At Pure 21, we get a lot of questions about maintaining a healthy lifestyle after completing the 21-day challenge. Most people stay in week three or go back through the challenge without taking Pure Start on the second week (we recommend taking Pure Start every six-eight weeks). One of our Registered Dietitians takes us through the MIND diet, so you can see all the benefits of a healthy gut.
We talk a lot about eating for the benefit of your everyday health here, but how often do you think about your eating as a proactive prescription for long-term benefit? We know nutritious foods are a helpful fuel source for living an active life, but food is also a preventative prescription for your MIND! It’s almost like a life insurance policy for your vital organs and longevity!
The so-called MIND “diet” is a combo of the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet. They’re not really ‘diets’ so much as high fruit/veggie lifestyles to help prevent the onset of brain degeneration or, in other words, dementia and Alzheimers. In fact, MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. While diet is still being researched in isolation and combination with other lifestyle factors, you can do no harm by adding these foods to your daily and weekly routine either way! It’s a win win! So when should you start? Now! Begin with small steps. In the long run, you will also reap the benefits of improved blood pressure, heart health, and increased energy!
As with any good framework, the MIND suggestions focus on foods to add, not eliminate. There are a few foods that it acknowledges could be decreased or cut back slightly, like dairy, red meet, fried food, and sweets. As with anything, balance is key to a happy mind and well-rounded lifestyle!
Food to eat
Whole grains: Get in at least three servings day.
Green leafy vegetables: Eat a salad, like kale, spinach, or cooked greens, at least six times a week.
Other vegetables: Eat another vegetable at least once a day. Focus on non-starchy vegetables.
Berries: Incorporate berries at least twice a week. Why berries specifically? Scientists found that eating more blueberries and strawberries slows down cognitive decline in older women.
Fish: Eat fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, or tuna at least once a week.
Poultry: Eat turkey or chicken at least twice a week.
Beans: Include these in at least four meals every week. This includes lentils and soy beans.
Heart healthy nuts: Last but not least, get in five servings of nuts per week.
Wine: Wait until after week 3, but studies and experts of the MIND approach suggest one glass of wine or similar alcoholic beverage per day — and yes, you read that right!
There are numerous studies that back up this “diet” and show the gut-brain connection. At Pure 21, we know how important gut health is and if you’ve completed the challenge then you know it too! Our gut (intestine) has receptors that talk to our brain and vice-versa. Keeping this relationship happy, talking smoothly, and communicating effectively is vital to the integrity of each of our organs. That’s where probiotics come in. I’ve talked about them before, but probiotics have many benefits like promoting a balanced digestive system, fat loss, and immune system support. Whether it’s from yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh or another fermented item, you’ll thank yourself later if you start introducing these friendly bacteria to your routine.
If you’re looking to include this plan into your life, here is a way I include the suggested food into my everyday routine.
Glowing GREEN Hummus
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 (15oz) can chickpeas
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach (thawed)
- 1/4 cup tahini (optional)
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- salt & pepper to taste
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Gather and blend all of the ingredients. Serve with pita, pretzel crips or carrot/celery sticks.
Berry Sweet Potato Toast
- 1 whole sweet potato
- Almond butter (optional)
- Yogurt (optional)
- Berries (optional)
- Nuts (optional)
Thinly slice the sweet potato into long rounds. Roast or air fry the rounds until slightly golden brown. Top the slices with almond/peanut butter or yogurt, fruit, and nuts.
Chicken Salad with Spinach
- 3 oz cooked chicken breast (shredded or chopped)
- 1-2 tbsp plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 tbsp frozen spinach (thawed)
- 2 tbsp other chopped veggies (celery, bell pepper, carrots)
- Dash of seasoning or hot sauce
- 1-2 tbsp raw sauerkraut
- Bed of greens (optional)
- Whole grain toast (optional)
Combine all the ingredients and pair them over a bed of greens or whole grain toast.