My diet can loosely be described as a nutritarian diet = a ketogenic version of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich Mediterranean diet — full of polyphenol-rich plants, clean protein, good quality fats including omega-3 fatty acids, berries, nuts, seeds and low-glycemic carbohydrates.
I add plants to every meal. As an example, the first meal of my day includes vegetables (such as peppers, radishes, tomatoes, onions), fruits (such as olives, berries, apples) and nuts, seeds and spices (such as Brazil nuts, walnuts, cumin and cinnamon). And my second meal, later in the day, typically also includes a whole lot of vegetables (leafy greens, mushrooms, chickpeas, peas and more). I eat fats with pretty much every meal too and my favourite sources are: MCT oil, extra virgin olive oil, ghee, avocado, fatty fish and a variety of nuts and seeds. The right fats can improve your mood, skin, hair, and nails, while protecting you against diabetes, dementia, cancer, and much more.
The Mediterranean diet, prevalent in many longevity hotspots and Blue Zones, full of whole foods rich in antioxidants and fibre as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, is tailor-made to fight inflammation. The ketogenic diet, prevalent in many hunter-gatherer and healthy ancestral populations, keeps insulin levels low (a key regulator of blood sugar in the body) — also lowering inflammation. While inflammation is a natural part of everyday life — it’s what protects against foreign invaders and helps us heal from damage — when inflammation goes into overdrive and turns into chronic inflammation, that’s where the trouble starts. Some diseases associated with chronic inflammation include cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, as well as neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Crowding Out Processed Foods
Be they mass produced bread, cakes, cookies, soda, sweets, sauces and dressings — they are usually just empty calories, full of sugar and industrially modified vegetable oils, meaning we are getting next to no nutritional value by eating them. Since I have overhauled my diet, I have crowded out processed foods, desserts and refined sugar — replacing them with healthy fats, protein, carbs, herbs, spices and adaptogens — containing bioactive compounds that support metabolic flexibility.
Today’s grocery store aisles are overflowing with ‘healthy,’ ‘whole grain’ and ‘all natural’ treats and snacks. But when you take a closer look at the nutrition facts and ingredients, most of these foods are actually packed with sugar, fat, salt or artificial flavors and preservatives — misleading those that actually do want to improve their nutrition. I eat mostly fresh, home cooked meals and avoid buying packaged foods. Simple switches I have made recently include baking my own low carb bread (with ingredients such as coconut flour and chia, hemp and flax seeds) and wizzing up almond or coconut milk in a high speed blender.
These food labels for multigrain bread (L) and almond milk (R) show that food manufacturers add inflammatory compounds such as carrageenan, high fructose corn syrup and vegetable oil to products which are perceived to be healthy.
Given that the modern world places many obstacles in between us and the path to health, supporting the body nutritionally is all the more pertinent. Biochemical individuality means that your body has its own complex blueprint, making your nutrient needs different from somebody else, even within the same family. One of the greatest investments that you can make is to take the time to learn how your body works and identify your unique nutrition and health needs.