Ken Grey and Carol Maglio sat shoulder-to-shoulder in a restaurant booth sharing a big bowl of bouillabaisse. They rounded off the meal with an artful avocado salad and two glasses of water with lemon. It was a meal meant to heal.
Grey, an acupuncturist and doctor of Oriental medicine, and Maglio, a cervical-cancer survivor whom Grey treated, decided on the seasoned seafood stew because they felt fatigued. “I was waning,” Grey says, explaining that the mussels and shrimp in the stew would help improve his internal energy known as “qi.”
Grey got up at 5:30 that morning and tended to patients until 1 p.m., when he arrived at the broadcast studio. There, he recorded a weekly health-related radio show he co-hosts with Maglio, his patient-turned-partner.
Maglio, a kitchen connoisseur with a love for vegetables, nods as Grey talks about the healing properties of their lunch. Grey notes that avocados boost brain power and relieve stress while water with lemon cleanses the organs.
“Anytime I sit down to eat anything, I always think about what I’m doing that day or even at that moment,” Maglio says.
The lunch scene epitomizes the relationship between Grey and Maglio – a relationship that has evolved from doctor-patient to foodie friends. “That was our common thing,” Grey says. “I’d be treating her, and we’d end up talking about food.”
So, the good friends decided to start a foodie project together. They worked tirelessly to create their own masterpiece – a 488-page book titled Health in Balance: The Essential Elements Seasonal Cookbook. The cookbook boasts 176 original recipes, each with therapeutic ingredients that promise to enrich the blood, soothe the digestive tract and treat the immune system. It took them one year to write the book, which was published last November.
“It was our baby,” Maglio says. “We actually kept it in a safe at my house, there was so much work that went into it.”
They each brought their own experience to the cookbook to create recipes such as beef carpaccio with garbanzo-lemon grass sauce, shepherds rabbit stew surprise and cauliflower-ricotta-rice paper ravioli with carrot-leek sauce.
Grey, a 40-year-old Palm Beach Gardens resident, learned about food therapy while studying at the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale. “Healing food doesn’t have to be granola,” he says. “Healing food can be gourmet.”
Maglio, a 52-year-old Jupiter resident, grew up in a single-parent home with three sisters and learned to cook out of necessity. At age 12, she bought her first cookbook with babysitting money and soon found her weekly chore turning into a daily passion.
“I really love to just be in touch with food,” she says. “When I bring home a box of vegetables from the farm, it’s like Christmas to me. I can’t wait to open it up and do something with them.”
The cookbook, which can be purchased locally at Nutrition Wise and Pinders Seafood & Marketplace, as well as on Amazon, teaches readers that “food is medicine,” and that “we need to own our health.”
“What’s cool about our book is it’s a lifestyle rather than another fad,” Grey says. “It’s all about living life consciously.”