What Is A Healthy Tourist?

Hey y’all. I’m going to be exploring food and food culture in a new way over the next few months. This series will be from my perspective and isn’t meant to guide or change your own habits. I’m not a doctor or anything and definitely am not a nutritionist. (Cheese Puffs equal dinner, right?) Let me explain…

When I was little, it was the 70s. We didn’t have a lot of processed food options at home other than Velveeta. My mother or grandmother made everything from scratch. Somehow though, food became a reward…or a punishment. If I did something good, I was rewarded with a snack and if I didn’t like something on my plate, I had to sit there at the table until I finished it.  This is where I give a solid shout-out to the planter in our dining room that had so much casserole buried in it.

I was talking to Celine Duvoisin at Market on South about her own food journey and she said something that really resonated…”I’m not a dog, I don’t perform for treats.” The hard work she’s put into building a healthy relationship to the food she eats while making decadent desserts for Orlando is truly impressive. I’m moving closer to a milestone birthday and have decided to make some changes in what, how, and when I cook and eat.

The first step is in figuring out if I have any food sensitivities. When I was a kid, I was sensitive to milk products and still am. And in 2010 I developed an allergy to garlic. It has been the worst ever. It’s in EVERYTHING. When I have eaten garlic in any form and in any amount, my reaction has been neurological and generally feels like I’m having a stroke. Over the past 2 years however, my allergy has slowly subsided to a sensitivity. Why? How?

I decided to connect with someone who could help me find some answers, Alexa Schmidt. She’s a neurotherapist and nutritionist at Whole Family Healthcare in Winter Park. I went in last week to get my blood tested and ran into an 80 year old man who was getting a bright orange vitamin IV. I asked him if he thought it helped him and he said absolutely. In a thick Belgian accent he told me that our bodies are like cars and have to be kept tuned up. To be honest, he seemed very energetic and positive.

Alexa and I visited the Audubon Park Community Market where we talked to Gabriela Lothrop, who’s been running the market since 2009. We met vendors, talked to farmers and growers and makers all here in Central Florida. What I found is that the food I tasted here didn’t taste at all like what I buy in Publix. Flavors are stronger, brighter, and food lasts longer when you buy it just picked that day.

So, as I explore food, nutrition, and wellness feel free to add your own questions or comments. Everyone is different and we’re all searching for an accessible way to be our best selves. Or, like me, you’ve been too busy avoiding it to really explore. Now’s as good a time as any. Let’s go!