As a doctor, do you find that sometimes people have a love-hate relationship with food? Being healthy is not about weighing a certain number. If you feed your body the best foods — lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables — you’re going to perform at a much higher level than if you feed it processed foods.
But there is also an emotional component to eating, and, as women, many are hardwired to nurture others, often to a point where our well-being is put on the back burner.
Being well is about balance. Developing a mindfulness of what you’re eating and why you’re eating something is one of the first steps toward health. Slow down and savor not only the food you have in your mouth but also the life you’re living.
“Eat less, move more,” seems to be the simple directive to losing weight that isn’t all that simple. You talk about balance: How do you achieve a healthful state while keeping the priorities in your life in check? I have exercised regularly for more than 20 years. However, as a wife for 23 years to my husband, Dave, mother to three — twins David and Paul, 20, and Alyssa, 18 — and a physician in my professional life, finding balance has not always been easy.
When my children were small, just a walk outside or a jog around the neighborhood made me feel like a million bucks. However, cookies, candy and chips were always quick and available snacks. I often found myself out of balance while encouraging my patients to live healthier lives.
Since then, my children have grown, and I have decided to take my own advice. I try to eat unprocessed foods, drink more water and am committed to exercise. As a result, I am more energized and want to share my sense of well-being with others. It’s not always easy, but life is a journey to be shared.
You seem to have a Midwestern common sense when it comes to discussing health and well-being. I grew up in Kansas City during the industrialization of the food industry, where fast food became more prolific, and canned and packaged goods seemed to be more plentiful than fresh fruits and vegetables. I really believe we need to return to the earth to restore ourselves, find our way back to our food roots.
As a doctor, we are trained to treat disease, but I believe we need to invest in prevention by focusing on wellness in our personal relationships, in our spiritual life, in our work environment.
I think the path to wellness is also about discovery. If you look at this smoothie recipe and immediately think you’re not going to try it, because you’re sure you won’t like it, where is your sense of adventure?
Don’t deprive yourself of life’s pleasures, either. If you want a sweet treat, don’t eat a whole row of Oreo cookies — maybe have an adventure and try a French macaron. If you can look at what some might consider the daily grind with a sense of awe and discovery, it seems you may be taking the first steps on the path to wellness in your life.
Does this recipe you share help start your day off in a balanced way? Developed by Leah Solomon, a nutrition consultant, this smoothie has the nutrients of antioxidants, bioflavonoids, calcium, fiber, folate, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, protein and vitamins A, B-2, B-6, C, E, K. The benefits of this “juice” are its anti-inflammatory properties, a boost to the immune system, an improvement in energy and protein metabolism and the promotion of strong bones and teeth.
Mary G. Pepitone is a freelance writer who lives in Leawood. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate a cook.
Residence: Kansas City
Occupation: Family medicine physician, owner of Exhale Fitness in Mission
Special cooking interest: Using whole, unprocessed foods.
Fun fact: Committed to women’s health and well-being, Lisbon graduated from the Kauffman FastTrac program for entrepreneurs before opening her wellness center.
Morning Boost Juice
Makes 4 servings
1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berry blend of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon frozen 100 percent apple juice concentrate
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup flax seed
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
Into the bowl of a blender, process berries, spinach, ginger root, apple juice concentrate, lime juice, flax seed and water together for 2 minutes. For a thicker shake, add more berries.
Pour into four glasses and enjoy immediately.
Per serving: 71 calories (38 percent from fat), 3 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 5 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.