Food is medicine. And depending on which foods we eat, we can either improve our well being or worsen it.  “Eat your vegetables” is what we should tell ourselves every day.  A diet rich in complex carbohydrates (veggies, nuts whole grains, rice, protein sources such as yogurt, eggs and cheese, fish or meat for non-vegetarians) should be our goal.  Besides providing nutrients, vitamins and energy to the body, a diet rich in these foods will help maintain a stable blood sugar which is good for mood and concentration. The fiber in these foods will regulate digestion and support the growth of “good” bacteria in the digestive tract.

Sugar, wheat, processed foods, antibiotics in food, and hormones trigger an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the intestinal system.  Over time, this leads to weight gain, bloating, gas, mental fatigue, fogginess and depression.

Aside from digesting food and providing nutrients to the rest of the body, the intestinal system is the seat of about 70 % of our immune system.  If digestion is disturbed, so is our immune function, we become more susceptible to illness.

For all these reasons, it is important to provide our body with good nutrition.

If we eat the chemicals and toxins of the typical American diet, the balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria is disturbed.  Stress and antibiotics can have the same effect.  Overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut is one of the causes for inflammation in the body (chronic stress is another).  This inflammatory state signals the fat-regulating hormone Leptin to store fat, making it more difficult to loose weight.

Our long term goal should be to have a healthy diet.  If you feel light years away from this, do not dispair.  The body will be thankful for any small step in a positive direction.  For example, passing by the bread basket or dessert in a restaurant, is a good first step.  Buying vegetables and cooking them at home, saves both money and improves nutrition.

If you want to begin with more drastic steps, to reset your intestinal system, follow the steps outlined below:

1)      Eliminate the following foods for 4 weeks: processed foods, sugar, gluten, wheat, dairy (including yogurt), caffeine and alcohol, sugar dense fruits, such as bananas, pine apples, melon, dried fruits.  Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweet corn.

2)      Start eating instead: fruits: organic blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pears, plums and peaches.  Vegetables: chard, kale, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower, artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, spinach and any other dark leafy greens.  The fiber in these foods helps regulate cholesterol, hormone levels, and the excretion of toxins  (limit sweeter vegetables such as carrots, beets, potatoes as they have a fairly high glycemic index).

3)      Meat or fish.  If you do eat them, try and eat organic, free range which have not been fed antibiotics and hormones.

4)      Use mainly olive oils for cooking and do eat all kinds of nuts and avocados which contain many essential fatty acids and good fats.

5)      Do take probiotics which will help shift your intestinal flora towards healthier bacteria.

We all eat 3-5 times every day.  Most of us do it mindlessly , while reading, walking or doing other things on the side.  We eat processed foods, picked up on the go, fast food, and often do not spend much thought on it.  We have our favorite snacks, such as chips, sweets, or other junk food.

Over time, our bodies usually begin to send us signals, that this is not a good idea.  We may get heart burn, digestive problems, gain weight, feel bloated, get high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or any number of other symptoms that signal, that the body is out of balance.

For many people who are chronically over scheduled, preparing elaborate dinners at home is out of the question.  There simply is no time for it.

Below is a list of some of my favorite recipes that share a number of qualities:  they can be prepared in 5-15 Minutes, they are healthy, fresh, and have “life” in them (most plant foods contain enzymes and vitamins that are destroyed by the cooking process), they have a low potential for causing inflammatory reactions in the digestive system.

They are vegetarian, which is more sustainable.

They are only suggestions.  If your doctor told you to avoid certain foods, you must follow his/her instructions.

Another invitation I want to make along with the recipes, is to sit down for meals and eat mindfully.  If you time it, it does not generally take more than 10-15 Minutes to eat, and you are sure worth giving yourself that quiet time!

And chew food thoroughly.  Not only does it bring out the flavor of the different ingredients, but it also begins the process of digestion.   Teeth are meant to chop food into small pieces, so that saliva, stomach acid and enzymes can get to them.

And here are two more important rules that make sense to me:

AVOID WHEAT AND AVOID PROCESSED SUGAR.  Both are responsible for increasing inflammation in the body, which is bad, and both also lead to mood swings, insulin resistance and bloating, among other problems.  Cutting them out of your diet for 6 weeks will usually lead to weight loss and better mood and sharper cognitive functions.


None of what follows is dogma, you have to keep in mind what is good for you.  But hopefully, it will make you ponder your relationship to what you put into your body on a daily basis.

Another suggestion, and this certainly takes more effort: maybe some times gather a few friends or family and cook together, or cook for them.  What a wonderful way to spend time together.



Yogurt with Honey





Greek Salad Redux

Sauteed Spinach with Garlic