Food is medicine.
Food is the most important medicine.
When it comes to food, we have messed up big time. Aside from water and air, it is the only thing that will literally kill you if withheld. Food has the ability to prevent nearly all chronic disease that plagues our population; yet it is our poison. Our food is not simply linked to disease; it is the CAUSE of disease.
Stop and think about how warped we have become. Food, our biggest potential ally for health, has become the biggest enemy. We take drugs to specifically counteract its vicious consequences: hyperglycemia, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and so on. We are so skewed that we actually believe that if not for the drugs, we would all be doomed. We do not take responsibility, because we see it as an inevitable consequence of living. But how could we see it any differently? Every direction you look is another person, who is an example of evil food at work.
Food is Medicine
It is interesting to me that while we view food as necessary, we do not tend to see it as medicine. In our culture, medicine comes in pill form only. But how does the body deal with a pill versus food?
- Pill: Broken down by into molecular components by digestive chemicals (saliva, stomach acid, enzymes, etc.) → molecules absorbed by the digestive mucosa (mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines) → molecules sent via the blood to target tissues → molecules bind a specific receptor → the body has a physiologic response
- Food: Broken down by into molecular components by digestive chemicals (saliva, stomach acid, enzymes, etc.) → molecules absorbed by the digestive mucosa (mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines) → molecules sent via the blood to target tissues → molecules bind a specific receptor → the body has a physiologic response
Both processes are exactly the same. Everything we put in our body is either broken down in to components to be utilized/stored/transformed, or it is eliminated through the stool and urine. Everything we eat, food or pill has the potential to cause a positive, negative, or neutral physiologic response in the body. The sad thing is that most of what we eat tends to fit in to the negative category.
Drugs do not Cure Chronic Disease
I do not hate prescription drugs. It is a sad truth, but they are an absolute necessity in today’s world, because of the preventable lifestyle choices that we make. But it is wrong to believe that they are curing anything at all. If you go off your blood pressure medication will your blood pressure not immediately go hypertensive within a matter or days? Medications change the biochemistry and thus physiologic expression of the body. They do not solve the problem; they merely create pseudo-conditions favourable for proper function.
Patients often say to me: “Healthy eating is annoying, so why should I change anything if my medication relieves all my symptoms?” The answer is simple. Medications do ease your symptoms, but according to most of the evidence available, drugs do not change mortality (susceptibility to death)—health food does. You are just as likely to die of your chronic condition with or without the drug. Drugs ease symptoms without increasing lifespan. Healthy eating eases symptoms and increases lifespan.
Too Reliant on our Medications
The unmedicated patient is becoming an anomaly. When a person becomes medicated for a condition, it is not viewed as a temporary solution for a fixable problem—it is considered a permanent solution—a life sentence. The medical system does not currently account for the possibility for improvement in condition. The sad reality is that the underlying (mainly dietary) lifestyle problems CAN be resolved by the willing, in many situations. I have seen it happen. More disturbing is when doctors do not see the benefit of taking a person off their medication when it is no longer medically warranted due to comprehensive lifestyle improvements. It is a scary sign that even those promoting ‘health care’ no longer understand where the problem stems from in the first place.
What is Whole Food Nutrition?
There is nothing complicated about healthy eating. Whole food nutrition was the only way to eat up until modern times. It is precisely the way your ancestors ate, and precisely why they did not suffer with obesity and chronic disease, to the same extent of now. You simply pluck a food from the ground and eat it. No need for processing, minimal need for cooking. Whole food nutrition is nothing more than eating unrefined food.
The science behind whole food nutrition is complex, but implementation is simple. Avoid processed foods, eat more fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains, and avoid red meat. There is new and striking evidence supporting the elimination of all dairy and most (if not all) meats, but it is out of the scope of this blog article.
The types of food you put in your body determine your health. Eating out of convenience and laziness may serve you now, but it will catch up to you, because time is relentless. Convenience now will equate to suffering later. Your food is your medicine.