This was the question a co-worker asked me when I opened up the lid on my rather super-sized salad at lunchtime. My emphatic response, “Yes!” resounded into the break room. She smiled.
I ask all my patients to find creative solutions to include more fresh produce into their daily routines with suggestions like:
- Grab ‘three’ handfuls of leafy greens a day for salads, smoothies and bowls
- Start the day with an organic cold pressed green juice
- Sauté riced cauliflower or broccoli with garlic and top with a clean protein like wild caught fish or organic chicken and add some fresh mint or cilantro
What we know is this: shifting to a more plant based, anti-inflammatory diet can reduce dangerous cholesterol particles in the blood, improve long term blood glucose control, fuel bacterial diversity in the gut and produce an overall healthier, happier and more productive person.
Food truly is our best medicine. I have seen over and over in my two decades of practicing nutrition that my patients with the best outcomes have one thing in common – they eat real food daily. They remove inflammatory ingredients from their diet. For example, things made in a lab to trick our minds into thinking we are spreading butter on our gluten free toast when the soft, butter like food is really yellow food dye and natural flavoring. They remove artificial sugars from their diet that finds its way into drinks, coffee creamers, yogurt, instant breakfast, energy bars, mints and gum, cereals, cocoa mixes, and frozen desserts. They start feeling better and it fuels the inspiration to continue.
One of my favorite sessions was with a patient who came in with constant fatigue, brain fog, and unwanted weight gain. It seemed like she was doing everything right: working out regularly at the gym, eating a high percent of food cooked at home, and maintaining a loving relationship.
What she didn’t realize, however, was that she was being sabotaged by one single yet very powerful inflammatory item – artificial sweetener.
Two weeks after our first session she came in for a follow up and proudly pushed a list in front of me to read. “This is what I DID NOT eat or drink for the last two weeks” she happily proclaimed with a real twinkle in her eyes.
- Diet Soda: 84 cans
- Artificial Sugar Packets (Splenda): 70
- Rum and Diet Coke: 16 drinks of 4 ounces or greater
Her reward for the hard earned effort?
- Regular bowel movements for the first time in a long time
- Improved energy
- Less inflammation
- Clear skin, bright eyes, and the desire to achieve even more!
It is not just about eating more vegetables. It is about adopting a lifestyle that makes real food a priority.
It is about celebrating the seasons and the unique produce available during that window in time that provides us with variety and inspiration. It is about feeling alive from the inside out and ready to greet the day and achieve more.
Yes, REAL FOOD is medicine, and after my super-sized salad, I was ready to embrace the day and my co-workers!