Mackenzie Bennett's Day On A Plate
meet mackenzie bennett:
I’m a certified Nutrition Coach and Wellness expert based in San Diego, California. I spent so long not knowing who to listen to, what to believe and having so many of my own set-backs. I knew I needed to help others; to not only get well, but to live well.
My wellness journey started when I began studying traditional Chinese medicine and Herbology. This is where I built my holistic health foundation. I learned about the mind-body connection, how all of our organs are connected and that our entire system works as one.
The school was an integrative medicine school, so I was also required to learn western medicine and terminology. I became completely fascinated with the biochemical process of nutrition and disease. This fascination led me to functional nutrition; care that is focused on building health by restoring proper physiological functioning of the body.
After starting school, I began a consistent self-care practice and saw the benefits of doing so on my mental and physical health. I also found a love for physical movement and actually learned to enjoy my time spent working out. It was hard for me to find a balance between living a holistic lifestyle, benefiting from modern nutrition and having the freedom to enjoy my life.
Everything really came full-circle when I decided to get my certification through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and this is where the idea for The Good Balance was born. Here, I learned how to find a balance. I learned about intuitive eating and began to practice it myself. I built my approach to wellness on a multi-pillar system that includes dietary composition, lifestyle habits, smart supplementation, and mindful movement to create an enjoyable journey towards sustainable health.
My day always looks a little different, I practice intuitive eating, and do not have any diet labels. There are some things that I do try to incorporate every day, and things that I avoid almost always, but I try not to put too much stress on myself. I strongly believe two things; having enough education and awareness about the foods your eating has the biggest impact on the foods you chose, and that your diet should be bio-individual and supportive to yourself.
We must be willing to learn, and to try new things for ourselves. There is not one diet that will work for everyone, and that same diet will not work for someone their entire life. I think people are so desperate to find something that works for them, so they can put a label on it, but that's not what health is. Society wants us to categorize ourselves so the food industry can market and sell us food that fits into that magic diet label. We get so obsessed making sure we pick out the right meal in order to stay inside this unrealistic category, we end up getting blindsided by the macros and calories and end up leaving nutrient-dense food behind. This is where intuitive eating can really help people. The ability to evolve, learn and adapt will take you so much further than finding the “magic solution.”
what does your morning routine look like?
I do have a morning routine that I tend to stick to as much as I can. For me, focusing on getting all of my healthiest non-negotiable’s done in the morning helps set my day up for success. Many of us are walking around chronically dehydrated, and I find it easiest to focus on getting in plenty of water earlier in the day rather than trying to play catch up later. I always start the day with at least 16 oz of room temperature or warm water, sometimes I add lemon depending on how I feel. Our bodies are naturally detoxifying overnight and tend to be a little dehydrated after going 7+ hours without water.
Next up, I will have some green juice or celery juice. Now, I can’t say that I have all the scientific evidence to provide why celery juice really helps some people, but I can say that it does provide minerals that are hydrating, and it is amazing at boosting HCL for digestion. It may not work for everyone but it does make me feel better. I don’t drink it everyday, because realistically my schedule doesn't always allow it, and I also don't think it's healthy to be obsessive over ONE thing; thinking it will be the magic solution. I find that I have less cravings for unhealthy foods after drinking celery juice regularly, and my digestion is stronger. If I don’t drink pure celery juice, sometimes I will add some apple or cucumber or I will make another juice based off what I have in the fridge, and sometimes its just based off what I am intuitively craving. If I don’t have time to make my own juice, I will mix up a powdered greens mix with water, and sometimes I even do both! Right now I am really loving Ora Organic’s Easy being Green mix.
I usually wait about 20 minutes and then make myself a smoothie. I always like to have something easy to digest for breakfast. My smoothies are usually just based off what I have on hand, but they always have a handful of fresh greens, fiber from fruit or berries, and then protein and fats from seeds or nuts, right now my favorites are hemp seeds and brazil nuts. If I don’t have a smoothie, I will make a little fruit salad or a chia pudding parfait. Having fruit in the morning keeps the detox process going by providing plenty of fiber and hydration which allow the lymph to move toxins.
