If you’ve done any reading at all on the topic of inflammation, you know that it’s how our bodies and immune systems react to threats. That’s a good thing when an injury or broken bone induces swelling, which protects and leads to alerting us to treat the area tenderly. It also leads to healing. But the type of inflammation that is evident in some bodies (most of ours, actually) isn’t so great. Functional doctors and holistic practitioners worldwide have long realized that chronic inflammation throughout the body is the most devastating condition for our physical wellness. That is especially true in the gut, which often extends to increasing inflammation in our other organs without warning. Hard to detect but easy to prevent and solve if diligent, reducing inflammation is step one for anyone seeking a healthier mind and body.
Our digestive systems are more telling than any other part of our beings. Many life-damaging diseases can be prevented with just some simple attention daily for proper flow and balance in the gut. Rather than popping an antacid, bloating pill, or other over-the-counter (chemical-laden) remedy, it’s smarter to avoid this habitual self-treatment by avoiding the symptoms in the first place.
This starts with eating the right foods and consuming the required nutrients and minerals, which can differ for each person. If you eat to feel energetic instead of to please your taste buds or satisfy your sugar addiction, that’s the basis of the gut-health strategy. Organic produce and grass-fed and pasture-raised meats and eggs in your grocery cart are also determining factors, and something a lot of people blow off as not that important in terms of an eating plan. That kind of thinking is quickly being outdated and challenged by a growing number of experienced professionals in various wellness practices.
The biggest complaint about buying strictly organic and sustainably raised groceries is the expense or difficulty in finding enough choice in those categories. If you invest in quality foods, you’re unlikely to need those weekly drug-store stomach soothers, cough syrups, or pain relievers as food truly is medicine. Basically, you are making an exchange in spending and one that is a much smarter investment as it also prevents even more costly medical treatments down the road.
You will find that many restaurants are taking note of requests for more sustainable and thoughtfully raised ingredients, so always ask before going or research online. It’s becoming almost mainstream for chef-driven and locally owned places to base menus on this type of offering. This is also true of traditional grocery stores where organic and health food sections are expanding bit by bit. Explore the isles and make comments to the manager to order what you’re seeking, always. People forget that our spending dollars are impactful. The more we purchase a higher quality of produce and meat, the greater the offerings will be in the market – including restaurants.
Here are a few key choices for local leaders in consistently focusing on stocking and serving items for the wellness-minded consumer.
FOOD SHOPPING SOURCES
The Farmer’s Market– The best place to find just-picked, organic produce and farm-fresh eggs.
Turnip Truck – 3 locations in various neighborhoods throughout the community.
The Produce Place—Sylvan Park’s mainstay with a focus on locally made and grown items.
Whole Foods—Downtown, Green Hills, and Cool Springs locations of the health-food mecca.
Fresh Market -Brentwood specialty food store also carrying a big selection of gourmet dairy and gluten alternatives.
Sprouts – Bellevue and Franklin. Organic departments, grass-fed meat source, and strong supplement section.
RESTAURANTS & TAKE OUT
AVO—Vegan Menu with a focus on fresh and organic vegetables with nuts, seeds and herbs.
Butcher & the Bee– inventive East Nashville hotspot using exclusively seasonal, locally grown and raised ingredients.
Chopt – The bowls are filled with what you choose, so load up on the good stuff and trust it’s organic.
True Food Kitchen- A menu filled with delicious creations focused on nutrients and carefully sourced ingredients in the heart of Green Hills.
The Café at Thistle Farms—Big salads, hearty and warming soups are filled with organic and locally sourced goodness.
The Juice Bar and Clean Juice- -Both are sources for not just organic and fresh-squeezed blends but healthy food choices as well with multiple locations.
Sometimes navigating menus or grocery shelves isn’t easy for those who don’t have time or label-reading know-how. If that’s the case, look to local professionals that specialize in optimizing nutrition for clients.
Chef Laura Rodriguez – She’s a personal chef but also a big healthy eating resource in the community. From recipes to shopping tips, she’s helpful for all levels of personal assistance needs for those who already know what they need for their bodies.
M Power Performance—If you are super-active (or want to be), this professionally staffed facility can craft a nutrition program suited to fuel your athletic and fitness pursuits for ideal performance. M Power has locations in Mid Town Nashville, Cool Springs and Green Hills.
Nashville Nutrition Partners—This is a good resource for newbies who are looking to take small steps on improving their eating habits and need a guide to keep them on track. Priced by the session, this can be as involved or as removed as you would like depending on your willpower and accountability habits.