Medicine in the Kitchen with Dr. Millie


Published: 02/10/2014

by Dr. Millie Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS


Medicine in the Kitchen: increasing the nutritional value of your food

Food is the medicine you consume at least three times per day. If your food is not you’re medicine it could be the poisoning you slowly. Nutrition trends currently include eating Local, 100 mile, organic, non-GMO, macrobiotic and whole food diets.

Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution has been quoted as saying “save your life, cook at home”.

But you have to know what to cook, and equally as important is how to cook. Foods that have been prepared slowly with traditional methods may take some organization but nutritionally speaking it is well worth the effort.

Of course, in order to increase the nutritional content of your food you add more fruits and vegetables. You can create even more medicinal value by preparing foods in specific ways to reduce inflammation and enhance digestibility, absorbability and nutrient density. If a crock pot cooking is your idea of slow food, then read on.

6 Ways to Turn Up the Nutritional Heat in Your Kitchen


Dried food stuffs can be hard as rocks due to enzyme inhibitors, phytates and dehydrated fibers.

Before you eat or cook dried foodstuff such as beans, nuts, seeds, grains and even flours soak them to enhance digestion and absorbability of nutrients. Especially if you are prone to gas, bloating, indigestion and fatigue after you eat this is a key process for you.

All you need are 4 things: 1) liquid, 2) acidity, 3) warmth and 4) time.  In the evening before I got to bed I prepare my breakfast for the following morning I take out a ceramic bowl and add 1 cup of whole organic oats (can use rice, quinoa, teff, millet, wheat berries), 2 tablespoons of whole flax seeds. I cover with water and add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Sometimes I cover with buttermilk or whey (the liquid from yogurt) and water. It works either way. I store in a warm place overnight, like the oven or my warm counter top. In the morning, the cereal can be heated on the stove top but is otherwise it’s ready to eat. No need to cook.


If you continue the soaking process you can actually change the nutrient structure of your foods.

Just like in the garden, a dormant seed becomes a living plant with water and sunlight. This process can happen on your kitchen counter as well. Sprouting changes the proteins of foods into nucleic acids, breaks down the starchy carbos and maximizes the vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

For instance, unlike the cereal grain wheat, sprouted wheat grass has no gluten and is rich in magnesium, vitamin C, B6 and folic acid.  After soaking for 8-24 hours, move the objects of your affection to a transparent glass mason jar covered with cheese cloth to keep out the dirt.

Most any non-irradiated seed, lentil, bean, pea or grain can be sprouted with regular rinsing in a mason jar. Depending on the size and density, a tail will start to grow within 24-48 hours. Place in the sunlight and continue rinsing every 8 hours to grow a longer and greener tail.


You may be surprised to hear a doctor tell you to take salt.  This is of course within reason.  Some people avoid salt altogether when in actual fact you need up to 1500mcg daily.

Instead of bleached and chemically derived table salt, or the abundant salt in canned and fast foods, go for all natural Celtic Sea, khombu strips or Himalayan salt to your cooking as a source of 99 trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, selenium, boron and silica. The point is, not all salt is the same.

Adding salt to fresh vegetables can initiate the pickling process, whereby the food is preserved with wholesome bacteria. Make some quick pickles by sprinkling thinly sliced cucumbers or radishes with a generous handful of salt, some fresh dill and weight them down with a ceramic bowl full of water. After 8 hours dump the liquid and serve.




While commercially prepared condiments are filled with sugar, starch and preservatives, a big mistake many people make is avoiding dressing altogether. A simple salad dressing with a tablespoon each of olive oil and lemon juice satisfies hunger and increase nutrient assimilation from your salad, breaking down oxalates and making raw spinach more digestible.  What’s more, a dipping sauce with a teaspoon each of miso paste, liquid aminos/tamari, maple syrup, fresh lime juice, tahini and a clove of garlic is nutritious and delicious.


Herbs and spices are not just for flavor. Spices, like cumin, coriander, fennel, pepper come from nature’s most nutritious food: seeds. Like pumpkin and sunflower, spice seeds are packed with anti-inflammatory omega 3 oils, healing zinc and protein. Fresh herbs like cilantro, sage, mint, parsley, rosemary and thyme are meanwhile rich in chlorophyll, B Vitamins, and immune boosting essential oils. Cooking with fresh food is healthier for you, and it is cheaper.

Skyrocket your nutrition while lowering your food budget.  Traditional ways of cooking are cost effective because you buy foods in their whole and natural state. A cup of brown rice goes further than a cup of white rice because it’s more filling. You can’t eat as much. Once you get in the habit of preparing foods days in advance, you find you always have food ready to eat and the next meal is on its way. When you are always in the process of preparing food, you no longer need to rely on convenience food. The need for canned and TV dinners, expensive fast food, Take Out and chips for supper disappears. You have your own production line of health food on rotation.


  About the Author:  

 Dr. Millie Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS is a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine  (2002), a private 4 year post-graduate, accredited medical school, and earned her Masters of Public   Health in Hamburg, Germany. She is a Naturopathic Doctor, certified nutrition specialist and radio host of two weekly shows on AM and internet radio. She is the founder and CEO of Millie says, Inc. providing naturopathic medicine with virtual and in-person anti-aging, nutrition programs. Follow on Google+ or visit her website at for more information. She practices in  Manhattan, Brooklyn and virtually.