Ask The Nutritionist • Conflicted Omnivore

It’s time for another Ask The Nutritionist article. You ask, I answer! Together with CAP Beauty, we explore your food curiosities and dive deep into the world of nutrition, macro and micro. This month, readers want to know -

Meredith, please tell us, is a 100% plant based diet best for everyone or should I listen to my body and feed it what I believe fuels it best?


Photo By:  John Von Pamer

Photo By: John Von Pamer

I love your question, Emma. It’s one I've received by many clients over the years!

I completely understand why you feel conflicted with the overabundance of health information we're exposed to daily. The amount of information is at an all time high, which makes things all the more overwhelming.

What is the ideal diet for humans to thrive?

There are many  factors that determine vibrancy. I customize my foundational health plans according to each client’s own unique health backgrounds, needs and goals. So if you were my client, we would dive deeper. The following is what I recommend in general:

ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL

I believe there isn’t one food plan for everyone because we all have different medical histories, ancestry, genetic mutations, varying epigenetics, stress levels and emotional attachments to food.

TRUST YOUR INTUITION

I'm a big fan of listening to one’s body and own innate wisdom. Unless your intuition is guiding you to eat doughnuts for breakfast every single day (once in awhile may be good for the soul though), it’s a wonderful practice to tune out and tap in.

Since day one, I’ve guided my clients to tune in to their inner voice. This can take time, practice, experience, trust and clearing out old debris (physically, emotionally, spiritually) to get to your truth. If your sense is that eating lots of plant based meals and incorporating fish and meat makes you feel best, I think you have your answer. Keep tapping in.

YES, EAT MORE PLANTS

Incorporating more plants (preferably seasonal and organically and locally grown) in both raw and cooked forms is ideal for almost everyone. Both offer major value. Veggies contain sun energy, cleanse, build healthy blood (especially the green ones) and reduce inflammation. Make veggies the star of all your meals.

CLEAN ANIMAL PROTEIN

This is the most important factor when consuming animal protein (especially in the United States). Eat the highest quality, ethically sourced, organic, wild, free range, grass fed (and grass-finished) animal protein available. Period. Do not skimp on this aspect.

Yes, it is that important for everyone’s individual health and the health of the planet. Get to know your farmers and purveyors. If you live in a city, go to your local farmer’s markets and meet them in person. There are many excellent documentaries about the dangers of factory farming. I encourage all to become educated on the topic.

FOOD COMBINE

I'm also a huge fan of the principles of food combining. To me, it makes sense and works really well. The basic rule is when consuming animal protein: always pair it with a raw, leafy green salad (whatever you prefer) along with low starch veggies, raw or cooked. Starchy foods don’t digest easily with animal proteins. (Editor's note: for a deeper dive into food combining, check out these interviews with Meredith's colleagues and food combining maestros here and here or go straight to our CAP Beauty x Bonberi Food Combining Chart.)

Give your gut some extra love. Raw, water-containing, enzyme-rich veggies help “escort” the denser animal protein through the digestive system.

LET GO OF GUILT

Be easy on yourself. Life can be challenging enough. Enjoy whatever it is you are eating at the time. Your next meal can always be elevated, if you choose.

THE SHIFTS

We require different things at different times, especially women, who go through three distinct biological phases in their lifetime. There may be phases where you find you require less animal protein; other times, perhaps more. Go with it.

THE JOURNEY

As modern humans, we have become quite disconnected from the earth and nature. Coupled with, again, much opposing information out there, we often find ourselves on what can feel like a long and arduous journey trying to discover what works best. Be patient. Have gratitude. And always trust yourself in the end.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek advice from your health provider before altering your routine.

Ask The Nutritionist • Hypothyroidism

It’s time for another Ask The Nutritionist article. You ask, I answer! Together with CAP Beauty, we explore your food curiosities and dive deep into the world of nutrition, macro and micro. This month, readers want to know -

Meredith, please tell us, what foods and practices are supportive for fluctuating TSH levels and good at keeping them in check?


Photo By:  John Von Pamer

Photo By: John Von Pamer

First of all, I recommend being under the care of a functional medicine doctor, hormone specialist, or endocrinologist. The thyroid is a very delicate hormone gland governing many systems in the body and must be supported properly.

