As a food columnist, food writer, culinary activist, and cookbook author I was continually curious about the puzzles and paradoxes between the promotion of exciting and extreme food and our overall health and nutrition. It began to bother me so much that I went back to school. Now, as a certified holistic nutritionist, I not only see food as a large part of our pleasure and social connectedness but now I also see food as medicine and a large part of our state of health and wellness.
I grew up eating from my grandmother’s garden and then from the gardens, fields, and orchards of Niagara. I ate the way my grandmother ate because I intuitively knew that it was good for you, that food could change you. It really hit home when I became a food writer. It was through press releases that crossed my desk every day that I learned about food as it related to weight gain or loss, about performance and endurance, managing diabetes, clearing acne, how to stay hydrated and on it went.
It was the first time I remembered food being something that people talked about in a medical way – other than my grandmother telling me it was good for me. I learned that real food wasn’t the chemicallized factory version of the edibles that line the grocers’ shelves today. Real food, or whole food as it’s now called, is alive, it’s used to fuel the body with the nutrients it needs to function, live and perform the best that it can. More importantly, you can use food to achieve and maintain health.
I will always believe in the power of food to alter my health and wellbeing. I’m living proof of its healing powers. Now as a practicing holistic nutritionist, I can only hope to be as intuitive and skilled with my clients as the naturopaths that helped me along my journey.
My clients have taught me that learning to be healthy is a much bigger challenge for them than it was for me. I think that’s because so many people lack a good food foundation, no one taught them the joys of eating from a garden. They eat from a box that was made in a factory by people they don’t know and who have no interest in them – totally disconnect.
“My philosophy is simple; eat well, buy local and live a good life.”
So disconnected that most people equate fun eating with giant helpings of donuts and ice cream. On the flip side is the equally erroneous opinion that healthy eating involves sad violin music playing in the background while nibbling on boring seeds and a trunkful of broccoli. One of the most frustrating challenges I face is to teach people that eating well can be both exciting and delicious. The real recipe for success is when you believe that both are possible.
But when I’m successful, I feel as if I’m opening doors to a whole new world of food for people. And isn’t exploring a new world always fun? I hold people’s hand and help them through the most difficult parts; navigating the maze through a horrible processed food world into a delicious, nutritious world of real food.
When it comes to food, I want you to be in charge of healing and strengthening your body through the most effective tool that you control – food. If you’re the one in the family who buys the groceries, then you can change your world, your health. Your body deserves for you to eat respectfully and the first step is learning a few things about nutrition. My philosophy is simple; eat well, buy local and live a good life.