Whole Body

It’s a Whole Person thing, and it starts with simple tweaks to what and how you eat.

There’s an old adage that says, “Fake it until you feel it.” It’s an odd statement that’s a little hard to swallow, but stay with me here for a minute. When I first started yoga, I wasn’t in love with it. I couldn’t see the benefits after two sessions (ah, youth). But I applied “fake it until you feel it,” and after a month or so, I began to feel it. Now, I love it. The same goes for meditation, jogging, and eating well. I’m healthier today than I was in my 20s. What a gift!

Angela Trentadue is another personal chef in Madison; we’ve been friends for years. We spoke at length about this story because we are likeminded about helping our clients achieve a better quality of life through nutrition. Angela is a major proponent of eating whole foods that are locally sourced.

“Locally sourced foods have a high nutrient value because of their freshness,” she says. Angela is also a believer in eating more leafy greens and organics, and cutting back on animal-derived protein sources. We both see education as a large component of our work because there is a disconnect in our society around what foods our bodies need to function optimally. Many people were never given the basics about how to eat well.

Given this, Angela and I compiled six tips to help you begin your journey to a healthier you:

Number 1: Food is fuel for your body. If the fuel is junk, then your body simply won’t be able to do what you want it to do.
Number 2: Your plate is a beautiful canvas. For the average omnivore, fill a medium-sized plate with 75 percent leafy greens and other vegetables and fruit. The remaining 25 percent of your plate can consist of lean meats or fish for protein (think 6 oz or less as a portion).
Number 3: Eat slowly so that your brain and your stomach communicate and recognize when you are full.
Number 4: Be patient. Eating this way is different than how most people have eaten for their whole lives. It will take a few weeks for you to notice that you feel better and have more energy.
Number 5: Cut back on salt and sugar, and remove artificial sweeteners from your diet.
Number 6: If you can’t tackle nutrition on your own, consult with someone. Nutritionists, doctors, and wellness practitioners (and personal chefs) are great resources.

I spoke with two terrific herbal specialists from Community Pharmacy in Madison, Doreen Kunert and Jackie Nikolaus, and they agreed that nourishment through food is the cornerstone to good health, but that a whole-person approach to wellness is also critical to success. What I appreciate about Community Pharmacy is that there are always great staff members like Doreen and Jackie on hand who take the time to talk with you about whatever health concerns you have. And they really do look at the whole person. They ask questions about things like diet, lifestyle, stress levels, exercise, etc., to help them understand the whole picture so that they can make better recommendations to address your concerns.

And they aren’t going to just offer a pill and then walk you out the door. Both Jackie and Doreen have worked at Community Pharmacy for more than 25 years. They see themselves as community educators, and they have a litany of literature, videos, websites, and other valuable resources to share. And if you do find yourself in need of medication, the pharmacists at Community Pharmacy can help you in this realm, too. They’ve been my good-health library for years.

“Did you know if you steep oat straw and nettles for a long time in water, it’s a super calcium boost and your body absorbs it wonderfully because it’s from a food source?” asked Doreen. No, I didn’t, but I’m going to try that.

So, I hope we’ve given you some tools to move toward a healthier lifestyle. Now go on out there and give yoga a try, or get your Tai Chi on, or just soak in a detox bath. Whatever motivates you to better health, go do that! And for goodness’ sake, eat your vegetables.

Jeanne Benink is a Madison chef and the sole owner of Simply Served Personal Chef Service. Her friends often call her the soup guru, and she truly does have passion for exploring soups and stews from all over the world. You can find her online at simplyservedpersonalchef.com