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A New Spin On Holistic Cooking

Chef Laura Rodriguez's Health Journey Uses Delicious Food To Combat Health Woes

Article by Nicole Bell

Photography by Payton Wright Photography

Originally published in Gallatin Lifestyle

There have been a lot of misconceptions about holistic food and eating healthy. Fears of flavorful foods losing their delicious tastes or having to drastically overhaul an entire diet with substitutes of favorite foods for other options lead the way in preoccupations.  While getting through the mindset of change can be difficult, there are certainly a few options that most don’t think of that can drastically improve health simply by adjusting what we consume. That specific change of routine and diet is exactly where Chef Laura Rodriguez comes in!

Over the past decade, Laura has managed her rheumatoid arthritis and has reversed a handful of other conditions through a healthy diet and lifestyle simply through many anti-inflammatory recipes and replacing problematic foods–many things we don’t often think of. “Inflammation is the root of all disease, including autoimmune conditions and eating flare-free food just simply helps reduce the inflammation,” says Laura. Learning how to cook when living in Italy and as a vegetarian at the time, one of Laura’s friends worked in the kitchen of a local seafood restaurant and would teach her how to make every vegetarian Italian dish possible including pasta, eggplant parmesan and pizza. Laura’s eyes opened to new experiences and her mind began to focus on making meaningful changes in her life, as well as being used as a resource for others. Soon, she was researching and visiting farmer’s markets, eating vegetables she wasn’t previously familiar with, and did away with things like that processed parmesan cheese in the sprinkle-top canister after she realized what real parmesan cheese was! Ever since then, Laura has been in love with food and holistic cooking which has led her to help so many others on their journey to healing!

Most of Laura’s clients experience an overall improvement in their pain levels, quality of life and overall health once they truly embrace the lifestyle cooking for which she advocates and instructs. The anti-inflammatory recipes that are full of gut healing ingredients and stabilizing blood sugar are the lifeblood of individualized health. “Food is medicine and your body wants to heal itself,” she says. Laura has experienced firsthand diseases that impact the way and functionality of life and going through it has allowed her to connect with clients on a deeper level–from a position of empathy. While now building her business from what she wished was available to her during the time she was healing, she now makes it her mission to pass along her experiences and to help form a plan for healthier eating for those who are on the same journey. “I live to serve and I’m kind of an encyclopedia of all things holistic healing,” Laura says. It’s the driving force behind everything she does in her Flare Free Academy. If prepping and cooking isn’t your thing, Chef Laura also provides personal chef services, tailored to clients on an individualized plan depending solely on what her clients need and on specific health goals.

“You have to listen to what your body is trying to tell you and give what it needs,” she explains. Starting an anti-inflammatory diet is an easy place to start and Laura has become an absolute subject matter expert in the space. Laura will help craft a plan and will even teach you how to make your top-5 favorite dishes in a flare-free/anti-inflammatory way which is much more sustainable than trying to teach people to love salmon or kale salad. When you can simply change a few ingredients to remove the bad and substitute them with a better option while still being able to eat that same favorite dish, there really isn’t a better way to healthy options!

Laura is thankful for where she is and appreciative of her journey. It wasn’t without difficulty or angst. It took Laura three months to start feeling better after starting a flare-free diet and two years to knock out her sugar addiction. This complete lifestyle change is not a quick diet or a quick fix. The path is not easy for some; but, seeing clients go from hopelessness, overwhelmed and confused, to excited, inspired and motivated to start using food as medicine as part of their healing journey, is the most enjoyable and rewarding feeling for her. “It’s not easy and the path won’t be linear but healing is possible!” Like every long journey, that linear path begins with the first step.

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