“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
Using food to heal dates back thousands of years, and, combined with the use of herbs and spices, was the basis of early medicine in all cultures. Yet nutrition, something that should be intuitive and hard wired into our DNA, has become complicated and confusing.
A global economy means you can eat tomatoes all year round, and industrial farming means they may be genetically modified to make them prettier, resistant to pesticides and sturdy for worldwide travel. Should you eat the GMO tomato as part of a plant based diet or not?
The human digestive system was designed for a largely plant based diet, with small amounts of animal protein. Plants provide fiber necessary for gut heath, plant protein, nutrients, vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes. Locally grown organic fruits and vegetables are always the best choice over GMO and non-organic. We simply do not know the long-term effect of pesticides, and the introduction of other genetic factors into our foods, may ultimately mean to our bodies and the planet.
There is a tremendous amount of evidence showing that eating a largely plant-based diet — fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes — can help prevent lifestyle diseases. The fastest growing cause of death in the world is not from infectious diseases, but diseases caused by diet and lifestyle. A diet rich in plant foods is protective against heart disease, cancer, strokes, arthritis, and many other chronic degenerative diseases. A diet with low intake of plant foods, like the Standard American Diet, is linked to the development of these diseases. With this in mind you can decide to take control over what you put into your body and improve your health every single day.
You’ve heard the saying “eat the rainbow;” that is because the more brightly colored the fruits and vegetables, the more nutrient dense and vitamin packed. Vary your diet with the seasons, be adventurous at the farmers market, and seek out the most colorful and delicious vegetables you can find. Explore all the varieties of beautiful and colorful beets, cooking the greens as well as the roots. Make mushrooms part of your diet; grilled, sautéed or raw in salads. Make soup each week from any left over veggies. Let your food be your medicine, and make your diet support your long-term health and lifestyle goals.