Philosophies of a Farm-to-Fork Nutritionist

by Mallory Nowak, NTP

People often ask what I eat. Am I vegetarian? Vegan? Paleo? Do I subscribe to the keto craze? My response: “I eat real food.” 

I realized early-on that people usually assume I’m joking.

“Opposed to fake food?” they often chuckle.

To answer their question, yes: my primary emphasis is on real, unadulterated food. My overarching philosophy on nutrition is that all animals (including humans) should adhere to their native diets. Seems intuitive enough, right? Most of my philosophies on nutrition and wellness are! 

Living in the farm-to-fork capital makes clean eating an easy feat. From an agricultural perspective, the Central Valley of California is one of the most abundant regions in the world. Sacramento’s collective of local grocers (I love me some Corti Brothers!), real-deal butchers (Taylor’s Market, anyone?), slow foods restaurants (hi, Magpie!) and daily farmer’s markets make for quite the bountiful food scene. It’s easily my favorite attribute of the area. 

We have a lot of responsibility surrounding our food choices. The creation of all food (whether plant- or animal-based) requires sacrifice; it requires the use of resources. Food waste and food packaging are important concerns and we ought to give them the recognition they deserve. Fostering creativity in the kitchen and finding ways to utilize food in its entirety are ways to prevent unnecessary food waste. In addition to sporting reusable shopping bags, we can opt out of foods with excessive packaging (including pre-packaged produce) to lessen our burden on the environment. 

And then I have some rather unconventional beliefs: my stances on sun exposure, dietary cholesterol, salt and saturated fat all come to mind instantaneously (but we’ll save those for a future discussion!). I believe gut health is of utmost importance and water is under-rated. I believe ‘health’ embodies so much more than the absence of dis-ease. I wholeheartedly believe in the functional medicine model, which aims to address the root cause of disorder as opposed to symptom suppression. I believe food can be medicine, but our society is largely confused about what “food” is.

Broadly, I believe our bodies have the innate ability to self-heal when given the raw materials to do so. I look forward to sharing time-honored nutritional wisdom, local resources and earth-loving tips with my community! 

In health,
Mallory Nowak, NTP

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