Stu – Ever wondered what Nutritionists eat, surely they’d be covering all their bases and have a few tips and tricks up their sleeves? Well I did wonder and Cassie from Elevate Vitality was kind enough provide a breakdown of her typical diet. Over to Cassie…
As a naturopath and nutritionist, it’s important I practice what I preach. I’ve always had a pretty healthy diet but studying nutrition really helped me fine-tune my approach and philosophy to healthy eating. I think my diet is really balanced and I’m careful not to be restrictive or too ‘hard-core’ in my eating or my mindset as I want to enjoy my food and maintain a nourishing diet that feels good to my body and my soul.
I love eating healthy, nutritious foods and I love being in the kitchen which is really conducive to a healthy lifestyle. I eat mainly lean proteins, lots of veggies, some fruit, nuts, seeds and good fats plus my healthy carbs of choice are sweet potato and either sourdough bread or a good bakery gluten free bread, and once every few weeks I might make some quinoa or brown rice. I am not ‘all or nothing’ in my diet which I think comes from years of helping my clients become more balanced in their diets. ‘Practitioner heal thyself’ is a strong premise in natural medicine; how can I help my clients eat the most nourishing diet that suits them, if I’m not also doing that?
I stick to low sugar as apart from all the negative health effects of sugar, I literally can’t function the next day if I’ve had sugar; it runs in the family as well. I get the worst headache, foggy brain and such terrible fatigue. Over the years I’ve learnt that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to food and nutrition so it’s important to find what works for you.
I love exercising before breaky. I exercise at least 5 times a week and mix it up between small group functional training, walking, spin, TRX, body weight and free weight resistance work and some barre classes (mixture of ballet, Pilates and dance), Pilates and yoga. I exercise more for the benefits it brings my mood, mind and stress than just the physical benefits. I think it’s important to see the bigger picture otherwise it can make getting to the gym difficult some days. I know my mood and energy is just so much better if I’ve exercised in the morning.
Breaky is usually around 7:30am and I try vary my what I eat; in the cooler months I love making a grain-free warm LSA porridge with cinnamon-baked apples, walnuts and sometimes I top it with homemade bliss balls for some extra protein and essential fatty acids. Sometimes I’ll make oats with coconut milk, and almond butter stirred through. My staple breakfast would be eggs or a smoothie though; I love poached eggs or an omelette with garlic, leek, zucchini, mushrooms and spinach or kale.
Once or twice a week I’ll have a poached egg on a piece of good artisan sourdough, gluten free or sprouted toast with either some organic butter or avocado. I also make an amazing immune-boosting recovery smoothie which is perfect in the warmer months.
I try have lunch at around 1pm. is always a salad in summer, or some kind of stew, a veggie soup with protein or warm slow-cooked meat dish in winter, with lots of veggies and spices. My go-to salad in summer would be lots of leaves, avocado, tomato, carrot and either grilled chicken or wild Atlantic salmon with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice with olive oil. In winter I love leftovers of slow-cooked lamb or anything to warm me up, even my cheat’s baked eggs is delicious for lunch!
I don’t usually need to snack between breaky and lunch, sometimes I might have a very good coffee, or just some veggie sticks or a green juice. I love green juices between meals but I do often need some protein to go with it. Some organic yoghurt with chia seeds and nuts, or just a piece of fruit cut up and spread with almond butter is what I usually grab. If I’ve had a bigger session at the gym that morning, I am usually hungry by about 4 or 4:30pm so I’ll make another mini protein shake or just grab some leftover chicken and veggies from the night before. I also love a few corn thins spread with avocado, tomato and Himalayan sea salt or almond butter and some cinnamon.
Dinner is usually at about 7pm/7:30pm and it’s always protein and veggies like grilled fish, chicken, lamb or steak and salad with some roasted or sautéed veggies. I love making cauliflower mash with a olive oil and a drop of organic butter, steamed broccoli with garlic and butter, a bit of roasted sweet potato some nights, steamed greens and roasted Brussels sprout; I can’t get enough roasted Brussels sprouts! I’m lucky that my hubby is such a good cook so I’ll come home most nights and he’s started dinner; he even has his own category on my blog. His cauliflower pizza with spicy meatballs and baked grass-fed sausages with roasted veggies are real winners.
I am a committed herbal tea drinker; the tea cupboard in my home is as big as some peoples’ pantry. I make a tea as soon as I wake up, unless I’m running out the door to gym. I love any and all herbal teas and combinations. My current favourite is peppermint and liquorice together. Peppermint aids digestion and liquorice is a great adrenal restorative and is very sweet so perfect if I feel like something sweet after dinner. I also love coffee (yep, a naturopath who loves coffee – we’re not as rare as you think!) so I indulge in a good coffee a couple of times a week.
I generally avoid soy milk (plus tofu any unfermented soy products) as large intakes may cause thyroid and hormonal imbalances, except I’ll be totally honest, the chai tent at Bondi Beach farmers markets makes the best chai I’ve ever had and it’s half water, half soy, so once every few months I treat myself to one of their chai teas. I’m a naturopath but I’m only human!
I love a good sweet treat; a bit of dark chocolate, a frozen date, some homemade bliss balls or chia pudding or even just a chai sweetened with stevia. I tell my clients to enjoy one treat meal and one mini treat snack a week, so that’s what I do. On a Saturday night I’ll probably go out for dinner and enjoy a glass of red wine with my meal and a few bites of dessert. I tell my clients to live by the 80/20 rule which I’m sure everyone has heard of; eat nourishing food for your body 80% of the time and nourishing food for your soul 20% of the time; everything in moderation, including moderation.
About the author
Cassie Mendoza-Jones is a naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist who believes in the healing power of nature. Cassie founded Elevate Vitality, a boutique naturopathic clinic in the heart of Bondi Beach, to help people find their healthiest self, and is the author of Cleansed, a simple program for a life of health, ease and abundance. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram , as well as writing articles and recipes for her blog.
Cassie is qualified in Naturopathy, Nutritional Medicine, Western Herbal Medicine and Touch For Health Kinesiology. She is currently furthering her studies in Kinesiology, as well as a Master of Human Nutrition at Deakin University.
Did you enjoy this post? What mix of food/exercise works for you? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below… Stu