Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sound Food Advice

A lot of people come to me and ask me for dietary advice. I'm not a certified nutritionist or dietitian but I can claim to know a bit more than the average person about food and its potential healing properties. Recently a few close friends have asked me to put together dietary plans for them. Each for different reasons, each one at different stages in their lives and all of them on a tight budget. However the end goals are always the same; to eat a more whole foods based diet, incorporate different foods into their diet, gain more energy, kick sugar cravings and as a result shed some extra pounds. When I set out to create a personalized plan, I began by doing the following:

1) Talking with them about their overall diet, diet history, habits, favorite foods, food dislikes and what they enjoy about food. Usually I like to do this over preparing a meal for them in my home.

2) Then I have them keep a detailed food diary for one full week (or longer) and a list of the items in their pantry (everything!). They write down their goals and a rough idea of their food budget.

3) Then from there I analyze what they are currently eating and their habits and put together a final document that outlines what they need more of/less of, meal plans (if asked for), a list of foods that are best consumed organically, a list of their personal "superfoods", and items they can start to incorporate into their diet right away along with the healing properties of key foods.

4) We then go through it together and off they go. Some people want me to go shopping with them and/or show them how to prepare foods they have never eaten before (this is cherry on the top...I love sharing my cooking knowledge!)

5)1 month follow-up to see how things are going and make adjustments if needed.
Now this is A LOT harder than it sounds. First off it was extremely hard to not write out a plan of what I eat and whats in my pantry; everybody is different, everyone requires different food. So I had to come up with a personal philosophy as to what is the BEST way to eat. Since I am not a certified dietary expert I went with my gut and my favorite Michael Pollan quote "eat food, mostly plants". The diets created are plant and whole grain based with minimal meat and seafood consumption, no refined oils, no processed food, healthy fats and a balance between cooked and raw. With a conscious lean toward local foods and creating/maintaining a small carbon-food imprint.
I have not yet expanded my services to a wider group of people, but if you live in Baltimore and are curious let me know and I would be thrilled to work with you!