One of the most common questions I get from clients, detox and workshop participants is “What do you eat?”

If I had to categorize my eating and put a label on it, I would say I follow a low-carb approach. In the past I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, and then paleo. However, the more I studied, the more I learned, the more I got attuned to what my body truly needs and prefers, I found that vegetables and fruits, seeds, nuts, some animal protein and healthy fats, really work for me.

When you compare the contradicting ways of eating, what they all tend to agree on is plants. I don’t think you’ll find any approach that doesn’t believe in a foundation of fruits and vegetables. They are necessary, they are health promoting, they are nutrient dense, they offer variety, they are tasty, plentiful and delicious!

I believe you need to experiment and play around with various ways of eating before you find the one that works for you. It’s an evolution, not a flick of a switch. And there are lots of considerations to factor in. Age, lifestyle, activity level, health concerns and taste preferences will all impact what foods you eat and what your body needs.

The other thing that comes into play is family life. It’s a huge challenge to get a whole family to evolve to a new way of eating, especially teenagers. I see a lot of women who want to make healthy changes, but their husbands aren’t supportive and continue to buy and eat junk food. I feel so very fortunate to have a husband who is interested in nutrition (almost more than I am) which makes sticking to this lifestyle fairly easy.

I mentioned we need to consider taste preference. I believe that if you don’t have a taste for a particular food, it’s likely your body trying to tell you something and you need to listen. For me personally it’s raw fish and sushi. Even though I understand the health benefits, I simply can’t do raw animal flesh (of any kind). I’m still happy to go to a restaurant that serves sushi, but I opt for the cooked food.

I’m a creature of habit and can eat the same meals for days on end. So I have to make a conscious effort to mix things up and keep them interesting. I have my “go-to”favourite meals and tend to rotate through them every four to five days. This helps to promote a variety of tastes and also gives me lots of different nutrients.

Here’s what a typical day of eating looks like for me:

First thing: A mug of warm water with juice from a quarter of a lemon.

Breakfast: My favourites right now include: a bowl of homemade, grain-free granola with cinnamon, chopped apple and homemade almond milk, a smoothie with spinach, avocado, lemon, cucumber, blueberries and water, and if I’m craving some carbs I’ll make a batch of grain-free scones and eat them with a mix of butter and coconut butter and then topped with homemade, sugar-free cranberry preserves. On Saturdays, we eat at the Seaport Market and have breakfast at Selwood Green. We go for the big salad topped with two soft poached eggs with a side of bacon, no toast.

Lunch: Midday, I typically have a big salad with lots of shredded root veggies, local greens, sauerkraut, avocado and walnuts, two poached or boiled eggs on top, with an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing. Another option is a can of tuna mixed with with a bit of avocado mayo, red onion placed on crisp romaine leaves, or a can of sardines and an apple with some organic peanut butter. Leftovers make great lunches too.

Dinner: Usually very simple, consisting of some type of animal protein with lots of veggies. These days we’re enjoying: a chicken and veggie stir fry seasoned with a mixture of almond butter, lime juice, toasted sesame oil and gluten-free soy sauce; turkey burgers with homemade guacamole and a big salad; locally made, nitrite-free sausages with sauerkraut and a side local fiddleheads; or zucchini noodles with meatballs in a tomato sauce.

That’s what a typical day of eating looks like in my world. Hope it inspires you to make some healthy shifts in your own life.

If you’re looking to make a few tweaks and upgrades to your weekly meal plan, drop me an email and we’ll schedule a time to meet and review your food diary. I’ll give you my best tips and suggestions for getting more nutrient-dense foods and some more variety into your meal planning. mmhealthcoach@gmail.com

* This post was originally published in the Herald Community on June 4, 2014.