I have long believed that a healthy diet is on of the best beauty tools available to us. I try to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in my daily routine, even on days when I’m pretty busy.
Aside from generally following a diet rich in whole foods, I aim to create meals that will help me balance my blood sugar. I have a tendency towards hypoglycemia, meaning that my blood sugar will be all over the place if I’m not careful about what I eat and when I eat it. Keeping my blood sugar in a comfortable range also helps me avoid an unpleasant hormonal response to super low blood sugar, which, in the long run, keeps my skin clearer.
For a few years, I tried food-combining—mainly avoiding mixing starches (carbs) and proteins (nuts, seeds, etc.) based on the yet unsubstantiated (but compelling) theory that because proteins and starches require different digestive enzymes, if proteins and starches are consumed in one setting, their respective digestive enzymes will “cancel each other out” and create a neutral, unproductive environment in the stomach, leading to gassiness, sluggishness, and mal-absorption.
I realized, however, that by combining proteins with my starches made a significant difference in how my blood sugar “holds out” between meals. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and thus far haven’t experienced any negative digestive side effects. Best of all, I’ve noticed a difference in my skin. It’s actually calmer and less inclined to breakouts.
Water and a probiotic (around 6 am).
I usually wake up a little before 6 am. I immediately drink a glass of room-temperature water to rehydrate myself. I also take a probiotic at this time since my stomach is at its emptiest. To be honest, I don’t even know if probiotic supplements make a difference in my health because I started taking them when I changed a lot of things about my diet (basically when I became vegan), but I love the idea of them and take them religiously. (Clearly, not everything about my dietary habits is rational!)
Up next: my morning yoga.
Oatmeal with berries, chia seeds, and almond milk + supplements galore (around 7 am).
Lately, I’ve been enjoying a very comforting morning breakfast: steel cut oats with raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I’ll top my bowl off with almond milk and chia seeds. During this time, Ill reflect on the day ahead or catch up on the news via the news app on my phone. Other mornings, I’ll just stare out of the window. I love starting the day with this meal because it’s rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats. It also keeps me feeling full for a while.
With breakfast, I take several supplements: a raw, whole foods multivitamin, evening primrose oil, vitex (chaste berry), and Estroblock Pro (a DIM supplement that helps me with my skin. I’ve been taking it for about a year now).
Coffee (around 8 am).
I grind my own beans and make my coffee in a French press. I usually take my coffee to work in a Klean Kanteen, but my favorite way to drink coffee is out of a mug.
I used to be very concerned about whether or not coffee had a negative impact on my skin, so I did a little experiment: I gave up coffee for 40 days and closely monitored whether or not it make a difference in my breakouts. Ultimately, there was no change with my skin, so I figured it was okay for me to enjoy my morning joe.
Granny smith apple (around 10:00 am).
By mid-morning, I usually feel my blood sugar dipping, so I eat a granny smith apple (or other fruit) that I cut and packaged before leaving the house.
Polenta bowl with red onions, purple cabbage, carrots, yellow bell peppers, and edamame (12:15 pm).
I’m usually at home for lunch—and I’m usually really hungry—so I raid the fridge for any prepared grain (like brown rice, polenta, or quinoa), heat it up, and add a few fresh veggies on top, some of which I may have pre-sliced and ready to go. I throw everything in a bowl and give it a splash of dressing if necessary. Lunch is my time to escape from the chaos of the morning and re-center myself for the rest of the day’s work (which will take place in my “home office.”)
Clementines (3:30 pm)
I vary my afternoon snack depending on how hungry I am. Today I just ate a few clementines, but on other days, I may munch on homemade granola, enjoy veggies and hummus, or drink a green smoothie.
Leftovers + green salad + dark chocolate (around 6 pm).
I adore having leftovers handy! Last night, I made this Roasted Mango and Sweet Potato Rice dish. My husband and I both really enjoyed it, so we were happy to eat it again. Dinner is our time to unwind, chat our day, make jokes, and sometimes watch a little TV. One night a week, I have to work late at the university, so my husband will make us stove-top popcorn and save me from even having to look at the kitchen. It’s not exactly loaded with nutrients (save all of the nutritional yeast we put on it), but it’s such a delicious treat!
For dessert, my husband and I enjoy two squares of dark chocolate each. It’s one of our favorite little rituals. He likes dark chocolate with fruit, caramel, and nuts while I always go for the 90% cocoa blends. I’m just that hardcore about chocolate! 😉
Herbal tea (around 9 pm).
I like to have herbal tea while I’m reading a novel on the couch and trying to stay awake until 10 pm. I’m currently reviewing this complexion tea by “baetea” (how wonderful is that name?) for another site I write for (Debb Report). It’s a super fruity, loose-leaf tea. I’m enjoying it so far.
More What I Eat in a Day: Food Diary of a Health Editor
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Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell