February 14, 2018

What I eat in a school day + Orig3n Nutrition DNA testing

What I eat in a school day + Orig3n Nutrition DNA testing

I was on Georgie’s podcast a few months ago and one of the questions was how I manage to stay sane and choose meals when I have such a heavy scientific nutrition background. And I totally understand where that question stems from. Mostly because there’s a bombardment of new information and fads and trends in the nutrition world that are dispensed daily. It’s like information overload – having all of this data in our brain bank and at our fingertips, perpetually bombarded by the newest fad or research and aimlessly attempting to apply it to our own lives. In this way, I think nutrition can sometimes be quite paralyzing. How can you tell which information to process, and which to discard? Enter Orig3n’s DNA testing stage left. 

First and foremost, on a day-to-day basis I try not to stress about the food I’m eating. When I’m cooped up in a classroom all day, I most look forward to my lunch time. I typically go on a walk for a half hour, and then I return to the classroom to feast on the meal I made the night before. In this moment, I’m not focusing on whether or not I have a protein and a fiber and a good fat, but rather visualizing the moment as a chance to re-energize and re-focus on the day. I pack my lunch bag with anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and gut-centric foods, and these are the labels I most stick to. I choose foods that make me personally feel energized, sharp, and clever, regardless of what “labels” these foods fall under. To learn more about my food philosophy, check out this post.

One of the most frustrating, but also the most wonderful things about nutrition is that it is so personalized. What may work wonderfully for me, may cause someone else to feel fatigued or anxious or bloated. When I was abroad, for example, I went vegan for six months. I was soon lethargic, fatigued, and couldn’t think as clearly so I was getting cues from my body that this just wasn’t a good fit for me. I’m grateful I had the ability to approach this feeling with curiosity rather than condemnation. The most important thing to me when giving any nutrition recommendation is: personalization, personalization, personalization. It’s hugely important to listen closely to body clues after eating meals, picking up on when certain foods make you feel good or bad.

Another way to do this is by using certain testing to really hone in on what it is that works best for your particular genome. One of the ways I did this was by utilizing Orig3n’s Nutrition DNA Test.

Code Lemons15 for 15% off Orig3n Nutrition DNA Test.

This testing has a few different categories.

Food sensitivity: alcohol tolerance, caffeine metabolism, lactose intolerance, cilantro aversion, bitter taste

My alcohol tolerance was normal, I’m ~gifted~ at metabolizing caffeine (which I’m not thrilled with – explains why coffee doesn’t always perk me up), I have no cilantro aversion, and I’m adapt with bitter taste, meaning I’m cool with eating bitter veg like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage, brussel sprouts, you name it! 

food breakdown: fatty acid response, cholesterol and lipids, and monounsaturated fat

My fatty acid response results were a bit disheartening, but something I kind of intuitively knew. When the “ALL FAT IS BEAUTIFUL FAT ALL DAY EVERY DAY” craze came out, I gave it a whirl and it just didn’t really pan out for me. I felt somewhat lethargic and gained weight pretty quickly. Not to say this was my primary concern but an interesting observation nonetheless. My gene profile revealed I may have higher cholesterol levels than the recommended levels, and I metabolize fat from my diet more poorly than normal. This did not at all depress or concern me. It just means that I have to be a bit more cognizant about my choices. Knowledge is power, not fear, and I am grateful to be equipped with a robust nutrition background to make changes that best reflect my genetic profile.

Hunger and Weight: weight regain, food reward, feeling full, appetite, obesity, hunger, and sweet tooth

My weight regain, food reward, feeling full, obesity, and hunger results all fell within normal limits. My appetite and sweet tooth both were outside the normal range. The sweet tooth one was pretty obvious though……(says while reaching for chocolate…..keyboard now covered in chocolate….)

Vitamins: beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D, folate levels, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C

Lastly, my vitamin profile was a little wonky. I’ve had my levels done six months ago, and some of my levels came back quite low. This now makes sense to me, as I realized through this testing that my genes make me more susceptible to deficiencies in beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B12, folate, and B6, so I can now make smarter choices about my supplementation protocol.

I love these tests because they provide SO much information. As I mentioned earlier, diet is so entirely personal. It sometimes feels impossible to navigate the influx of information we’re bombarded with every day. But by knowing what your gene profile is, you can make decisions that best fit what your individual body needs.

And the best part about it? It’s a cheek swab!! No blood involved in this DNA testing kit!!

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Breakfast: Usually for breakfast I like having a huge smoothie to get my vegetable quota in early. This typically looks something like: 1/2 cup frozen spinach, 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 tbsp nut butter, 1 tbsp flax seed, almond milk – 1-2 cups, 1 scoop plant-based protein powder, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp reishi powder. 

Snack: This usually looks something like a rice cake with nut butter, smashed avocado on toast or rice cake, apple with nut butter, carrots and hummus, or even just fruit and nuts. Keep it simple.

Lunch: I love a huge salad at lunch that’ll power me through the rest of the day. Usually this is a combination of romaine lettuce and kale with tons of veggies – raw and roasted – a good protein (think: wild salmon, organic turkey meatballs, organic chicken, grass fed beef, or organic, pasture raised eggs), some avocado, and dressing.

Dinner: I typically like something warm for dinner. I’ll heat up some roasted veggies or maybe make a lentil / chickpea / bean pasta, saute some tomatoes with garlic and onions until wilted, and dump a ton of nutritional yeast on top. So simple, a one pan wonder, and takes less than 15 minutes to throw together. 

Things I always have on hand just in case: protein bar (RX bar or EatIQ bar), tea bags, lots of water, energy bites, nuts, apples, and oranges – things that carry well. 

The recipes you see here:

Creamy Coconut Zucchini Noodles

  • 3 zucchinis, spiralized
  • 1 head bokchoy
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups edamame
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 2 cans light coconut milk (or 1 can regular, and 1 can water)
  • 2/3 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 clover garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Add coconut milk to wok and heat
  2. Whisk in cashew butter, coconut aminos, garlic, sesame oil, salt, and pepper
  3. When mixed, add in zucchini noodles, bokchoy, sundried tomatoes, basil, and edamame
  4. Heat on low for about 10 minutes

Gingerbread Energy Bites

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 scoop protein of choice (I used collagen)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of allspice
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender
  2. Once combined, add 1 tbsp almond milk at a time until dough forms.
  3. I used approximately 2 tbsp.
  4. Makes ~10 bites


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