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FOOD FIRST - February 2016 - Kansas City

Olé Real Food!

By Bethany Klug


“Take a look at this record cover,” Hubby said as he shoved the album “Olé ELO” in front of my face, and declared “that’s what women used to look like!”


“Before high-fructose corn syrup,” I replied. It turns out that indeed, “Olé ELO” was released in 1976 before the widespread use of high-fructose corn syrup.


The other day I found myself saying that in my holistic and functional medicine practice, I primarily treat the imbalance between activity and rest. It was a huge realization for me as well as my friends who were looking forward to unplugging from technology and taking a break from being available 24/7 over the holidays.


So how does all of this relate to the theme of this column, Food First?


Most of us have experienced making poor food choices because we were too busy: to plan meals for the week, to get to the grocer, to prepare breakfast, to pack a lunch or even to stop and eat. That heat-and-eat, fast food or deli meal is likely packed with chemicals such as preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup and flavorings as well as genetically modified organisms which require extra effort to digest, assimilate and eliminate. The liver does not recognize these newcomers to the digestive tract. It spends a lot energy trying to convert them to something benign that it can eliminate or stores them as fat, usually the latter.


So one way to start restoring the proper balance between activity and rest is to give our digestive system a break by eating real food, preferably prepared by you or someone who loves you. Hubby and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. Over those years he has come along way in the kitchen. Here’s how he is becoming and how you can become more comfortable and even enjoy cooking for yourself and those you love.


  1. Choose food or a cuisine you enjoy. Hubby chose seafood and Indian food.

  2. Find simple recipes to start. The internet and The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi have provided him with a wealth of options. Many recipes on the internet are accompanied by helpful videos.

  3. Read the recipe from beginning to end before starting to prepare it. This is key. With an overall picture of the recipe, you’ll make fewer mistakes.

  4. Make a shopping list, if needed, and acquire the ingredients. Fresh and organic are almost always tastier.

  5. Assemble the ingredients. Good recipes list the ingredients in the order they are used. I encourage newcomers to group the ingredients in the order used. For example, if onions and garlic are sautéed together, chop them and put them on a plate. If three different spices are added together, measure them and put them on another plate. Line up the ingredients in the order used.

  6. Finally, prepare the recipe and enjoy!


Don’t let the lack of kitchen equipment stop you. Most recipes can be made with a cutting board, chef knife, skillet and a silicone spatula. It really can be that basic, however, economical stainless steel pot and pan sets are available.


A lovingly prepared meal of real food makes your entire being say “Olé!” and goes along way to restoring the balance between activity and rest in our lives.



HealthSpan, the holistic medicine practice of Dr. Bethany Klug, is offering some excellent classes this summer to help you reduce your toxic load and add some quick, easy and delicious dishes to you weekly repertoire. Learn more at



Bethany Klug, DO created HealthSpan out of a deep wish: for everyone to experience vibrant health. We go beyond the conventional pill-for an-ill approach to educate and inspire you so you can successfully make positive steps toward greater health and wellbeing. Learn more at or 913-642-1900.

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