I’m a planner, when I jump into things I like to have a structured plan on how it’s gonna go down. Several years back when I started making dietary shifts, many people would say, “just eat real food.”  That sounded like a good idea in theory but isn’t all food REAL food, am I eating make believe food then?

As I continued to learn and research, I began to understand what exactly real food is.  It’s food that comes from the Earth, is whole, natural and unprocessed. Real food consisting of humanely raised grass-fed meat, vegetables and fruit that are local and seasonal, unrefined oils and fats; the food that has been in our world for millions of years.

To take all the guess work out of it, and provide a step-by-step action plan (as you know I love!), here are the Top 8 MUST-HAVE foods in your daily diet.

By incorporating each of these, you will begin to glow from the inside out.  Rock on, my friends!

Leafy Greens

High in B vitamins, minerals, and beta-carotene, greens are the number one food you can eat regularly to help improve your health. A good way to get greens into your diet are Green Smoothies – GREENS MAKE YOU CLEAN! Pack your blender full of your favorite greens and watch as your body magically begins to clean itself out. Here is my go to recipe: Favorite Green Smoothie.

Coconut Oil

Definitely my favorite oil to cook with and add to green smoothies. Coconut oil is a unique saturated fat because it is chalked full of medium-chained fatty acids which are easy for the body to convert into fuel. Remember “saturated” just means the oil is typically solid at room temperature. Saturated oils are the ONLY oils safe to cook with.

Eggs (Protein)

To me, eggs are the perfect food. They contain everything needed to sustain life – protein, antioxidants, minerals, and B vitamins – including Choline, which is a rock star! Choline is essential for the liver and gallbladder to emulsify fats. Choline also helps aid brain function in adults by maintaining the structure of brain cell membranes and acts as a precursor to neurotransmitters. If you are looking for foods that bust your sugar cravings, eggs are a no-brainer. I eat mine every morning cooked in coconut oil along side some avocado.

Avocados (Fat)

Avocados are a great source of healthy vegetable fat. It is rare to find fatty vegetables and fruits in nature, which makes avocados a real delicacy! Put together with eggs for a match made in heaven.

The Greek translation of FAT is LOVE!

Fermented Foods

A good place to start? Kombucha! Kombucha is a carbonated probiotic drink full of enzymes, minerals, and essential vitamins. However, the nutritive qualities are not the only thing to brag about. This drink is great for your digestive system, helping you break down food and re-populate your gut with healthy flora. After the fermentation process, where the good bacteria turns sugar into nutrients, there is some residual sugar left over which makes this drink a semi-sweet treat. (*Note: Get started brewing kombucha at home! Purchase your starter kit HERE.)

Chicken Bone Broth

Delicious, digestible, and familiar; it’s also nutrient-rich.  Bone broth assists with digestion, allergies, immune & brain health, contributes to glowing skin & hair, promotes healthy connective tissue, and is extremely soothing if you are sick.

I buy my bone broth from my local farmer, but you can learn how to make your own bone broth at home here: Easy Crock Pot Chicken Bone Broth.

Fish Oil

The Omega-3s in fish oil are extremely important in our daily diet because of the anti-inflammatory effect they have on the body which assists with joint health and skin conditions.  Fish oils have earned their reputation as “brain food” because some people eat fish to help with depression, psychosis, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),  Alzheimer’s disease, and other thinking disorders.

Cod Liver Oil is my go-to oil that I take each and every day. Traditionally, this was THE health food in Grandma’s cupboard. The naturally occurring Vitamins A and D, Co Q 10, DHA, and EPA support brain function and development, and the natural balance of Vitamins D and F help with cell metabolism, your immune system, hormone levels and regulation of cholesterol.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a slightly more complex carbohydrate than regular potatoes with a far greater nutrient profile. This means they break down slower and don’t cause the blood sugar spike that you have to worry about with white potatoes and other simple starches. I love them because you can make them sweet, savory, salty, WHATEVER! Delish. Carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes ~ packed with beta-carotene and other phytonutrients. After completely removing all forms of bread & gluten from my diet, I rely on squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes when I am craving a “hearty” meal.

Happy Eating!

CmcRB222_400x400Carly Shankman is a Wellness Activist & certified Holistic Health Coach on a mission to create a happier, healthier world through whole food nutrition & personal transformation. She believes that mental, spiritual and physical health are not exclusive of one another. Connect with Carly on her website, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.



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