Eat healthy, be healthy, St. Charles cook says

When asked by her patients, Robin Plotkin tells them she practices what she preaches.

She works alongside her husband, Dr. Mark Plotkin at Wellness Concepts, a holistic clinic in St. Charles, where they offer alternative, nonsurgical therapies and nutrition counseling to patients.

At home in St. Charles, Robin takes that advice to heart, carefully choosing ingredients to make sure she and her husband stay healthy.

“You'd have to look at us and see what it is doing for us,” she said. “We stay well and we feel well.”

A nurse first educated Robin about alternative medical treatments — including dietary choices — when she was living in Portland, Ore., 20 years ago and recovering from back surgery,

“That experience opened my eyes to eating better and exercising to take care of my body,” she said. “We took an interest in more natural, alternative approaches.”

Robin seeks out local ingredients and relies on the Internet to choose organic foods. She shops at Heritage Prairie Market near Elburn for organic eggs and finds produce at Norton Farm in St. Charles and the farmers markets in St. Charles and Geneva.

Concerned with mercury content in fish, Robin heads online to, a Washington-based seafood company that ships fish on dry ice, and to for lean cuts of bison.

“It is really important to me to have the purest food that I can find for me and my husband,” she said.

But working in a medical practice, Robin said she doesn't have much time to cook. She keeps meals simple using a variety of proteins and filling the plate with vegetables and herbs, including parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary, that she grows in her garden. Breads and pastas, which are high glycemic and can raise the blood sugar, rarely make the plate.

“I use a lot of variety so we don't get bored with what we eat,” she said. “Spices help, too.”

A favorite dish that Robin shares with patients at Wellness Concepts is baked salmon that she prepares quickly with a spice blend she finds from Vital Choice and some lemon juice and butter.

Making healthier choices may cost more in terms of money and time, but Robin said she makes the effort because it is important to her and her husband.

“You will do things that are important to you.” Robin said.

Chicken Marinara

Baked Halibut

Baked Salmon