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The Culinary Diplomat believes in the fundamental importance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Nutritious – and delicious – food is critical to good health. How we define good nutrition is as much of an art – interpreting masses upon masses of sometimes conflicting guidelines, studies, and “expert” advice – as it is science. The Culinary Diplomat does not claim to be an “expert” on the subject of nutrition, but I have studied developments in nutrition for over a decade.
The Tenets of the CD’s Nutrition Philosophy:
- Each person’s physiology, metabolism, and sensitivities are different. What makes one person cranky and sick (gluten or sugar) may scarcely impact the next person.
- Variety and moderation are key: An excess of any one ingredient or additive is not great for the body. Remember, even water in excess can poison us!
- The further food is transformed from its natural state, the less nutritious it becomes. Heavily processed and refined ingredients, such as white sugar and flours, artificial flavors and colors, chemically rendered oils (e.g., canola) tend to add little nutritional value unless enriched with vitamins, minerals, or added fiber. Those enriched products might appear to be ‘healthy’, but in reality, we often lose out on the ingredients’ intrinsic benefits, including micronutrients or antioxidants.
- The Culinary Diplomat’s recipes will highlight nutritional benefits of its dishes. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes, accented with herbs, spices, lean dairy, and healthy fats power most of these dishes.
- Chemical, artificial ingredients may very well lead to cancers or other illnesses, but scientific evidence remains controversial. The CD does not believe in fear-mongering. Use common sense. If your favorite food has FD&C Red #40 coloring, don’t deny yourself the food – just eat sparingly.
- Be a food skeptic! Seek out multiple sources of nutrition information to make the best decisions for you.
- Occasional indulgences are part of a balanced diet. A restrictive diet and deprivation are not sustainable for most people – though some of us have to remove temptation and cut out certain foods “cold turkey” and permanently. If you are one of those people, follow what works. You will, however, see a few recipes and stories about foods with little nutrition benefits. They are simply delicious treats! Enjoy in moderation – but not with guilt!
Whether I’m on the road or settled at home, physical fitness is one of my passions. Here, too, I believe in variety and balance, which keep workouts interesting and fun, develop a broad range of muscle groups, and can prevent injury. A lifelong runner and an avid yogi for 15 years, I also enjoy a range of other forms of exercise. Fitness adventures can be just as fun in other countries or cultures as are food adventures! Personal highlights of my travels include distance runs along several coastlines on multiple continents or gorgeous parks or riverside trails. I’ve nervously tried new yoga studios in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Latvia, and finding myself unintentionally in my very first Zumba class in Ecuador – before it had become mainstream in the U.S! These fitness adventures compliment my food adventures well, helping me stay in shape so that I don’t end up carrying those calories home!