Cooking with purpose: Natalie’s 4 tips for healthy eating

Natalie Gulbis

I love to cook. Few things are more refreshing or relaxing to me than creating something delicious in the kitchen. I enjoy creating new recipes, reinventing old family recipes and recreating a dish from a restaurant. Cooking is one of my passions, and it’s rewarding to be able to elevate an old favorite to something new and delicious.

Although cooking is one of my favorite things to do, it used to be a difficult task for me to accomplish because of my back pain. I injured my back while golfing on the LPGA tour when I was about 18 years old. I lived in pain for several years before I found relief at Laser Spine Institute. I am now able to cook and stand for long periods of time without pain because of my minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute more than 5 years ago.

Decrease the sodium. Reducing the sodium in your recipes can go a long way in helping you stay healthy.If a recipe calls for salt, try substituting another herb or spice in place of salt. Instead, add some garlic, thyme, sage or parsley to your meals. You can also try marinating your chicken in wine or lemon or orange juice. You can also swap that salted butter for unsalted butter.

Increase the veggies. Look for ways to add more vegetables to every recipe. If you’re making pizza for dinner, why not skip the meaty toppings and opt for some fresh veggies. That’s one pizza you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

Choose good carbs. Another easy way to make your meal healthier is to choose good carbohydrates. Trade those mashed potatoes for their low-carb counterpart: mashed cauliflower. You can also use cauliflower as a substitute for rice. Or if you’re really craving something starchy, try baked sweet potato chips.

Substitute healthy fats. There are also many ways that you can reduce the fat in your recipe. Try swapping mayo out for some Greek yogurt. You can use Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream, too. Or you could try some avocado instead.

Making these changes isn’t difficult and can help you create healthier meals that are lower in calories. Cutting calories and eating healthier foods can help you maintain a healthy weight and ward off chronic back pain. By cooking healthy meals, I’ve been able to maintain my weight and help prevent the possibility of future back pain.

If you are suffering from chronic neck or back pain like I was, I encourage you to contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about your options. I did, and it was the best thing I ever did for my back, and for my life.

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