Happy New Year! I hope your 2018 was utterly amazing and your 2019 has kicked off in an incredibly spectacular fashion. An FAQ that I often hear is “What are your top 10 or 20 foods?” Obviously, such a list can take many forms based on any number of criteria. It can vary from season to season, and certainly be different from one person to the next. This has everything to do with food availability, budget, traditions, tastes, and genetics, to name just a few.
Here at The Lifetime Body I’m always talking and writing about The Planet-Based Diet. This simply means that most food should be in its natural, fresh, whole, earthly state. Our diet should be doing positive things for the environment, or at least not deleterious ones. It should show respect for the land, the animals, plants, insects, and humans around which it revolves. It should be nutritious and delicious. Beyond that, it comes down to personal choice. What do you like, and what makes you look, feel, and perform your best?
Here’s a list of 10 foods that a few friends and clients and I put together after such a discussion. I’ll list out each food and offer a brief rationale for its selection. There’s a deeper dive available on this topic in this week’s podcast if this piques your interest. Here goes…
Grass-fed/Grass-finished (GF2) Meats: This is nature’s perfect bundle of the most assimilable, highest-quality protein humans can thrive on. The GF2 designation improves omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratios, increases mineral content, and constitutes favorable environmental conditions and sustainability, among other factors.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO, first cold press): With a favorable profile high in monounsaturated fats, and that sharp, acidic flavor that goes great with so many foods, olive oil of high quality is the backbone of Mediterranean diets, fine dining, and longevity.
Fatty Cold-water Fish: Sardines, anchovies, herring, mackerel, and salmon are our single best source of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that are essential nutrients for our bodies.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. They add taste, texture, and color to our platters and help us to maintain numerous cellular pathways including detoxification.
Fresh Eggs From Hens Fed a Natural Diet: Probably nature’s most perfect package of complete food, eggs are rich in protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients such as choline. Incredibly versatile and simple to prepare, eggs can be a part of many meals and dishes.
Dark, Leafy Greens: Kale, chard, spinach, and collard greens are among the most nutrient-dense, and delicious, plants we have available. These are wonderful in sauteed dishes and salads.
Coffee: Believe it or not, coffee is an amazing beverage that contains incredibly high levels of antioxidant polyphenols and other beneficial compounds. Organic, free-trade coffee, roasted and prepared in a variety of ways, continues to be supported by research to improve health, performance, and longevity.
Salt: An essential mineral for bodily function, this nutrient is so important it should be viewed as a food. We now have a much greater appreciation in the medical literature (although this still needs improving) of the value of salt. High-quality salts of various types are available and they are a phenomenal player in the kitchen and dining area.
Liver from Healthy Animals: Arguably, based on scientific analysis, the single most nutritious food for humans on this planet, liver not only deserves consideration, it makes the list. Rooted in ancestral wisdom, liver consumption several times per month can provide a myriad of nutrients including most of our vitamins (especially A, D, E, and K). Finding ways to prepare and enjoy (and benefit from) liver can be a gamechanger for modern humans.
Avocados: These fruits are low in total carbs, have a wonderful fat profile, and gives us fiber, potassium, and magnesium along with their creamy texture. Whether consumed alone, as part of a dish, or in guacamole, avocados are “health grenades.”
So that’s it. Just a short list of 10 foods that might make their way into your healthy eating plans for 2019. This list was the consensus of our small focus group, and yours may be entirely different. In that podcast I mentioned earlier, we also included the second 10 food items to make a Top 20, and we even mentioned a few others that either almost made the list or definitely should be avoided. Check that out if you want more info. Happy New Year and healthy eating!