I tend to be a creature of habit and if I find something that works, it usually becomes a part of my daily structure for, well, if not indefinitely, then a really long time!
Here are my grocery staples and the foods that are never missing from my pantry. I've incorporated these foods partly because I like the taste, but more for their health benefits. Over time, I've conditioned my brain to love the foods that are nutritious and healthy (yes, it's possible!). I've learned how to listen to my body and recognize the meaning of cravings. I rarely crave sugar, but I find myself craving a hearty salad if I haven't had any spinach in a while. That might sound too good to be true, but it IS true: our bodies crave the foods we feed it. Feed it processed, fried, sugary foods, and it will crave those foods. Feed it natural, whole, and unprocessed foods, and it will crave those foods. It doesn't happen overnight, but give it 1 - 2 months and I promise, you'll crave all the right foods.
organic frozen blueberries
I have a smoothie every morning and while it's not the same smoothie, I always find a way to incorporate organic frozen blueberries (FYI, best deal on organic frozen blueberries is the big bag from Costco). Blueberries are a real superfood: high in cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing antioxidants. They're good for the heart, brain, immune system, and even bones.
I eat salmon 1-2x/week. Packed with omega-3's, salmon is great for brain health, heart health, cholesterol, bone health, and controlling inflammation in the body. It's also high in vitamins and a great source of protein.
I eat 1-2 cans of beans each week, but I'm trying to get away from the cans -- you can purchase legumes dry and cook them yourself (canned anything has a lot of preservatives and the aluminum can...well, eating out of an aluminum can couldn't be good for you.) Beans are high in fiber and therefore excellent for digestive health, heart health, cholesterol health, and blood pressure. Lately, I've been eating mung beans and/or lentils with avocado and chicken for weekly lunches.
shrimp & brazil nuts
A few years ago, I developed restless legs at night. It was awful because I couldn't sleep and I started having anxiety at night even before falling asleep. The strange thing was, I never got the restless legs when I visited my parents in SE Texas. After some thought about nutrition, I had an epiphany: When I'm in Texas, I eat shrimp a few times a week. Shrimp are high in a lot of essential minerals, especially selenium. When I thought about it, restless legs seemed like an indication of a mineral deficiency. I started incorporating shrimp into my dinners once a week and....voila! Restless legs went away!
Brazil nuts are also super high in selenium: one brazil nut has 300% of daily selenium requirements! On the nights when I don't eat shrimp, I eat 1 brazil nut before bed.
cod liver oil
If anyone has a good recipe for cod liver oil, I'm all ears! I take it every morning as a shot (1 tsp) with OJ to chase. The reason? My mother has taken a tsp every morning for 40 years -- she says it's one of the reasons she's managed to keep her MS in remission. That was enough for me to start the habit, 16 years ago.
Cod liver oil is high in omega-3's and fights inflammation.
There's a lot of hype these days about pasta and its connection to inflammation. I am not a dietician and I cannot speak about the science -- it very well may cause inflammation, that I do not know. What I do know is this: pasta works for me. When I eat pasta for dinner, I have the best night's sleep -- and believe me, sleep is JUST as important for controlling inflammation in the body as the foods we eat, maybe even more so.
I'm a very active person and I like to do high intensity exercise. When we do higher intensity exercises -- strength training with heavier weights, cycling classes, mountain biking, hiking, basically anything that elevates the HR -- our body needs carbs to perform these exercises well and FEEL GOOD while doing them.
Organic pasta all the way, though.
fruits & vegetables
If you're reading this blog post, I don't need to tell you about the health benefits of vegetables. You already know that. And you probably already eat a healthy amount of vegetables each week -- but are you eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day? That's what the American Cancer Society recommends. The other key thing to keep in mind is variety. To be sure you're getting all the nutrients and vitamins, try a different vegetable and fruit variety each week. And even better: try to get 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables a year.
One of my weekly vegetables staples is spinach -- I start to crave spinach if I don't have it at least once every day. It's so easy to add to dishes or eat as a salad.
Sun Warrior warrior blend protein powder vanilla
When my body feels like it needs some protein, this is my go-to. I love the way this plant-based protein makes me feel and the protein is from pea, goji berry, & hemp seed. I add this to my smoothies in the morning.
I purchase my chicken feet from the farmer's market and make chicken feet broth every week. Read this Miracle Story -- chicken feet broth cured my tennis/golf elbow!
olive oil & avocado oil
Both oils have anti-inflammatory powers. I use avocado oil for cooking because olive oil shouldn't be heated at high temperatures and olive oil for salads and as a topping for other dressings (try olive oil mixed with sea salt and fresh oregano as a topping for tomatoes with fresh mozzarella).
...and that's a wrap! What healthy staples do you incorporate weekly into your meals? Let me know in the comments -- I'm always eager for trying new things!