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REAL FOOD Philosophy

green and red healthy foodA central focus in my practice is on a health-promoting and disease-preventing diet, lifestyle and attitude. As such, I ask patients to work towards gradual, consistent, positive change. I do a lot of counseling, and offer educational resources to aid in implementing these changes.

What I’ve learned over the years, is that people are often protective of their diets, and making changes can seem like a burden, chore or punishment. I want to flip that notion on its head, and get you excited about whole, natural, unprocessed foods, and the undeniably positive effects they can have on your life!

I want to help people look beyond the latest diet fads or a number on their bathroom scale. This drives me to inspire people back into their kitchens, gardens and local farmer’s markets. I want you to discover (or re-discover) the incredible bounty of colours, textures, and flavours found in whole, natural, unprocessed foods.

A plant-focused diet (not necessarily exclusive of animal foods), rich in water, fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant compounds), is the key to long term health and the prevention of all of the chronic diseases of our time (obesity, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, autoimmune conditions). This, in my opinion, cannot be overstated.

Our attitudes and approaches to food are about more than just our health. The consequences of the food choices we make are far-reaching; extending deeply into our political landscape, socio-economic divides, morality & ethics, and the health of this planet that we call home. Food is also such a huge part of our social and cultural identities. It is a source of comfort, pleasure, ritual and social interaction. I hope to take all of these aspects of our interactions with food into account with the Real Food approach.

real-foodieTo follow the Real Food philosophy, one should strive to become what I refer to as a “conscious omnivore”. I include vegetarians (lacto-ovos, or even those who occasionally eat fish) in this category, as it relates to making conscious choices about any animal foods we do decide to include in our diet. That is to say, even omnivores should eat a plant-focused diet, including small amounts of high-quality animal foods at some meals. For more details, see the checklist below.

To be clear, I have nothing against vegans (I was one for years before I became a Conscious Omnivore). I came to a personal decision around reintroducing some animal foods to my diet that reflects my knowledge (science, nutrition, food) and values (political, spiritual and otherwise). However, I happily work with vegans, counseling them about how to get as much as they can from their diet; and then offering advice on supportive measures to manage areas of shortfall. Being conscious about the animal foods in our diet takes into consideration the health and well-being of the animals as they are raised, the diet fed to the animals, and the quality of the products they yield. Again, seasonality, locality (as close to home as possible), biodynamic sustainable farming and organics are favoured when considering which animal foods to consume.

The guidelines associated with a Real Food diet don’t need to be adopted all at once or over night to have an impact on your health, your community and your planet. I can help guide you through smaller steps towards this ultimate goal. Additionally, I frequently modify these guidelines for individuals with specific health concerns or goals (i.e. weight loss or muscle gain, reducing inflammation, countering allergies and sensitivities, improving digestion, managing diabetes, etc). For vegetarians and especially vegans, I discuss additional common concerns and ways to ensure optimal nutrition from an animal-free diet.

GREEN PLEDGE: It’s easy being green!

I strive to apply all of the principles of Naturopathic Medicine. The Naturopathic Doctor’s Oath includes the precept: “preserve the planet for ourselves and future generations.”

I do my part in the following ways:

  • use 100% recycled paper and folders
  • participate in recycling and compost programs
  • use non-toxic, biodegradeable, scent-free cleaning agents
  • use and provide glass and ceramic drinking vessels
  • use energy efficient bulbs where possible
  • promote clinic events through an e-newsletter, rather than a paper one
  • promote a plant-based, whole food, local, organic diet wherever possible

About

 

What is Real Food?

  • Real Food is grown or raised in fields
  • Real Food emphasizes fresh, natural, minimally or unprocessed foods
  • Real Food does not come in a box or plastic wrap
  • Real Food is made from scratch; preferably in your own kitchen
  • Real Food does not contain chemical compounds, additives, preservatives, artificial colours or flavours
  • Real Food is local, seasonal, sustainable and organic – whenever possible
  • Real Food is plant-focused, and where it includes animals, includes those who ate a Real Food diet appropriate to their species
  • Real Food avoids packaged and refined “non-foods” which are nutrient-depleted, often chemical-laden and detrimental to health
  • Real Food diet is high in nutrient-dense plant foods (rich in essential vitamins and minerals), and contains an elevated water and fibre content (absent in animal foods).

When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.

- Oscar Wilde

Have a suggestion for other green initiatives at the clinic? Let us know!