Good sunny day, my friends,
I decided to make a separate post on my daily nutrition since I receive a lot of questions about my balanced food regime. If you’re interested in my eating principles, how I snack and what I eat before bed time, then this post is for you.
My food philosophy
The balanced regime that I’m describing below has been in my life for 2 years now, it’s well tested, and I’m very satisfied with it. It helps you feel great, maintain weight and not have a constant feeling of hunger.
I’m familiar with most popular nutrition streams, however, I have my own view on diet and restrictions. I believe that balance is the basis of healthy well-being. Balance of vitamins, micronutrients and products (including animal foods). People very often switch from one extreme to another, they are searching for radical answers to most vital questions about the right diet, the benefits and harms of products, the ethical side.
Unfortunately, some people, when switching from ordinary foods (which were common for all my peers and older generations), when we ate absolutely everything – from meat and Coca-Cola to corn flakes, chips and popsicle, change their diet too dramatically and sharply. Like some people I know became vegan overnight. And there’s nothing bad about it. However, it may not be the best decision if you don’t take it seriously. Our body is actually an animal that needs to be fed, and for healthy functioning, it needs a hell of a lot of nutrients. So veganism should really be a well-tailored diet.
I do believe that you can substitute meat, fish and eggs with fruits and vegetables (not really with grains unless they’re sprouted). However, you should do it wisely – not with three bananas for three meals a day, but with foods that are equal in calories and nutritional values. I know people who decided to lose weight and live a ‘healthy’ life, so they reduced the consumption of animal and dairy products, and their diet became scanty. Yes, they lost the weight, of course, but they also became pale and lost most of their vital life energy.
We should consider the amount of essential minerals and trace elements consumed. And one should take a serious approach to any diet change he or she makes.
As to me – I am a balanced life advocate. If I cook vegan dishes 3 times a week, then I will be eating eggs or dairy products on the other 4 days. This may vary, but I believe that this is simply necessary. Either you need to eat often and large portions of plant foods during the day, or you need to eat something more saturated with calories and nutrients like eggs or (sour) dairy products. I choose the second option, as apart from eating, I have so many things to do during the day… And I don’t have the opportunity to cook myself 6-8 times a day.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are forced to switch to a certain diet because of health issues or allergies. In my case, it was the other way around.
I’ve never had any problems with eating disorders, but at one point in my life, about 6 years ago, being in a yoga-euphoria, I lost a lot of weight. After reading several ‘wise’ guru texts, I switched to eating mostly smoothies and buckwheat with steamed broccoli and I did exhausting sports. Additionally, while on a holiday in Thailand 4 years ago, I got food poisoning and within a few days, lost few more kilograms, which I haven’t gained back. This is what caused the imbalance of my body. For three years I tried hard to find the cause and experimented with best healing methods, but I only was able to completely restore my health after I started a balanced diet again and gained 6 kg of weight.
If you lead an active lifestyle, exercise daily, watch your health, do not smoke or drink, then you do not need to limit yourself and change your habitual diet overnight and become, say, a Fruitarian. After all, you can have a delicious vegan meal today and eat Italian pizza from a wood stove tomorrow, or tacos, or a veggie burrito. And let yourself enjoy the ice-cream or a favorite childhood chocolate bar from time to time.
I’m almost sure that my lifestyle will raise a lot of questions and comments. But it works for me and my beloved ones. I don’t insist that you give up your common breakfasts or dinners. But I highly recommend that you try to live this way and see how your body reacts. And you will be able to see the results in a couple of months.
Right after I wake up I drink a glass of warm water with lemon. Well, to begin with, I always drink half an hour before any meal (reduces the feeling of hunger and quenches thirst), secondly, water with lemon brings a lot of health benefits – from toxins withdrawal and the restoration of metabolism, to skin cleansing, raising your immunity and improving the mood.
An hour later, after the morning exercising, I’m already at the kitchen, picking up ingredients for the World’s best breakfast – smoothie with fruit salad – kind of fruit soup. I simply chop fruits and berries, make smoothie, and pour it onto the fruit salad. I love eating everything altogether.
