression of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and all forms of cancer. The Nutritarian diet is coined by Dr. Fuhrman and is described as being “nutrient-dense and plant-rich, and includes anti-cancer superfoods, which also facilitate weight loss.” These nutrient dense foods include whole fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. This study is open to all females over the age of 18 in the United States. This is an open-ended study so it can go on for years but you do have the ability to opt out at any time. I highly recommend checking out their welcome page and intro video. If you decide to join the health study, you will receive periodic questionnaires to answer and occasional blood tests. Don’t worry–they send you a kit that you take to a lab to be performed so you don’t have to poke yourself. You should only need to do that once every 1-2 years. Easy peasy!

If anything, you should at least sign up for the 30 day trial so you can receive a free copy of the book Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman for free. Did I mention it’s free?

And don’t fret males, although they may exclude you for the actual study, I’m pretty sure you can still sign up for the 30 day trial and receive the free book 🙂

Ok, so here’s how you get started with the 30 day trial:

  1. Go to the enrollment page and start filling out the information. If you ever need to pause while filling it out you can either leave the page open and come back to it later (I did that sometimes) or you can pause it to return later and they’ll give you a code (save that!) and email you a link to return for later. You will need to use that link and the code they gave you to return. But honestly, it didn’t take that long to fill out so you might not even have to bother with that.
  2. After you fill out the information you watch a few short videos from Dr. Fuhrman and answer some questions.
  3. Then you get to download the free book! At this point they will email you the information to download the book and you will need to use the pause feature so that you can read the book before you continue. So again, don’t lose that code!
  4. The book isn’t too long but has excellent research and information on the nutritarian diet and what is best for achieving “super immunity” to live longer and healthier lives (disease free woot woot!). The back of the book also has easy to follow meal plans and recipes–and yes there’s even desserts! The recipes sound delicious and I plan to make several of them soon like the Sweet Beet Potato Cakes with Strawberry sauce, Better Burgers, Bean Enchiladas, Thai Longevity Stew, and Coconut Carrot Cream Pie just to name a few. Listing food makes me hungry.
  5. After you’re done reading the book you return to the study with the email link and that code you saved so that you can answer a quick 15 question quiz about the book. It’s super easy.
  6. Then you answer one last questionnaire about your health history. You will need to take a couple measurements around your waist and hips and know your blood pressure. Don’t worry, places like Kroger (Dillons, King Soopers, etc.) and some Walgreens have those free machines that take your blood pressure for you. You can see my results below. Once that is all complete, you fill out the consent form and you’re in the study!
Yeah, my results are a bit high and could use some improvement! Good thing I found this heath study!

Yeah, my results are a bit high and could use some improvement! Good thing I found this heath study!

It may seem like a lot but you have 30 days to complete it all. But seriously, at least sign up so you can get the free book. It is worth the read, and perhaps may convince you to add more fruits and veggies to your diet. I’ve already started adding pomegranates to my diet (yum!) and I’ve stopped picking around the mushrooms in my meals and have accepted that eating them daily is associated with a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime so I’m all for reducing my risk. C’mon ladies–none of the women in our lives should ever have to suffer through that–so let’s pass this amazing knowledge along!

So go read that book! And let me know if you decide to join the health study. We can help keep each other accountable so that we can live longer healthy lives together! xoxo

P.S. Stay tuned for a short review of that book coming soon. I really enjoyed it and think you will too!