Kindred Spirits: Slow Food and Naturopathic Medicine + new podcast

Slow Food and patient centered medicine

I can’t quite remember the first time I heard of Slow Food. But, I do remember the meals that would seal the deal. Just before graduating from college, I spent Easter in Northern Italy with close Italian friends. We ate homemade salami, lamb chops with mint, hazelnut profiteroles, lingered over red wine and laughed until my belly hurt.

With that memory in mind, it’s no wonder that Slow Food, as a movement, would be born out of Italian culture.

It’s a place where things happen at a different pace, so when McDonald’s was set to open at the Spanish Steps in Rome in 1986, a group protested by eating bowls of penne pasta demanding slow food instead of fast food. The group evolved to become the non-profit Slow Food, an international collection of chapters with the mission to promote good, clean and fair food.

And while the movement focuses heavily on farmers, producers and food justice, what’s really at the heart of Slow Food is a rally cry not only in response to fast food, but also to fast life.

A call to transform the culture of quick, fast and easy to one of slow, connected and interdependent.

It's in this sense that I think it’s such a perfect bridge to broaden the conversation into medicine and healing. Short doctor visits, the favoring of quick fixes over healing the root cause, and the overuse of pharmaceutical interventions are just another aspect of the same fast life.

There is a kindred theme at play. How do we reclaim our health in the face of this pressure to live in such a fast way?

The principles of Slow Food are very similar to naturopathic medicine in that they both offer us the possibility to embrace a different way of being. A way of being where food is medicine, connection is prioritized and there is reverence and curiosity of how an entire system interplays.  

It’s this vein of curiosity that brought me to produce a podcast for Slow Food Portland. Over the course of the year, I’ll release one podcast each month talking with someone in the food world about what it means to bump up against fast life. I’ll be sure to share each new conversation here.

My first interview is with Chef Ryan Mead with whom I had the pleasure of planning a wonderful farm dinner last year. You can listen by clicking here.

You’ll learn:

  • How the farm dictates menu development
  • How hunting and fishing has made him a more responsible steward of whole animal butchery
  • The catalyst that made him stop and rethink the fine dining experience
  • His dream for food and community to be a transformative force in rebuilding Detroit

My hope is that these conversations will inspire you to take advantage of slow moments in your life in whatever form they may take. Whether it’s around the table, savoring time at the park with your kids, or nestling in with a good story, keep an eye out. It’s grand out there!


All my best,