Joy Bauer wants to show people the healing powers of food.
The Today Show health and nutrition expert, 54, tells PEOPLE her new cookbook —Joy’s Simple Food Remedies: Tasty Cures for Whatever’s Ailing You— emphasizes how to use holistic solutions to prevent or cure conditions like headaches, bloating, and anxiety.
“Maybe someday in the future, we’ll be using food instead of popping pills,” Bauer says.
Her book is broken down into 20 different sections, like “minimize belly fat” and “cure a hangover” and lists five foods in each section to combat that specific ailment. It also features several recipes so you can whip up meals at home to help you live a healthier lifestyle.
“You don’t necessarily have to eat every food listed for a particular condition,” she says. “In fact, many people have followed the book for various ailments and have been super successful just focusing on the few they love. This book allows you to customize a plan around your personal preferences.”
Bauer says her team spent two years researching studies to determine the food for each chapter and conditions.
When asked about the keto diet, a popular program taking Hollywood by storm, Bauer has mixed thoughts.
“This type of severe low-carb/high-fat diet has been shown to curb appetite and increase metabolism. And it can certainly help people lose weight,” Bauer says. “But that being said, there’s downsides, too. First and foremost, it tough to follow. It’s quite different from the way we’re used to eating. Also, this is not for folks with kidney and liver issues, and diabetics taking medication should only do this under a doctor’s supervision.”
She adds: “Plus, we don’t have good human studies showing the long-term effects on healthy people after following this type of plan. We know that healthy carbs like vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils and whole grains shower your body with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber…. and most of that is off limits on his plan. I’m definitely not a fan of that aspect.”
As for Bauer, she follows a 90/10 food philosophy.
“I go out of my way to eat smart 90 percent of the time, and allow myself 10 percent wiggle room for the not-so-healthy stuff I love to indulge in like pizza and vanilla ice cream,” she says. “I’m a major foodie as well as a health nut, and life’s too short not to enjoy a little chocolate or wine or pizza or ice cream or creamy pasta dish—or whatever your favorite splurge food is.”