Rocco DiSpirito talks real food, health and eating for a better you


Real food can and does impact your health. Rocco DiSpirito shares his advice on eating for a better you, which is both healthy and delicious.

Can you eat your way to better health? Celebrated chef Rocco DiSpirito advocates for real food and eating for a better you. By changing what and how you eat, your body can respond. Whether you are looking for better digestion or a more sound sleep, the food that you eat impacts all aspects of your health. Are you ready to eat your way to a better you?

Recently, FoodSided had the opportunity to interview Chef Rocco. He partnered with Cigna on an initiative to encourage people to have a discussion with their doctors about creating a pain plan. The Cigna initiative encourages “Americans to have a pain plan and talk with the healthcare provider about it.”

Chef Rocco has become an advocate and an activist for real food. While many people gravitate to the convenience of processed foods, those choices can play havoc on a person’s health. Making the choice to focus on better food choices can have a beneficial impact on overall health. From more energy to reducing pain, the food fuels our bodies and everyone should want their body to function at its optimum levels.

Rocco DiSpirito talks real food, health and eating for a better you, photo provided by Rocco DiSpirito

During our conversation, Chef Rocco shared his insight on eating for well, ways to reduce inflammation and easy recipes to eat for a better you.

FoodSided: Why did you choose to partner with Cigna on this initiative?

Chef Rocco: In the cooking world, injuries are an everyday occurrence but how you manage your pain can make all the difference.

It’s important to raise awareness and share solutions to help inform your pain management conversation with your health care provider.

Developing a pain plan can start with texting “Help with Pain” to 25792 where you’ll receive a list of questions you can ask your health care provider. You can also learn more about your prescriptions on Cigna’s Help with Pain website.

FoodSided: Many people are looking at anti-inflammatory diets to improve their overall health, do you think these food choices are a trend or are people understanding that food impacts their health?

Chef Rocco: I’m an advocate and an activist for real food. Real food is always healthier and more delicious than highly processed food and is a better source of nutrients. Eating real foods are proven to help with better digestion, improved heart health, and better sleep – among so many other benefits. Alternately, sugar, dairy and gluten can wreck total havoc on your mind and body. You can feel it.

Food plays such a critical role in one’s health. I’ve dedicated my life’s work to proving that healthy and delicious are not mutually exclusive. All the recipes in my latest and biggest cookbook yet, Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious, are inspired by the dishes I make every day for my fresh food delivery service clients. I create fully prepared meals that are delivered right to their doors wherever they are – at work, at home, or on vacation – anywhere in the country. All the meals are sourced from fresh, local, organic ingredients that are nutrient dense, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. With specially curated menus and 24/7 food coaching, I’m able to help my clients experience total healthy lifestyle transformations, built on a foundation of eating real food.

Boost overall health with Rocco DiSpirito’s high protein, gluten free pancakes, photo provided by Rocco DiSpirito

FoodSided: Can certain foods exacerbate inflammation or do foods affect people differently?

Chef Rocco: Dairy has an inflammatory effect in the body and packs a ton of calories so I do my best to avoid it. When I decided to take charge of my health, I spent a lot of time creating recipes to replace dairy in my cooking. Look to nondairy milks, like coconut milk and almond milk – I think these are superior in taste to regular dairy foods. I also cook with non-dairy cheeses like cashew cheese.

Gluten also promotes chronic inflammation throughout the body if you’re sensitive or allergic to it. Gluten triggers leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that sends signals to the brain when you’re full and keeps your hunger in check. Leptin resistance can make you prone to overeating. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to avoid gluten. Try gluten-free flours made from legumes, ancient grains and nuts.

FoodSided: Are there certain foods that can help to reduce pain or help with pain management?

Chef Rocco: Lots of foods have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with pain management including dark chocolate, nuts, cayenne, salmon, to name a few.

FoodSided: Is there one superfood or group of foods that everyone should eat for better health?

Chef Rocco: Eat more plants for better health. It’s as simple as it sounds. Go back to basics and eat more of the things that are produced by Mother Nature and less of the things that are made in a factory. The nutrients in fresh, organic vegetables and fruits help our bodies to not only survive but thrive. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to eat the same old salad or steamed broccoli every day. You can prepare fresh vegetables in totally new and delicious ways – my cookbook has almost 250 mostly plant-based recipes for you to dive into and enjoy.

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Much of the advice and reasoning that Chef Rocco provides is relatively easy to add or modify in anyone’s current lifestyle. Even adding just a few more servings of fruits and vegetable can have a positive impact on anyone’s lifestyle.

Radical, massive changes aren’t necessarily the easiest options for many people and many people don’t stick with those modification. Adopting many of Chef Rocco’s changes are doable by anyone. Plus, when you start feeling better, having more energy and feeling less pain, the bigger lifestyle change can be easier.

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Truthfully, there is no magic pill in this world. But, smart, real food choices can have a huge impact on anyone’s overall health. Are you ready to make the change to feel better and discover the better you?