LifeBalance Blog

Can food be your medicine?

March 14, 2017

 

When I was 19, I wouldn’t have defined it as medicine, but I learned early on that food can make you sick and food can heal. One definition of medicine is “a compound or preparation used for the treatment or prevention of disease.” If you search “Food As Medicine,” there are a multitude of conversations about ways you can use food to prevent and treat disease. In addition, there are criticisms of this concept – that food really is in no way medicine and that we need pharmaceuticals to heal us. I don’t minimize the necessity of pharmaceuticals in treatment of some disease conditions, of elimination of bacteria that can seriously harm us.

 

I also have respect for the power of food in both how it can work for us and against us.

 

I learned when I was 19 how food can make you sick. I ate a Standard American Diet – fast food, pop, baked goods. Fortunately, it was in addition to some more balanced meals (thanks to my mother’s well taught eating habits); but it was still too large a part of my diet. I, of course, thought it was fine – the quick and easy choices I wanted to make when I was young. But then it started to catch up with me. I started not feeling good more than I did feel good. After struggling with that challenge for several years I decided it was time to change what I was eating. I cleaned up my diet: eliminated fast food, baked only occasionally, stopped drinking pop. Needless to say, I started feeling better – increased energy, improved digestion, clearer head. I continued to make changes and learn more which led me to get my Master’s degree in nutrition and spend the last 25 years studying, teaching and practicing better eating.

 

Today I continue to recognize the power of food and how it is making people ill and how it can make people well. I see clients every day getting better. They often seek out nutrition coaching for weight loss. In addition to weight loss the results they get include improved sleep, normalized digestion, increased energy, and more. Those changes often come as a surprise to people. But that is nothing new from what the research tells us. People who eat well and make healthy lifestyle choices do experience better health in every area.

 

If you look at populations around the world who live long and thrive they have a very different diet than the Standard American Diet. Of course, their lifestyle is different in many ways as well. But we have to recognize those differences and we can learn from them and make changes for ourselves as well. Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones gives us some foundation of this understanding. And there is a multitude of research looking at long living individuals and dietary impact.

 

If you look at populations around the world who live long and thrive they have a very different diet than the Standard American Diet. Of course, their lifestyle is different in many ways as well. But we have to recognize those differences and we can learn from them and make changes for ourselves as well. Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones gives us some foundation of this understanding. And there is a multitude of research looking at long living individuals and dietary impact as well as inspiring stories about how lifestyle can impact your health.

Retrieved from Be Well Nutrtition Consulting. All rights reserved.

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Lifebalance Solutions is a program offered by Lifetrack, a nonprofit human services organization with a mission to develop the strengths within children, families and adults facing the greatest life challenges so that all families and individuals may become strong, healthy and productive community members. We have served the Twin Cities community since 1948.