“DNA is like a canvas, food is like the paint…” – Dr. Deanna Minich
The art of nutrition (and the science) is a practice that has captivated me. Starting as early as my adolescent years, it has carried me from a passionate interest and professional focus through, more recently, a healing journey with autoimmune conditions.
Someone who has masterfully crafted this “art” is a nutrition professional introduced to me a few years ago while I was studying public health and the University of Illinois, Chicago. As you can imagine, the opportunity to see her speak live was something not to be missed!
Deanna Minich is an educator, scientist, author, and sought after speaker. She seeks to focus on health and vitality through healing protocols that are both scientific and creative.
Throughout her career, she has sought to “unite people to talk about food in a cohesive way.” In doing so, she relies on colors of the rainbow as a primary teaching aid. Her newest book, The Rainbow Diet: A Holistic Approach to Radiant Health Through Foods and Supplements, encourages a nourishing relationship with food and includes recipes, activities, and a wealth of information.
As she explained in her live talk, food is both information (the scientific lens) and connection (part of the art).
One illustration is from a look at “healing spices”. Flavor brought about from specific spice and herb combinations can be definitive to styles of cuisine. As it turns out, there are also certain healing properties of these plant compounds (otherwise, informative). However, they can also warm the heart, so to speak, and bring about larger concepts, such as social connection. Across the various profiles from turmeric and paprika to parsley or cilantro, we see the colors of the rainbow begin to emerge.
Shifting into a larger edibles, we can look at whole foods, such as strawberries, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and kale (to name just a few). Not only are these foods power houses for various phytonutrients related to skin and flesh colors (information), they can elicit specific moods and feelings (connection).
Digging deeper into color, there is an emotional spectrum associated to various colors of the rainbow, such as red commonly associated to energy. That being said, as an educator, connecting food options can become just as much creative as it is scientific or routine.
Synthesizing her work and the related science could result in a much longer blog post! However, a few key take away points and resources are as follows:
Take Away Points
Embrace small bites & sampling – Avoid falling into the phytonutrient gap. Across all color groups, eat a wide variety of foods in smaller doses of each to optimize micro-level nutrition.
Consider the possibilities – Don’t like tomatoes and worry you may be missing lycopene? Guess what, nature figured that out. There are other foods in nature that will deliver the same compounds. Try watermelon, guava, or cooked sweet red peppers.
Aim for ripeness – Foods picked when they are ripe, generally deliver more optimal nutrient profiles. Therefore, buying direct from the source and eating seasonally becomes quite relevant. For scenarios in which this can not occur, there are a few sensory tips and tricks to follow OR we even have newer technologies to guide us.
Couple up – Some micro-level nutrients absorb better in the presence of macro-level compounds such as healthful fat or complete protein (ie “food synergy”).
Get creative – Buy yourself a box of crayons and mark yourself up a colorful canvas each week representing different foods you intake by color. Are any of the colors missing from your canvas?
Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH is a lifestyle health educator and coach who supports clients to channel authority over their health, well-being, and overall vitality. Offering health education approaches and 1-on-1 coaching modules, she gets them out of excess weeds of information and inconsistent practices that don’t get desired results. Through helping people focus on the right applications paired with appropriate consideration for bio-individual facets, they become stronger, more confident self-advocates for their health. Bottom line, they will surpass challenges, embrace healthful living with ease, and, best of all, feel a greater sense of empowerment and more energy!
Food and Spirit health professional training – explore creative ways to illustrate scientific concepts associated to food and receive various tools for support
2 1/2 min video on finding fresh produce in the super market – also, check out Jo Robinson’s book Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health
SCiO The World’s First Handheld Moelcular Sensor – Development Kit (1) – digital sensory tool that can assess molecular aspects of substrates such as macro-nutrient profiling of food or lab results for skin care (see demo here)
Self monitor through options such as Berkeley Test Nitric Oxide Saliva Test Strips, 10 Count or Ph Test Strips 200 Count – Great for Alkaline diet and overall ph balance – Free Alkaline Food Chart (Sent Via Email) and also ask your practitioner to provide you a Nutrition-focused Physical Assessment/Exam
In need of formalized support to make healthful lifestyle changes? Contact me through my business site.
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