Veggies are the Answer

Everyone can Agree on This: Plants are Good for You

As the sun, warmth and greenery arrives with bounty of summer, I am reminded that the answer to my wellness and that of patients is so simple:

“Eat food…mostly plants”- Michael Pollan, NY Times Journalist and Best-Selling Author

Thankfully, farmer’s markets are thriving throughout the state.  So, find your local ones and get to know your farmer. Or stop into the many local farms and farm stands that dot the State of CT and New England and say hello to the bounty of veggies and fruits. If you are not sure how to cook with them, your local farmer will have many ideas as to how to so.

We have been through a couple of years of disruption with a virus that was made worse for our country by our reliance on a processed, sugar-based food industry that makes us sick and keeps us sick. The US is about 4-5 percent of the population of the world and accounted for 20-25 percent of the deaths with COVID. Sadly, some of those deaths could have been prevented if there was more access to real whole food (such as vegetables).  Many reputable research studies support this fact, that sugar laden processed food, leading to metabolic imbalance, obesity, hypertension, and nutrient depletions exacerbated the deaths from this virus. This is untenable to me as a doctor.

Sugar, alcohol, and processed foods (that your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food) are not basic food groups and harm your body. Right now, Americans are spending 16 years of their life with an increased lifespan that is riddled with chronic illness; thus “healthspan” is decreasing. America is 5 years under the average of the other developed countries in life expectancy.

There is no hacking it. Despite the huge issues of inflation, social injustice in food, and lack of education around gardening and cooking, you take back your power for wellness every time you choose a vegetable and don’t choose a processed and/or sugary treat.

  • You can vote with your dollars for the “right thing” for the planet and for your health by buying plants, particularly locally.
  • When you spend time in your garden, you are getting beneficial bacteria for your body which supports your gut, your mental health, and your immunity.
  • Greens such as Kale, Swiss chard, Mixed greens, Parsley, and Basil are so easy to grow. There are still greens that you can seed into your garden that thrive into Fall.
  • Remember to check out all the wonderful farmer’s markets that take place throughout CT every week and get to know a farmer.
  • Or plan for next season by planning to support your local farm with Community Sponsored Agriculture. Each week you get to be enchanted with a bag filled with all kinds of vegetables that you can explore with new recipes and ideas.
  • And, if you are your growing your own vegetables and are not applying toxic chemicals, you are keeping your food’s flavonoid nutrient content high to protect your health.

If you are struggling with seasonal allergies, plant and plant-based compounds are the answer. If you are struggling with preventing another bout of viral infection, plants are the answer. If you want to increase your “healthspan” (the time you are healthy while alive), plants are the answer. If you want to prevent getting sick, plants are the answer.

In her recent book, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, ND, a biochemical and liver detoxification pathways expert makes an eloquent scientific argument about the role of vegetables in anti-aging, as to the role they play in detoxification pathways, particularly the power of the flavonoid quercetin.

Dr. Fitzgerald describes the nutrient density of a whole apple, a food rich in quercetin, fiber and pectin- which prevents sugar spikes, helps with elimination, and protects healthy gut bugs supporting beneficial short chain fatty acids.

Quercetin is a type of flavonoid – which are a category of phytochemicals known as polyphenols. Other members of this superstar flavonoid family in addition to quercetin are: EGCG in green tea; rosmarnic acid in foods such as rosemary; luteolin; lycopene in foods sucha as tomatoes; sulforaphane in the cabbage family vegetables and genistein in non-GMO soy products.

Quercetin is known as an antihistamine that can help to lower cholesterol and protect against viruses. It is also a known senolytic compound, meaning it wards off “aging.”

Here is the list of foods richest in quercetin. This list is all the amazing plants that you can eat to decrease allergy symptoms, prevent viruses, support lifespan, and help recover from illness:

Fruits: Apples, cranberries, black elderberry blueberry, blackberry, black grapes, strawberries, oranges, nectarine, peaches, pomegranates; Veggies: kale, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, arugula, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, zucchini, garlic, yellow onions, seaweeds; Teas: green, black, oolong; Oils: coconut oil; Legumes: chai seeds, almond, lentils

With this knowledge of nutrients and quercetin, here are some guidelines for decreasing allergy symptoms, preventing virus and recovering from illness:

  1. Lean into greens in salads, soups, green smoothies and sautés.
  2. Totally lean out of added sugar, processed sugary foods and alcoholic beverages
  3. Lighten up your eating and close the kitchen for at least 13 hours
  4. Drink lots of water- you can add plants to it to make it more interesting: blueberries or watermelon or cucumbers, for example
  5. Support liver detox pathways with dandelion root tea daily

By having a healthful salad with greens such as lettuces, spring mix, arugula, adding in tomatoes, peppers, radishes, cucumbers and black lentils, some refrigerated kimchi with a turmeric-based dressing you are well on the way to decreasing allergic response and increasing immunity. Medicine to keep you well is in your farm, fridge and garden, not at your local CVS!

