The Healthiest Thing About...
Today is much like many of the days I've spent this summer in New York City: sleeping in until noon, practicing yoga in the living room and chatting with my roommate Julie about healthy eating, making concoctions of quinoa and whatever vegetables are hanging out in the fridge while brewing pot after pot of tea.
On this particular day when I announced that I'd be in the living room doing yoga Julie joked
It was this comment that reminded me to enjoy the down time. And though the lazy days of summer will soon be replaced with the arrival of fall, eventually the cold weather of winter, the busy holiday season and exchange of New Yorkers in the Hamptons to their city homes for work, what I do believe will last is what Julie has taught me about health, particularly eating.
This morning (ok, I lied it's the afternoon but I just woke up) Julie was perplexed over figuring out what the best way to cook vegetables is.
After doing a little more research she decided cabbage delivers the most nutrients in its natural state to a slight steam but cooking it any more would begin to kill off the nutrients.
It's conversations like this that are consistently and naturally occurring in Julie's life. Growing up in a very healthy area of Santa Barbara, California, Julie grew up eating nothing but fresh, local and organic fruits, vegetables and meats. Her family even had a garden that Julie credits with teaching her so much about how to distinguish between fresh and organic and pesticide-laden produce.
When I suggested one day that I would pick up some vegetables from Chinatown she said
Julie's keen sense of what food is good is why you will find her visiting the local Whole Foods and Trader Joe's a few times a week. Her favorite restaurants are farm-to-table digs with grass-fed beef burgers and organic vegetables, Bareburger and Siggy's being a couple of her favorites. You'll often find her walking in to the house with a bag of food from Organic Avenue or a fresh juice.
My favorite is how she brings a bag of fruits and veggies to the local grocery to use their juicer, since she has yet to invest in her own, however she plans to soon.
If you don't believe me when I say how healthy this girl is it might help to share that my other roommates are catching on, too. Mila, who also lives a healthy lifestyle once said to me
When I told this to Julie she said
But Julie doesn't eat well to fit in to a certain dress size. Of course, her daily exercise and healthy eating habits keep her in excellent shape but she's more interested in taking care of herself and feeling good.
It's night time now after a day of working and multiple meals including quinoa, red cabbage, almond butter, and many cups of green tea and I'm asking Julie what her top ten tips for healthy eating are. Here is what she had to say (plus a couple of extras) (And by the way I can vouch for her on every single one of these!!):
“I start each morning with 3-4 cups of hot water with fresh squeezed lemon for cleansing the system.”
“Don't eat the first 45 minutes after you wake up. It's good to give the digestive tract time to wake up and be stimulated by the hot lemon water.”
“Before I eat meat or a big meal, I drink more hot tea with lemon to activate the digestive enzymes that help break down food.”
“One to two cups of Matcha tea a day is good. Don't overdo it. It's very strong. Too much of anything isn't good.”
“One green juice a day. (Usually, she laughs) I always add turmeric to it. Turmeric is great for its antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.”
“I love coconut butter. I like to put it in oatmeal or on bread with almond butter. It has medium-chain fatty acids that other fats don't have that are really good for your skin.”
“Snack on nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts. They're a good source of proteins and fats.”
“I also love to snack on Goji berries. Just by themselves. They're really high in antioxidants.”
“I try to eat as much garlic as I can every day. Like a clove a day. I know that's a lot but I love garlic. It kills germs and has some of the strongest antibacterial properties of all veggies. It's especially good when you're sick-onions, too-they break up congestion.”
“If you work out drink protein shakes with vegan powder.”
Funny side story: One day Julie came home from the gym on a mission to make a protein shake. She was raving about how amazing this shake is that she usually gets at the gym but because it's so expensive she wanted to make it herself. So she excitedly runs across the street to the store and makes sure she has all of the ingredients: almond butter, hemp milk, banana, coco bits and agave and begins packing them in to this tiny blender in the kitchen. Now, I've seen this little blender work dozens of times. Never a problem. But when she pushed start there was nothing. The little baby blender had died and Julie was left to resort to stirring the ingredients violently until it was an acceptable texture.
P.S. Here are a few extra tips Julie couldn't help but share:
“I love pomegranates..I'm obsessed.”
“Shots of oregano oil.”
“Grapefruit, apples, I mean I like it all! I try to keep it as diversified as possible.”
“I heard that Pinot Noir, out of all the grapes have the highest level of antioxidants.”
P.P.S. The girl really walks the talk, when she came down with the flu a couple of weeks ago she ate crazy amounts of garlic, turmeric and lemon, taking literally no medicine and visiting no doctor.
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As a preventative health practitioner and spiritual activist I am excited and honored to watch Julie make her mark on the world. I believe her gift at this stage in life is to empower those around her with knowledge she has been given about protecting the temple that is our body.
From what I've seen, when people perform at their highest level when they're listening to what their body is asking of them. For example, the late Robin Williams achieved his greatest success including winning an Oscar in the midst of his twenty year sobriety.
As for myself, when I'm eating well, exercising, and taking time to meditate my work flourishes. And no matter how much I feel like I know about taking care of my health there is always something more to learn. Being open to the lessons of others is such a gift. Having these people to learn from is the greatest blessing.
All my love and support to Julie on this exciting journey.