Fix it With Food
We asked nutrition experts how to fight back when life goes whack
Tweak your diet to solve life’s most common problems.
At 88, Dr Bruce Ames knows a thing or two about the ingredients of a long life. Arguably the most prolific nutrition expert alive, he’s a senior scientist at a major hospital and has authored more than 550 academic papers. He’s sipping espresso in his office as he summarises decades of research. “Human beings need about 30 vitamins and minerals in their diet,” he says. “Most of us are starving for some vitamins and minerals due to poor diet, and aging prematurely as a result.” But it’s hard to eat healthfully in the modern world. Here’s what the nutrition pros do.
“I have two kids under three and work two jobs. I had to learn quickly to rely on ‘convenience’ meals. These are built on complex carbs, vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats. When I have downtime on weekends, I’ll prep everything and then put it into bags for the week. In three minutes I can make a Tex-mex meal, except it’s cheaper and healthier.”
Brunelli Burrito Bowl
1 Tbsp olive oil 2 garlic cloves, chopped 2 handfuls chopped vegetables, such as onions, capsicum and/or squash
1 handful sliced and seasoned precooked lean meat (wild salmon, grilled chicken) 1 bag microwaveable brown rice 1 Tbsp guacamole
In a big pan on medium high, heat the oil, garlic and vegetables. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 3 minutes or so. Add the meat and heat through. Nuke the rice, scoop it into bowls and top with the vegetables and guac. Feeds 2
“I broke my ankle playing rugby a few years back, and I knew that proper nutrition would help fight the overload of inflammation that happens as a byproduct of the healing process. Eating a lot of high-fat, high-carb foods while resting after an injury can slow recovery by creating more inflammation. So I focused on anti-inflammatory fats like nuts and avocado, along with nutrient-rich produce like pineapple. I also ate 6-8 palm-size portions of protein (like salmon) every day to fill up and prevent overeating. From one week after the injury, I doubled my multivitamin and fish oil intake and took curcumin and vitamin D. Yes, I cleared all this with my doctor.” St. Pierre’s Super Recovery Shake
240 ml milk 2 scoops whey protein powder 2 fistfuls baby spinach 1 handful pineapple
1 handful frozen blueberries 1 thumb-size portion chia seeds 1 thumb-size portion shredded coconut
“I travel several times a month, but I skip the free breakfast buffets with their empty carbs. I’ll bring some quick-cooking oatmeal and protein powder packets. I use hot water from the coffeemaker and stir in the protein powder for a breakfast of slowdigesting, fibre-filled carbs and stomachfilling protein. I also usually carry tuna packets, microwaveable brown rice cups, beef jerky and protein bars. Those are my snacks during conference sessions.”
“A few years ago a friend and I were training for an Ironman. The coach and the dietitian we were working with both recommended apple sauce to fuel up before early morning workouts. So I started eating a cup or two of the stuff, cold, and realised it was pure gold. It has a refreshing, clean taste. It isn’t heavy and doesn’t cause a big spike in blood sugar. I buy it by the giant jar now. Before every workout, it’s coffee and applesauce.”
I KNEW THAT PROPER NUTRITION WOULD HELP FIGHT THE OVERLOAD OF INFLAMMATION THAT HAPPENS AS A BYPRODUCT OF THE HEALING PROCESS