In Interviews

Do Lunch from the Women’s Times February 2011

For many women, what we eat and why are all in enmeshed into questions of self- image, and emotions.   Eating a nutritionally balanced diet can seen like a simple matter of math next to eating well – consuming what our bodies need to be healthy and energized.

Food as Medicine: the idea that “you are what you eat” is not new…  Deb Phillips (a nutritionist and member of the nutrition team at the Ultra Wellness Center in Lenox Massachusetts) explains that human bio- chemistry – especially understanding how fully diet affects health – is at the cutting edge of Western medicine. Her work deals with helping people adjust their diets to ameliorate physical or emotional problems. “If you never share body your chances of being healthy are better,” she says. “ Some people are incredibly resilient; their bodies can tolerate all sorts of insults. “ Some are more fragile. But no one’s body should have to tolerate these things. Ultimately, it’s going to catch up with you.”

Leslie Cerier is a Pioneer Valley-based cookbook author and cooking instructor. She emphasizes the importance of eating not just nutritionally, but seeking joy and vitality to diet.  While this focus differs from Philips in considering emotional and energetic intangibles, both experts emphasize seeking overall balance, rather than cleaving to anyone dietary doctrine- though that balance might include avoiding certain foods and individual reacts to adversely.

The old saw about shopping the outer aisles (and therefore eating a diet based on minimally – processed foods) remains true, is recommended by both Phillips and Cerier.  It is reflected in the USDA’s food pyramid concept.  These government recommendations emphasize that diet based on whole grains, then fruits and vegetables, then protein sources, would limit intake of fat and sugar. (Mediterranean, Asian, Latin and vegetarian pyramids also exist, and followed the same general principles.)

Cerier goes a step further in her emphasis. “ If you can switch to real whole foods – local, seasonal, organic – that’s best.” She encourages her clients to reincorporate food prep into their busy lives arguing that making beautiful food is one of life joys and a part of the diet and vitality picture – as much about pleasure as it is about those recommended servings of leafy greens.

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