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.