Sometimes I go the gym before I make breakfast and sometimes I go after! Lately, I have been loving full body workouts and functional movements in the gym. I usually warm up my body for 10-15 minutes with some cardio, and then head out to my favorite part of the gym. I spend most of my workout outside by the tires and battle ropes. My workouts almost always includes compound workouts like squats, deadlifts and lunges. I usually do a circuit combining workouts with presses, core work and cardio using the battle ropes, medicine balls, etc! I love this style of training because it allows me to be fully in the moment, break a good sweat and it makes me feel strong. I get my workout done in under and hour and I feel so refreshed afterwards!
I always allow myself at least 30 minutes after a workout before I eat anything. Our bodies are still in “fight or flight” mode after exercise and digestion is not highly functioning at this time. I don’t usually have a specific meal that I eat after a workout. I usually make a balanced-bowl, which is what I like to call a meal that includes a little bit of everything; greens, vegetables, fat, protein, carbs. There is plenty of fiber in the bowl and it keeps me full for a long time.
Things I like to have on hand for these bowls are arugula and mixed greens, roasted sweet potatoes or squash, cauliflower rice, roasted or raw veggies, seeds and avocado. I make a homemade dressing that I put on almost everything that is made with lemon juice and tahini, and sometimes I drizzle some of that on there.
what about snacks?
I try not to eat too many snacks throughout the day but if I’m feeling snackish or not feeling like a big meal I will make homemade seeded crackers to have on hand, or cut up some carrots and cucumber to dip with hummus, or have a bean free hummus made from cauliflower from my Whole Food Reset e-book.
a typical dinner looks like…
Dinner is always a toss up, and I usually just use up whatever needs to be used or make whatever I am craving. Sometimes I will see a recipe on Pinterest or instagram, and I can’t get that out of my head until I try it, so dinner is almost always experimental. I like to make another bowl, soup, veggie stir fry's or curry. Every once in a while we will have some wild and local fish we pick up from the farmers market on Sundays with some roasted veggies and quinoa. Dinner is almost always something warming and has a healthy portion of carbs to allow for easy and restful sleep.
As you can see, most days look quite different and for me that works. I love to cook, and I enjoy eating flavorful and colorful food. By shopping at the farmers market and filling my fridge with fresh produce I am always getting a wide array of nutrient dense foods, and I think that is far more important that abiding to your macros or calorie intake throughout the day.
tell us what you’re working on!
I try to focus the majority of my diet on whole, nutrient dense foods because that is what makes me feel my best. This month I’m actually starting my Whole Food Reset plan again with my test- group for my E-book coming out this Spring. I'm so excited to share this book with my followers. I began my research on detox about 2 years ago when I decided it was time for my first cleanse. I realized that although I was eating healthy at the time, I ate processed foods all throughout my upbringing and up until I started school at Pacific College in 2012. I had lived in a house with mold exposure and couldn't pin point why I didn't feel as good as I did a few years ago. I came to a point where everything I ate made me sick and bloated, I had such low energy, I couldn't loose the 10-15 extra lbs I was carrying around no matter what I did, I had insomnia and anxiety and just didn't have the excitement to do things I once loved because I always felt sick. Through proper detox, correct supplementation, practicing mindful movement and focusing on diet composition, I was able to fix all of the problems.
This book is so much more than detoxing from processed foods. It is about ditching fad diets that are keeping us sick, bringing awareness to the foods we are eating everyday, learning about the toxic chemicals on our plate, that we put on our skin and we are using in our home, and how diet composition combined with healthy lifestyle habits can be far more effective and sustainable than calorie counting. The Whole Food Reset is truly the foundation for curating a balanced lifestyle that you feel good about.
where can we find you?
To follow along with my test-group and I, follow me @goodbalancemac on instagram and see what we are doing!