VITALS 42. Emergency room doctor and private chef who merged her two passions to create The Foodie Physician, a health and wellness blog and brand. As the youngest daughter of two physicians, Sonali Ruder has the medical profession in her genes. She met her husband, Pete, during medical residency in New York, where she’s from and where they both practiced emergency medicine after their training. They moved to South Florida six years ago in search of warmer weather and soon welcomed a daughter, Sienna. Ruder created The Foodie Physician while attending culinary school as a way to share recipes with friends and family. Over the years, it has evolved into a broader health site, with Ruder sharing her wellness advice and chef-driven dishes.
FROM STRESS TO SUCCESS Ruder started cooking during her residency to relieve stress. Then she entered some cooking contests — and even won a few. “After that I was hooked so I decided to attend culinary school to learn the fundamentals.”
BLOGGER BEGINNINGS “I got tired of writing prescriptions and just sending people home. I wanted to help with prevention, so I merged my culinary and medical backgrounds.”
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OVERCOMING FEAR “My goal is to give people the confidence to get into their kitchen. The best way to eat healthy is to cook at home. Check out my site for recipes, and start simple.” Check out the Recipe Resuscitation page, where Ruder takes traditional heavy recipes and makes them lighter but still tasty.
IT’S A LIFESTYLE “Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so I don’t believe in depriving oneself. It’s OK to splurge. But a healthy lifestyle is a journey not a destination. Quick diets don’t work. Start by setting reasonable goals combined with the right food, portion control, physical activity, no smoking and less alcohol.”
FOODS THAT HEAL Ruder’s current top six: kale, wild salmon, oats, berries, Greek yogurt, turmeric.
ALL IN THE FAMILY Ruder’s parents cook together every day. “As a kid I didn’t appreciate that they made us fresh homemade food. I just wanted Kraft Mac & Cheese and the ultimate American food: frozen TV dinners.”
DID YOU KNOW? “Spicy foods have a molecule called capsaicin that binds to temperature receptors on your tongue that detect heat so it tricks the body into thinking the tongue is being burned. The best way to cool off is not water. It’s dairy. It has a protein called casein that neutralizes.”
PENNING A COOKBOOK — OR FOUR Ruder’s written four cookbooks, but her two most recent cookbooks — Natural Pregnancy Cookbook and Natural Baby Food — were inspired by her daughter. “I personally did the research, because I don’t really know what to believe. The books answer questions I had and include my recipes.”
ALWAYS REMEMBER “You have the power to take control of your health. In most cases it is possible to get off diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol medications, but it takes time and work. Little changes lead to big results.”
DOING IT ALL “I’m proud that I’ve been able to balance everything. I practice medicine, I’m a food blogger, plus I’m a mom and wife.”