Spring is right around the corner Inspired Wellness Center peeps! With the warmer weather headed our way, I am going to start sharing with you a different take on nutrition, and the importance of the foods you are eating. In the next couple of months I am going to share with you my unique take on food, and how to improve your diet making very simple choices that are better for your body. I will also be sharing short cooking videos to give you ideas in the kitchen. If you are savvy in the kitchen and have a simple quick idea you would like to share with our community please feel free to email it to me! I know we have some inventive cooks/chefs out there, with great ideas!
I love food. I live to eat. When I speak about nutrition I come from a place that should not produce stress and make you think that you are depriving yourself, but more of a place of joy. I am not the type of nutritionist that takes everything out of your diet without giving you numerous alternatives to help you make changes. I am not into dieting. I feel that dieting jump starts people into losing weight, but a majority of people who go on a diet tend to gain the weight back. Often, these people start eating the foods that they deprived themselves of in the first place. So, let's take those foods we love and make them a little healthier with a few simple changes to the recipe!! SImple, easy and we still get to enjoy our favorite foods!
First things first: I am a firm believer in cooking at home!
When you cook at home you’re in control of the ingredients. You control the amount of sugar that goes into your baking, and you can choose the quality of the ingredients you use. I have been told that sometimes the recipes we alter do not taste as good as they originally did when I switch out ingredients. This is normal. Once you start getting used to using less salt or sugar in your cooking/baking you start to enjoy the new taste and the initial flavor fades in your memory. The healthy swaps become a part of your lifestyle instead of a temporary diet. Honestly, I cook dairy/gluten/soy free in my house and everyone who comes over can never tell the difference! Plus, cooking at home can be a shared experience, and gives you the opportunity to do something other than sitting on your phone or in front of the television. I grew up in a household where my brother's first word was “HOT”! This was because we were always in the kitchen. I was stirring italian gravy and making meatballs before I could speak! As children we would stand on a step so we could help in the kitchen. I remember this step stool had a saying on it, “Stand up to be tall! Sit down, to be small!” Oh, childhood memories! One of my first restaurant experiences I remember was when my father took me to my first sushi restaurant when I was four years old. It was one of those places with the sushi boats that float around the sushi chefs and you can pick up your own items from your table! This experience was fascinating to me! Not only did I love sushi, but the experience of watching the chefs prepare each item was amazing. I could not take my eyes off the chefs. My father had to bribe me to leave the restaurant. As I was growing up I was always cooking with my parents and grandmother trying to learn their secret methods! As it seems my family did not follow recipes, so I actually had to learn how to make our family dishes with my family or these traditions would not have been passed down.
When I decided to go to graduate school for Chinese medicine in Portland, OR I had no idea that there was this whole new world around food in the Pacifc Northwest that was totally new to me. As a young girl from North Carolina I had no idea what ‘kale’ was nor did I know what it looked like in a garden. But everyone in Portland has a garden full of kale, and after my first year I decided to grow my own garden. This was no small task. I had no idea what I was doing. I not only went big, but I went HUGE! My first garden was 20ft x 60ft. It was half of my backyard, and I tried to grow everything I could think of. Having my hands in the dirt was so grounding, and I realized that I loved to garden in my late 20’s! It was so rewarding and I started to learn about where our food comes from, the season in which you can grow different things. Can you believe that strawberries are best grown during the early summer, so why is it that we can get them all year long? And should we be eating them all year long if they are not in season? So many questions started percolating.
As I continued to learn more, I realized that my own body needed better quality foods, and certain foods were undeserving my body. Due to my own health issues I embarked on a journey to remove dairy and hormones from my diet. I used to put cheese on everything I possibly could so if you can imagine it was extremely difficult to cut this out of my life. I also cut out soy, and started eating only organic grass fed meats. Within a few months many of my health issues were calming down and clearing up. By experiencing the benefits of this nutritional advice in my own body this only made me want to learn more. So, when it came the time to choose a thesis topic, I knew the focus was going to be on food, but I wasn’t sure in what direction I wanted to take it. Then it came to me!
My thesis ended up being titled, “Eating with the Seasons according to Chinese medicine!” I was already a foodie on a journey, but doing the research associated with my thesis opened up a greater understanding of food, and how each individual person needs different nourishment on a daily basis. Not only the type of food, but how it is cooked. The thermal nature of the food, the proper flavor balance, along with consuming your foods properly is something that the Chinese have thought of for years.
I would like to challenge you to figure out what your body is telling you through food! I’d also love to share my knowledge of what I discovered while writing my thesis. You never know, the change you've been looking for may be right in front of you! There is no reason to do it alone!! Come on in and let's talk about how you can enjoy food more and keep your diet balanced! Food is here to nourish us not to make life more complicated!