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TRANSFORMATION : From junk food to real food

By : Dra. Josephine Holgado


Thank you for reading my first blog which defined culinary medicine and how it helps maintain health and prevent and treat diseases through the use of healthy food. Just In case you haven’t read it yet, you may click the link below to read it first.

In my first email, I shared that culinary medicine is not gourmet cooking. It is a field of medicine that is evidenced based which combines the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine. I also discussed how choosing whole food, plant based diet can decrease the risk and even reverse cardiovascular diseases as well as how eating behaviors can be improved with nutrition education.

I’m Doc Joy, a general pediatrician with a successful private practice for almost twenty five years. I’ve seen how chronic diseases affect the families and how parents are scared that their children will end up with the same health problems. This may be due to a decrease in eating home cooked meals through the years due to lack of time to plan and prepare, as well as lack of cooking skills and food preparation knowledge. This has been brought about by an increase in the number of hours parents spent outside working and an increase in the number of convenience stores that sell mainly processed commercial foods that are easy to prepare and cook.

I will show you two ways to start your journey from junk food to real food without an abrupt shift that may not agree with your taste buds and what your palate has been used to.

It is usually difficult to shift to either a predominantly or entirely whole food-plant based diet hence flips are allowed during the transition period. Thus, the Culinary Institute of America coined the terms “protein flip” and “dessert flip.”

In a protein flip, the center of the plate are the vegetables and other healthy plant protein while the meat becomes the garnish or side dish. One example is a large salad composed of mixed greens with added whole grain like quinoa, legumes, pine nuts and seeds with 2-3 small slices of grilled chicken breast on top as garnish. This method can help satisfy a craving and prevent binging on food that you are trying to avoid completely like meat products and the like.

A dessert flip entails reducing the size of a decadent dessert to just a bite or two on top of a larger arrangement of fresh fruits. This is necessary to retrain the palate to appreciate the natural sweetness of healthy food like fruits. In this regard, you increase the nutrient density but decrease the caloric density. Likewise, you also quench the craving for very sweet foods, especially those that are artificially sweetened.

These two methods of flipping can help a patient transition to a healthy diet. However, some may opt to completely eliminate animal products like meat, poultry and the like as well as cut added sugars and choose a real healthy dessert.

You consume an optimal diet when you eat less fat and oils, sugars, foods containing cholesterol, salt, alcohol and caffeine. The other end of the spectrum entails that you eat more of whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetable, water and wholesome breakfasts.

I’ve shown you two easy ways to start reducing or eliminating unhealthy food from your diet and replacing them with whole food plant based.

But for now, I want you to write your questions and concerns in the comments and I will address them in my next blog.

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