Why embrace food as medicine?
I grew up with an Italian Grandmother, who believed that vegetables & herbs had healing properties. They were not only a good source of nutrients to nourish our bodies but also had healing benefits as well. She lived during the Great Depression & WWII, when Victory gardens were very popular in the US & Europe. These gardens provided their caretakers with food for the dinner table but also medicine for the medicine cabinet.
A spring tonic of dandelion greens was a sign that we were cleansing our bodies of winter’s sluggish deposits, while fortifying our blood. Fresh veggies & herbs from the garden were a staple at our home during the growing season. Traditions are difficult to dismiss; especially those that are steeped in providing good health without pharmaceuticals. That is why I have become passionate about spreading the word of the importance of good nutrition.
Good nutrition has been trending for the last few years. Kale is a staple on every restaurant menu. Eating locally sourced food has become an important component of good nutrition. The community gardens, CFA’s, farmers markets and home gardens, have become extremely popular in our communities. We have read about the importance of adding more veggies & fruits to our diets to stave off disease, by providing a bounty of antioxidants.
Why are these important?
Cells are the fundamental units of life, “the bricks from which all of our tissue & organs are made and are the smallest components considered to be living organisms in our bodies. Our cells are constantly communicating with each other, responding to our environment and to the signals they receive from what we put into our body, how we move & what we touch. If our cells cannot operate efficiently, the functioning of our tissue & organs, which are built of our cells, will be compromised & we can experience a diminishment of physical functioning & the onset of health conditions & disease. So by keeping our cells well nourished, we are keeping ourselves well nourished. If we overeat or eat the wrong foods we are giving our cells the wrong instructions & we can become overweight, undernourished and at risk for the development of diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes & heart disease, to name a few. Truly “ We are what we eat.”
Webster’s definition of medicine- “The science & art of dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation or cure of disease.” In short, food acts as medicine to maintain, prevent & treat disease.
What does food do to our bodies?
The nutrients in food enable the cells in our bodies to perform their necessary functions. If we think about food as a source of nutrition that goes beyond calories or grams or good food or bad food; then that allows us to focus on foods we should be including rather than excluding.
What can you do to embrace food as medicine?
1) Plant a garden or source fresh, organic veggies & herbs through CSA’s, farmers markets or local growers. By planting a garden or even a few pots on your deck, you are providing you & your family with the reward of picking & preparing fresh foods.
2) Start including more nourishing foods to your daily diet & stop counting calories or grams of fat.
3) Find recipes that are easy & fun to prepare. The internet is filled with sites on nutritious recipes; paleo, vegan, nutritarian, Mediterranean or time saving.
4) Consider that these nutrients are boosting your energy level, bringing clarity & focus to your day and eliminating that bloated feeling.
5) Keep healthy living simple by having nutritious options on hand; such as carrots, celery with hummus or nut butter, avocado, nuts, seeds, jicama sticks & berries- all fast & easy nutritious snacks. At Healthy Living Simplified, we believe that clean eating is the medication of the future.