a feature article by Karen Schwalbe-Jones, owner of Harmony Studios

Follow these guidelines and food will be your friend and you’ll never have an issue with food again! Really. It’s pretty simple. People make it waaaaay harder than it has to be. You don’t need to be extreme in your eating. You simply need to learn to BE CONSCIOUS. Learn what foods have what purpose, i.e., fat? energy? How do you feel after eating a particular food?

I’m not a huge fan of dairy, as we don’t produce the necessary enzymes for digestion. Use soy in moderation.  Depending on a person’s personal needs and restrictions: whey, chia seeds, peanut butter and almond milk are my favorite go-to for easy add-on proteins.

All meals have 3:1 ratio of carbs:protein and healthy fat. Protein is like a time-release capsule for sugars (also known as carbs). It “allows” the release of sugars. Fat is your friend; it keeps you full longer. It’s good for brain growth and maintenance, and keeps our bodies youthful. Too much is total opposite for all of that!

Gluten is fine unless you really notice that it isn’t — unless you are allergic. We need gluten! We don’t NEED all the wheat and sugar that also has gluten. BIG difference!

Balance is key for eating:
Eating to live is mandatory. Living for eating should be a treat.

All meals are small/salad plate size. Think more a balanced snack than a meal. There are many options, but here are a few for each “category”. Healthy and easy to prepare, all options can be eaten for any of the meals. I simply separated everything, to make it brain-friendly.

-Steel cut oatmeal w chia seeds. Make with almond milk? Add egg whites?
-2 Scrambled eggs and a little jalapeño cashew cheese in a flour tortilla with salsa and avocado  (corn tortillas are better for you but hard to roll up!)
-Gluten free pancakes (Trader Joe’s are fab!) Add a few egg whites to batter for fluffier, or the whole egg because it’s good fat!
-Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods bran muffins, and two scrambled eggs.
-Smoothie: add greens (spirulina or kale, etc) and protein (peanut butter, chia seeds, avocado, flax seeds, amino acids, etc)
-Banana and peanut butter (Bananas are high sugar—the riper, the higher the sugar.)

-Hummus and veggies
-“Pure” bars
-Apple and peanut butter — Or cashew cheese

-Salads: darker greens, and add protein (fish, chicken, avocado, and/or chia). Bruschetta is a great dressing!
-Homemade salsa and chips! One of each: jar of corn salsa, 1/2 of the cojita cheese (it’s a round shaped crumbly cheese), black beans, and diced avocado. Add cumin, pepper, hot sauce, to taste. Mix up and use chips to eat. Yummy!
-Quesadilla with meat
-Spelt bread sandwiches. Bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado; peanut butter and jelly; turkey and cheese. Any and all are great! Spelt is the bread, and minimize the mayo.
-Soup and half a sandwich. Add meat to them and they are super satisfying.

SMALL!  Why people ever think they can eat massive amounts before bed is totally confusing. For the record, it’s not how much you eat at what time. It’s how you utilize the nourishment after you eat!  Think: “What am I doing next?” Meat at breakfast and lunch, not dinner!!
-Salad w protein. (Minimize the fat before bed)
-Stir fry: All veggies sautéed in a tablespoon of sesame oil.  When done, put the veggies in a bowl of 1/2 cup cooked brown rice. Woks rock! It’s like crock-pot-cooking, but yummier!  Add spices or spicy red pepper sauce?!
-Add oven-roasted salmon to anything! Put salmon in foil with a little lemon and olive oil and cook for 10 min or so. Medium rare is great for adding to salads or couscous.

Last but not least, add wine to every meal.
Kidding! Just for lunch or dinner…