After being diagnosed with cancer at age 35, Dr Amani Flood said that an all-natural diet helped her to “revamp her health.”
For more than a decade after, friends, family and acquaintances asked her to share about her experience and offer tips so they could also improve their diet and lifestyle.
Then at age 50, she decided to get formally trained as a Naturopathic Doctor, graduating from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona.
“I did pre-med for two years, followed by four years of medical school and have actually been at Northshore Medical and Aesthetic Centre [NMAC] ever since arriving back in Bermuda in 2015,” she explained.
Dr Flood recently launched a new service at NMAC, called Phytonutrients Colour Spectrum Meal Planning, which helps patients learn to eat a more varied plant based diet for better health. She insists that by eating at nine or more small servings of a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables each day can prevent ill health and provide people with more energy and vitality.
“One of the core principles of naturopathic medicine, as well as functional medicine, is we cannot achieve health and have a poor, unhealthy diet, so what we’re aiming towards are nutrient dense meals so every bite of food we eat is chock full of nutrition,” Dr Flood said.
“We usually think food should look desirable and taste good, but the true measure is how much nutrition does it deliver to our bodies to sustain us and keep us at optimal health? Not just chugging along, but cruising with our health.”
As medical practitioners around the world begin to look at people’s health more holistically, they are moving away from just treating the symptoms to identifying the underlying causes and treating those.
With the proper phytonutrient rich diet, Dr Flood says people can experience an improvement in digestion, lower blood pressure, weight loss and headaches. She explained: “Instead of eating soggy, overcooked vegetables and dried salty snacks, we should be eating lush vibrantly coloured foods that are loaded with vitamins and retained natural moisture. This type of diet can help with skin disorders, detox the body, help with liver and kidney problems, enhance vision health and strengthen hair, skin and nails.”
Working with clients, Dr Flood said people are often surprised to find this diet is easier than they thought. In addition to the meal plan, Dr Flood provides patients with a list of Rainbow Recipes they can prepare easily at home, using a variety of colourful foods.
“People may be on a low carb meal plan and may wish to avoid potatoes and yams, but there’s something called a jicama, which is like a potato, but with a lot fewer carbs,” the naturopathic doctor explained. “Some people taking blood thinner medications cannot eat leafy greens, but they can eat avocados, which contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, or cucumbers, which are high in antioxidants.
“The trick is to find out what any one person’s restrictions and limitations are and to help them explore their likes and dislikes. I encourage people to challenge themselves and try new foods, some they’ve never heard of, because they may be surprised by what they enjoy. I have people eating radishes and purple cauliflower and all kinds of foods they never tried before.”
For those who say fresh produce is too expensive in Bermuda, Dr Flood suggests looking for vegetables boxes from local farmers which cost around $35/week. Frozen produce and some canned foods like organic corn and peas can also be a cost-effective option, as well as starting a garden and growing your own fruits and vegetables.
For more information on the Phytonutrients Colour Spectrum Meal Planning, call 293-5476.