What Are The Healthiest Meals on Earth?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You might have seen Dr. Jonny Bowden's best-selling books The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth and The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth.

Now, the certified nutrition expert has written, with the help of friend and whole foods expert Jeannette Bessinger, a hybrid cookbook and nutrition book called The Healthiest Meals on Earth. The hefty book takes all those superfoods we know we should be eating and combines them into meals that maximize nutrition.

The press release for the book quotes Hippocrates: "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food." Great advice!

Healthiest Meals cites research by Colombian public health scientist Oscar Franco that introduced the concept of a "polymeal," a dietary approach to staving off cardiovascular disease that combines proven heart-helping foods such as red wine, dark chocolate, almonds, garlic, oily fish, fruits and vegetables.

The trouble is that many of us aren't sure how best to cook these foods, so Bowden created polymeals that aim to maximize the healing and disease-fighting properties of food. These "polymeals" aren't light on flavor, either.
Many of them contain ingredients you may have heard of or eaten but never cooked, like buffalo tenderloin, pomegranate, or tamari (a kind of soy sauce). The book contains 10 multi-dish meals, and not a single protein source is excluded. Beef, turkey, shrimp, salmon—it's all in there! (There's even some bacon!) Whether you're a vegetarian or an omnivore, you can find a healthy meal that will appeal to you.

I recently made the Broiled Salmon with Tamari-Orange Marinade ("Full of omega-3s for your heart, mood, and skin") and the Wild Rice and Green Beans with Shiitake Sauté ("Full of fiber and minerals"). (The salmon is one of Bowden's favorites, too.) While the ingredient lists at first seemed long, the cooking methods were simple. Though I'm an experienced cook, even a novice could pull off the recipes.


We recently talked with Dr. Bowden about health, nutrition, and, of course, the new book (We got a great scoop: There are two more books in his series--The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Energy and a book on longevity.)

Dr. Bowden's résumé is long and impressive: He's a board-certified nutrition specialist with a master's in psychology; he's a life coach, motivational speaker and former personal trainer. With such a laundry list of accomplishments, it's surprising his career in psychology and later nutrition started only in the 80s. Bowden, who studied at Juilliard for two years, began his adult life as a pianist, working on Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. During those years, he was quite unhealthy in his eating and lax in his exercise routines.

Much has changed since then.

His nutritional philosophy has diversified and evolved, but unlike many nutrition experts seen in the media, he doesn't have a shtick or a eponymous diet. He is, however, a proponent of quality, unprocessed foods and reducing useless carbs (ie, focusing on whole grains over processed carbs and stressing the quality of food over quantity). He recommends eating "as many vegetables as you can cram down your throat."

While we focus on losing weight and maintaining the bottom line, he reminds us there's more to food than that.

He offers McDonald's beef versus Australian grass-fed beef as an example. From a weight loss point of view, they'll offer the same benefits.
"But from a health point of view they won't," he says, reiterating his focus on quality food. "It's not just about what produces weight loss."

Through his "transformative motivational speaking," Bowden helps people realize that the changes we make in nutrition, health and exercise can really change our lives, and we face the same barriers in all aspects of life.

So what does a nutrition expert eat on an average day?

He prefaces his explanation with the disclaimer that his daily diet is subject to change at any time.

Right now, he tends "to eat a largely raw breakfast" with one piece of seasonal fruit, a handful of uncooked oatmeal, a couple of tablespoons of organic pecans or almonds, a handful of chia seeds or some flax oil, and plain, whole or 2% Greek yogurt. "It lasts me till 1 p.m.," he says.
He eats at least one wild salmon product a day. Lunch is often "a salmon fillet on the George Foreman grill with greens or seaweed salads with canned salmon and nuts."

Dinner is more lean protein, greens, some grains and "once a week or so grass fed meat." And "every night without fail," he eats frozen blueberries sprinkled with almonds and raw organic milk.

When it comes to other people, Bowden is quick to emphasize that what works for him might not work for anyone else.

"I try very hard to not be a proponent of one diet. If I was a proponent of any philosophy, it would be that everybody's different. We all need to find the drummer we march to in life."

Have you read the book? What superfood would you like to learn how to cook?