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Nourish - Diet and Menu– Putting It All Together – General Dietary Guidelines

Nutrition Counselor, Debra Burke, suggests general dietary guidelines for optimizing nourishment for your brain and your body.

Diet and Menu Topics:
Fats
Proteins
Carbohydrates
Micronutrients
Suggested Menus

Fats

Include foods that supply essential fatty acids. Raw or dry roasted nuts and seeds are one source. These would ideally include fresh, raw, refrigerated walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds or flax meal, along with all the other nuts and seeds. Cold-pressed oils of these nuts and seeds would also be good. Eat products such as seaweeds and fish that are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids – salmon, sardines, trout, tuna (only small amounts), herring, and mackerel. Avocados, fresh coconut, and extra virgin olive oil are also good sources of fat. Avoid trans fats .

Animal foods contain variable amounts of fat. To maximize the essential fatty acid content (and consume a healthier food), try to get the meat and dairy products of animals that were raised as naturally as possible. "Free-range" animals are allowed to forage on green grasses, so their diet – hence their meat, milk, and eggs – are rich in essential fatty acids and superior to that of caged animals. Look for wild fish, rather than farmed.

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Proteins

Animal foods, including eggs and milk products, are excellent sources of protein and, thus, the amino acids that come from the breakdown of protein. Other foods supplying many of the essential amino acids needed for neurotransmitter production are dried beans (legumes), green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

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Carbohydrates

To maintain adequate levels of the brain fuel glucose, it's important to eat often enough. For some people, this means eating snacks as well as main meals. For others, it just means eating at least every five hours. Poor concentration and low energy levels can be a sign that it's been too long since your last meal.

Nutritious foods can also be high on the glycemic index . These include starchy vegetables such as corn, potatoes, winter squash, and cooked or juiced carrots and beets. Whole grains and whole grain breads, cereals, and crackers are also healthy high-glycemic foods.

One formula for avoiding blood sugar spikes from these carbohydrates is to combine them with protein foods. For example, have an egg with your piece of toast; a tempeh burger with your ear of corn; a serving of salmon along with your potato. Mix high-glycemic fruits or fruit juices in a blender with nuts and whey protein powder. Non-starchy vegetables are also stabilizing to blood sugar levels. Eat them steamed or raw, in salads or stir-fried.

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Micronutrients

Most foods contain some vitamins and minerals, but micronutrients are especially abundant in fruits and vegetables. To ensure a plentiful supply of these antioxidants, include at least the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. (Better yet, the ten servings sometimes advocated for cancer prevention.)

A serving is generally a small fruit or half a cup of cubed fruit; a cup of raw green leafy vegetables or half a cup of cooked greens; a half cup of other cooked or raw vegetables. These fruits and vegetables should be of wide variety and color – preferably in season, organic, and locally grown.

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Suggested Menus

These meals are designed to provide a balanced and nutritious diet for the brain and body that minimizes blood sugar spikes. (Snacks are included for those who need them.)

People vary greatly in their response to different foods, therefore the following menu recommendations are not necessarily suitable for everyone. Experiment, and learn what works best for you.

MEAL DAY ONE DAY TWO DAY THREE
BREAKFAST omelet – spinach and mushroom
slice of sprouted-grain bread with organic butter and apricot jam
smoothy – blend together:
berries, pears, or apples
whey protein powder
almonds or avocado
grated ginger
kelp powder (1 tsp.)
flax meal (1 tsp.)
water as needed
plain yogurt with
pumpkin seeds
flax meal
apple pieces
Snack apple and almonds carrot sticks and fresh walnuts broccoli florets and bean dip
LUNCH chicken tostada
(corn tortillas, chicken, sour cream, avocado, salsa)
tomato soup salad – salmon or tuna, lettuce, spinach, red cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, tomato, sesame seeds dressing – extra virgin olive oil and lemon tempeh burgers salad – lettuce, summer squash, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, snap peas dressing – extra virgin olive oil and lemon
Snack pear and walnuts cauliflower florets dipped in sesame butter or sesame tahini apple and walnuts
DINNER salmon corn
steamed string beans with slivered almonds
salad – romaine lettuce, red cabbage, carrot, tomato, radish
dressing – flax oil or walnut oil and lemon
free-range turkey burger(s)
squash with organic butter, steamed spinach
salad – romaine lettuce, carrots, snap peas, red cabbage, avocado dressing – flax oil or walnut oil and lemon
vegetable stir-fry –
olive oil, garlic, black beans, string beans, red peppers, zucchini, broccoli, almonds or peanuts
served on brown rice
sauerkraut
Snack
or
Dessert
orange and banana slices applesauce vanilla ice cream with
pineapple slices

If you're not used to this much roughage, then transition slowly from your accustomed eating pattern to one such as this.

Many thanks to Debra Burke, who has a Masters Degree in Nutritional Sciences.

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