“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
I debated starting with that quote, as it is everywhere—on countless Nutritionists’ and Integrative Doctors’ websites, written in quotes at the bottom of email signatures, written on packages and chalkboards at the health food stores. We have heard it over and over again and I say it to my patients (and family) pretty much on a daily basis. But it is just SO true and resonates so deeply with my values and the core of my practice.
I see it in my kids all the time- whenever my son gets sick he loves to eat warm vegetable soup. When my daughter is looking a little low on iron she gobbles up kale or beef (grass-fed free range organic of course) by the handful. When they eat sugar or processed food- and yes I give my kids chocolate cupcakes sometimes-they are bouncing off the walls and their emotions get magnified by the moment. When we all eat a protein and healthy fat rich breakfast we are calm and clear and grounded (most of the time).
In office I try to incorporate food as medicine in every way I can. I find myself prescribing brazil nuts over selenium pills, tomato sauce over lycopene supplements, kale chips and salads over green powders. I keep raw cacao nibs in my office for patients to try and teach people that real chocolate -without all the added cream and sugar- is actually amazing for blood sugar and anxiety and I prescribe it as medicine. I also keep goji berries in office and have them drink them in tea or sprinkle them in trail mix to help raise testosterone. I teach people how to tweak their diets in tiny ways like adding cinnamon to their almond butter or in major ways like cutting out gluten or dairy or soy or nightshades. They tell me it works, they tell me that changes in their diet (whether tiny or huge) deeply affect them. They tell me they feel better, their mind is clearer, they are less angry and more grounded off sugar. By adding a couple cups of greens a day they tell me their face glows, they don’t crave sugar as much, their iron numbers went up. Or by eliminating gluten their eczema went away, or they stopped needing their asthma medication, or their jeans fit because they aren’t bloated anymore. By cutting out sugar they can remember where they put their keys now and don’t yell at their kids as much. By adding some hemp or chia seeds to their diet they don’t need Metamucil to poop anymore. Or they added a couple tablespoons of pumpkin seeds to their daily diet and their periods regulated. Or their child stopped hitting once they added more protein in the morning. Or their joints don’t hurt anymore once they cut nightshade family vegetables and started drinking turmeric. Some say with dietary changes they can sleep better, they feel sexy, energized, younger. Or their labs come back and they are no longer diabetic and the only interventions we used were dietary. I hear it and see it and live it daily- food is medicine.
My goal is to guide people to see this and love it. To really feel the way food feels in their body. Good food especially. To enjoy the food they love and appreciate the power of food as medicine!