A Leading Nutritional Therapist Shares The Meals She Eats On Repeat
With over 30 years’ experience as a nutritional therapist specialising in female and digestive health and weight management, Dominique Ludwig is the definition of a health authority. She’s also the secret weapon of many high-profile clients and A-list names, and is known for her science-backed and results-driven approach to nutrition. From morning rituals to fridge staples, here’s what she’s been eating recently…
I start the day with a mug of herbal tea. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but I love herbal tea – I have a whole drawer in my kitchen dedicated to tea. Pukka teas are my top choice, especially lemon and ginger. I’m also a fan of Dragonfly organic earl grey rooibos. On waking, I also have a large glass of water with a teaspoon of prebiotic fibre to feed my microbiome. I use a fibre from Healthy Origins – it’s colourless and tasteless, and dissolves into water. It contains a prebiotic fibre called PHGG, which is fantastic at boosting levels of health-promoting bacteria in the gut.
Mushroom coffee is rich in nutrients. I recently discovered DIRTEA’s mushroom coffee, which contains some caffeine, but supports energy in a different way without the crash afterwards. As well as a blend of mushrooms, it also contains ashwagandha, a herb that’s good for stress.
I try to fast for 15 hours overnight. I intermittent fast when I can, usually eating breakfast around 11am. I’m not 100% evangelical when it comes to food as life is busy and striving perfection in life is another stress we don’t need, but I try to do my best most of the time. What you eat for breakfast sets the balance for the rest of the day – I focus on protein, fat, fibre and phytonutrients. My go-to breakfast at the moment is full-fat natural yoghurt with a splash of Biotiful kefir, 100g of blueberries and a fibre mix that I make at home. It’s a 50:50 blend of chia seeds and flaxseeds. I grind these in a blender and store in a jam jar in the fridge. I add three tablespoons to my breakfast as a superfood for my gut microbes – it provides 10g of fibre, a third of your daily recommended intake.
A smoothie is a good breakfast option if you’re short on time. I use Raw Sport Collagen Plus for protein along with Plenish almond milk, frozen berries, a couple of Brazil nuts (good for the thyroid), some chia or flax seeds and cubes of frozen avocado for healthy fats. When I have more time on the weekend, I love a good brunch. I never get bored of eggs, but I’ve recently been into tofu scramble with kale and baby tomatoes. I serve this on a grilled mushroom and a slice of homemade seed, nut and buckwheat bread.
LEFT IMAGE: STOCKSY/PIXEL STORIES | RIGHT IMAGE: UNSPLASH/АННА ШИРЯЕВА
Focusing on fibre is far more important than counting calories. Fibre is an unsung hero and something we should be eating more of. When we focus on fibre, we naturally feel fuller for longer, so we can make healthier choices throughout the day. Berries are a fantastic source of fibre. My freezer is full of bags of frozen blueberries – they’re more economical, have zero wastage and are quick to defrost.
My fridge is filled with vegetables, fermented foods and sauces. I aim for six portions of vegetables and two fruits a day. In the summer months, I’ll make salads with anything that’s in season – broccoli, beetroot, celeriac, carrots, peppers and leaves like rocket and watercress. In my fridge, I also have what I call my protein drawer – staples include feta, halloumi, good quality eggs, fresh fish and tofu. I’m also obsessed with fermented foods – kefir, miso paste, kimchi and sauerkraut are a great top-up for your microbiome. I make my own sauces and salad dressing and keep a selection on the go. Right now, I have plenty of wild garlic pesto, which works so well with fried eggs, as well as a dressing made with lemon and tahini.
I’m not a big snacker. If you are eating a well-balanced diet with the right balance of protein, fats and fibre, you shouldn’t feel the need to snack between meals. Avoiding snacking is also better for your gut, hormones, weight and energy. If I have a sweet snack, I have it straight after a main meal, so it doesn’t spike my blood sugar. Eating sugar on an empty stomach will give you a boost but it will be short-lived. My favourite snacks are my matcha power balls – I blend medjool dates with ground almonds, coconut, matcha tea, cacao nibs and vanilla extract. I roll them into 15g balls so they’re just the right size. For something savoury, I toast seeds in wasabi or curry spices and either eat them on their own or sprinkle them on salads and soup.
Nothing beats a colourful summer lunch. I make a lot of salads in my Thermomix – I call them salad smashes. I pulse together harder vegetables like broccoli, red pepper or kohlrabi and jazz them up with dressing. I’ll top with chickpeas and halloumi fried in fajita spices, some grilled mackerel (this is a great one to buy frozen), crumbled feta or crispy tofu. I try to pack 10-15g of fibre into my lunch, and love using edamame beans, black lentils and avocado as quick fibre top-ups. Half a large avocado contains 7g of fibre and is packed with healthy fats. I make my own dressing with apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and hemp oil.
A chunky salad can be eaten on the go. Get into the habit of making larger portions – you’ll then have leftovers you can pack into a lunchbox. I love Levantine-style food and recently made an Ottolenghi spiced aubergine and pea salad, which I topped with feta, herbs and lots of lemon juice. It was delicious and tasted even better the next day.
FOCUSING ON FIBRE is far MORE IMPORTANT than COUNTING CALORIES. When we focus on fibre, we feel FULLER FOR LONGER, so we can make HEALTHIER CHOICES throughout the day.
Entertaining can be healthy and delicious. When my friends come for dinner, they know it will be healthy and balanced, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be indulgent, too. I had friends over last weekend and made a superfood green soup with roasted kale, Dijon chicken and roasted vegetables with a rainbow salad made with various types of roasted carrot. I then served a chickpea, date, peanut butter and coconut milk ice-cream for pudding – it tastes like a healthy version of Snickers. When I’m eating out, I love to order fish. I live near the seaside – nothing tastes better than fresh crab. I just wish restaurants would make more of an effort with vegetables – I’m always disappointed with the lack of interesting vegetable side dishes. I usually drop the potatoes and order extra seasonal veggies.
Dark chocolate is an excellent source of iron and magnesium. Aim for a bar with at least 70% cocoa – my favourites include Montezuma’s sea dog lime and sea salt or Love Fairtrade organic pomegranate dark chocolate. Good quality dark chocolate contains around 10g of fibre per 100g and is a good source of nutrients and antioxidants. When I have time, I make my own raw Twix bars with gluten-free oats, dates, maca, peanuts and dark chocolate.
Bone broth is great if you’re feeling run down. I keep lots of bone broth in the freezer so I can make it into a healthy miso soup with chicken and vegetables. I avoid sugar when feeling poorly or low, but often make an immune-boosting juice with carrots, ginger, turmeric root and apple.
Variety is key. The more colour and variety in your diet, the better. Try and eat as many different foods and plants as you can each week – think of it as a personal challenge. It’s easy to go into autopilot in the supermarket but buying seasonal food vegetables is a good way to mix things up. Many of us look to the internet for recipes but chances are you have a lot of cookbooks – at the last count I had 108 – and these can be a fantastic source of inspiration.
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