So it’s been a stressful week (or weeks–looking at you, holiday season) and your regular eating habits are thrown off-kilter. You’ve been making food choices that aren’t aligned with your bodies’ needs and cues. The result? Brain fog, low energy, painful bloat, weakened immune system, or just an overall feeling of blah. First of all, take a deep breath. It’s OK–we’re cyclical beings and our food habits are naturally cyclical too. But you don’t have to let a couple of takeout meals or a holiday season of eggnog and cookies spiral into an extended period of eating foods that don’t make your body feel its very best.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all definition of “healthy,” there are simple and sustainable ways to build a good-for-you diet (without actually going on a diet). I asked Kimberly Snyder, nutritionist, spiritual and meditation teacher, and author of You Are More Than You Think You Are, to let us in on her secrets on how to feel and look your best. With a clientele that reads like an A-list party invite (Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, and Channing Tatum, if we’re going to name-drop), consider her Hollywood’s go-to nutritionist—and now yours. Read on for the healthy eating tips she lives by.
Kimberly Snyder is a three-time New York Times bestselling author, spiritual and meditation teacher, nutritionist, and wellness expert. She is also the founder of Solluna®, a holistic lifestyle brand, and the host of the top-rated Feel Good Podcast. Snyder has been featured by many national media outlets, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, and The New York Times.
1. Start the day with hot water with lemon
The Ayurvedic practice of drinking hot water with lemon in the morning has long been touted for its health benefits (think: get things moving), and for good reason. “This simple practice helps to get you hydrated in the morning, supports great digestion, and can support your liver, your main detoxifying organ–it’s like drinking from the sun!” Snyder remarked. “Full of vitamin C, it’s a great way to support glowing skin as well.” So before you reach for your morning cup of joe or bite into your breakfast, wake up and hydrate your body with the citrus-spiked beverage. Bonus points: You’ll get a leg up on hitting your hydration goal for the day and be more mindful of staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking the concoction first thing in the AM. It’s a simple addition to your morning routine that your digestive and immune systems will thank you for. You just might notice a glow-up in your skin too.
2. Stick with plant-forward eating
We all know that a whole, nutritious diet includes piling on the greens. But rather than focusing on cutting out your favorite foods, Snyder encouraged setting your sights on munching on more plants. What would you find in Snyder’s fridge? Kale, spinach, microgreens, sprouts, apples, carrots, bananas, and nuts. “My mornings always include a Glowing Green Smoothie, made with three cups of leafy green vegetables, celery, banana, pear, apple, and lemon juice,” Snyder described. “This smoothie has 9-11 grams of fiber, which is key for stabilizing blood sugar and preventing the body from craving sugary foods later. This, along with giving ourselves incredible amounts of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, all work together and leads to being more in tune with nature and making better decisions all day.”
Not a fan of a cold refreshment in the morning? Drink Snyder’s signature drink at room temperature or simply make sure you’re checking off produce at every meal. They’ll not only load you up with fiber and micronutrients, but also keep your body satiated and your blood sugar levels stable (read: a boost in energy and mood).
3. Meditate consistently
Fueling our bodies physically through nutrition and movement is important, but the other piece of the wellness puzzle is giving our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being some much-needed TLC. Enter: meditation. “This is the most important practice of all, in my opinion, which has radically transformed my health, clarity, inner peace, intuition and abundance,” Snyder stated. “When we connect to our True Self, we stay more centered throughout the day and are able to be more clear and energized. You will know when you are truly hungry and will be better equipped to deal with emotions rather than give in to food cravings.” In other words, by connecting with yourself through meditation, you’ll bring awareness to the present, feel more calm, and be more in tune with your bodies’ signals.
Let go of any perception that you have to meditate for an extended amount of time to reap the benefits. Even a one-minute meditation can flip on the well-being switch. Lean on Snyder’s guided meditations, download a meditation app that speaks to you, or take up focused breathing.
4. Take the right kind of probiotics
If I were to pick the wellness buzzword as of late, it would be gut health. It’s the key to your physical and mental health after all. And that glow from the inside out we all crave? You can thank (or blame) your gut microbiome. Of course, the holy grail to keeping your gut health in check is eating a healthy diet, but adding high-quality probiotics to your regimen can also do wonders to heal your gut or keep it happy.
According to Snyder, the word “probiotic” combines two Greek words: “pro,” which means promotion of, and “biotic,” which means life. The name says it all! “Probiotics have been shown to strengthen your immune system, improve digestion, promote weight loss, and even protect you from certain ailments and diseases,” Snyder emphasized. What’s more, according to Harvard Health Publishing, probiotics can help restore the balance when the gut becomes unbalanced with unhealthy levels of certain bacteria, thanks to unhealthy eating, stress, poor sleep, etc.
When researching the best probiotic for you, consider the types of bacterial strains used, which strains and/or brand names have been studied for their effectiveness, and how the probiotics need to be stored. As a general rule of thumb, Snyder recommended looking for a formula containing soil-based organism (SBO) strains, such as her Solluna Feel Good SBO Probiotics+. “What does not make a formula effective or not is culture count,” Snyder conveyed. “Many brands can add billions of cultures into a formula for marketing, but they are destroyed before they get into your gut and they are not in proper ratios or the composition you need for a healthy, balanced microbiome. It’s not about numbers, it’s about efficacy.” When in doubt, pack on probiotic-rich foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and sourdough bread.
5. Check in with your body’s response to dairy
According to Snyder, many people are intolerant or sensitive to dairy, but undiagnosed; a whopping 65% of the human population is lactose intolerant. “Even for those who aren’t entirely ‘intolerant’ to lactose, dairy can still be a major trigger for irritable bowel syndrome among other digestive conditions, such as chronic constipation,” she explained. If you’re part of the 65% and have a lactose intolerance, your body is unable to fully digest the lactose in milk, leading to symptoms ranging from gas and bloating to abdominal pain and diarrhea after consuming dairy products.
Snyder suggested reaching for plant-based sources of calcium such as green leafy vegetables, tahini, and sesame seeds and eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to fill in the gaps in your diet where dairy played a role. Thanks to the many plant-based alternatives to milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, you name it, at our disposal, going dairy-free has never been easier (or tastier).
Source: Cosmo Politian