Paleo, vegan, Mediterranean, ketogenic……there’s so many different dietary approaches around these days. Personally, I’m a little partial to vegetarian foods but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the odd piece of grass-fed steak or free-range chicken. I’m not a fan of eliminating particular food groups but any diet approach can be tweaked for optimal health.

Focus on wholefoods
If there is one thing that every diet should have in common, it’s a focus on wholefoods. Refined, processed and additive-packed junk foods don’t help anyone. But unprocessed wholefoods as nature created them are full of nutrition and flavour.  Wholefoods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, grass-fed meat, free-range/pasture raised poultry and eggs and sustainably sourced fish and shellfish.

Add more plants
Almost everyone can benefit from adding more vegetables into their diet. They contain many essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They’re also alkalising which can help reduce inflammation that causes aches and pains and ultimately leads to disease states. Vegetables are also an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibre, supporting your gut health.  If you can’t afford or access organic vegetables, eat the freshest, in-season produce you can find because that’s better than eating none at all.

Don’t force yourself to eat foods you hate
Research has shown that we absorb fewer nutrients from foods we dislike or are unfamiliar with. Find a way to make healthy food enjoyable. Try different cooking methods, using seasonal ingredients and new flavours.

Eat mindfully
How you eat is just as important as what you eat. If you’re shovelling down a salad on the run, in the car or at your desk, you’re not going to get much out of it. In fact, you’re less likely to chew your food properly and feel satiated. Instead of making meal time stressful, take 20 minutes out to focus on your food.

It’s all in the presentation and taste
Many ancient cultures prepared food to maximise flavour and nutrient absorption. If you eat meat, try a marinade or rub to spice up the taste. Take some extra time to dress up your plate to make it more appealing.

Enjoy this recipe for my all time favourite Wholefood Breakfast Smoothie Bowl (pictured).

Serves 4
¼ cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons raw buckwheat
2 tablespoons pumpkin pepitas
2 frozen, coarsely chopped bananas (minus their skins), partially thawed
½ cup organic rolled oats (or quinoa flakes for a gluten free option)
1 cup frozen organic berries, plus extra to serve
¼  cup Greek natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons vanilla pea protein powder
1½ cups almond milk
raw cacao nibs, to serve
chia seeds, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan forced.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place the coconut, buckwheat and pepitas on the prepared tray and bake for 5-10 minute or until golden in colour.  Set aside to cool.
Blend bananas, oats, berries, yoghurt and almond milk in a blender or Thermomix until smooth.
Swirl in extra Greek yoghurt, sprinkle with the toasted coconut mix and top with cacao nibs, chia and extra berries.
Enjoy!

References
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/851082