Do you follow Max Lugavere? The brain health and nutrition advocate is the author of the New York Times best-seller Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life. and host of top podcast, the Genius Life.
We love Max’s take on eating for brain health and asked him to show us his fridge — proof positive of someone’s real life nutrition principles, don’t you think? As always, in this series, we learned a lot! Dig deep into Max’s kitchen and find inspo to add to this week’s shopping list…
always in my fridge: Pastured eggs, organic heavy cream, fermented dairy (e.g. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese), organic Honeycrisp apples, various pickled things, and sparkling mineral water.
never in my fridge: Refined grain products, factory-farmed animal products, regular ol’ milk.
7 staples do I always have on hand: Grass-finished beef, wild salmon, dark chocolate, Brazil nuts, sweet potatoes, protein powder, flake salt. I also really like canned mussels and oysters lately—makes it convenient to consume some of nature’s top multivitamins!
my go-to proteins: Grass-finished beef, pastured pork and chicken, fish, shrimp, and dairy. (Learn more about grass-fed meats here)
my favorite veggies: Fennel, carrots, celery, okra, and broccoli (honest!). Also not a veggie, but I love mushrooms of all types.
my must-have munchies: Popcorn is a great, high volume, low-calorie snack. I also love the occasional beef jerky and really like (lately) dried chicken breast chips from Carnivore Crisps. Super lean high quality protein.
my favorite sweets and other indulgences; I love medjool dates, a good ice cream (vegan or organic or grass-fed dairy), and dark chocolate! Recently I discovered Evolved’s keto white chocolate which is insanely delicious. I also like Snow Days’ pizza bites which are grain-free and use grass-fed dairy cheese. Definitely an indulgence but better than the other stuff out there!
favorite condiments: Love using extra-virgin olive oil as a condiment, and I’m always stocked with a good sugar-free ketchup or good BBQ sauce. My favorites lately have been Noble Made’s Mustard BBQ sauce and Lillie’s ENC Barbeque sauce. (TCM Editor’s Note: Get our condiment guide here!)
ingredient that makes everything better: High quality salt—I’m obsessed with Maldon flake salt and haven’t found anything it doesn’t make better.
my must-have pantry staples: Love having a variety of nuts and seeds on hand to use in salads and other recipes. Nutritional yeast is a big win for me. In my newest book, Genius Kitchen, I have a recipe for a vegan carrot noodle mac and cheese which utilizes “nooch” and it is incredible.
dairy or non-dairy favorites: I love plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, which provide super high quality protein for very few overall calories. I also love a good unsweetened nut milk (almond or macadamia) for the occasional cereal indulgence. I usually buy the basic nut milks which provide 30-40 calories per cup. Yes they can contain gums and such, but in small amounts they don’t bother me.
favorite places to shop: I like Whole Foods and Sprouts! I buy most things at Sprouts, but find Whole Foods to have better fruit.
Best bargain: Buying whole chickens. If cooked well, you can enjoy the whole bird and then use the bones to make bone broth! I also love to experiment with cheaper cuts of beef, cooking them low and slow for hours, which makes them incredibly tender and delicious.
Best label-reading tip: Be wary of fake fiber extracts. They are often used to sweeten low sugar foods and add to a food’s fiber content, but often these fibers can create serious bloating when over-consumed. And sometimes the threshold of overconsumption isn’t very much at all. They’re typically found in keto products, vegan ice creams, and protein bars.
Craziest thing I buy: I love natto which is a fermented soybean dish. It’s loaded with a longevity-boosting compound called spermidine (try and guess where it was originally identified) and vitamin K2. The taste and texture are definitely weird—a cross between baked beans and Astroglide—but with a little tamari sauce actually isn’t bad and is incredibly good for you.
Favorite splurge: I occasionally buy salmon roe which can be pricey but it’s loaded with phospholipid DHA fat and astaxanthin which powerfully support brain health.
For last-minute entertaining? I love to make buffalo chicken wings. In my new cookbook, I provide a recipe for super crispy grain-free, gluten-free, baked buffalo wings that definitely don’t taste healthy, but totally are! If you’re a fan of wings, you must try these.