As I work in a holistic way with all my clients, I've highlighted other practices for strengthening thyroid function as they are of equal importance for a healthy and happy thyroid. 

Seaweed is rich in minerals and iodine, which we need for healthy thyroid functioning. Some of my favorites to add to salads are nori and dulse. Kelp is also great when added to vegetable soups. If you feel like dining out, the seaweed salads at Souen in Soho are clean and delicious. Note: Those bright green seaweed salads at Japanese restaurants we all love? They are often filled with refined sugar, dyes, chemicals, and MSG! Steer clear!

Healthforce's Green Protein Alchemy Magic Mint is a supportive go to. Two spoonfuls a day offers you a complete whole food protein. Plus, the Spirulina and Chlorella protect your body from radiation and are loaded with a full-spectrum array of cleansing and non-toxic healing vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and phytonutrients for ultimate support of your entire body, including incredible workout recovery and immune function.

High quality water. Generally speaking, most of the tap water in our country contains significant amounts of chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals.  All of which can compromise thyroid health. Install high quality water filters (for your drinking and shower water) and skip the tap water. There are excellent countertop water purifying systems out there as well. We recommend the WALTER.

Home environment and air quality. How’s your air quality? Most often we forget that indoor air can be even more toxic than being outside. (Yes, even congested city air can be cleaner!) Mold and chemical exposure affect the whole body, including the thyroid. Purchase a high quality air purifier (Rabbit Air is my favorite) and make sure to have plants in your home that clean the air, too. I love the Snake plant (official name: Sansevieria trifasciata), it’s an air purifying star.

Blue light exposure and EMFs. We are all bombarded with EMF (Electromagnetic Field) and blue light exposure from computers, smartphones and tablets. Protect your thyroid by reducing blue light on all your screens, put all your devices on Airplane Mode before bed, clear your bedroom of all devices and shut down Wi-Fi while you sleep, especially if the modem is in your bedroom. EMF shielding garments are also available to place over your neck for extra protection. You can dive deeper on this topic here.

The power of the sun. This is the most important of all my recommendations. Life on earth is powered by the sun and we must relearn how to use it intelligently. Reset your circadian biology and offset blue light exposure every morning by watching the sunrise (more challenging for us who live in NYC, but still possible).

A few recommended practices:

Kundalini Yoga offers an array of amazing kriyas, like sound mantras, breathing techniques, meditation practices and specific yogic exercises that help strengthen and heal the thyroid.

Hatha Yoga, especially Fish Pose (Matsyasana), can be very beneficial.

Meditation reduces stress when practiced regularly, which will absolutely support the thyroid. 

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek advice from your health provider before altering your routine.

Ask The Nutritionist • Nightshades

It’s time for another Ask The Nutritionist article. You ask, I answer! Together with CAP Beauty, we explore your food curiosities and dive deep into the world of nutrition, macro and micro. This month, readers want to know -

Meredith, please tell us, what's the deal with nightshades? Cassie has a deep love for eggplant but should she be avoiding?


Photo By:  John Von Pamer

Photo By: John Von Pamer

It always depends on the individual. For some, it’s a wonderful vegetable to include. For others, nightshades will aggravate the system. I typically recommend steering clear if one has arthritis, joint pain, autoimmune disorders and leaky gut (to be safe) as nightshades have the potential to irritate the gut lining and create inflammation.

If you are an otherwise healthy person, enjoy organic eggplant when it is in peak season from July to October.

Consuming local produce is also ideal because of its increased vitality (aka, the more quickly we can get ripe fruits and veggies into the body, the better). Did you know New Jersey grows 66% of the world’s eggplants? That definitely classifies as local for us living in nearby states.

If you're just crazy about nightshades and want to ensure you're upping your immunity and taming inflammation, we've rounded up some winners below to aid in your defense. 

WUNDERWORKSHOP GOLDEN TURMERIC POWDER

Awake with wunder. Straight from the heart of Sri Lanka this small batch Organic Turmeric is savory inspiration. Add a deliciously golden touch of essential vitamins, minerals and inflammation soothing antioxidants to any culinary creation with a pinch of this golden powder and watch your health soar. 

