Last week in my interview with Ayshe and Arusha we spoke about how the pandemic has changed their lives, in a way that was unexpected. Since Ayshe, Arusha and I all studied Nutrition together a lot of our attention was given to nutrition and its‘ effects on stress and stress management. It was especially interesting to speak with them because in this time of Covid-induces isolation they underwent Ramadan: a fasting period which thrives on community interaction. If you want to listen to their stories, and hear some inspiring tips and insights, you can watch the interview here.
This week I want to pick up on the phrase that surfaced in our conversation “Food is medicine”. Hippocrates, one very well-known naturopathic doctor from centuries ago said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. More often than not, food is associated with pleasure or with calories and weight gain, depending on where we are in the moment. Well although food can definitely be very pleasurable, it is also the basis of what can keep us well or can make us sick (think of over-indulgence and high calorie, low nutrient foods).
However, beyond the pleasure aspect, food is also our body’s natural fuel. It is our source of energy and source of wellbeing. The key, however, is to learn to naturally divert from harmful foods that simply taste good (but later make us feel bad or that cause unknown harm to our bodies) and lean towards foods that are healthy and good for us.
It is really not surprising that many of the spiritual practices have called the body our temple and have stressed the importance of loving one’s body. How you treat your body as a huge effect on your health, and a big part of treating your body well is eating well… which is, I have to admit, a life-long journey. Your body changes from day to day, from season to season, and its’ needs fluctuate. By simply accepting that food does wonders to you, by observing yourself after each meal and how you feel from one hour up to 3 days after (yes 3 days!) you will understand its’ effects. Hence food can make you, but wrong food can literarily break you. Bad eating habits very slowly but surely mess with your endocrine system, your blood circulation, your posture, your muscle consistency and your mood.
So what foods should you stay away from? Well foods that are CRAP for a start! That’s carbonated sugared beverages, refined foods and sugars, artificial foods & sweeteners and processed foods. These foods not only are normally rich in calories and low in nutrition, they actually sap your energy over time, cause addiction, are more difficult for your liver to process, cause weight gain over time, make your body feel bad and sluggish and wreck havoc on your body’s biodiversity of good vs bad bacteria as well as your mood and mental health.
So what should you be eating then? Well, for a start: whole grains, fresh unrefined unprocessed foods, particularly plant foods, healthy fats and oils (oily fish, olive oil, avocados, nuts…).The healthiest, happiest populations eat foods that include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains (that doesn’t mean most bread and pasta by the way, which is normally processed), fresh fish, lentils, beans, soy, fermented foods… Stay tuned for coming newsletters that take you further through what foods help your body and your mind keeping you healthier, happier and more youthful long term.
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