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Unlocking The Healing Powers Of Food

A holistic chef taught members of the community how they can use food as medicine at a Power Foods lecture at the Hicksville Public Library on Wednesday, March 5.

Lee Perrotta has been a chef for almost 30 years but has officially been holistic for about 20 years. Next week, she graduates as a certified Ayurvedic practitioner.

According to Perrotta, ayurveda is the science of life. It is the ancient way of holistic medicine from India and was the first medicine that ever existed. Ayurveda strives to bring human beings and animals into perfect balance and alignment through lifestyle, diet choices and environment.

In her lecture, Perrotta gave cooking tips and health advice based on Ayurvedic beliefs. Attendees of the lecture asked questions and wrote down notes throughout the entire lecture, including audience member Kathy Politis. “I couldn’t write the notes down fast enough,” she said. “It was fantastic.”

Politis remarked on how much she learned from the lecture. She was most shocked by how beneficial spices are for a person’s health. “They’re so easily applied and available,” she said. “You just take the spices and put them in your food and it can really impact your meal.”

If Perrotta could give one piece of advice to the public, she recommends the Ayurvedic technique of eating anti-inflammatory foods. “I believe, and have heard from experts, that a lot of diseases come from inflammation in the body,” she said. “If you can eat foods that target to bring down inflammation, I think that’s such a good starting point for people.”

Some anti-inflammatory foods include turmeric, coconut and chocolate. Turmeric, also known as “the spice of life,” has miraculous benefits, according to the Ayurvedic beliefs that Perrotta practices.

“I pretty much put turmeric in the food that I’m cooking every day,” she said. “Spices are typically underutilized. I think that people can incorporate spices into their lives a lot more.”

The benefits of turmeric impressed Politis, who plans to implement what she learned into her cooking. “I’m going to go to Whole Foods and go shopping right away,” she said.

In addition to lectures on Power Foods, Perrotta gives lectures on Weight Loss with Herbs in towns across Long Island. She also classifies herself as a “diehard chocoholic” and will never give up her favorite food. She now uses chocolate as medicine in her holistic practices. “I found a way to blend the best of both worlds,” she said.

Perrotta believes that people should still eat their favorite junk foods, but just not every day. “I believe that people should do all things in moderation,” she said.

If she can get one person to feel better and improve his or her health through holistic healing, then Perrotta feels that she did her job.

“I just want to help people,” she said.  “I feel like knowledge is power and if people know, then you can make a choice.”