Adopt These Habits: The 5 Daily Health Practices of Our Culinary Nutritionist
Our resident natural-foods chef and all-around wellness guru Pamela Salzman reveals her top hacks for keeping her health on track.
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Pamela Salzman knows what it means to be busy. On any given day, you might find her teaching cooking classes around Los Angeles, creating recipes for Clean Eating or posting on her popular blog, pamelasalzman.com. But when it comes to her health, she doesn’t let her hectic schedule take a toll. We sat down with Pamela to find out which foods she eats daily to stay balanced. (And they don’t involve painstakingly foraging for mushrooms or collecting water from a distant spring – they’re all totally doable.)
1. Adaptogens To Manage Stress
Every day, around 3 or 4 pm – when Pamela’s energy starts to lag – she sits down to a homemade latte laced with a selection of adaptogenic herbs to manage stress and keep stamina up.
“My life is very fast-paced and I’m always on the go. I have to be alert because I’m teaching. I like to use adaptogens because they help your body adapt to stress; they keep you calm but alert,” she explains.
You may have heard about adaptogens — such as maca, reishi and ashwagandha — herbs that help the body adapt to whatever pressures you may be facing. It can be external stressors, like a busy work schedule or shuffling kids to soccer practice, or it can be internal such as a hormonal imbalance or an immune system that isn’t functioning optimally. Some adaptogens, such as reishi, are more calming while others, like maca, are more energizing. But all of them help the body adapt to stress in one way or another. Adaptogens are available in powders, tinctures or even capsules, but Pamela prefers the powders as it gives her the flexibility to use them in recipes, such as her afternoon latte.
Remember that adaptogens don’t work immediately – it can take a couple of weeks of regular use to notice a difference. And while Pamela finds them effective for her, they may not work for everyone. “Like anything, if you take something for a month and you feel no effects, then don’t do it anymore. Spend your money on something else. But I have actually found them to be very calming.”
2. Supercharge Your Smoothies
If your smoothies tend to be a monotonous mixture of berries and bananas, consider an upgrade.
Two heavyweights Pamela recommends are cooked cauliflower and white beans. But how do you incorporate them without having your smoothie taste like a salad bar? “The key is using a small amount,” she explains. “For a one-serving smoothie, I use ¼ cup of cauliflower or beans.” Packaged frozen cauliflower is an easy choice as are cooked and frozen navy or cannellini beans (or even BPA-free canned beans).
A classic smoothie for her might include a banana, a handful of frozen cherries or strawberries, ¼ cup cauliflower, two handfuls of spinach, nuts or nut butter for protein and a sprinkle of flaxseeds.
She often mixes it up to include some of her favorite superfoods like lucuma, a high-antioxidant powder made from a South American fruit with a caramel-like flavor that Pamela adores. Raw cacao is another of her favorites for its chocolaty flavor and energizing, mood-boosting effects.
Other additions that might be out of the box include cooked oatmeal, peanut butter, avocado, pumpkin purée, cooked sweet potato or butternut squash and even granola — yes, that’s right! She swears that a couple of shakes of granola will totally transform your smoothie to give it an incredible texture.
3. Take a High-Quality Collagen Powder
Often you’ll hear about collagen in the context of gut healing. In fact, one of the reasons bone broth has gained popularity is that it contains collagen, which has the ability to restore and help maintain a healthy intestinal lining.
But for Pamela, digestion isn’t her primary reason for taking it. “As I started to get older, my hair began to get thinner and my skin started to change a bit; it wasn’t quite as glowy as it used to be,” she explains. After a couple of months of taking a scoop of collagen peptides every day, she noticed that her hair started to thicken and her skin started to improve. She was so satisfied with the results that she’s been taking collagen regularly for about two years now.
Collagen is most often found in powder form, but you can also find it mixed into protein powders or in capsules. Look for grass-fed varieties without additives or fillers. Marine collagen is also available, though it tends to be more expensive.
Collagen has a slight taste, so she suggests putting it into your coffee, smoothie or soup where it won’t be as noticeable. Her preferred way? Mixed into a glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice in the morning. While you can take collagen any time of day, Pamela finds that taking it first thing in the morning is convenient and fits seamlessly into her daily routine.
4. Sip On Apple Cider Vinegar
Full of beneficial probiotics and enzymes, apple cider vinegar is a mainstay in Pamela’s kitchen for salad dressings, cooking and even baking. But her favorite way to incorporate it into her day is to simply dilute it in water — and she’s seen big benefits from the practice.
“Whenever I drink ACV — 1 or 2 tablespoons in 2 cups of water during the day — my skin always looks so good,” she says. “People will ask me, ‘What are you doing with your skin?’ ”
Apple cider vinegar is a boon to gut health, helping to kill off bad bacteria and help support the growth of good bacteria. Of course, we know that intestinal health is connected to everything from skin to mood, immunity and overall health. But Pamela doesn’t make any overarching claims about the reasons behind the benefits; she just knows that she sees results.
While some people may advocate for apple cider vinegar right before meals to help support digestion, Pamela prefers to sip it in the afternoon. Remember to choose raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. And if you’re sipping it throughout the day, you’re best to use a straw (we prefer glass) so the acid doesn’t damage your tooth enamel.
5. Reset With a Green Broth
While Pamela pays careful attention to her health, even she can’t eat perfectly all the time. After periods of indulgence or stress, she admits that sometimes she needs a reset —and when she does, she turns to the cleansing detox soup known as Bieler’s broth.
Henry Bieler, MD, often referred to as one of the pioneers of alternative medicine, was the author of Food is Your Best Medicine (Random House), a book that was ahead of its time when it was first published in 1966. In his book, he recommended a nourishing broth of blended green vegetables including green beans, zucchini and parsley to help support liver detoxification and to provide essential minerals such as potassium.
After a period of working hard and spreading herself too thin, an acupuncturist recommended the broth to Pamela, and she was impressed with how well it worked. “When I drink Bieler’s broth once a day for about a week, I really feel better… it’s a very satisfying soup and the taste is very pleasant.”
It’s a great tool to have in your arsenal when you need it. “It’s a nice thing to do when you’re trying to get back on track after a week of indulgence, like during the holidays, or when you’re just stressed out and tired and you need a healing, nourishing boost.”