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What to Eat When: A Strategic Eating Plan

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Author, latest: What to Eat When, National Geographic, 2018

Best-selling Author and Co-Author of “You” series

Physician/Professor of Anesthesiology

Co-Founder, RealAge.com, a consumer health media company

Graduate, Williams College

Graduate, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine Certified: American Board of Internal Medicine and American Board of Anesthesiology

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When Dr. Roizen embarked on his medical career, he learned about the medicinal power of food and secrets behind proper cooking techniques.  When he was the dean of the College of Medicine at State Univerrsity of New York Upstate Medical University, he developed a curriculum that taught students how to cook healthy meals.  While developing recipes for his RealAge system (a system that calculates your true biological age versus your calendar age based on lifestyle and other factors), Dr. Roizen really found food.  “I learned that eating well is more than just ingredients,” he says.  He started working with Dr. Michael Crupain.  “I quickly realized both our approaches were rooted in science.”  Now they’ve put together a plan that combines what you eat with when.  “The goal is getting your body synchronized like a world-class orchestra so your life can hit all the notes!” says Dr. Roizen.

The human body has an internal rhythm that allows it to function optimally for survival.  Over the years, the collective diet industry has spent a lot of time addressing the “what” part of eating.  As it turns out, major scientific breakthroughs have proven that when it comes to nutrition: timing is everything.  “The research is so new that it’s literally changed the way we eat and we thought we knew everything about food!” says Dr. Roizen.  “As it turns out, when you eat is as essential as what you eat for maintaining a good weight, preventing and curing some diseases and living a long, energetic and happy life.”  Our metabolism changes throughout the day based on our internal clocks, known as our circadian rhythm.  “The purpose of our cirxadian rhythm is to help our body run more efficiently so it is set to do the right thing at the right time.  Everything in our body is on a schedule and that schedule is set by the sun,” says Dr. Roizen.
Dr. Roizen says our bodies also change depending on our own situations, health and emotions.  Because of that, we need to know what to eat when because food can help us through it.  He cites studies which show that those who ate earlier lost more weight than those who ate later in the day.  “We need to shift our habits to front-load, rather than back-load, our daily eating rituals,” he says.  There are four guilelines for setting (or resetting) your food clock: 1.  Eat when the sun shines; 2. Eat more in the morning and less later on; 3. Eat consistently and automatically from day to day; 4. Stop stereotyping food (try eggs for dinner and salad for breakfast).  It takes time for the body to make adjustments but Dr. Roizen says it doesn’t have to take an entire ice age for the effects to take place.  “In fact, in one month, you can adjust your habits and eating approach so that your new normal becomes your new healthy.”

For 31 days, he suggests shifting to whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and plants and sea-based proteins. He says the average American doesn’t eat a wide variety of vegetables and offers 5 sneaky ways to makes veggies taste good (blanch, saute, oven roast with olive oil and spices, braise in a liquid or steam).  In addition, he says to add salmon burgers, cooled sweet potatoes, avocado oil into your diet.

When stressed, instead of reaching for doughnuts, try oatmeal with no-added-sugar nut butter and cinnamon. When fatigued, drink water and eat healthy fats and proteins.  When you’re bummed, try 100% whole grain toast and all-natural peanut butter instead of simple carbohydrates and add some berries.  When grieving, Dr. Roizen says to stick to familiar foods but stay away from processed foods; eat egg white scramble for breakfast and a salad for lunch. When you cannot sleep, drink water and eat larger meals as a first or second meal; eat kiwis or drink tart cherry juice.  For headaches, Dr. Roizen says to substitute salmon for red meat, uses spices instead of soy sauce, eliminate artificial sweetners and eat berries instead of chocolate.  When you’re sick, try eating an orange instead of drinking orange juice, eat broiled salmon instead of sushi and try oatmeal instead of chia seeds (which will suck much-needed hydration from your body).                                              
Dr. Roizen will show:

  • Dinner for breakfast: Salmon burgers
  • Lunch/Dinner: Salad with a veggie cream (avocado in a blender with olive oil and lemon, salt and pepper)
  • Farro soup
  • Cold carbs: pasta and grains salad or sweet potatoes (cook at night and bring for lunch the next day!)
  • Crispy roasted chickpeas with seasoning
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