A day in the life: my food and exercise schedule
Wondering what exactly I do to heal myself?
When I share exactly what I do with people they’re often taken aback by the actual intensity of my healing schedule. I’m not suggesting this is right for you, or even for me. It’s just what’s working for me.
Please do not use this as a template and absolutely be sure to consult with a nutritionist or doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
And finally, please understand that it took me years to get here. I started including high nutrient healing foods a little bit at a time. If I had just jumped in right here the likelihood is that I would have hurt myself. I certainly didn’t start out exercising like this either. The journey from bed bound to my current routine took almost five years, though in all honesty it’s also because I ended up using this illness as an excuse to not exercise. I am not an active person my nature, it takes a lot to get me away from my laptop, but once I am, I’m so incredibly happy to embrace the outdoors and my yoga.
I start and end my days at different times, depending if I’m traveling or how much work I have to do, so I have omitted waking and sleep times. I get up between 8am and 11am, later if traveling at times, and I sleep between 1am and 3am. I would love to be more of a morning person but I tend to stay up quite late working, something I’m working on not doing anymore because I don’t feel it’s healthy.
10am has been used as an example wake up time so that I can share the pacing of my day but all times are approximate as my schedule is a little unpredictable. My meal schedule will be very different to yours – I am and have lived in the Mediterranean region or Middle East for most of my life. We eat very late there.
My diet is like this 99% of the time. Other times I travel and I eat anything (healthy but high histamine) that’s put in front of me, but I travel with a juicer, or purchase one upon arrival. My schedule, including the work hours, are the same on the weekend. Sometimes I go through spurts of a few weeks where I work 12-14 hours when writing and taking photos. I purchase as much of my food online as possible, as well as most of my clothes and bath/beauty products to have more time to devote to healing. I also cook in large batches, freezing soup, pancakes, pasta sauces, veggie noodles or entire meals that I can just stick in the oven while do other things. I have even done this with juices. I basically apply what I learned as a journalist on the road, always needing to be ready to ship out on an hour’s notice, or bug out immediately from a hostile situation. If it sounds like a lot of planning is involved, you’re right! But it frees up SO much time in the long run.
Meditation doesn’t mean sitting alone in a room staring at a wall. Meditation can take place while washing dishes or eating – read this fabulous book for more How to Eat – or even ironing (exercise caution in the latter!). I try to be aware, in the present moment and using my deep breathing/pranayama whenever I have a spare moment. Going on a week long meditation retreat changed my life. Meditation is the reason I have been able to add so many foods back to my life. It’s not a magic wand – lower stress and separating my fear of food from eating was key.
This is a great book I read on getting started with pranayama breathing:
If you’d like to see how far I’ve come, check out this post “Once upon a time we all reacted to foods” where I share my old food diary
This is the template I generally stick to when eating at home – you can see several weekly examples of what I eat at home or on the road if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook. Even though usually eating quite high histamine when not at home, I am always eating high nutrient and including as many antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods as possible.
Because I am no longer in the elimination phase you will see many higher histamine foods here, my books are geared to those who are eating far more limited diets than I. The recipes in my books are the recipes that helped me get to where I am now. Man Food has many options for those who can add higher histamine foods for themselves or their family.
Wake up, remain in bed for 10-20 minutes doing pranayama breathing (yoga breathing)
Answer emails, do some writing
Lightly freshen up
Green juice/smoothie (ingredients change depending on the day) I use a Vitamix and a Samson juicer.
1 part fruit, two parts vegetable, 2-4 cups low-medium oxalate greens, chlorella, spirulina, Vitamin B12, Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA+EPA Purityor something from the all-liquid Anti-Detox book. Usually a quart or more.
once a week I will have:
1-2 egg (preferably duck for the very high B12) omelette with 1/2 – 1 cup fresh antihistamine and anti-inflammatory herbs as outlined in the Anti-Cookbook.
once every two weeks or so:
The love of my life: healthy pancakes – many recipes like this one here you can find more by searching the site using the toolbar on the upper right hand corner of the site, just under the banner.
Shower and light make up
100 percent pure cucumber cleanser, 100 percent pure shampoo. (You can check them out here)
90 – 120 minutes rocket/ashtanga power yoga level 2-3 (that’s me getting a little help with my scorpion pincha from my teacher Tomas)
10-15 minutes meditation/pranayama (if you’re new to meditation I recommend starting with one of Jon Kabat Zinn’s iTunes albums).
3:45pm / 4pm
4pm or so
Salad: 2-4 cups mixed low – medium oxalate greens, mushrooms, cucumber, carrot, yellow tomato, avocado, shaved fennel, grilled veggies, chickpeas/lentils/low-medium oxalate beans, olive oil and lemon, or tahini with mustard, 1/2 – 1 cup chopped green herbs
Soup: vegetable with lentils or chickpeas, mushrooms, yellow or red tomato, and 1/2 – 1 cup fresh green antihistamine and anti-inflammatory herbs
5pm – 9pm
Depending on workload…
30 minutes – 1 hour meditation
10-15 minutes playing around with handstands/headstands/other yoga inversions
A few times a week 1-1.5 hour walk
Dinner – I mostly make recipes from Man Food now but omit most of the animal protein.
Pasta: spiralised zucchini with a creamy vegan sauce made from cauliflower/white bean/butternut squash – check out this one and there’s also a bunch in my Man Food book served with a large salad and at least 1/2 – 1 cup fresh herbs and often with another glass of green juice/smoothie.
Anti-inflammatory flat bread like this one, smeared with home made hummus and topped with roasted grilled veggies and 1/2 – 1 cup herbs.
Once a week: salmon with spiralised veggie pasta and salad and tons of herbs. Here’s an early version of this recipe omit the pine nuts and almonds if you like and I now use veggies rather than rice pasta, or some ground beef sautéed with chickpeas, swiss chard and tons of herbs.
Yes, I eat dessert! I tend to make myself a raw vegan bannofee pie from almonds (high oxalate but supposedly low histamine unless allergic), coconut nectar or Medjool dates and a little raw organic home made cacao sauce, or pecan/pistachio flour (I make that at home, just add them to other ingredients in a food processor) with coconut sugar, a couple spoons tapioca flour, raw organic vanilla and a couple of eggs or chickpea water for vegan days (here’s how to go egg free in baking and in life), or I’ll make a fresh young Thai coconut pudding, or a recipe from my dessert book. Mostly though I just love eating a nice large raw organic chocolate bar like OM or the Raw Chocolate Company Vannoffee Bar (neither of which are available in the states sorry or I’d link them!). Yeah, I know, but I’m human.
10pm – midnight
Meditation or light yin yoga stretching
Weekends are generally the same, but with more meditation, reading, seeing friends and whatnot, but no meetings. I usually do most of my writing writing then, but no emails.
Remember, this is not a plan, just a little look at what I’m currently doing. This won’t be right for you – some won’t have to work this hard, others might have more intense manifestations of their histamine intolerance or mast cell activation and so diet and lifestyle changes won’t work as well for them.
If you need a little inspiration…read my interview with mast cell expert Dr. Mariana Castells on the importance of lifestyle changes and her experiences with patients with very severe mastocytosis who have experienced remission and live without meds.
Please remember, even antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods can hurt us, please always exercise caution and consult a medical practitioner before adding new foods.