What A Bariatric Surgeon Eats In A Day For Heart Health (Spoiler: There's Sourdough)
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
When bariatric surgeon Garth Davis, M.D., was just 35 years old, he had sky-high cholesterol, fatty liver, and was on the fast track to developing heart disease down the line. Fast-forward to today, and he's the healthiest he's ever been, with a calcium score of zero (aka, the test that measures calcium deposits in your heart, which correlates with a risk of heart problems).
So, what changed? Well, according to Davis, switching up his diet was the key to getting his heart health back on track. "I started going plant-based, which was solely for health," he says on the mindbodygreen podcast.
Of course, there's no cure-all diet that's a universal gold standard. Eating plans are entirely personal and experiential, a sentiment with which Davis is fully on board. But when we pressed (had to!), he says this: "I think [the healthiest diet is] heavy in vegetables and fruits, and it's heavy in starches, too."
Here's what Davis munches on throughout the day for optimal heart health, in case you're curious.
"I'll have oatmeal with berries, and I'll put seeds on it," he notes. "Some pumpkin seeds, or something like that." Pumpkin seeds are a stellar choice, as they're loaded with fiber, omega-3 fats, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, B vitamins, and antioxidants. But you can also sprinkle some chia seeds or hemp seeds for even more omega-3 fats and protein.
Davis loves a hearty salad for his midday meal. "A lot of people go plant-based and they think, 'Oh my God, I'm going to eat nothing but salad,'" he notes. Not so. Davis' salad is full of healthy nutrients: He likes to throw in some legumes, nuts, and seeds to up the ante.
"I'm a huge fan of legumes," he notes. Specifically beans: "If you look at the Blue Zones, "whether it's Okinawa, where they're eating soybeans; or whether it's Icaria, where it's a cannellini white bean; or Sardinia, where it's lentils; or Costa Rica, where it's black beans, it's all these different kinds of beans." Since communities in those Blue Zones have been shown to live the longest, healthiest lives, there's certainly something to be said about chucking a handful of beans into your everyday salad. Try this protein-packed twist on a classic Caesar salad, and thank us later.
Ready for this? In addition to snacking on nuts ("I do a handful of nuts every day," he notes), Davis loves a good sourdough loaf to munch on throughout the day. Not only is the bread fermented and full of fiber, but, Davis notes, it also has some plant-based protein1. A balanced midday snack, for sure.
If you're a sourdough novice, check out how to make your first loaf here.
If you're looking for some more satisfying plant-based protein, Davis says to look no further than tofu. "I'm a huge fan of soy and tofu," Davis explains. "It's got a very complete amino acid profile."
To get your fill of fiber (he touts a diet full of vegetables, fruits, and starches, remember?), try this black pepper tofu recipe with two delicious veggie sides.
Ultimately, there's no one diet to prescribe when it comes to overall health. But if you're itching to do like Davis, feel free to follow in his mealtime footsteps. It may vary day to day, but he always emphasizes heart-healthy fruits, vegetables, and starches.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.