By Kathy Hoss, MBA, CHC
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
– Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 375 BC)
In the health and wellness world, we often refer to this phrase to emphasize the importance of food as medicine and nutrition to prevent or cure disease.
Food is the #1 determinant of health and disease during your lifetime. Your relationship with food is fundamental to how you approach eating and enjoying food.
Food is many things to different people and at different times. We eat food for many reasons and associate food with many life experiences. Food is for energy and sustainment, for fun and celebrations, for sharing with family & friends, for dealing with emotions, for taking us to the spices and delicacies around the world, for traditions and rituals, for holidays, and for so much more.
But more than anything, food is medicine and is the best tool we have to prevent or cure disease.
Mounting research shows that there is no magic bullet to treat heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, allergies, digestive disorders, headaches, fatigue, or any of the myriad problems we suffer from in the 21st century. But increasing evidence also shows that food is the most powerful tool we have not just to prevent, but also treat, cure, and reverse most chronic illnesses. Furthermore, the same basic principles of food apply in most cases dealing with most of these health issues including cancer prevention, heart disease, depression, dementia, and fixes most chronic illnesses.
Food can change everything. By learning about holistic wellness and nutrition, you can prevent and reverse chronic disease, reduce health crises, and empower yourself to take control of your health and well-being.
Here Are Some Basic Principles Of Enjoying Food As Medicine
1. Learn about your bio-individuality. When it comes to food, no one size fits all. Be your own advocate. Be mindful of how your body and emotions respond to different food experiences. Individual experimentation with diets that eliminate sugar, gluten, dairy, food additives, animal products, red meat, caffeine, etc… can be a powerful tool in finding each person’s bio-individual needs. Pay close attention to the outcomes and document your results.We may be the same age and ethnicity, and very similar health status, but have different deficiencies and requirements. Sometimes you may need a nutritionally oriented physician, nutritionist and health coach to work with you to determine your deficiencies and requirements.
2. Be mindful of food as medication. It is the single most important thing you can control when it comes to your health. For most individuals eating properly is more important than any medication your doctor will prescribe. Seeing your food as medicine helps you make better choices about what to eat in order to make the best decisions for your own well-being. When it comes to food, no one size fits all. Be your own advocate. Be mindful of how your body and emotions respond to different food experiences.
3. Eat in harmony with nature. Eat whole foods as nature made them without artificial additives and preservatives. Consider an anti-inflammatory whole foods plant-based diet with as little processed food and added sugar as possible. Vegetables and fruits are much less calorie-dense than meat and dairy products. Eat a variety of healthy foods, increase the number of plant species in herbs and spices, increase fruits and vegetable, choose good carbohydrates, include good sources of fiber and beneficial fats only. Limit meats, refined carbohydrates and salt intake.
4. Use foods rather than supplements to treat and prevent chronic illness when and if possible. Whole foods contain a number of substances that work synergistically and may be far more effective than supplements that just deliver one of them. For example, eating a whole tomato will not only contain the powerful antioxidant lycopene that you can get from a supplement but also a number of other antioxidants, along with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that work together to prevent heart disease by decreasing cholesterol and lipid levels and stopping abnormal blood clotting.
5. Learn healthy ways to better manage & handle stress. Stress is unavoidable and we all experience stress in different ways and different times in our lives. However, learning tools to improve how we experience and process stress will impact how we benefit from food as medicine. Stress inhibits and interferes with every aspect of digestive functioning and with the efficient use of nutrients. When you are stressed, you don’t make very good biological use of even the most healthy diets. When possible, work with health professionals who can support the treatment of chronic conditions with nutrition and stress management (as well as exercise) rather than medication. Many of the prescriptions we use only treat symptoms and do not address causes. And they have very significant and often dangerous side-effects and may not be necessary.
And lastly, focus on your relationship with food. Raise awareness about how, when and why you eat as well as what you eat. Learning to eat slowly and mindfully, recognizing hunger signals, emotional eating, etc… will increase your enjoyment of meals, reduce your consumption of food, and help you make food choices that are better for you.
I founded my company on the idea of having a sustainable approach. I use the framework of “Eat. Play. Balance." to address the many factors that prevent or are detrimental to maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle. Optimizing health and longevity though eating the right foods, incorporating emotional and physical play to create a sense of harmony.
For more information about wellness and the “Eat. Play. Balance.™ ” approach to health, please contact Kathy Hoss or visit eatplaybalance.com.
About the author: Kathy Hoss Consulting is a health and wellness coaching business. Kathy is a holistic wellness coach, influencer, speaker, event producer and advocate that helps corporations & individuals with nutrition and lifestyle choices to improve health and wellness. She is a graduate of Institute for Integrative Nutrition and UCLA Anderson school of management (MBA).
The Health & Wellness Committee is comprised of Chamber members from various disciplines focusing on the aspects of health and wellness that will help members both personally and professionally.