Think of Food as Food

Several years ago I was interviewing the highly-respected Greek nutrition scientist Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou. She had studied thousands of Greeks over a span of several decades in order to understand the nutritional effects of a Mediterranean diet (defined by an abundance of healthy oils, whole grains, vegetables and legumes) on long-term health. “So just how healthy is olive oil?” I asked, eager to codify the benefits of each food group for the article I was writing.

food as food

“Olive oil is an essential part of what makes the Mediterranean diet healthy,” she answered. But as I scribbled notes and scanned studies, she continued on. “If we look at one nutrient at a time, though, we miss the way they interact. It’s a cocktail of everything that makes this type of diet so good.”

As I tried to deconstruct food into its building blocks, Dr. Trichopoulou kept bringing them back into context, talking about how tasty greens are when sautéed in olive oil with garlic and a squeeze of lemon, or how Greeks like to snack on simmered beans. “It’s much more effective to look at the health of your whole lifestyle rather than individual foods.”

That interview changed the way I thought of healthy eating. Yet amid the constant barrage of diet and nutrition advice here in America I sometimes find myself slipping back into that old reductive view of food. Avocados and olive oil cease to be really tasty things and instead turn into “good sources of monounsaturated fats” (with a tinge of guilt because, well, they’re fats). Tomatoes morph from luscious little orbs into things that are “packed with lycopene,” and whole grain bread goes from being a textural marvel to being “heart healthy.”

While it’s important to understand the impact that certain food groups and nutrients have on our bodies–and we have and will continue looking at them from several different angles on NOURISH Evolution–what Dr. Trichopoulou taught me is that it’s even more important to carry that information back up to 35,000 feet and remember that, ultimately, if your plate is full of things that didn’t come out of a box or container it’s probably a healthy meal.

Most important of all, though, is to remember to think of food as food.

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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.


I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!

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Watch the video and download the customized action plan to take the first step on your nourish evolution now.

Watch the video and download my customized action plan to take the first step on your nourish evolution now.

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