Ivy Larson knows first-hand the power of good nutrition. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at 22, the Floridian’s used her diet to fight off the symptoms.
“You can’t cure the disease, but it’s been almost 15 years and I don’t have any symptoms,” the author of Clean Cuisine and fitness maven says proudly.
She and husband Andrew, a surgeon, developed the book and website that focuses on an anti-inflammation diet, which is key to disease prevention, and they’ve also launched a few healthy food products of their own. The Larsons let us go through their very stocked Florida fridge to get a few Clean Cuisine tips for ourselves:
That is one packed fridge! Do you primarily cook at home? Haha, we eat a pretty large amount of food because so many of the items we eat aren’t very calorie-dense. For example, we make a SuperGreen Smoothie everyday—it’s part of the Clean Cuisine program. All of the foods that go into the smoothies are not exactly high in calories, but they take up a lot of space in our fridge! As for cooking, I’d say we eat in about five nights a week.
KeVita, is that your probiotic of choice? I love KeVita but I also drink Synergy’s Kombucha. I pretty much drink one or the other every day. I love them after a workout. We also have our own line of probiotics, so I take one of those each morning.
I’m glad to see you have chocolate right up front. What’s your favorite dessert? I’m not going to lie, sweets are definitely my vice. My favorite recipes are for my chocolate chia cookies or pumpkin custard. But if I’m not up to making dessert, I’ll eat berries with some dairy-free Coconut Bliss ice cream, usually drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce. It’s to die for.
What’s in the two Tupperware containers on the shelf with the eggs? Slow-cooker taco stew and steamed quinoa. I always have cooked whole grains in my fridge. I make them with my rice cooker and they last about 3 days and then I rotate and make a new grain.
Smart prep work! What inspired Clean Cuisine and your approach to eating? I was diagnosed with MS when I was 22-years old. My neurologist at the University of Miami gave me the option of trying one of the disease-modifying medications or changing my diet. MS is a disease made worse by inflammation and so by eating an anti-inflammatory diet you can help control the symptoms. My husband and I also realized an anti-inflammatory diet is not just for people with MS. So many conditions have inflammation as the common thread.
What does anti-inflammation diet consist of? It’s a plant-forward way of eating, focused on unrefined foods enjoyed in their nutrient-rich state. That means getting lots of fruits and veggies for the phytonutrients and antioxidants, balancing your omega-3 and omega-6 fat ratio, which is so important for controlling inflammation, eating more protein from plants and less from animal foods.
What do you do for protein? I see eggs and some tofu on the bottom shelf. Our favorite animal protein sources are fish and organic pastured eggs. We still eat meat. Just not huge portions of it, and I only buy grass-fed. In fact, tonight I’m making meatballs that are equal parts ground organic pastured beef and tabouleh.
And what’s the Clean Cuisine Salad Booster I see stocked? It boosts the taste and nutrition of salads. This one is a SuperFood Savory blend made with gogi berries, green tea, sundried tomatoes, truffle salt, pine nuts, garlic, sage, nutritional yeast, and dried oyster mushrooms. It sounds like the craziest ingredients, but it really does taste amazing. We put it on roasted veggies, pasta salad, and pretty much everything. —Amy Eley