ANIMA MUNDI VIRIDEM ELIXIR

Alkalize and energize with the power of the rainforest. This incredible green alchemy from Anima Mundi is brimming with some of the most potent greens and alkalizers on Earth. Organic Graviola, Chanca Piedra, Moringa, Spirulina and Chlorella are profoundly cleansing and boast deeply nourishing anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds. Just a teaspoon a day will align your systems and empower your body for truly high vibrational living. 

NORDICNORDIC LINGONBERRY POWDER

Sourced from the purest forests of Finland, NordicNordic’s Lingonberry Powder delivers antioxidants on high. This raw and tangy superpowder can be added to smoothies, sprinkled onto breakfast bowls or cooked into cereals to fight inflammation with high concentrations of bioactive Vitamin E, fiber, manganese and resveratrol. A single package contains over 7000 berries, seeds and skin intact. Diversify your diet and supercharge your health with this wild Arctic superfruit. 

COUNTERTOP GOLDEN HONEY

Superfood studded honeys are a CAP Beauty favorite. Packed with turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and coconut oil, Countertop’s Golden Honey supports the immune system, protects the gut, banishes inflammation and balances blood sugar with a powerful blend of spices in enzyme rich, probiotic and anti-bacterial raw honey. Eat by the spoonful, stir into tonics or add to warm water or nut milk for an instant golden latte.

KUNG FU TONIC ORIGINAL

A highly concentrated blend of roots and herbs for a powerful immune boost, this tonic blend includes apple cider vinegar, heirloom garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, cayenne, sea salt and oregano oil. Take preventatively or at the onset of symptoms for a natural, enzymatic and nutritious remedy that packs a Kung Fu kick.

MOODBELI GOLDEN TURMERIC

Our new gold standard. Turmeric, Ginger and Black Pepper unite to soothe inflammation, ease joint pain and help tame indigestion for a bright and glowing aura. Perfect for Golden Mylks and Turmeric lattes. Take your tonic higher. 

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek advice from your health provider before altering your routine.

Ask The Nutritionist • Nutritional Yeast

I’m excited to announce that I’ve teamed up with CAP Beauty to offer a new monthly column, Ask The Nutritionist. You ask, I answer! Welcome to the first question of the series \where we explore your food curiosities and dive deep into the world of nutrition, macro and micro. Readers want to know.

Meredith, please tell us, what's the deal with nutritional yeast?


Photo By:  John Von Pamer

Photo By: John Von Pamer

Is it healthy?

I've recommended nutritional yeast for years. Nutritional yeast is a dried, deactivated form of yeast prevalent in the vegan world because, as you know, it contains important B vitamins (including fortified B12, a critical water-soluble vitamin), folate, protein and is a plant based replacement for dairy because of its flavor profile. So we can make a range of fun and delicious recipes with these golden yellow flakes while steering clear of clogging pasteurized cow dairy!

What about the candida crowd? Should someone with a yeast overgrowth steer clear?

Yes. I always recommend clients removing nutritional yeast until the body and gut microbiome heal from yeast and fungus overgrowth and infections as it is not well-tolerated during this time and can add to the growth of yeast, as opposed to cultured veggies and coconut fermented with sea salt, which can help the body build good bacteria and support gut healing!

I tend to reduce or remove ALL fermented foods while clients are in the critical stages of healing from candida/yeast/fungus. Although it really depends on the individual and the severity of the infection.

I've heard that nutritional yeast contains MSG. Is this true?

Yeast-based products naturally contain glutamic acid (an amino acid, which is necessary for brain and gut health). MSG, monosodium glutamate, is an isolated salt of glutamic acid, which is a synthetic form and used as a flavor enhancement (think Chinese food, Doritos, packaged food, seasonings, meat products and dairy products). There have been rumblings in the health community that nutritional yeast is in fact MSG. This is only the case if it has been added. However, those who are sensitive to MSG may want to opt out of eating nutritional yeast because of the glutamic acid naturally present in this food.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek advice from your health provider before altering your routine.

