« You may be wondering what my daily regimen consists of. How do I plan meals for myself and my family, and how do I integrate what I’ve learned in my travels into my daily life?
To begin with, we eat very simply. A typical dinner consists of grilled fish or meat; stir-fried or steamed greens; roasted vegetables; and rice, couscous, quinoa, or roasted potatoes. Otherwise I might make a huge salad with leftovers and other ingredients from the refrigerator and pantry. I’m a big fan of eclectic soups and salads where you take different ingredients, including leftovers, and incorporate them into the dish(es) you are making.
I usually plan my meals in advance, but I am also open to spontaneous impulses depending on what is in the market and in season. Let me share with you some of my other daily habits:
EXERCISE The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is exercise. You may prefer to do this at another time. You have to work out your routine according to your own biological clock. I like to start the day on a positive note. I alternate running with working out on machines[…] »
« daily ritual is to establish a routine and stick to it.
TEA A warm cup of herbal tea is the first thing I drink in the morning, since it is soothing for your stomach (aids digestion) and the body.
BREAKFAST My breakfast usually consists of seasonal fruits, and yogurt mixed with granola or cereal and sprinkled with some ground flaxseed. I like to add fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, or other dried or fresh fruit for variety. When I am traveling (especially in Asia), I often eat what the natives do.… In China, I have warm, slightly sweetened soy milk and flaky sesame breads. In Japan, I eat miso soup, steamed rice, and pickles. In Europe, I drink tea and indulge in a croissant with some fruit. Breakfast is an important meal and shouldn’t be skipped, especially if you want your body and mind to perform at their optimum level. (I insist that at the very least my teenage son drink a glass of orange juice, eat a banana, and have a multiple vitamin every morning before leaving for school.)
VITAMINS : Although I eat well, I usually take vitamins and a few herbal supplements. (See Dr. Andrew Weil’s recommendations.)
WATER : I drink lots of water and tea (herbal and decaf) throughout the day. Ideally, you should drink six to eight glasses of water a day (or drinks that are mostly water, including tea). Many people are addicted to coffee and drink it throughout the day, but you should try to restrict your intake to one cup in the morning and, if necessary, one cup in the afternoon, then drink water throughout the day.
LUNCH : My lunch usually consists of soup, which may be homemade or a freshly prepared store-bought version. I often supplement the soup with cooked vegetables or tofu. (See the “Homey Soups” introduction for other suggestions.) In warm weather, I eat salads or roll-ups stuffed with fresh and cooked vegetables, hummus, or dressing. Since I usually don’t have much time during the day, when I am preparing dinner I like to make a little extra food for leftovers for the next day’s lunch.
AFTERNOON : Midafternoon is a time when I often feel an energy lag, so I take a break. I meditate, do some stretches, or simply close my eyes and take some deep breaths. It’s extraordinary what a difference it can make. I’m a great believer in teatime (perhaps it’s because I recently spent two years in England). I usually have a snack of fruit, a little sweet, and a cup of tea or a latte (decaffeinated is recommended).
DINNER : For specific dinner strategies, see “Planning Your Dinner Menus Through the Week,” which follows.
EVENING : About an hour after dinner, once or twice a week, I like to practice yoga, do some stretches, or take a walk, depending on the season and weather. Yoga, in particular, helps me to relax and keeps my body flexible. (Depending on your individual body clock, this might be your time for aerobic exercise.)
RELAX: I try to wind down activities at least one to two hours before I go to sleep. For me, reading an upbeat book or magazine works well.