Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This morning, I received an email from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to inform me that I am now a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Being trained in a professional culinary school, it’s good to know that I have something to include to my repertoire. I may not have been working professionally for the past five years but my late-father’s battle with diabetes and cancer including his death has been a profound learning experience. I think he became my connection between food and nutrition but at the same time I’ve also have fears whether I still want to cook or not. It was an erratic commitment. But now, I am sure that cooking will always be one of my passions in life because I am confident that when I cook, I cook with a purpose. Though I am not sure what lies ahead, I am optimistic that supernatural doors will be opened for me.
These past few years, it has been a challenge to incorporate whole foods into my diet, my cooking and in my kitchen most especially when some people are not willing to make that change. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds supported by fresh and clean animal protein are considered whole foods. But what about processed and refined foods that are sneaking into our kitchen, deceiving us that they are healthy for our body?
When my father was confined in the hospital for 14 months, I ate cafeteria food which was a full-diet delivered to the patient’s room. The tray is composed of fried fish, chicken and beef, a bowl of white rice, a few leaves of overcooked vegetables and a chocolate bar filled with sugar. That tray consisted of three kinds of protein in just one meal!!! I tolerated their food for two months but I came to my senses that I have choice to eat healthier foods. Besides, the foods that I eat will determine what the tissues of my body, my organs and my skeletons will be made of today and tomorrow.
A good place to start when cooking with whole foods is to ditch the fast foods, processed foods, junk foods and also fake foods such as artificial sweeteners, MSG and hydrogenated fats. Technology has been developed to produce good-tasting, longer-lasting foods. However, these foods are not designed for the body to be digested. Remember, advertisers are great deceivers. Also, some natural foods found in the supermarket may appear nutritious but are actually loaded with anti-nutrients that can cause harmful effects in the body.
The farmer’s market is a great place to purchase your whole foods. There, you will find different arrays of fruits and vegetables that will awaken your senses. But the supermarket or whole foods market is also another place to stock up on staples such as brown rice, oats and other grains, dried legumes, nuts and seeds, unrefined oils and vinegars, spices, cans of tomatoes and even cans of beans and chickpeas. In a nutshell, focus on the quality and freshness of the food and absolutely insist that what you’re eating is real and gorgeous. You deserve it.
Making changes can be taxing but you don’t need to do it all at once. You can begin by eliminating the white stuff from your pantry such as white sugar and white flour (except for pastry cooks =)). That alone would make a lot of difference. Although white rice is still eaten at home, I’ve included healthier and tastier grains into my kitchen. It’s like spring cleaning – out with the old and in with the new. Out with the processed, refined and denatured foods and in with the unprocessed, unrefined, unadulterated foods.
Cooking with whole food is about real food that is good and delicious. It is also about cooking, eating and living with pleasure but still has the supernatural ability to heal and nourish our body, mind and soul.