TURN DOWN THE LIGHTS, SWEET DARLIN’-BLUE LIGHT REDUCTION | part one

My work with others is all about ELEVATION.
Yes, I started my blog, The Provisions, with the intention of highlighting clean ingredients. And there will be more posts on clean ingredients, of course. However, I am taking a slight important detour with the topic of Blue Light Reduction, a topic that can affect our elevation or lack thereof dramatically. I began learning about the dangerous effects of blue light exposure many years ago and since then have been subtly sharing ways in which we can protect ourselves. Towards the end of this past summer though I dialed in, educating myself on the latest hacks in this arena, and shared updated information individually with clients, friends, family, and basically anyone who would listen. I was inspired to then write it all down and offer step-by-step instructions on how to reduce this toxicity, which we are all ferociously exposed to on a daily basis.

Hence, this three-part blog series emerged. 

I will be posting Part Two and Part Three soon (hint: EMF protecting devices, safer replacements for LED "junk light" with halogen and incandescent bulbs, how to use the airplane mode hack properly, baby monitors, and more...).

I truly hope you find the following information compelling enough to start implementing my recommendations.
This information is especially critical for children.

************************************

Are you Blue Light "green" (have no idea what the hell I am referring to)?

Or have you heard bits and pieces about the downside of blue light exposure?

Have you learned the ins and outs but still haven't gotten around to protecting yourself?

Please read on...

Exposure to artificial light is a modern day issue.
Our ancestors rose with the sun and were asleep by nightfall, which is perfectly aligned with our innate circadian rhythm (the body's internal clock). They also didn't have iPhones.
Just over 30 years ago, a Harvard researcher proved that spectrums of light control the body's circadian rhythm. 
What we now know is that blue light aka "junk light" is the killer.

Blue Light is part of the visible light spectrum and reaches deeper into the eye. However, our eyes are not equipped to block this level of light in the evening (especially) and has damaging cumulative effects.

Artificial or "junk light" was introduced in the early 60s in the form of LED lights, which emit this damaging blue light. Compact fluorescent light bulbs radiate more blue light, too.

Plus, with the recent invention of smartphones and computers, we are increasingly exposed to high levels of blue light, notably in the evening when ideally we want to avoid blue light exposure completely. 

The main BLUE LIGHT EXPOSURE hazards to be aware of are:

  • Sleep disruption (suppressed melatonin production)

  • Brain inflammation

  • Macular degeneration

  • Decreased energy and productivity

  • Weight gain

  • Various illnesses and imbalances

Still not convinced? Click on this --> Harvard Medical School 

photographer unknown

photographer unknown

THREE MAIN KEY POINTS TO GET STARTED
1. Add iristech.co to your desktop computers + laptops.
2. Use blue blocking glasses (during the day + night).
AND
3. Adjust the settings on your iPhone and iPad (all 'HOW TO' information found below)...

+ PLEASE BEAR WITH ME...
The following instructions may seem like a lot, but I’ve pared it all down to make it as easy as possible for you and will take very little time to implement.

Giving props to Matt Maruca of Ra Optics who shared most of the following tips with me. 


BLUE BLOCKING GLASSES

PHOTO BY:  raoptics.io

PHOTO BY: raoptics.io

I recommend buying glasses from Ra Optics.
Use my coupon code: MGElevate to receive 15% off your first order.

Matt’s lenses are superb. If you have been up on this blue light reduction topic, I’m sure you’ve spotted various blue blocking glasses on the market. Some do not deliver the amount of protection they claim to. But Ra Optics is the real deal. And the customization aspect is what hooked me...

Matt offers a selection of eight lovely frames to choose from…(I’ve seen other companies offer 1-4 options, at most) and provides yet another unique service: Matt will take ANY frame and add his custom lenses.
Have a prescription? No problem. He will tint those, too!

For convenience, Matt lists a few different sites to order from directly on his site OR head on over to Warby Parker, Oliver Peoples, whatever floats your boat, buy the frames you love, and send them to Matt!
He will ship them back to you with Dr. Jack Kruse approved blue blocking lenses! 

  • DAY + NIGHT glasses
    Ideally, you will have the day version (amber lenses) + night version (red lenses).

NOTE  |  LENSES
It is only possible to tint CR-39 lens material with no anti-reflective coatings. Not to worry though, as most lenses are CR-39 and if not, easily obtained by the store you are purchasing from. 


iPHONE + iPad

PHOTO BY: torsten dettlaff

PHOTO BY: torsten dettlaff

HACK YOUR IPHONE + IPAD...FOR FREE!

