I am so glad to have my friend and fellow dietitian, Maggie Moon, on my blog today! I’m so proud of Maggie, because she just published the amazing book, The MIND Diet, and I was so honored to write the foreword for this book. You really must check it out. Maggie is also the author of other healthy eating books and numerous articles for popular health magazines. She has developed curricula for Brooklyn College, NYC after-school programs, and continuing education for dietitians and fitness professionals. Maggie has been profiled in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ book, Launching Your Dietetics Career (Eat Right Press, 2011, 2016). She completed her clinical training at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, and holds a master of science degree in Nutrition and Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College and a bachelor of arts degree in English from U.C. Berkeley. She lives in LA with her husband and a giant shelf of cookbooks. Read on to learn ore about Maggie’s new book.
What was the inspiration behind your book, The MIND Diet?
My inspiration came from a combination of being a loving daughter, having a passion for public health, and learning about exciting nutrition research for brain health. My parents are older, and I’m so grateful that they’re healthy, but I know they worry about how aging will affect their memory. They’re not alone. Nearly 40-percent of adults ages 65 and older have memory complaints. By 2040, more than one in every five people will be in this older adults category. And the heart-breaking reality is that Americans are twice as afraid of cognitive deterioration as they are of physical decline, according to the CDC. So when I found out there was well-done research on whole-food eating patterns that showed impressive promise for brain health, I was 100-percent board.
What are the benefits of eating the MIND diet?
Most people are attracted to the benefits of keeping the brain 7 years younger, and cutting the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in half. (What they *really* love might just be that daily glass of wine included in the MIND diet). The MIND diet is also heart-healthy, appropriate for people with diabetes, and will meet the general nutritional needs of most people.
Give us 3 main tips for eating according to the MIND diet.
- Eat your veggies (c’mon you saw that one coming). The MIND diet includes a daily serving of vegetables, on top of which, there’s a near-daily leafy green quota (six times/week).
- Use olive oil as your main fat. This is not a hard one. Olive oil is so delicious. For freshness and quality of polyphenols, I recommend buying only as much as you’ll use within a few weeks at a time.
- Snack on nuts – or include them in salads or main courses – five days a week (Monday to Friday works). My favorites are almonds, pistachios, and walnuts.
What is your own personal diet and health philosophy? How do you stay fit and well?
I eat everything. Working out makes me feel awesome. I never get sick. That pretty much sums me up. But here’s a bit more anyway:
I love flavors and a well-executed dish. My best self is never squeamish or judgmental about any “real” food. I draw the line at overly processed junk, which I think is fine in small doses for someone who really loves it, but I have absolutely no need for that kind of stuff in my life. I said “stuff” there to be polite. I love food. I want to try all the good food there is to eat. Of course, that doesn’t mean I gorge myself on huge portions. I’m a quality over quantity gal, any day.
I grew up a dancer, and I love moving. Fitness needs to blend with art for me, or it hurts my heart. Right now I’m really into aerial arts – lyra, silks, trapeze. I love being musical and creative, while also being able to do pull-ups and backbends. Being strong feels fantastic.
I don’t get sick. It’s kind of my personal motto. Sometimes everyone around me is sick, and I may get a little run down, but then I just tell myself – Nope, I don’t get sick. And that’s all there is to it. I also get a flu shot every year.
What are your top five plant-based foods you can’t live without?
This is an insanely hard question to answer. I love so many foods. I’m sure I’m going to have decision-remorse one way or another. OK, here goes..
Here is one of Maggie’s favorite recipes, Creamy Berry Smoothie!
This superfood smoothie features the berries most researched for brain health: blueberries and strawberries. A protein bonus comes from the almond butter and soft tofu, a mild-tasting and very blendable kind of tofu that incorporates seamlessly into soups and smoothies, where it adds a high-protein, vegetarian and dairy-free creaminess.
5 minPrep Time
5 minTotal Time
- 1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup soft tofu, drained
- 1 T almond butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond-coconut milk
- 1 medium ice cube, optional
- blueberries, almond milk, almond butter, strawberries, soft tofu
- Combine all ingredients into a blender. Pulse until fully combined. Additional ice cubes may be added for a colder temperature or thinner consistency, according to preference.
MIND foods: Nuts, beans, berries
Skill level: Easy
Nutrition: 180 calories, 8 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 6 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber