We all want to feel our absolute best, am I right? Feeling our best is about the whole self- body, mind, and spirit. With the right habits and routines, we can make all three thrive.
Over the past year, I have reconnected with an old high school friend, Christine Najjar. I was beyond impressed with her ridiculously brainy intelligence about all things regarding holistic health and nutrition. Christine popped right back into my life at the perfect time as I wanted to fine-tune my diet. She stands for creating healthy, sustainable eating habits for your every day life-for life.
Christine is the perfect person I was looking to connect with! I’m always searching for ways to supercharge my diet and add an extra boost of energy especially as I gear up for work. My goal is to recalibrate my clean eating, feel more balanced, and eliminate inflammation.
Christine recently came to my home and prepared a healthy, nutritious, and delicious meal. After devouring every last bit and sharing many laughs, I wanted to ask her questions to share with my followers.
Alex: What is your wellness philosophy?
Christine: Live with purpose. Eat for fuel. Love. Laugh. Move.
Alex: What do you wish people understood more of regarding health/wellness?
Christine: How significant EVERYTHING you eat and drink is in-regards to health. How manipulated our culture is by the food industry (commercials, advertisements, campaigns to get people to eat more of this or buy more of that). How tax dollars fund the wheat and corn industry whose products are directly linked to a disease. How there is a body of doctors who push veganism, and for many that may be counterproductive. How doctors are trained to manage disease states, not reverse, or prevent, disease. How doctors receive no effective education in nutritional counseling. How hard it is to find good nutritional advice on Dr. Google because the internet to flooded with the wrong information. How, in-regards to metabolic syndrome, even doctor specific search engines are not inclusive of all up-to-date research, despite claiming to be “evidence-based.” How in order to find the truth, you need to read books.
Alex: What are your top 3 snack recommendations?
Christine: I don’t believe in snacks. Eat a meal when you’re hungry. Drink water (or Sound Sparkling Tea) when you’re thirsty. Figure out an eating schedule that works for your body. After 6 months of trial and error, I discovered my body runs best when I water-fast all morning, fat-fast in the afternoon and consume one large meal in the evening. On days my body tells me I need to eat more than once (usually long call days at the hospital), my supplemental meal is more of a mini-meal.
My 3 go-to mini-meals:
1. Whole avocados topped with @traderjoes everything but the bagel seasoning
2. Cheese with pepperoni or butter
3. Soft boiled eggs
I keep a bottle of Trader Joe’s “Everything but the bagel” seasoning in my bag because it tastes good with all of the above.
Alex: Best wellness advice?
Christine: First, surround yourself with people who fuel your passion in life and support your wellness journey. There’s a great quote from Sigmund Freud that sums up my thought process, “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not in fact surrounded by assholes.” The power of thought on overall wellness is immeasurable.
Second. Eat real food. Real food does not come in packages. High fructose corn syrup is not real food. Vegetable oils, including canola oil and soybean oil, are not real food (these didn’t exist before the early 1900s). If it’s got more than 3 ingredients, it’s probably not real food. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it’s probably not real food. If it says fat-free or cholesterol-free, it’s probably not real food.
Alex: Favorite smoothie?
Christine: Bulletproof coffee. One tablespoon grass fed butter, one tablespoon of organic coconut oil, and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt blended. I consume this during my afternoon fat-fast.
Alex: Top tip for stabilizing blood sugar?
Christine: Avoid consuming sugar, especially sugar-sweetened beverages. Avoid consuming things that break down into sugar, especially packaged processed carbohydrates. Be cautious when consuming grains (including whole grains), beans, certain fruits, and certain vegetables. Be careful with products containing certain chemicals like maltodextrin (found in egg bites at Starbucks, FYI).
Alex: Biggest Nutrition pet peeve?
Christine: Fatphobia. People thinking the saturated fat they consume directly sticks in their arteries. Pathology is more complicated than the clogged-pipe model highlighted in the documentary, “What the Health”. This documentary spreads even more disturbing propaganda, falsely claiming saturated fat causes type two diabetes.
The trials conducted comparing the people who ate polyunsaturated fats, from man-made vegetable oils to the people who ate saturated fats, from nature, showed no difference in mortality between the two groups. Subjects who consumed more vegetable oils had higher cancer rates. Subjects who consumed more saturated fat had lower stroke rates. True story.
Saturated fat is anti-inflammatory and a potent stimulator of satiety. Humans have been eating saturated fat since our species first evolved, we know how to handle this stuff.
Alex: Favorite meal?
Christine: It’s a Lebanese meal my grandmother used to spoil me with. A big plate of meat, bone marrow, and beans in a tomato-based sauce.
Alex: Top favorite refrigerator/pantry must-have items?
Christine: On the shelf: grass-fed butter, organic EVOO, coconut oil, ghee, canned fish (including tuna and salmon), a variety of nuts and seeds.
In the freezer: Grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and bacon. I used to keep wild-caught frozen salmon and cod, but lately, I’ve been experimenting with cooking seafood. As a treat, one day a week, after work, I head to Whole Foods and select whatever type of fish catches my eye. Before finalizing my choice, I do a quick youtube search on how to prepare. Then I formulate a plan and create my own #doctorsdish for #fishfriday
In the fridge: Eggs, a variety of cheeses, plenty of fresh veggies; typically cucumbers, radishes, peppers, celery, lettuce, onions, and spinach.
I have an @aerogarden so I cut fresh herbs, as needed.
Alex: Anything else you’d like to share?
Christine: If you want to find the truth, start with these books:
Eat Rich Live Long by Ivor Cummings and Jeffry Gerber, MD
The Obesity Code by Jason Fung, MD
Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, MD
The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
Why We Get Fat, and What To Do About It by Gary Taubes
Alex: Your upcoming goals for 2018?
Christine: Sign a contract with @poundstransformation to launch my post-residency career as a Nutritional Medicine Physician.
Well, there you have it! Wisdom and great health tips from the incredible Christine Najjar. I have been working with Christine on some health projects and learned even more from doing this interview with her. Everyone do yourselves a favor and follow her on Instagram @DoctorsDish for more health tips, advice, and delicious meals she prepares! x
Dr. Christine Najjar was born and raised in the beautiful Hudson Valley. She maintained a connection to her family’s heritage in Lebanon, where she spent her summers on the Mediterranean immersed in the region’s culture and food. She fell in love with human metabolism at McGill University while majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Arabic. She studied medicine at St. George’s University where she wore a swimsuit to her finals! She settled in Prospect Heights for the latter two years of medical school to work in various Brooklyn Hospitals. Underwhelmed by her nutrition education, Christine executed a Masters in Human Nutrition at Columbia University, while completing her medical school clinical rotations (she may have also finished the three-year masters program in two years…) Currently, Dr. Najjar is an Internal Medicine Resident in Connecticut. She started #doctorsdish with the intention of empowering her patients to take control of their health with her favorite drug, food.