NOTE
 | EYE STRAINING
Keep this in mind: YOUR EYES WILL ADJUST to the updates you are making to the reduced white point, red color tint (the night filter), and the amber hue. However, until then, do not set the levels too low. Straining and squinting is not advised. Give your beautiful eyes a chance to heal and regain strength. Then you will be able to use the low(er) light settings with ease.


DAY PROTECTION

  • STEP | one
    NIGHT SHIFT

    Many people use Night Shift in the evening. However, I have Night Shift on 23hr 59min for increased protection. There are 2 steps in this section:

    • Go to:
      - Settings
      - Display & Brightness
      - Night Shift
      - Scheduled
      - (choose) From 12:00 PM To 11:59 AM
      +
      -COLOR TEMPERATURE (at the bottom)
      -Set to MORE WARM (scroll all the way to the right for the warmest and safest tint).

  • STEP | two
    REDUCE WHITE POINT

    • Got to:
      - Settings
      -General
      - Accessibility
      - Display Accommodations
      - Reduce White Point (option at the bottom): I have mine set to 86%, which is quite yellow. Play around and see what is comfortable for you.
      NOTE: Your eyes will become stronger again and adjust to darker, more yellow tones.

  • STEP | three
    BRIGHTNESS
    Swipe up on the home screen and adjust brightness as needed (TIP: I am constantly adjusting this depending on whether I am indoors or outdoors).

    • NOTE | PICTURES
      – The colors in your pictures will be affected after turning on the above features.
      – If you are active on social media and taking/uploading pics, simply disable Night Shift and White Point temporarily. Remember though that the less you are staring at blue light, the better.

    • NOTE | INSIDE VS OUTSIDE
      – I will often disable Night Shift and raise the (regular) brightness when I am outside, especially when it is bright and sunny. Otherwise, I won’t be able to see much of anything on my phone. The natural light will offset some of the negative effects. Make sure when you are going back indoors, to revert settings.
      – This may all seem like a pain in the ass but it literally takes 2 seconds and the positive effects far outweigh the slight effort.

NIGHT TIME PROTECTION

  • STEP | one

    • Go to:
      - Settings
      - General
      - Accessibility
      - Display Accommodations
      - Color Filters (turn on)
      - Color Tint
      YES, your screen will turn red. Adjust brightness or color temperature in NIGHT SHIFT (more warm/less warm), as desired. This red tint is brain protective. Use it!

  • STEP | two
    SHORTCUT

    There is a way to create a shortcut so that you can triple tap your home button and turn on the NIGHT TIME color filter (red) with ease rather than having to go through all the steps written above.
    Tap, tap, tap...and Night Shift protection is ON.

    • Go to:
      - Settings
      - General
      - Accessibility Shortcut (at very bottom)
      - Choose: Color Filters + Reduce White Point + whatever else you want to add (you get 3)
      NOTE | (reminder about eye straining)
      Initially, it might be challenging to see your screen this dark and red-tinted. Adjust brightness until you can see your phone so you aren’t squinting and further straining your eyes.


COMPUTER

photographer unknown

photographer unknown

  • STEP | one
    Download Irishtech Software for Eye Protection (Windows, OSX & Linus).
    Iristech is an amazing program that goes beyond what f.lux offers. There are nine filters to choose from PLUS a bunch of other great features. I have mine set to HEALTH and I also adjust the kelvins further in Settings:
    – Go to your Iristech icon
    – Mode (set to Manual)
    – Go to Settings
    – Blue light (adjust Day Light and Night Light, as desired)
    – Save and close each time

    • NOTE | KELVIN
      We want to stay within the safest range of Kelvin (color temperature):
      DURING THE DAY: 2000k-2300k
      AT NIGHT: 1200k-1300k, at most (the darker, the better)
      I am constantly adjusting this in Settings. As my eyes have healed and gotten stronger from exposure to blue light for many years, I can see the lower Kelvin levels with ease. It's amazing!

  • STEP | two
    In addition to the Iristech filter protection, wear your blue blocking glasses. It is ideal to have the day version (amber lenses) and the night version (red lenses). Iristech alone is not enough blue light protection.