In her website’s homepage, Alison Birks invites us to “discover how food is good medicine”. A Holistic Health Counselor, Nutritionist and Clinical Herbalist in practice since 1997, Alison presented to us her work in this special interview for MysticMag and why turmeric root is underestimated and we should buy it in the next visit to the market.
Check out the interview below!
Can you give us examples of foods that are good medicines?
Foods to add into your diet that are considered medicinal include those high in polyphenols, such as berries, green tea and cold-pressed olive oil. Mushrooms, fermented foods and anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric or ginger are also good medicine.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges to eat properly? Is it time to prepare, cost, too much work/family obligations…?
Time constraints and access to high quality food are the biggest challenges most people face. In order to eat well, you must be able to prepare and cook fresh, locally grown, organic foods.
What should we look for when going to a supermarket and buying food for the week?
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and buy foods that are unprocessed. Whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, lean meats, seafood and cultured dairy products such as plain yogurt and kefir are some of the staple items that I recommend.
Since you started in 1997, what were the biggest challenges that impacted your work, positively or negatively?
One of the biggest challenges that has affected my work as a Nutritionist is the impact that the internet and social media has had on my profession.
With the rise in popularity of Influencer culture, the real benefits of dietary supplements, herbal medicine and nutrition have been confounded by a cult of personality mentality, slick marketing and an absence of science literacy by many Influencers.
What do you ask first and look for when someone asks you to prepare a nutrition program?
One of the first things I ask a new client is: “Describe your goals and what do you hope to get out of our time together?” I try to meet people exactly where they are and to help them find solutions.
Do you have an ingredient, vegetable, fruit etc that is underestimated and can help people from all ages and health conditions?
I am a big fan of turmeric root. It is one of the most extensively researched herbs. Because it is profoundly anti-inflammatory, it addresses the root cause of most chronic diseases. Add the powdered herb into your cooking, along with some fat and black pepper, which aid absorption of the active constituents.