Chef Seamus Mullen believes in food as a healing agent. Growing up on a farm in Vermont, Mullen is no stranger to whole, nutrient-dense foods. He "didn't know what a bad tomato was" until he went to school. But as he got older, certain foods severely affected his well-being.
"It was really about the decimation of my gut health," Mullen tells LIVESTRONG.COM's Erin Mosbaugh on this week's Stronger podcast. "When I was younger, I started to get sick a lot and I'd end up on medication, antibiotics — and those things chipped away at my gut health."
While Mullen says that in an ideal world, "we'd get everything from our food," he credits probiotics in addition to healthy eating with helping him manage his gut issues and rheumatoid arthritis, which he developed in his 30s.
"I think of supplements as just that: supplementation," he says. "I really believe in a holistic approach. I call it 360/365 — 360 degrees of health 365 days a year. It's about having a very balanced and holistic approach to well-being."
Mullen's New York restaurants focus on the cuisine of Spain, a place where, during his travels in high school and college, he first learned about seasonal cooking and "exotic" ingredients like squid and octopus. "I think I was initially just drawn to a real sense of culinary culture," he says of the country.
"We didn't really have that when I was growing up. When I was a kid, I was not exposed to eating prawns or meats outside of a burger or chops or a steak. In Spain, they consume the whole animal — all of it. You ate seasonally because that was what was available."