Here you’ll find the updated smoothie recipes archive.
Once the water has woken up your body, you may eat, but you shouldn’t throw everything you see into your stomach. Try not to eat hard digestible foods such as eggs, beans or yoghurt (!) as your first meal of the day. Starting your morning with fruits is the best choice you can make.
First of all, fruits are easily and quickly digested and will help your digestive tract to start the day properly.
Secondly, fruits are tasty and joyful. They make up your mood! You can also enjoy the creativity while combining fruits and berries.
And finally – fruity morning is fast and simple!
Fruits are pretty high in calories and consist of sugars but these are good for you. Fruits have so many essential micronutrients that after a while you’ll even start seeing it on your body. And since you’re eating fruits at the beginning of your day you’ll have plenty of time to burn the calories and still not feel hunger for a long time.
So, breakfast served. 2,5 hours later I’m doing a 40-minute workout and having lunch.
Well, lunch is seriously more serious. I’m choosing to eat something significant, since, in fact, this is my main meal and I must fill myself with a good portion of healthy calories, vitamins and micronutrients.
I’m not a vegan. I love eggs and dairy and I believe that micronutrients these foods contain are extremely beneficial for the body. However, I really love cooking vegan meals. My kitchen is fully packed with tasty ingredients, spices, various veggies, plant milks etc. I love to explore and create new dishes with those amazing foods and I will be posting these recipes on my website. Sign up to receive those right to your mailbox!
Usually, my lunch consists of a large (probably you’ll say it’s huge) salad with lots of green leaves (my top choice is arugula, iceberg and lamb lettuce). I love to add avocado, other vegetables (raw/grilled/baked) and use a simple dressing of olive oil + lemon juice and/or apple cider vinegar.
For the main dish, I eat something with eggs and dairy (cheese). However, if it’s a vegan lunch (like 3-4 times a week), there are so many meal ideas! Sometimes I cook lentils or mung bean dal (warm memories from the childhood in Uzbekistan), sometimes I’m craving a soup with avocado toasts, sometimes it’s hummus with veggies and quinoa, pasta, or something Asian (my favorite pea flour glass noodles with ginger and chili). You’ll find all the recipes here.
I stopped having dinners years ago due to my daily schedule. I’m doing sports at 9 in the evening so after I finish at 10 p.m. I eat my favorite fermented milk products – quark (‘tvorog’) and thermostatic kefir. It’s the best dinner I can imagine and honestly my body is very grateful for it. These dairy products have enormous health benefits. Moreover, quark is a perfect source of protein (I bet you’ll want your muscles to grow after a good workout). Every morning I can’t wait till it’s after workout time and I can finally eat my quark+kefir mix. It’s like an ice-cream to me (and trust me, when I’m in Europe, I’m crazy about gelato!).
Honestly, I love all three whole food meals I have during a day. All are filling, health beneficial and extremely delicious.
On my nutrition principles
- I drink water at least 30 minutes prior to any meal.
- I don’t drink anything during the meal (unless it’s a rare Five o’clock tea with desserts or a dinner out).
- I don’t drink anything within 2-3 hours after the meal (if I ate eggs or dairy could be even longer).
- After kefir, quark or other dairy I don’t drink for about 5-8 hours. That is why I’m eating those in the evening before bed time. Although these foods are very healthy, their only flaw is long digestive time.
- I don’t stick to a common ‘drink two liters of water a day’ practice. Our body gets loads of water from fruits, veggies, soups and other drinks. There is no need to drink extra and thus make your kidneys work extensively. I drink when the smart body wants it – in the morning, before meals and during all workouts. And in other circumstances when body loses extra water like after sauna.
- I’m trying to combine foods properly (eating carbs separately from proteins and fats). Lee DuBelle has written a nice book on this. It really works!
- I tend to eat at the same time. My body is used to a certain schedule and feels great and grateful.
