Eat Right

Eat Right

Are you nurturing your body?

The Practice:
Eat right.


The easiest and usually most effective way to replenish your body is through good nutrition.

Most of us have a diet that is very different from the one that we are adapted to through millions of years of evolution – a diet of mainly vegetables, fruits, nuts, and meat. Humans first started eating whole grains and dairy foods like cheese only ten thousand years ago or so – a blip on the evolutionary time scale. And it’s only the last fifty years that have seen the widespread use of refined grains, sugars, and oils, as well as packaged foods, pesticides, and artificial ingredients.

Although in the short run some people seem able to get away with this diet without too many bad consequences, the statistics on the dramatic increase in obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease, and cancer in the last century are cautionary at the very least. Further, anyone who is working hard needs a better-than-average diet – especially a mother: bearing, breast-feeding, and rearing a child are physiologically demanding activities like no others, and pulling them off while staying truly healthy requires that you honor the fundamental biology of your body and nourish it in ways that may have been less crucial before you had children.

Eating right provides a good model for children, too. And it helps their parents stay good-humored and patient with them, even when the oatmeal starts flying.

With this in mind, here is your daily Mother Nurture recipe, designed specifically with a parent’s nutritional needs in mind. It’s got just seven ingredients to help you eat right. (By the way, this recipe is good for anyone, not just a mother!)

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Ingredient #1: Eight to twelve ounces of protein a day; protein with every meal, especially breakfast

  •  When you want something sweet, have some protein instead, like a hard-boiled egg, hummus on crackers, or a piece of turkey jerky. That will satisfy your hunger and keep your blood sugar on an even keel.
  •  You can get protein conveniently from eggs, nuts, soy, hummus, cheese (from goats, sheep, or cows), protein shakes, combining grains skillfully, fish, and meat.

Ingredient #2: Five to seven servings of fresh vegetables, and one to two fruits

  • Eat raw vegetables when you can.
  • Make several days’ worth of vegetable snacks at a time.
  • Enrich salads by adding carrots, beets, or dark leafy greens.
  • Eat fruit when it’s fresh and whole instead of canned, frozen, or juiced.

Ingredient #3: Unrefined oils and essential fatty acids instead of refined or hydrogenated oils, or trans-fatty acids

  • Make virgin olive oil your everyday oil.
  • Avoid trans-fatty acids.
  • Use flaxseed oil in salads and grind flax seeds to use on vegetables and bake into bread.

Ingredient #4: Two to five servings of unrefined, varied whole grains

  • Try to get grains intact, not ground into flours.
  • Replace refined wheat flour with whole wheat pastry, rice, or soy flour.
  • Try pasta made from brown rice.

Ingredient #5: Organic foods when possible

  • Avoid foods with artificial ingredients such as preservatives, color, or flavor enhancers.
  • Check out the local farmers’ market or co-op for organic meats, soup, cheese, milk, and even wine.

Ingredient #6: High-potency nutritional supplements

  • Unless your doctor has instructed you otherwise, take a good “multi.”
  • Use supplements whose minerals are chelated, which aids absorption.
  • Add calcium, magnesium, and B complex supplements.

Ingredient #7: Zero or very little refined sugar

  • Try to understand the forces that keep you hooked on sugar.
  • The easiest way to eat less sugar is to cut out soda and juice.
  • Find brands of packaged food without added sugar.
  • Avoid temptation by not keeping cookies, candy, and ice cream at home.

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Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism. She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

The focus of Dr. Ramani’s clinical, academic, and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She has spoken on these issues to clinicians, educators, and researchers around the world.

She is the author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and Don't You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, and Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been president of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, which represents approximately twenty-thousand biobehavioral scientists. He’s led a number of other organizations and received a wide variety of professional awards.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders, and has had a major impact on the field of psychology.

Dr. Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across a wide array of disciplines. He’s also the author of several books including The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of trauma in childhood, and his work on the impact of abuse, neglect, and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain.

Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released earlier this year. Dr. Perry is also the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children, and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Additionally, he’s authored more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and has been the recipient of a variety of professional awards.

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith is a child clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma and issues of race. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and then received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She performed postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness, or foster care.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith is also a senior fellow of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and is both a professor and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Wright Institute. She provides consultation and training to nonprofits and schools on how to support trauma-informed practices and cultural accountability.

Sharon Salzberg is a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. She is widely considered one of the most influential individuals in bringing mindfulness practices to the West, and co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts alongside Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Sharon has been a student of Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra, and Sayadaw U Pandita alongside other masters.

Sharon has authored 10 books, and is the host of the fantastic Metta Hour podcast. She was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, had her work featured in Time and on NPR, and contributed to panels alongside the Dalai Lama.

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