“Let the food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
What comes to your mind when you think about the word “medicine?” For many of us, just the word or the concept of the word includes the promise or hope of healing and preventing disease. We’ve all experienced the feeling of hope and optimism when we’ve gotten a certain prescription from the doctor or took some kind of supplement. The intentional action itself of doing something to heal yourself when you need it can have a positive mental and physical effect on you. The whole principal of the placebo effect is based on that. The expectation we have by being treated has a positive effect on the actual process of healing.
I believe that part of the shift in how we perceive food and the act of eating is in applying more of that logic. We eat 3 times a day, sometimes more, during our lives. A rough calculation shows that we do that more than 80,000 times in our lifetime. If we start to perceive food as a medicine or at least as a substance that has some impact on our health, looking at this number can provide some illustration of the enormous impact of food on our wellbeing.
In our modern, hectic day-to-day lives, between work, family and other commitments, we rarely give any attention or intention to the potential medicinal qualities food can provide. The flip side of this is, obviously, that we don’t put enough awareness on the detrimental effect of the bad foods we eat.
Maybe we are used to seeing medicine as such only when it comes in the form of a pill or some liquid that is injected to our body. Maybe in order to believe in the medicinal qualities of some substance, we need the approval and seal of a professional or a doctor. Many of us perceive food only as fuel and a simple source of energy in the form of calories. We fuel our bodies like we fuel our cars, and there is a sad irony here since some of us are fueling our cars as well as our bodies at the gas station.
A real change towards healing through nutrition starts with a shift in the concept of food that comes from a deep understanding of the enormous impact that food has on each and every aspect of our life. How strong and resilient our body is, how sharp and focused our brain is and our state of mind are all deeply related to the food we eat. Each and every cell in our body is impacted by what we feed our body. It happens even on the genetic level; the food we eat (as well as other lifestyle choices) send a message to our genes. This message determines how the body will respond. Inflammation, for example, is the body’s response to certain bad foods we unfortunately eat too much of, like processed foods and sugar. Chronic inflammation is the gateway to many of the well-known degenerative diseases, like diabetes or heart disease.
We can, on the other hand, send a nourishing and supportive message. It’s a choice, and it’s all in our hands.