top of page

Are you up for the challenge?

When I am trying to coax a client to getting more variety into their diet, I may ask them to see if they can eat a greater variety of plant-based foods. A varied diet that’s rich in colourful foods helps feed a diverse gut microbiome[1].There is a growing body of evidence that the gut microbiome is important for overall health and in a variety of diseases.

In the referenced article, the author lays out a tool to help clients record 50 different plant-based foods over the course of a week. Many of my clients come to me with food diaries that contain about 10 such foods, so I aim to move them to more variety in a graded way and I may suggest they start by aiming to eat 30 different plant-based foods in a week.

It doesn’t seem right to ask my clients to do something that I am not willing to do myself, so this week I kept a record of all the plant-based foods that I ate. Plant-based foods include grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts and seeds. Bread and pasta count as one (i.e. wheat).

I consider myself to be a person who eats a varied, nutritious diet so I didn’t think this challenge would be very hard. In fact, I got to 40 quite easily. I had to put a little more thought into the last few days to get up to 50, but I did it and can fully look my clients in the face and say that it is really possible!

To save you the bother of counting, I can tell you that there are 54 different foods here!!!

Can you take the 50 food challenge? Please let me know how you get on!

In case you’re interested, here is my list of foods, and I have bracketed the first dish I used that food in:

Tomato (tomato salad)

Pomegranate (tomato salad)

Basil (tomato salad)

Cucumber (cucumber salad)

Chives (cucumber salad)

Potato (potato salad)

Lettuce (green salad)

Watermelon (dessert)

Celery (green salad)

Parsley (green salad)

Aubergine (roasted veg)

Courgette (roasted veg)

Red onion (roasted veg)

Red pepper (roasted veg)

Sesame seeds (tahini)

Quinoa (with roasted veg)

Strawberries (afternoon snack)

Blueberries (with porridge)

Passion fruit (with natural yogurt)

Mango (with natural yogurt)

Grape (frozen and eaten as afternoon snack)

Mushrooms (served with dinner)

Carrots (in red cabbage salad)

Red cabbage (in red cabbage salad)

Pumpkin seeds (in red cabbage salad)

Cranberries (in red cabbage salad)

Galia melon (afternoon snack)

Sweetcorn (at BBQ)

Cauliflower (roasted and served with dinner)

Sweet potato (wedges)

Chia seeds (with natural yogurt)

Dates (made into date balls)

Coconut (made into date balls)

Almonds (made into date balls)

Olive (oil)

Chickpea (humus)

Spinach (in lunchtime salad)

Sunflower seeds (sprinkled on salad)

Rapeseed (oil)

Wheat (bread)

Broccoli (with dinner)

Onion (with omelette)

Fennel (in roasted veg)

Fig (ingredient in fruit cake)

Green beans (served with dinner)

Oats (porridge)

Brazil nuts (used in pesto sauce)

Avocado (used in pesto sauce)

Flaxseeds (added to porridge)

Garlic (used in salad dressing)

Asparagus (served with dinner)

Lemon (squeezed into water)

Satsuma (afternoon snack)

Nectarine (with natural yogurt)

[1] Toribio-Mateas, M. (2018). Harnessing the Power of Microbiome Assessment Tools as Part of Neuroprotective Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine Interventions. Microorganisms, 6(2), 35.

bottom of page