“Let Food Be Thy Medicine”

Hippocrates was a pretty smart fellow. Even though he lived many many years ago (from 460-370 BC) he is still considered to be highly influential in the field of medicine. He was a Greek physician and is often referred to as the “father of western medicine.” He is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were not caused by superstition and gods, but by environmental factors, living habits and diet. One of Hippocrates most famous quotes is, “Let food be thy medicine.”

This weekend concludes the end of National Drug Facts Week and I want to shatter some of the myths around modern pharmaceuticals. I’m super picky about what I put in my body in terms of food, so as you can imagine I’m even more careful about the medicine I consume. People think that modern medicine is a ‘cure all’ for whatever ailments come our way, and while I am very thankful for all the doctors and medication available to us today, I think it’s important to look to ‘food first’ before we jump right to solving our problems with drugs.

A few years ago I had a lot of health issues. My antibodies were attacking my thyroid, I was diagnosed with Amenorrhea (no periods for over a year), I had severe eczema on both my ears, I had low nutrition levels (my blood work indicated levels of someone starving themselves even though I was eating incredibly healthy), I was exhausted all the time and I always felt so cold. My nails (a true indicator of one’s health) were so brittle they’d just break off and I had horizontal ridges on my thumbnails (an indication of nutrition deficiencies.) I went several different doctors, took lots of blood tests, and wore TONS of layers to keep warm.

My diagnosis? They told me that I was ‘borderline’ and I’d eventually have to be on thyroid medication. They also said to start taking birth control pills (to regulate things) and to fill up on supplements. They prescribed incredibly harsh topical creams for my ears to help with the eczema. Ugh! I knew there had to be another way!

I began to study alternative ways to deal with all my seemingly random ailments. I wanted to see if Hippocrates was right. Could FOOD really be the answer?

Yes! I discovered that all of these problems were actually symptoms of a Gluten Intolerance. I decided to cut gluten out of my diet and within a few days I began to feel a little better. Could it really be that simple? Two months later my eczema disappeared and 3 months later I felt like a new person! My energy levels went way up and I was able to think more clearly. Four months later I got my period back, 8 months later my nails were (and still are!!) growing… fast and strong! (I paint them all the time!)

My little self-experiment saved me from taking a daily variety of expensive, unnecessary, and potentially harmful drugs! I learned first hand how important what we eat is to how our body functions! While I don’t recommend cutting gluten out of your diet if you don’t have to, I DO recommend using food as medicine. One of my close friends turned her back on dairy and sweets and watched as her skin cleared up right before her eyes!  My dad reduced his salt intake to lower his blood pressure. A family friend is a singer and he uses pineapple juice to sooth his sore throat whenever he sings. My mom is a teacher and she loads up on oranges to help avoid colds and flu. Greek yogurt helps many people with digestion problems. You can fight heart disease with fish and whole grains. You can protect your bones by drinking milk and eating leafy greens. Eat bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast when you’re recovering from a stomach bug. There are lots of wonderful food options for a huge variety of health concerns!

I’ll tell ya, I can’t go a meal (much less a day) without my leafy greens and vibrant colorful veggies! I love my orange sweet potatoes, dark green baby spinach and bright red cherry tomatoes! Nothing makes me happier than a bowl full of sweet pineapple, crunchy apple chunks, hydrating orange slices, and smooth mango chunks! All these foods boost my energy, aid in digestion, clear my skin, lift my mood, and help me feel my absolute best… NO MEDS REQUIRED!

In honor of National Drug Facts Week I want to encourage you to get the facts. Yes, we’re very blessed to have modern medicine at our fingertips and I know what a miracle ‘medicine’ has been for some. But if things don’t feel exactly right, before running off to the drug store or the health clinic, first try experimenting with your diet! You may just find that Hippocrates was right, food is medicine! If you do need to use medicine be sure to check out the American Recall Center. It’s always important to know what you’re taking and if anything has been recalled. 

How about you? Is food your medicine?!


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