People frequently ask me for nutritional advice and it’s difficult to answer because the field of nutrition is constantly evolving as new understanding of the human body emerges. This is both fascinating and confusing. My answer ten years ago or even ten weeks ago would have been different than my answer today.

Let me preface this by saying I am not an expert in nutrition. However, it’s important for me to be well informed given my chosen profession and of course for my own health and that of my family.

These are some of the things I have found work for me and I’m confident they can benefit others as well.

Drink Green Juices: vegetables are the most nutritional part of our diets. Eating the recommended 4-5 servings a day in whole form is optimal, however most of us don’t do that. Therefore what I do is add a green juice whenever I can. In juice form, you absorb the vitamins and minerals quickly while giving your digestive system a break.

Eat Organic (produce, meat and dairy, wheat…) whenever possible, that way you will minimize your exposure to the traces of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics that are so prevalent in our food. Eating organic not only benefits your body, but also the globe. See My Potato Project; The Importance of “Organic”.

No Fake Food. This includes all processed foods, artificial sweeteners, soda (especially diet) most store bought cereals, cheetos (duh!), and the list goes on. See Diet Soda Linked To Weight Gain”.

Whole Grains. While we are not a gluten free family, we do moderate our intake of refined flour and try to find alternatives whenever possible, such as: quinoa, steel cut oats, brown rice, barley, sprouted breads. Jamie G. Dougherty, a certified holistic nutritional and lifestyle coach in Berkeley, says: “Whole grains are ideal foods to help combat food cravings and help sustain energy. They are also loaded with chromium and B-vitamins that help balance blood-sugar levels.” Here’s one of her favorite recipes: Black Bean Pilaf with Cilantro Lime Dressing”.

Stay Hydrated. Every single cell in your body needs water. Drinking water on a regular basis definitely helps you look and feel better. I carry a big bottle around with me all day as a constant reminder.

Eat When You’re Hungry. This is an example of listening to your body, which is something you should ALWAYS do. I find my hunger varies from day to day and through the course of the month and eat accordingly. Some days I eat a big lunch and sometimes I replace that meal with a juice depending on my level of hunger.

Enjoy Eating. Focus more on what you will put in your body (make an effort to get your veggies in) rather than what you will not. I won’t deprive myself of something I love. Everything in moderation are words I live by.

Personally the biggest challenge I’ve had nutritionally is giving my family a quality breakfast.

With a time-crunch or a busy lifestyle, cereal, frozen waffles and toast are so convenient. I now make organic eggs and breakfast sausages, oatmeal, granola (with fruit and yogurt) and lots of different combinations of smoothies. Here’s one of my smoothie recipes that the whole family enjoys:

Jill’s Peach/Ginger Smoothie Recipe:

3 cups coconut water

1 bag organic frozen peaches

2 scoops whey protein (I like Tera’s)

Almonds (or substitute 1 c. almond milk for 1 c. coconut water)

2 tsp grated ginger

1 banana.

*Sometimes I add flax, chia, or hemp seeds.

**I give the family their portion and then add spinach to mine.

Even small changes can make a difference in our health, energy levels, beauty and wellbeing. Food is an important component of a healthy life and can be used to nourish mind, body and soul.

– Jill