What would you say if I told you that you that most of the diseases from which humans suffer can be reversed or prevented altogether just by changing the foods you eat? Would you believe me? I may also be inclined to tell you that you can eliminate pain and suffering by shifting the dollars you spend on doctors and medications to spending them on high quality, nutrient dense foods!
I know, that seems impossible, especially with cases of autism, obesity, heart disease, cancer and many other diseases on the rise. But today, I’m here to tell you that you can use food as medicine to bring your body’s systems back into balance and even reverse some of the most life-threatening illnesses.
DISEASE - if we break down this word, we see it’s meaning very clearly: dis - ease. Your body wants to be at ease, but every day it gets bombarded with tiny stresses that accumulate to create a state of dis-ease. Most of us lead very busy lives and don’t have the time it takes to really hone in and listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us when we enter this dis-eased state.
Dis-ease begins when we are not supporting our systems with the nutrients it needs. It is further weakened when we take the next step - eating harmful foods (ones high in sugar, fat and salt and low in actual nutrients). Factor in high, prolonged stress, little sleep and toxic chemicals in the atmosphere and we are a walking recipe for dis-ease!
In most cases when we feel a little out of whack we turn to a quick and easy fix: usually in the form of a pill. I just read an article stating that the Associated Press found that Americans spent $374 BILLION on pharmaceutical drugs in 2014. By anyone’s standards this is a lot of money! The category of pharmaceutical drugs is large, encompassing everything from ibuprofen to opioid painkillers, heart and blood pressure regulators to pills that balance the chemicals in the brain.
Now comes the part where I give a huge disclaimer: I am in no way claiming that all pharmaceutical drugs are evil and shouldn’t be taken! I believe that the advances we’ve made in the world of Western medicine are impressive and have saved millions of people from suffering and death. However, I also believe we’ve gone over the tipping point and have entered an age where we rely far too much on treatment and have forgotten altogether about preventative care.
According to an article written in the journal Academic Medicine, only 27% of US med schools actually offer students the recommended 25 hours of nutritional training. First of all, 25 hours of nutritional training in an education that can last up to a decade?? I get it, a student wants to be a doctor, not a nutritionist. But if a student is interested in healing people, one would think they would want to study in depth all the tools to heal? The fact that only 27% of schools actually offer the 25 hours of training makes me nervous about the state of our healthcare system.
Imagine a world in which doctors were trained to see your body for what it is: a huge machine that has many individual parts and systems that all work together to support one another. This is a machine that was invented thousands and thousands of years ago and we have been using food as a form of prevention and healing since we began eating. Our ancestors had to go through a lot of trial and error to find out what foods were harmful and helpful but since we started eating we’ve learned a lot about how the body works and what it needs in order to survive and thrive. We’ve learned that some foods possess the power to destroy our systems and take us to a state of dis-ease. We also know that some foods have natural healing properties and the ability to restore our systems back to ease.
Dr. Richard Anderson - naturopathic doctor, medical researcher, nutritionist, iridologist and author - is a pioneer for the idea that we can heal all dis-ease through cleansing and restoring our system with nutrition and diet. Though his research he discovered that our intestines wind up storing a lot of the toxins we consume and build up what he calls mucoid plaque. According to him, this is where dis-ease begins. If we cleanse the body of this plaque and commit to a lifestyle of eating whole, nutrient dense foods, our bodies will remain at ease. This means that we really can reverse some of the most life-threatening of illnesses through the use of food as medicine! Don’t take my word for it, go here to check out more of Dr. Anderson’s work. (At the bottom of the article, you’ll also find some other links to more groundbreaking work in the field of nutrition!)
One of the most exciting new areas of scientific research looks at how food interacts with our genes. Nutrigenomics is a brand new field studying how nutrients either “switch on” or “switch off” certain gene expressions. We now know that the state of our gut health has nearly everything to do with our overall health. We also know that the gut contains billions and billions of live bacteria….there’s good bacteria and bad bacteria and we want to have as many different types of good bacteria in our microbiomes as we can. (Stay tuned for a future blog article diving more in-depth into the microbiome, but for now you can click the link to learn more. Knowledge is Power!) If you’ve noticed that fermented foods and beverages are more and more popular these days, there is a good reason. Things like sauerkraut and kombucha are made by allowing a community of good bacteria to inhabit your food. Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie! But, the truth is, this good bacteria is working hard in your gut to keep you healthy. This begins with keeping your digestive tract moving smoothly, which assists your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from your food, which ultimately keep all your body’s systems running smoothly and effectively.
At FKD, we want you to move out of dis-ease and into a state of bliss so that you achieve your highest potential! As it turns out, it’s pretty simple to do. That’s why we always advocate for eating unprocessed, whole foods in as much variety (especially in color!) as possible. Reduce or eliminate your intake of refined sugar, artificial ingredients, simple carbohydrates and exposure to chemicals. Increase your intake of whole fruits, veggies, grains and fermented foods and take supplemental vitamins, minerals and herbs. Get outside for some fresh air and movement! Feed your soul with things like deep belly laughter, music and a connective conversation with a good friend. Seriously people, this is all it takes!
Now it’s time for disclaimer #2: It is best to talk to your healthcare professional about which supplemental vitamins, minerals and herbs you should be taking or shouldn’t be taking. Don’t go rogue and get all willy-nilly, every person has a different chemical makeup and there are some vitamins and herbs that react negatively with some prescriptions you may be on. While you’re there, talk to this person about nutrition too! See what he/she has to say about it. Get really specific, ask for screenings that measure the levels of vitamins present in your system so you know what you need to supplement. If your doc has very little to say about nutrition and preventative care, find another doc who can advise you on how to get the most medicinal value out of your food! I’m sure your doctor doesn’t like to see you sick, but if he/she isn’t giving you advice on how to prevent illness through eating well, he/she probably cares more about a paycheck than your health.
Want to learn more? Have I mentioned that Knowledge is Power? Follow these links to find out what other people are saying about nutrition:
Donna Gates and the Body Ecology Diet:
More on food as medicine:
Scientific research-based info from microbiologist Dr. Rhonda Patrick:
Phytonutrients: the key to balanced nutrition:
A fabulous list of foods and their medicinal properties: