What do you do with a negative medical diagnosis? Do you ask for a “cure”? Try to get on the fastest acting medication? Or do you embark on a journey to discover health by a means other than prescription pills and hospital visits.
For Florence Bertheau, it was the 2008 diagnosis of her daughter’s Autism that set her on a life-long journey to find “health through food”. One that shifted her away from her traditional training in buttery, meat-heavy, French cooking to a more healthful plant-based diet.
According to Chef Flo, as she is called, “I began to experiment with an alkaline diet—rich in green vegetables, nuts, gluten free grain—and I saw it had a profoundly positive affect on my daughter’s health and on my own health. I created my own eating protocol for food based on three principles: Plant based, gluten-free and pH-balance.”
Building on 25 years of culinary experience cooking for her students and celebrity clients, many of Chef Flo’s clients began to ask her to help them with their own dietary challenges. She began to put weekly meals together to help those in need of a more balanced way of eating that was both convenient and affordable.
“I was determined to use this shift to help others receive dietary components needed to achieve health through food, so I started FoodFlo Meal Delivery Service,” explains Chef Flo. The online based service allows you to place an order on Saturday and receive a freshly cooked meal by Monday. Local delivery is available in Los Angeles and Orange County. Overnight shipping is also available throughout California, Arizona and Nevada.
Flo also swears by the use of adaptogenic foods—identified as being able to help the body adapt to and cope with stress—to help clients overall health, strengthen the immune system, boost energy and raise sense of well-being. Most adaptogens are herbs, but they can also be found in blueberries, cacao, coconut milk, ginger, goji berries, shiitake mushrooms and potatoes.
When discussing her journey of finding health through food, Chef Flo urges that, “The value of whole foods and proper hydration has been lost in our society as people have been conditioned to drink less water and eat more refined and processed foods. These foods have been stripped of crucial ingredients such as fiber vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients as well as essential fatty acids. This directly contributes to our society’s ill health.”
Currently Chef Flo prepares meals for up to 40 clients each week, many of whom come to her with health concerns and specific dietary restrictions. Bringing the practice of mindfulness to her work, Chef Flo cooks with the intention of improving the health of her clients by selecting the best ingredients, researching the most nutritional foods and bringing more than 35 years of culinary expertise into the mix.
Chef Flo leaves us with this advice, “Making mindful decisions about what you eat will without a doubt result in improvement in all realms of your life. We need to keep in mind that we are bio-identical beings. There is no such thing as one diet fits all model. Our job is to become mindful about how certain foods make us feel and then make the proper adjustments to eat more of what makes us feel good and less of what zaps our energy.”
Heirloom Carrot Salad with Currants, Walnuts and Sunflower Seeds
Yields 8 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 6 large heirloom carrots (yellow, white and red)
- 1 cup dried currants (blueberries, raisins or cranberries can be substituted)
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or more to taste)
- ½ cup sunflower seed oil (or grapeseed oil)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Shred the carrots by hand or in a food processor.
- Toss the carrots with currants, walnuts and sunflower seeds and parsley.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, sunflower seed oil, salt and pepper.
- Toss salad with dressing. Serve room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.