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?

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Thank you for the thumbs up! I'll be looking into those books. Report
I agree too much! Too many ingredients, too much time, I have to keep it simple with an infant, husband & full time job. Report
I have a comment about eating raw foods. In general, considering our usual highly processed diet, squeezing in as many raw foods as you can is a good thing. However, there are many foods that are not healthier in the raw state as cooking breaks them down and allows release of many important vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be lost to us. We are not cows and do not have four stomachs to properly process raw grains. Moderation in all things is really the best way to go.

That said, I wouldn't mind having a daily dose of salmon! Yum! Unfortunately, not only is it expensive but often the only salmon available is farm-raised Atlantic salmon which not only tastes blah but also is bad for the environment and has added coloring etc.

Be careful with what you eat, even if it is supposedly a health food. Report
I wonder what he would eat as a vegan. Report
There is a website that is similar. It is whfoods.com (or .org?) . It is called the World's Healthiest Foods and they have also recently come out with a book. The website seems to have all the info you need. Report
I eat a lot of salmon. Almost every day. I am lucky to live in Alaska and we catch our own salmon. I don't eat a lot of fat so I am fime with all the fat in the salmon. I also will be looking into the book. Always looking for new ways to cook my salmon.
Ginger Report
I think the philosophy of a wide range of unprocessed foods is a good one - I am concerned though of the tendency to take scientific findings to extremes e.g .eating a salmon product every day. If this is what our bodies were optimally adapted to we would be kodiak bears. The likelihood is that each person is genetically optimized for their own (age and environment dependent) diet . Hence eskimos can tolerate much higher fat levels in their diet without ill effects than can the rest of us, the French seem to be able to tolerate higher daily alcohol consumption (or at least they claim it : ) etc...The only consistant finding I have been convinced by is that of all foods in moderation is the healthy approach. Perhaps this article is most important though in the final comments form the nutritionist that each of us must find what works best for us (so long presumably as that is not a twinkie concentrated diet). Report
Now you make me want something that I can't afford again. :( Report
It would cost too much for me. Report
I haven't "read" a book in over 20 years - my mother was just asking me the other day if I'd read the new one by Koontz, and I told her "Noooooo, I don't READ anymore!"
I did go to the link you provided via Amazon and read the excerpts and this book is an 'easy read' AND provides GREAT information that I think we ALL need.
Now, chances are I could surf the net and find out about a lot of what he's got in his book, but he's already done the footwork - anyway, long story short, my next visit to Savannah will be including a stop to Barnes & Noble!
Thanks for sharing! Report
I already eat a lot of the super foods, but would be interested in seeing recipes, maybe the book is at the library, as I have a ton of cook books and healthy books. Report
I use George Mateljan's book and site, http://www.whfoods.org , the World's Healthiest Foods. He has recipes with each of his foods too and the website has all the info free also. Report
It's important to underline the fact that PACIFIC WILD SALMON is the only healthy & environmentally sound kind of salmon. Farmed salmon, which is the main kind you find in grocery stores, is not a good choice--especially if you eat it frequently. I almost never come across Pacific wild salmon, so I don't buy salmon. Report
Sounds like a good cookbook. I'll leaf through it and see if there enough recipes in it I would try to make it worth buying. My husband bought a new bookcase for me because I have so many cookbooks, most of which have one or two recipes I use regularly. I promised Hubby I wouldn't buy another cookbook without checking it out for the number of recipes I would use. Report
I wish I had money for this book. I used Jonny's Shape-up Plan when I lost 40 lbs 8 yrs ago. I could have kept the weight off, but I got lazy in my eating. Report
Some of it sounds good, but how many of the meals are vegetarian? It sounds like it's got a lot of meat involved in it, and as a vegetarian, I don't love buying food books where the only vegetarian dishes are sides. Also, a healthy eating book that contains bacon sounds a little sketchy to me.. But I'll still peruse it at the bookstore and give it a chance. His breakfast sounds yummy, similar to what I often eat, and the nightly blueberries and almonds sounds like a great addition to my diet, as I often get the munchies at night and I think those two superfoods would fill me up and boost my nutrient value at the same time. I sometimes feel like I should eat salmon because it's so healthy, but I can't bring myself to eat a living being.. Not to mention I hate the taste of fish. ;)

As an aside, I used to snack on raw oats as a kid. My mom called me a little horse. That part of the article really intrigued me, as I've never heard of anyone else eating raw oats! Report
Book sounds great, but I get tired of buying books for diet and "cook" books.
I have decided to use the web to save money. Report
it sounds like a great book and one that I will be buying.. I also have The Worlds healthiest Foods
I eat raw oatmeal in my smoothies and yogurt.. yummy! Report
The book sounds quite interesting, even though I am a very picky eater...and I love salmon, so I would like to see some more of the recipes. I will have to look for it in the local bookstore (would like to actually thumb through it for info). Report
Very interesting.... Report
This looks like a great book. I know some or even many of the recipes would not work for me, but I know I would still get a lot of great information out of it anyway. I have been making a better effort to eat higher quality foods, whole grains, veggies and fruits and fewer processed foods. That basic formula works for me. Report
This would cost to much for me Report
Interesting, I am not sure if I could eat so of these foods raw. I will have to think about this. Report
It all sounds real good. Unfortunately, it also sounds real expensive. And the cost of food is already ridiculous. Grass fed beef, salmon, Greek yogurt, organic everything. Sorry, on my income, that is totally out of reach. Teach us how to cook healthy on a poor mans income and then I'll get excited! Report
WARNING: I BABBLE stick with me :D

I have to comment that two months ago my doctor put me on an extremely low carb diet (basically I am able to eat fish, veggies, fruit, and real whole grains). I would like to SHOUT THIS ONE OUT... I NO LONGER CRAVE SWEETS!!! I am the type of person who would eat salty then sweet, salty then sweet... Even though I was full, I couldn't stop eating! Since this diet change, I eat my meal and feel full for many hours after eating and no cravings...
I have already searched amazon and awaiting my order!

I have to add, anyone who decides to cut carbs out, prepare yourself for the detox!!! I will not lie, it is awful! Give yourself a few days even up to a week... You will feel better! Report
I have a book on eating raw food and it's all vegetarian too. The concept sounds good but I don't think I can handle all raw and no meat. I don't have time to go look for that type of ingredients anyway. Report
This sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sure that I could eat raw oatmeal. ICK!!! Maybe there's other options like he says, but still...ICK!!! Report
I love his quote at the end. Everyone IS different. It's what I keep trying to tell , but they always want to know my "secret." I don't have any secrets! And what works for one, doesn't work for all. Report
SWINGCAT: Let me also recommend his book "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth." I like that one even better!
AHHGEE: I'll be writing about quinoa soon! Report
I would love to learn how to do more with the superfood quinoa! I also don't know how to incorporate flax products! Maybe this will help! Report
I can't wait to check it out, I'm doing all my christmas shopping a bit early this year and you may have sealed the deal for a couple of family member's gifts! Thanks Spark! Report
I have not read the book but I am excited to go buy it! The Salmon recipe sounds like one I found in Clean Eating magazine. It was a wonderful dish. Salmon is one of my favorite meals so I am always looking for different recipes. Report
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