Food Therapy and Nutrition
Everything we put in our bodies is medicine. Everything we tell ourselves is medicine. How to eat, when to eat, how to prepare food and how to balance the energetics of food are just as important as what we eat and is based on each person’s constitution and present health.
Education and discussion around foods, trusting one’s own body over health fads and bringing awareness to our eating habits is significant to leading a healthy, long life.
During appointments, Gillian provides information on which foods, medicinals, eating habits and supplements will assist patients with their healing and protect their health. She recommends brands of supplements that are most easily absorbed, talks about a plan for working new foods into the diet and answers questions about food and nutrition. Stay tuned for classes on food therapy and cooking and eating well!
How to Plan Your Meals
Shifting how and what you eat can feel intimidating, and it can be a slow process. One of the easiest ways to ensure you have the foods you would like to be eating around and in abundance so you don’t resort to snacking on foods you are trying to avoid is to plan ahead. Take an hour once or twice a week and think about what meals you want to eat for the week and what snacks you would like to have around. Make a list of meals and the ingredients you need before you go shopping. Consult recipes if you like to do that and make sure you’ll have what you need. There are lots of resources for healthy recipe ideas, whatever you are trying to eliminate or add to your diet. It’s helpful for some people to have a chart to fill in for the week
Basic Rules on Shopping for Healthy Food
The fewer ingredients the better. Preservatives, additives and processed ingredients with long names are difficult for the body to digest and have other negative health impacts. The more complicated (and numerous) the ingredients, the more work your body has to do to break them down. Ingredients are listed in order of how much the product contains. This is how companies get sneaky, including sugar by several names so they can be further down on the list. In general, the top three ingredients make up most of what you are eating. If you don’t recognize the name of something, it might be a tricky way the manufacturer is covering up for inclusion of something highly processed, sugary or just bad for you.
Whole, fresh foods grown in the same climate as the eater are always the best. Pesticide free and organic foods are less toxic for the body and the planet.
Many prepared and preserved foods contain high amounts of sugar because it is addictive and food companies know it. Click here to read more about sugar, substitutes for it, and nine reasons to avoid it .
Hormone and antibiotic-free meat! Farmers markets, local butcheries, small farms and natural food stores offer alternative meats. Americans consume more meat than they should on average, so if you can imagine eating less meat but making sure it is good quality, the price difference is not as significant. Plus, it is fresher, tastes better and generally involves better conditions for the animals. People don’t need hormones from the animals they eat to throw off their own delicate hormone balance! And this way you support farms that choose not to inject hormones and antibiotics into their animals, which inevitably get into our soil and water. Grass-fed beef and other red meat is far preferable as grain-fed animalsare often raised on GMO corn and soy, proven to cause health problems in humans.
An important note: A lot of healthy, organic, free-range, local food is expensive. It doesn’t feel logical that foods involving less processing that travel a shorter distance cost more money, but it is the current reality. Fortunately, most farmers’ markets and natural food stores accept food stamps. Grains, nuts and seeds in the bulk section of the grocery store can be cheaper and small amounts can be purchased. Eating with the seasons means eating foods that are often cheaper because of their abundance. You can use the scraps of meat and veggies that cannot be eaten to make great tasting stocks and soups. Cutting back on sugary foods means buying less of the foods you don’t need to be healthy, so you can spend money on the ones you do. Still, there is no question that cooking and eating well is a privilege.
Finding the time to cook and eat well is a challenge. It can feel expensive and overwhelming. Here are a few simple, healthy recipes that can be incorporated into your week. Meal planning is an excellent way to include new recipes and foods.
Buckwheat, Hemp Seed and Chia Seed Cereal
This is a simple alternative to grain cereals. Buckwheat, hemp and chia are all seeds, which provide morning protein without the heaviness and fatigue that can come for some people after a breakfast of grains.
Combine ¼ cup chia seeds, ¼ cup hemp seeds and ½ cup buckwheat. Soak the seeds in water overnight. Rinse the seeds in the morning and combine with 2-4 cups of water, depending on how thick you like your cereal. Simmer on the stove for 20-30 minutes.
You can add fruit, nuts, cinnamon, ginger, sweet potato, almond milk, honey, or you can make it a savory cereal and add miso and veggies or meat. Experiment and enjoy!
Bone broth is a highly nourishing, protein and mineral rich food, excellent for building bone strength and intestinal health and rebuilding the gut lining. It is a great staple to have in the fridge or freezer for easy meals. You can sip on the broth by itself or add ingredients to make a quick soup. You can use the broth instead of water for steaming and boiling other foods (adds great flavor and nutrient value). Soup bones can be purchased from most butcheries and grocery stores and are reasonably affordable as one bone can make several gallons of broth. The marrow bones are best, where the bone has been cut so you have access to the inside of the bone.
Any bones will work. Suggestions are: buffalo, beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, pork. You can crack poultry bones with a hammer before boiling to get to the marrow. Put bones and joints (they can contain meat as well) into a large pot or slow cooker. Fill with water and add salt to taste. Cook on low for 3-24 hours. The longer you cook the bones, the more they will yield. Adding a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the water and soaking the bones for 30 minutes before turning on the heat will help extract minerals. Add peppercorns and vegetables to the broth if you wish.
Store in the fridge and/or freezer. To use medicinally for healing of the gut lining, to rebuild resources postpartum, or to help with bone growth, reheat 1-2 cups and drink with every meal.
A simple and easy breakfast or snack.
Grate 1-2 summer squashes into a bowl
Add a healthy scoop of almond butter (or sunflower/peanut/cashew/pumpkin seed butter)
Add 1-2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
I like to add walnuts, but you can vary it with many ingredients and spices
Stir the ingredients into a batter. Heat a skillet on the stove and add butter, ghee or olive/coconut/sesame oil. When the skillet is hot, fry up the batter like pancakes. You can top them with butter, maple syrup, jam, yogurt or eat them plain!