Max Lugavere is the author of “Genius Foods,” a book about optimizing brain function through diet. The subject became personal for him when his mother, Kathy, was given a diagnosis of dementia seven years ago, and he devoted himself to her care. She died last winter. “Now that Mom is gone, I am even more obsessed with the topic,” he said. Lugavere, 36, is working on his second book and also has a podcast, “The Genius Life.” He lives with his brother Ben, 30, a software engineer, and his cat, Delilah, in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. Their brother Andrew, 33, lives in the same building and works in sales.
Wake Up, Hydrate
I’m up somewhere between 7 and 8. I don’t use an alarm clock. I go straight into the kitchen and drink a tall glass of room-temperature water. I may sprinkle a bit of mineral salt in it which replenishes electrolytes.
Whether it’s winter or summer, I go out onto my terrace and do a few minutes of deep breathing, stretching and meditation. I’m a big believer in getting in natural light in the morning because it aligns my circadian rhythm for the day.
I’ll grab a cup of coffee that I’ve cold-brewed overnight and park myself in front of the computer to read the latest health related news. My go-to sites are EurekAlert, Twitter, Science Daily and The New York Times. I also come up with a new post for my Instagram. I do one post a day and try to make it as interesting as possible.
Get To Work
I spend a good two hours working on my book. It’s all about how to live your best life and avoid cognitive decline through your diet and lifestyle.
Protein And Greens
At around 11, I’m finally ready to eat. At Eons, a fast casual Greek place in my neighborhood, I get a huge bowl of greens with grass-fed beef or chicken. I also add beets and drench it with extra-virgin olive oil. The quality of the food is incredible. If I don’t go to Eons, I make two or three fried eggs at home with a big bowl of greens on the side.
I like to get in some sort of activity every single day. I’m a member at Equinox, and I’ll go there and do a weight lifting routine. I may also do some high-intensity interval training like sprints on a bike or sets of boxing.
Being in a sauna gives me a lot of energy, and I’ve done research on the health benefits including on how saunas potentially reduce the risk of dementia. I love the sauna at Life Time Fitness on 42nd Street, and I’ll go in for two or three half-hour intervals. I try to do this seven days a week. After the sauna, I take a plunge into the cold pool.
Fun With Groceries
For most people, food shopping is a pain, but I love it and spend at least an hour at different grocery stores and farmers markets. I love Fairway, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and the farmers market on Second Avenue and 33rd street.
Writing, Round Two
Back at home, I’m at the computer again. Writing a book takes real commitment and is a lot of sweat. Sometimes, I’ll spend an entire day finessing a sentence. Other times, I’ll get lucky, and the words will just come out.
The Family Chef
I always cook dinner for Ben, Andrew and me. My mom instilled an appreciation of cooking from when I was young. I love simple, nutrient-dense meals and follow a Mediterranean-style template that favors using the highest-quality ingredients and letting those dictate the flavor of the dishes. I’ll roast in-season vegetables with salt, pepper, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. I’ll also roast a protein like a whole chicken, grass-fed steak or wild fish like salmon. I’ll toss together a leafy green salad and top it with extra-virgin olive oil.
The three of us sit down to dinner around 7. We live in the same building but are so busy that dinners are the only time when we really connect. Ben and Andrew try to eat healthy like me, too, and seem to be happy with what I cook. Occasionally, we’ll open a bottle of red wine with our meal.
All of us will clean up together, and then we’ll move to the couch to get our TV fix. We’re into “Game of Thrones” and also like this BBC show called “Killing Eve.” At some point, I’ll put on my blue blockers, which are glasses that block the blue light which TV’s, tablets and phones all emit. Ben and Andrew usually head to bed around midnight. I may do a little more writing and go to sleep myself.