Connecting the dots: from food & flavor to... vibrant health!

X marks the spot: If you want to know about food, big flavor and vibrant health, you have arrived. This has been my world for 14 years, and I’ve made the momentous decision to share what I’ve learned in a delicious and digestible new blog. My mission: to help YOU connect the dots, get behind the stove and make food work to transform your health and your life.

I’ll be writing about autoimmune & food, cancer & food, brain health & food, longevity & food… and, of course, culinary magic and luscious recipes!  Because that’s where I live, at the nexus of food and health. And I want you to live here with me. To love and enjoy food, even if you are facing health challenges. Food is one of the most powerful tools you have to transform your health… and it CAN be delicious, and nourishing, on SO many levels.

Is your food world black & white? I want to change it into technicolor.

When I think about healthy food, I think about color. I cook like a painter and I paint like a cook. Hence this painting, which hangs in my kitchen :) Connecting the dots to health and wellness in the kitchen is ALWAYS about color. If food has color, it has pigment, which equals nutrient density and signifies the presence of powerful phytochemicals, tons of vitamins and antioxidants — all of the things that plump up your cells. Color means the food has vitality!

When I’m developing recipes, I feel like, OMG —here I am with my box of 64 Crayola crayons! And when I get out my paints, I’m always thinking in terms of vibrancy, just like when I’m creating a new recipe.

This Shredded Carrot & Beet Salad is UNbelievably popular, at every luncheon buffet I’ve ever served it at, including conferences with hundreds of people. The hotels can’t keep the bowls refilled fast enough! It’s all about the color, my friends, both for eye appeal and health.

Trendy? Yes —  but isn’t it great? The pendulum is starting to swing in the right direction. When I started my journey, it was HARD to find organic food, and colorful, truly FRESH fruits and vegetables. You had to really look. Now there’s more availability, and more of a conversation about culinary medicine. That’s the discussion we’re having at the Healing Kitchens Institute, where we’re guiding physicians and food educators in how to teach their patients and communities about eating healthier. This is one trend you’ll want to join!

But, generally, what does eating healthier mean?

I was recently asked a question about food choices by a blogger. (I love questions, by the way -- ask away!). She commented that my books tend to be primarily gluten-free and dairy-free, and asked what I think about that and about the paleo diet. I responded that I don’t intentionally set out to say what people CAN’T eat, but rather what they CAN. If you want whole grain bread with your soup -- you know your body. Enjoy! Paleo? Different strokes for different folks. I’m not crazy about cultish diets or any kind of dogma. I don’t want to put people into little boxes. Some people are happy as life-long omnivores. Others can thrive as vegans for years, and at some point feel the need for animal-based protein. Fine! People are often looking for the magic bullet, or a food prescription — but food just doesn’t work that way. What nourishes me may not nourish you. And that may change over time, too.

I do have three guideposts I’ll share: First, be observant. Know your body, and notice the little signs that crop up before they get big. And, second — stick with plants! Whenever plants are at the center of the plate -- and that includes herbs & spices -- you CANNOT lose. One, you’re going to have a visually gorgeous plate, and two, it’s bound to taste great! Win/win. And third -- enjoy food! What could be more pleasurable than a meal that tastes marvelous, makes you feel great, and nourishes your senses? When your body is happy, your eyes are happy, your senses are happy... You can’t beat healthy and happy.

To learn more about how I think about food, listen to An Evening of Culinary Delight with Rebecca Katz & Mollie Katzen.  

What are your thoughts about food and health? What are your questions? Please comment below.

Let’s connect the dots.