By: Devin Morrissey
The term “food as medicine” has been recently coined by local farmers and foodies alike. There is truth in this, as good nutritional and healthy eating habits can help to alleviate common ailments and health issues. Never before in our history has food been so processed, commonly bleached and genetically modified. It arose from the times of the Great Depression, when food scientists were attempting to feed more people on smaller plots of land.
However, we are no longer living in the times of the Great Depression and have the option to purchase fresh, organic foods that nourish our bodies and heal us from within.
Creating Healthy Habits
To replace unhealthy habits when recovering from addiction or a lifetime of poor eating habits, you need to make a plan for what healthy habits you are going to implement in their place. Evaluating your worst food vices is a great place to start. Explore ways to replace junk food with a healthier version or adopt a new fruit snacking habit.
The next time that you go to the grocery store, choose one fruit and one vegetable that you have never tried before. Research how to cook them and try out some new recipes. A variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet ensure that you are getting the broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be nutritionally sound. Making sure to eat a balanced diet can aid in overall improvements in your health.
Eat for Your Body
Getting to know your body is a valuable tool in using food as medicine. If you have never tried an elimination diet before, nutritionists strongly suggest doing so to discover potential food allergies. Typically, an elimination diet calls for refraining from dairy, gluten, sugar, and eggs for a period of two weeks. Slowly reintroducing them and being self-aware of how your body reacts can tell you if you should stay away from certain foods.
Discovering food allergies, no matter how mild, can aid in alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, Crohn’s disease and other intestinal issues. If you suffer from constant headaches, fatigue and irritability, you may find that when you eliminate certain foods from your diet these issues dissipate.
Don’t Believe the Fads
There have been, and are, so many different diet fads that do not lend themselves to a nutritious diet. When you are looking to heal your body with a healthy diet, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. For example, there are myths such as you shouldn’t eat avocados because they are high in fat. In reality, avocados are really good for you! Much of the fat that avocados contain is monounsaturated fat that aids in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body.
Another common myth is that carbs are bad for you and will make you fat. In fact, your body needs carbohydrates to survive. It is when you consume too many in the forms of sugar that you increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and other obesity related issues. Type 2 diabetes has actually been proven to be cured in individuals who adopt a more nutritionally sound diet in combination with regular exercise.
If you find that you stress-eat to help, literally, fill a void, try introducing foods that can contribute to your happiness and herbs that aid in calming your body. Kava kava is a root that has been used in Asia for its calming effects for anxiety. You can find it in teas or buy it in a tincture form and add it to your smoothies to aid in lowering your blood pressure and calming your mind. Try your hand at cooking with lavender, as it also has stress-relieving properties. You can try adding it to baked goods or roasted potatoes for an aromatic and tasty treat. You may also find that refraining from caffeine will also help to reduce stress-induced anxiety as it is a natural stimulant.
You will find that, by eating a diet free of processed foods and full of foods that benefit your body, you will begin feeling a difference almost within a day. When we take responsibility for our health and give our bodies the proper nutrition we need, we eliminate the autoimmune response to fight against the effects of a poor diet. Good nutrition can help us to become calmer, happier, and achieve our physical best.