Functional medicine physician and yoga teacher Robin Berzin, M.D., is a master of marrying knowledge and strategies from worlds that are often seen as unrelated, or even at odds.
“I think that ultimate health is when we cherry-pick from the best of the best available,” she says. “There’s amazing stuff from Ayurveda that’s 5,000 years old and amazing current research coming out of the NIH about the importance of our microbiome.”
So it’s no surprise that B2B health-and-technology conference giant Health 2.0 asked her to produce its first consumer event, Health Interactive, on November 2. The event brought together health leaders across an incredibly broad spectrum—from One Medical founder Tom Lee and meditation guru Charlie Knoles to raw food chef Matthew Kenney—to address the intersection of health and technology. “We’re showing the world how easy it can be to be healthy, and digital technologies are a part of that,” Dr. Berzin says.
We took a peek inside her fridge to find out how she applies the same matchmaking principles to her diet.
You have smoked salmon but I don’t see any meat. Are you mostly a plant eater? I’ve been vegetarian for a long time, but I do eat dairy and fish. It first came out of my yoga practice. The practice of ahmisa, or non-violence, really resonated with me, so I stopped eating meat…. But it’s hard to be a healthy vegan—some people can do it, but I don’t know if I could. Fish is important to me because I get a good balance of fats and protein. Also, as I learned more about Ayurveda, I started tailoring my diet more to my constitution. Knowing mine, it’s really good for me to cook my food and not eat a lot of raw vegetables. It’s good for me to eat grounding, heavier, sweeter things, because I’m more of a Vata type.
A nod to ancient nutritional wisdom. What do we see here that you eat because of modern science? Yogurt, kefir. Probiotics are key. And then also things like turmeric, an antioxidant. I love the juice company Turmeric Alive. The founder and I go to the same yoga studio and are friends. At my wedding this summer, everybody got two turmeric juices in their goody bag and they were “What is this?!” But yes, making sure I having antioxidants, whether it’s cooking with turmeric or eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
Your fridge isn’t that full. Do you eat out a lot? My husband and I cook a lot, but we don’t buy a lot of food at a time. Some people really stock up for the week. I admire them, and I think its great advice. But it doesn’t work for me. I buy what I need at Whole Foods probably go every other day, which is a painful experience, but I do it. My husband will grab stuff at the farmers’ market, and I’ll grab fish, and we’ll make fish, quinoa, and a vegetable on the spot. We don’t tend to keep leftovers.
I see some supplements on the top shelf. What do you take? The probiotics are in my fridge—that’s what you’re seeing, plus vitamin D, and fish oil. I take turmeric, sometimes just in the drink. Those are my basics, and then depending on what’s going on, I may take a different complement of herbs. For a while, my skin was acting up so I was taking a lot of bitters.
Interesting that the bitters helped your skin. What do you do with the tahini? Hummus? I love it for dressings, and I love it drizzled over roasted vegetables. Especially this time of year. I’ll roast beets and acorn squash or some other vegetable and when they come out, I’ll drizzle them with tahini and paprika. It’s like a lazy man’s really good sauce. Sometimes I’ll whip it up with lemon juice and pepper and make more of an official dressing out of it.
You had me at “lazy man’s.” I think I also see some chocolate bars stacked on the shelf. Dark chocolate is my dessert of choice. It’s not a vice—it’s got a lot of antioxidants. Although this week I made a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin is my favorite food of all time, especially growing up. As I learned about Ayurveda, I found out pumpkin is the ultimate food for the Vata constitution, and I think it’s so interesting that I just love it, and all of those spices. I always wonder if there’s something to that. —Lisa Elaine Held