What we eat holds immense power when it comes to our overall health and wellbeing. This is a fundamental truth but, for many, is far easier said than done. The split between food and medicine has been widened by the standard American diet and an overabundance of processed foods. But how we nourish ourselves plays a direct role in our body’s ability to heal and thrive. We’re far more able to show up in this world when we feel our best, and approaching the way we eat with a little bit more mindfulness and care has the potential to have lasting healing effects.
The Separation Between Food and Medicine
Doctors often spend fewer than 20 hours learning about nutrition throughout their entire medical education. Medicine certainly has its value, but turning to our food as medicine is a simple and inexpensive solution. Extensive research proves that what we eat plays a massive role in our health and the treatment of chronic diseases. Food should be the first step when it comes to preventative care. And yet, obesity and other related chronic diseases remain a continuous and worsening epidemic in the United States. So how can we minimize this blatant gap between food and medicine to help us to feel our absolute best?
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
When Hippocrates first coined this phrase, he certainly wasn’t thinking that we’d live in a world where processed and chemically-enhanced food is the norm. Highly-processed foods dominate U.S. grocery stores, and it’s been reported that over 50 percent of American food intake is from these kinds of “foods.” Many contain ingredients we can’t even pronounce and do our bodies little to no good. And sitting down for a home-cooked, freshly-prepared meal is rare in many households. The direct correlation of food and medicine is so profoundly overlooked yet they’re really one and the same.
This separation of food and medicine can be minimized by approaching our food intake with much more care and intention.
Food should be approached from a place of love and an intrinsic desire to fill our bodies up with fresh vitality.
After all, you are what you eat. So why not fill your body up with the foods that make you feel thoroughly satiated and vibrant? Why not commit to loving yourself so fully that you actively choose to nourish yourself with great care?
Each body is unique and has different needs. No bio-individual make up is the same. The better we are able to tune in to trust our body’s intelligence and feed it accordingly, the better off we’ll be. An overwhelming amount of research suggests that adopting a more plant-based lifestyle is ultimately better for you, your wallet, and the planet. Plus, tuning into this connection of food and medicine may save you many trips to the doctor in the future. Does this necessarily mean you have to cut out all meat, dairy, and processed foods today? No, definitely not.
But there’s no denying that adding more plant-based and whole foods to your diet may prove to be more beneficial for your health in the long run. In many cases, food is the medicine we need. It is nature’s medicine that has been used for thousands of years for holistic healing and wellbeing.
How We Eat
But it’s not just what we eat, it’s how we eat that makes a profound difference. Many of us find ourselves eating standing up, in the car, or at our desks. Stress can lead to poor eating choices and cause damage to our metabolism. We shovel our food down our throats in ten minutes or less without even noticing the flavor parties going on in our mouths. It’s no wonder that the connection between food and medicine has been so lost, and we sometimes find ourselves feeling out of touch with how we should properly sustain ourselves. We’re so convenience driven these days that we’d rather eat from our local grab-and-go spot or at a restaurant than carve out time to lovingly prepare a meal for ourselves. Mindfully preparing your own food can have the power to reduce inflammation, regulate sugar levels, and help maintain cardiovascular health.
It’s empowering to make the right choices that suit your body’s needs. Taking a few hours out of your week to get in the kitchen allows you to be in control of what medicinal and delicious ingredients you add in. For example, incorporating simple ingredients such as ginger and turmeric reduce inflammation in the body. Avocados are a fantastic source of potassium. And an apple a day may, in fact, truly keep the doctor away as they’re loaded with antioxidants and fiber. Simply put: Nature provides. And if you focus on adding more whole foods to your plate while gradually eliminating the processed garbage we so often find in the standard American diet, great shifts can happen to your overall health. Food and medicine are complementary.
There are endless ways to eat to heal. No one diet suits every body and you need to decide which way of eating works best for you. A plethora of resources, documentaries, articles, and diet books claim to be the cure all. Rather than arguing over which is right or wrong, proper nutrition really depends on the individual. And making the vital connection between food and medicine allows for sustainable energy levels, better weight management, and an overall healthier connection to your body and how you feed it. Regarding food as medicine certainly doesn’t mean that your diet will be consisting of foods that taste like tree bark. On the contrary, Mother Nature provides an abundance of vibrant and delightfully tasty foods. So do yourself a favor and slow down to savor her flavors. Give your body the nutrients it needs to heal and thrive rather than just survive. Allow your meal times to be an experience of self-love and joy.
Return to simplicity and eat like you love yourself.
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Let’s Make Wellness Contagious!™
This article serves as a definitive introduction to alternative medicine, describing the distinct disciplines: holistic, integrative, complementary, and functional medicine.
Eden Connelly Tallarico