Sure, while you can certainly *try* to consume your weight in exotic superfoods, bulletproof your bevys, and stock up on the latest adaptogenic tonic herbs, there are other — dare we say better — less expensive, more practical ways, to enhance your everyday eats. From embracing an eyes up philosophy to a little KonMari, here are 5 ways to make any meal 1000x healthier.
5 ways to make any meal 1000x healthier
(that do not involve a $60 jar of superfood dust)
1. Save the bevys (water included) for before and after.
Drinking during meals dilutes naturally occurring stomach acids and digestive enzymes (the stuff your body uses to breakdown food). This slows digestion, contributes to bloating, and makes it much harder for your body to actually absorb what you’re eating. Do your body a favor, save the bevys (water included) for before and after. Specifically, 15 to 20 minutes before you eat and 30-60 minutes after you’ve finished your meal. While this does take some time to get used to, if you chew your food (creating saliva), which we hope you do, you *should* be able to eat comfortably without a cold one. If you must drink with your food (we get it, we too, have had cookie experiments turn into um, choking hazards), opt for a warm beverage like room temperature water with lemon or herbal tea, something that mimics your body’s internal temperature to support digestion. Icy cold liquids, including ice cold water, shock the system and disrupt the digestive process. No beuno.
2. Take a cue from Marie Kondo and simplify your eats.
Different food and food combinations digest at different rates and require different pH levels and enzymes to digest properly. The human body is amazing but, if too much activity is happening in the digestive tract at once, things start to slow down causing food to ferment and decompose rather than get digested (read: bloating, gas, heartburn, acid reflux, constipation, nutritional deficiency, etc. etc.). While Miss Kondo might suggest you hold each item (ingredient) and ask yourself if it brings you joy, we might suggest you also ask yourself if you, for real, need it. Does it serve you? Will it satisfy you? Is it what your body needs? Or, is it something you saw on a tv commercial, your BFF’s dinner plate, or scrolling through instagram. Be ruthless. Focus on the quality of your ingredients rather than quantity. To quote our main plant-based nutrition man, Jeff Novick, “Variety may be the spice of life but simplicity is truly the key to health.”
3. Focus on common kitchen “superfoods."
Like the pronounceable ones you probably already have in your kitchen and do not require a second mortgage to keep in stock. 4 of our current favorites are:
Notoriously high in Vitamin C, one of nature’s key water soluble antioxidants, this low sugar super-fruit helps neutralize free radicals and protect our cells from damage. Despite their acidic taste, lemons actually have an alkalizing effect on our internal pH levels, making them ideal for cleansing and detoxification. Try squeezing fresh lemon juice on salads, smoothies, and macro bowls to help increase the absorption of iron, especially non-heme iron from plant-based foods, or, drink up for an incandescent glow.
Rich in calcium, potassium, and sodium, celery (which is actually an herb, not a veggie), replenishes electrolytes, promotes cellular hydration and alkalinity, and regulates fluid balance and blood pressure. Celery also contains substantial amounts of coumarins, a phytochemical found to enhance white blood cell activity. Use celery in soups, smoothies, salads, or these super easy-to-make veggie burgers.
Great for alleviating nausea and soothing upset stomachs, ginger root relaxes the smooth muscle of the digestive tract and stimulates the secretion of gastric juices making it the ultimate remedy for digestive ailments. Known as the ‘universal medicine’ in Ayurvedic tradition, ginger contains over 60 trace minerals, 30+ amino acids, and more than 500 enzymes and coenzymes which work together to calm nerves and reactivity.* Ginger also boasts powerful antiviral, antibacterial, antihistamine, and anti-parasitic properties, making it the ideal ingredient to help kick a cold or knock a fever. Try powdered ginger sprinkled on salads, in smoothies, soups, or raw ginger root juiced up into liquid sunshine.
Rich in vitamin A, C, and manganese, kale also contains over 45 different antioxidant and inflammation reducing flavonoids. High in glucosinates and sulforaphane, kale has also been shown to have cancer-preventive properties. As in most cruciferous vegetables kale contains a significant amount of fiber and omega-3 producing alpha-linolenic acids (ALA). Use it in smoothies, salads, macro bowls, juice, soups, or 10-minute healthy sautes.
4. Don’t stuff yourself.
I (Jess) am horrible at this but trust, it’s huge. Stomach acid and digestive enzymes (the stuff your body uses to breakdown food), get diluted by volume, so the more you eat, the harder your GI tract has to work to breakdown food. To keep your system in tip-top condition, functioning properly, and running smoothly (literally), a good rule of thumb to follow is the 80/20 rule for quantity. Eat until you’re 80% full so your digestive enzymes have room to work. This, we promise, makes the world of a difference.
5. Eyes up.
Embrace an eyes up, screen closed, phone put away, enlightened eating food philosophy because, what’s equally — sometimes even more — important than the food you’re eating? HOW exactly you’re eating it.
How do you healthify your meals? Let us know in the comments below.
*Anthony William, Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods: Save Yourself and the Ones You Love with the Hidden Healing Powers of Fruits & Vegetables
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