Dr. Mark Hyman’s Healthy Food & Lifestyle RoutineJuly 30th, 2020
Welcome to What I Eat in a Day, a blog series that showcases the daily lives and meals of Thrive Market members like you. Today we’re talking with Dr. Mark Hyman, a practicing family physician and functional medicine advocate. He is the founder and director of The UltraWellness Center, a 13-time New York Times best-selling author, and host of one of the leading health podcasts, “The Doctor’s Farmacy.”
Hyman is sharing how he plans to live a long, healthy life, what he eats in a day, and what life looks like for him and his wife during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, get access to two full recipes recently featured during “Mark’s Kitchen Live Cooking Demo” on Zoom.
Why is healthy living important to you?
I plan to live a very long life, and I plan to feel amazing the entire time. I’m not going to reach my goal of being 120 years old by eating fast food and candy and sitting on the couch all day. And even if that lifestyle did get me to old age, I wouldn’t be feeling very good. Living a healthy life means increasing healthspan—the amount of our lives spent feeling vibrant and healthy. I want my healthspan and lifespan to align so that I’m active, strong, sharp, and happy all the way to the end.
What’s your biggest challenge with healthy eating and/or healthy living?
I’d say some of my biggest challenges can be time and travel. I have multiple jobs and I’m often flying all over the world (pre-COVID, of course). That can make it easy to get into a food emergency, where I grab something less than ideal because I’m starving or tired. I’ve gotten much better at preparing by always traveling with healthy snacks and spending time on meal prep at home when I have downtime, so there is always something healthy for me to easily grab.
How has your work and life outside of work changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’ve definitely been traveling much less and just spending time at home with my wife and cats. While it’s been hard to take a step back from some of my professional roles that I’m so passionate about, like not seeing patients face-to-face, I’m trying to take what I can from this time by meditating, hiking, playing tennis, and cooking lots of great meals. I’ve also been using this time to really dive into the latest research on immunity and longevity, so that we can all learn how to avoid another pandemic of this magnitude in the future. Eating well and embracing the right lifestyle habits like exercise and stress management are foundational to a strong immune system. I’ve been enjoying talking to other experts about how we can shape a brighter future for public health and healthcare post-pandemic.
Which moments of your day bring you the most joy?
My wife and I take breaks to go on walks together every day—that’s become my new favorite part of being home together.
What keeps you going when you feel overwhelmed?
Definitely meditation. It’s something I’ve learned I don’t have time not to do. It keeps me grounded, improves my focus and productivity, and brings me back to focus on what really matters. When I’m extremely busy and overwhelmed it might feel like I shouldn’t take the time to get quiet and look inside, but that’s when I know I need it most.
Let’s talk about what you eat in a day!
I like to keep it pretty simple, so I’ll usually do some poached eggs with avocado, tomato, and olive oil. Or I’ll make a fat-heavy shake with lots of nuts, seeds, collagen, coconut butter, spinach, wild blueberries or blackberries, and some macadamia nut milk. This Very Berry Green Smoothie is a great example of my normal shake.
I love making a “Fat Salad” with arugula, pumpkin seeds, olives, wild-caught sardines or salmon, and any veggies I have around like cherry tomatoes, radishes, and onions. I can easily switch this up with whatever I have on hand and it’s really easy to make.
I always make vegetables the main dish like stir-fried broccolini, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes, made with healthy fats like avocado oil. Then I have a serving of protein like grass-fed steak, pasture-raised chicken, or wild-caught fish. If I want to make something more complex and exciting I love this Golden Tahini Mushroom Buddha Bowl.
You’ll find me snacking on chopped veggies, grass-fed jerky, nuts and seeds.
How do you structure what you eat in a day?
I have done a lot of trial-and-error to see what works best for my body—and I always tell my patients to do the same. A few days a week I might intermittently fast, which means I’ll have dinner around 6 or 7 and then wait until late morning or early afternoon the next day to have breakfast. This has so many amazing health benefits like cellular detoxification and renewal, providing a metabolic boost, and supporting cognitive function. It’s also linked to longevity. Other days, I’ll enjoy breakfast when I wake up, then eat lunch several hours later and maybe have a snack in between lunch and dinner. When you eat real food you can actually rely on your body’s natural hunger cues, so some days I might want a snack and other days I don’t. The same thing goes for macronutrients—I always strive to combine healthy fats, clean protein, and slow-burning carbs but those exact amounts will change each meal, each day. Overall, though, I know that with a variety of real whole foods I’m getting everything I need.
And now for those recipes! What did you create during your live cooking demo?
Vegan Smashed Persian Cucumbers
Simple food can be some of the most delicious. This fun smashing technique takes cucumbers to a whole new level, creating a tender texture that soaks up the amazing flavors of sesame, garlic, and chili. It’s crisp and fresh and makes an excellent side dish for a wide variety of entrees, like my Avocado Yuzu Seared Scallops.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
2 tsp Thrive Market Pink Himalayan Salt
2 pounds Persian cucumbers
2 tsp Thrive Market Coconut Sugar (optional)
1 ½ tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 ½ tbsp Thrive Market Coconut Aminos
1 tbsp Thrive Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Thrive Market Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
¼ cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed, for garnish
Thrive Market White Sesame Seeds, for garnish
Cut cucumbers crosswise into 4-inch long pieces. On a flat surface, lay the blade of a large knife flat on top of each cucumber and smash down gently, then tear into smaller pieces at the natural breaking points. Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar (if using). Place a bowl on top of the cucumbers with something that can serve as a weight inside it. Let drain for at least 30 minutes, then use paper towels to pat the cucumbers dry and place them in a bowl.
In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, coconut aminos, olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes, then pour over cucumbers and toss. Serve with whole cilantro leaves and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
Coriander Salmon with Coconut-Tomato Salsa
Ground coriander is actually the seed of the cilantro plant, and its warm, citrusy flavor makes it one of my favorite spices. It has been used medicinally for ages to support blood flow and calm the digestive system. Lime juice, basil leaves, and toasted coconut work together with the coriander in this flaky salmon dish to give it a fresh, tropical flare.
Yield: 4 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
2 tbsp Thrive Market Shredded Coconut
¼ cup diced red onion
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
¼ cup basil leaves, loosely packed, thinly sliced
¼ tsp Thrive Market Cayenne Pepper
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp Thrive Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 (4-ounce) Thrive Market Wild-Caught Salmon Fillets
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp Thrive Market Ghee or Thrive Market Avocado Oil
2 tsp Thrive Market Sea Salt
2 tbsp Thrive Market Ground Coriander
1 small head cauliflower, leaves trimmed
1 red or orange bell pepper
10 asparagus spears, woody ends removed, cut into thirds
Preheat the oven to 350° F. First prepare the salsa by combining the tomato, coconut, red onion, basil, cayenne, lime juice, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine, then set aside. Salsa can be made up to one day in advance.
Place the salmon fillets in a baking dish, skin side down. Coat with 2 teaspoons ghee or avocado oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and the coriander. Place in the oven and bake, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a paring knife, cut the cauliflower florets away from the core, then discard the core. Cut the florets into even smaller pieces, then put them into a food processor. Pulse in 3 second increments until broken up into small ¼ to ½-inch pieces.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil until melted and shimmering. Add the cauliflower, pepper, and asparagus, stirring well to combine. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 6 minutes, before seasoning with the remaining teaspoon of sea salt.
Divide the vegetable mixture amongst four plates then top with each salmon fillet. Scoop some of the salsa over each piece of fish and serve.