Quercetin is a potent anti-viral. It acts as a zinc ionophore, helping guide zinc into the cell. With more flavonoids in your diet, you are able to bring more zinc into your cell. Zinc blocks a virus’ ability to take over cellular machinery, which is its mechanism for replicating. A lot of viruses are inhibited by flavonoids. Much of the harm from the Covid virus comes from the spike protein damaging microvasculature, which flavonoids help to mitigate. And note when we grow our foods organically, there are more flavonoids available.

“Whether vaccinated or not, regardless of the strain of the SARS-CoV-2, everybody has to improve their protection from COVID. So, increasing flavonoids through both diet and supplementation holds significant promise for preventing infection, decreasing severity of infection, and decreasing the problem of long-C. How do we get people to stop believing that if they’re vaccinated, they’re okay, that’s all they have to do? We have got to go way more than the vaccinations by themselves; they’re just not enough. And if you look at the
efficacy of vaccinations, there’s a lot of similarity in terms of long term, lots of similarity to the efficacy of the flavonoids and things of that nature. So what advice do we give people?

”- Dr. Joe Pizzorno, Author of the Textbook of Integrative Medicine in an interview for the Institute of Functional Medicine


In addition to “food as medicine” and eating a plant rich, flavonoid rich diet, quercetin as a supplement can be beneficial in cases of allergies, virus and virus recovery. Doctor grade brands of quercetin (500 mg to 1000 mg twice a day for up to 3 months) are detailed in the attached link for your information:

If you desire an individualized approach (with education and getting to the root cause), I would be honored to be your Doctor. Check out my website:

Tomato Avocado Chilled Gazpacho is a beautiful example of incorporating summer veggies:


2 lbs of local tomatoes

3 peppers

3 cucumbers

½ scallions

2 garlic clove

1 avocado

Set aside 1 cup of these chopped veggies (you can also add some organic corn and/or black beans)

Put the following into a very large Stainless steel bowl:

The remainder of veggies

4 bottles organic vegetable juice

1 ¼ tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons parsley, mint and basil

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sea Salt to taste

Mix together in the bowl. Fill your blender ¾ way up with this mix to blend. Put the blended mixture into a ½ gallon mason jar, continue to blend until entire mixture blended. Add the cup of chopped veggies. This will hold in your refrigerator for 4 days and will bring you the goodness of summer each day you enjoy it.

Your body will thank you for journeying with plants this summer!


The Functional Medicine Approach to COVID-19: Virus-Specific Nutraceutical and Botanical Agents | The Institute for Functional Medicine (

Di Pierro F, Derosa G, Maffioli P, Bertuccioli A, Togni S, Riva A, Allegrini P, Khan A, Khan S, Khan BA, Altaf N, Zahid M, Ujjan ID, Nigar R, Khushk MI, Phulpoto M, Lail A, Devrajani BR, Ahmed S. Possible Therapeutic Effects of Adjuvant Quercetin Supplementation Against Early-Stage COVID-19 Infection: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled, and Open-Label Study. Int J Gen Med. 2021 Jun 8

Margolin L, Luchins J, Margolin D, Margolin M, Lefkowitz S. 20-Week Study of Clinical Outcomes of Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Prophylaxis and Treatment. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2021 Jan-Dec;26:2515690X211026193. doi: 10.1177/2515690X211026193. PMID: 34225463; PMCID: PMC8264737. Shohan M, Nashibi R, Mahmoudian-Sani MR, Abolnezhadian F, Ghafourian M, Alavi SM, Sharhani A, Khodadadi A. The therapeutic efficacy of quercetin in combination with antiviral drugs in hospitalized COVID-19 patients: A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Pharmacol. 2022 Jan 5;

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