Holistic Health Counseling | Erin Livers, Nutrition Therapist

My philosophy is that food is indeed our best medicine, so much so that at one time the name of my business was Food As Medicine. I love to hear the latest news from science as researchers continue to prove that foods are really good for us. Weekly, someone sends me an email about the latest super food and all of its qualities and nutrients: the banana, the acai berry, cherries, and now asparagus. My approach, however, is about balance. If we eat good, fresh, whole, seasonal, organic food at every meal (look at Bauman College’s Eating for Health model) and eat 3 meals plus a snack every day, chances are this will keep us healthy. There are some exceptions because we are mental, emotional, spiritual beings as well and these aspects of ourselves affect our health too. We may also come in contact with toxic situations, relationships and substances that may impair our health, causing us to experience symptoms of imbalance.

To me, symptoms are the way our body communicates with us. Since most of us were never taught to listen or how to hear the messages in these usually gentle reminders, they get louder and increasingly severe until we have no choice but to listen and act upon them. It’s at this point that we may have to go beyond food as medicine to return our body to a state of balance.

For most of us, we’re looking to maintain our health, so I recommend we focus on diet, and asparagus figures prominently in my philosophy of food as medicine. It’s a wonderfully nutritious, early spring vegetable (that science tells us is very high in glutathione). Its spring season is timed well with its high glutathione levels, to support efficient detoxification after we’ve spent the winter indoors being more sedentary and eating heavier, less nutrient-dense food (more likely when it was less available than now). But this doesn’t mean that asparagus, as the new “wonder food” should be the focus of our diet by being consumed in an unbalanced way. Let’s just make it a prominent part of our spring diet (while it’s in season) along with all the other seasonal vegetables that support detoxification with their high nutrient content. Because in reality, they’re ALL super foods.

Let’s create delicious, well-balanced meals that contain real food that is well-spiced and satisfying. It’s no mistake that many health organizations now recommend 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day; these are the foods we are meant to eat to keep us healthy! I believe that eating delicious meals makes for a much more nourishing and balanced life than rushing off to find the latest super food or pill. Asparagus smoothie, anyone?