- I prefer to eat fresh food. If it’s a green salad, I’ll eat it today. If it’s a main dish, I store it for a maximum of 1 day. If it’s a dessert or pastry – 2 days. If it’s any kind of energy bars – a maximum of 5 days.
- I’m always reading food labels. I won’t buy products with artificial or poor quality ingredients. There’s another rule – better avoid foods where you can’t even pronounce a food ingredient listed.
- I don’t count calories.
There is one rule: if you eat more calories than you burn physically during the day, you will gain weight. If you eat proportionally equal to your physical activity, you will stay in the same weight. And, finally, if you eat less than you waste energy, you will lose weight. As easy as that.
But you shouldn’t be losing weight by cutting your food intake down to an apple or a cucumber per day. If you need a weight loss plan and nutrition tips here they are: simply reduce consumption of carbs, eat more proteins and move more. Do 40-60 minute sweaty cardio workouts every day, walk instead of using transport, try to eat less sweet stuff for a while (until you see your weight loss results). Forget about eating bakery and refined sugar desserts. And don’t let yourself be hAngry!
Only simple natural fresh foods + daily sport activities will make you self-confident, healthy, beautiful, lean and strong! It’s a 100% success plan!
To cut the long story short
- My morning begins with a glass of water with lemon; I’m having breakfast at least half an hour after that
- My breakfast is a fruit salad + smoothie. And it’s not always about fruits. I love to add various plant proteins, superfoods, top everything with nuts, seeds or berries. The portion is quite large – about 700 grams, but it keeps me filled for the next 3,5 hours.
- 40 minutes before lunch – another glass of water with lemon.
- Lunch – something filled with a good portion of healthy calories, vitamins and micronutrients. Most often it’s a combination of salad, soup and main dish. One day it’ll be any kind of my favorite plant meals like lentils, coconut curry, hummus, large green salads with avocado, nuts and grilled veggies. Another day it could be some version of Shakshuka. I also eat a lot of cheese. My favorites are feta, brie, chevre, manchego, cheddar and gorgonzola.
- Dinner. I don’t have classic dinners. Every evening I’m doing sports and right after the workout at about 10 p.m. I’m having a protein bowl of quark+thermostatic kefir.
- I eat bread quite rarely. It’s either a freshly baked crusty baguette in cafés and restaurants (love when served with garlic and herbs butter) or sourdough bread.
- Chips. I really love various healthy chips (buckwheat, seaweed, beetroot, flax, sweet potato!). These are perfect with guacamole, beetroot hummus or an artichoke dip.
- Snacks. I don’t do snacks in the mornings. If I’m working at home, there’s just a glass of water between breakfast and lunch (because my breakfast fruit bowl is very filling). However, 2-3 hours after lunch I’m traditionally having a cup of chicory and if I want something sweet, I love to eat the homemade carob chocolate. As to my homemade brownies and other baked goods – they are adorable but disappear quite fast…). If it’s a day out in the city, I prefer to take few energy bars with me (like these favorite peanut butter oatmeal bars). As to salty snacks – I bet you love these, too – sweet potato chips with guacamole or avocado toasts.
- Junk food – I don’t consider non-vegan or non-raw foods as bad for your health. I will enjoy a lovely pizza from a family Italian restaurant, a nice gâteau in a Paris café or an authentic burrito. It’s a question of how often you do it. Life is a pleasure, too, and man has attained perfection in the art of cooking. So why not let yourself enjoy it?
- Superfoods – I do have a separate post about these. In short, I add various powdered superfoods to smoothies and energy snacks. However, I’m convinced that a dried, frozen or heated product can’t really be a 200% health booster. I mean any type of processing affects the food’s nutritional value and it loses most of its benefits. Moreover, superfood powders are concentrated and shouldn’t be used in huge dozes as panacea for the eternal life. I mainly use superfoods for taste and color bearing in mind they still bring some health benefits. As to raw foods which fall under the ‘super’ category – I always have them in my kitchen! (avocados, blueberries, broccoli, kiwi, pineapple, spinach, sweet potatoes, eggs, etc.)
What is your nutrition like?