I got into the health space about 11 years ago after being diagnosed with a heart condition called Supra Ventricular Tachycardia. This condition would see me experiencing intense heart arrhythmias where my heart rate would race up into the 220+ beats per minute. At the time, I was only offered a medical procedure called an ablation as a “potential solution” to this somewhat pressing problem. I decided to avoid the surgery and what began was a deep dive into the world of nutrition and how it plays a fundamental role in our health & wellbeing.
The contents of my fridge were different back then. I was a vegetarian, you see, and lived mostly of several different versions of the same grain; wheat. Pasta, cereal, bread rolls, muesli bars – these were my go to foods to inadvertently get the sugar fix my body was constantly calling for from 7am until 7pm. Little did I know that this high carbohydrate load was drastically affecting my health. After listening to some interesting speakers at the time and reading as many books as I could, I began to question this approach.
Could it be that a vegetarian high grain diet, the kind I was being told in school nutrition classes was a good thing, was actually bad for me? I decided to experiment. Out went the grains and in came the vegetables and the fruit. Out went the dairy and in went the almonds and coconut. In short, I went Paleo without actually knowing that it was Paleo (there wasn’t really a name back then – I just called it healthy).
This dietary shift, alongside some basic supplementation and lifestyle changes, led me to a point where I no longer had the symptoms associated with SVT. I slowly stopped getting the heart arrhythmias and began to pinpoint certain foods and environmental triggers which brought it on (high sugar breakfast, extremely cold temperatures or vigorous workouts). Within 6 months to a year I had cleared it all up.
Of course I thought, well if I got this healthy after doing this much, I’ll get even healthier if I do more. I went pretty bananas. Quite literally. Delving into the world of raw veganism and spirituality through food, riding my high horse through the streets judging everybody who sat and drank their milk and ate their cheese. But after a while, I came back again to the very same principles which I was originally taught. My diet became a balanced one again and is thoroughly based off of the philosophical guiding questions; did it run around once, did it grow in the ground once, and have they done much to it since?
I tell you this because I want you to know that what’s in my fridge changes all the time. It changes according to my surfing schedule (it’s looking pretty full at the moment ????), my work schedule (equally as impressive) and my stress management (also looking positive thanks to the first ????????). If I had to describe it in one word, my fridge is Mediterranean. It’s a mediterranean inspired fridge (and so is the wine rack nearby).
1: Vegetables and fruit
My fridge is filled with leafy greens and colourful vegetables predominantly. These high antioxidant fresh foods contain a plethora of nutrients which we know keep us healthy and out of the sickness system. From a gut health perspective, they’re full of delicious gut sweeping and gut-microbe-nourishing fibre which I think is an under appreciated component of food these days. These foods constantly show up in the diets of the long lived cultures around the world and thus I believe are essential for us to consume. Mine are all organic and mostly fresh from the farmers market. It’s summer now, so I have plenty of lettuces, baby spinach, basil, cucumber, tomatoes, a mango or two, some berries and some capsicum.
2: Gut healing specialties
3: Animal protein
I’m not a vegan like I used to be, but I think it’s okay if you want to eat that way, too. I gave up being a zealot because it was too stressful. These days I consume a small serve of animal protein every day (mostly 1-2x per day) in the form of bone broth, organic pastured eggs, wild fish (I caught a heap off whiting over Christmas and also did some scollop diving), and on-land protein sources such as chicken, beef or lamb (all organic). I don’t believe you need a lot, but the balancing properties of animal protein work really well for my unique metabolic type. Where I used to fill up on nuts which caused some difficulties with digestion, I now use animal protein.
I use the Pure Harvest Organic Coconut Almond Milk blend. It’s probably the best almond milk on the market I think. I use it in lattes in the mornings or if I’m making a nice granola on the weekend. I’ll put it in coffee once in a blue moon (I’m not a huge coffee drinker). We have some beautiful beetroot dip and goat’s cheese there for entertaining (normally served with organic corn chips or flax crackers & organic Temple Bruer red wine), we have some Hilbilby Cultured Food goodies in there from my latest visit with them, a couple of Cola Mojo Kombucha’s from my latest visit with them and see other stuff floating around which passes by at the whim of my partner’s tastebuds.
Its not that complicated. And it shouldn’t be.
The healthiest food is often the most simple. I’ve learned so much studying what the healthiest cultures in the world do to live long and healthy (I’m currently shooting a film on it actually) and I think if we want the same results as they get then we should think about emulating their way of life. Sure, we talked food today but there’s also exercise, purpose and stress management which can make or break our health outcomes. I’m not perfect in all these categories. And I don’t think we need to be. We just need to be sustainable.
As I’m often fond of saying, you are better off being 80% perfect for the rest of your life as opposed to 100% perfect for 12 weeks.