Getting Back to Basics–for your HEALTH
Food as Medicine By Evan Folds
Hippocrates famously stated, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Seems obvious, but we have become so disconnected from what we eat that we can go weeks, even years, without eating food delivered as Nature intended. The longer food is stored off of the vine the less nutritious it becomes. Did you know that most apples you purchase at the grocery store are over a year old? If we regard food as medicine, it seems our “apple a day” may well have expired.
In the words of the great Rudolf Steiner, food plants no longer contain the forces people need to carry their will into action. And we see this collective lack of will everywhere today in our politics, on the news and under our proverbial skin.
Could it be that the lack of nutrient density and life force in our food is what is collectively holding us back from realizing the potential we all know is innate in humanity?
Huge question, but it is this writer’s opinion that this is absolutely the case. I have experienced living foods changing and healing, I know people that have cured life threatening disease with juicing and wheatgrass. It takes confident commitment, and a thorough understanding of the origins of illness to begin to understand and apply food as medicine.
Consider that up until 100 years ago all food was alive and intact, unadulterated by the methods of madness devised by modern food science. Our ability to engineer food amounts to a selfish effort of tricking ourselves into believing something is good for us. For instance, high fructose corn syrup is cheap and can make almost anything taste good, but it is increasingly linked to diabetes and heart disease.
Follow me, in pre-industrialized times we could trust that “food” was food. We didn’t have genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the properties of taste and texture that we manufacture in order to manipulate the human palate were rare and revered.
Because food had not been adulterated our bodies did not develop the means to tell ourselves that we are malnourished, only calorically empty. We don’t get malnourishment pangs like hunger pangs that we get when we have not eaten for a period of time. This is why we can eat crap and feel full. Our bodies had no reason to expect us to lie to ourselves.
Eating junk food from fast food “restaurants” is no different than the results of using budget synthetic fertilizers purchased at Big Box stores. They both create obesity, disease and pest infestations. Read the book Secrets of the Soil or watch any of the conscious food or farming documentaries out there like Supersize Me, Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., or Fast Food Nation.
The parallels are life. The sad fact is that we don’t know that we are malnourished until we get sick, and often times that is too late. In short, we cannot blindly believe food to be food.
A perfect example of this is “juice”. Real juice cannot survive the trip from the grower to the supermarket shelf without spoiling. In order to withstand the logistics of our socioeconomic arrangement juice must be irradiated, or pasteurized, which happens to defeat much of the purpose of the original natural nourishment.
In fact, the sugar water that results from orange juice after pasteurization is a tasteless colorless liquid that is stored in huge holding tanks until it is re-engineered to specific taste and texture by the familiar orange juice corporations. They even hire perfume companies to formulate flavor based on market studies, which is why each brand has its distinct taste and feel. Sorry to burst your breakfast bubble, read the book Squeezed by Alissa Hamilton.
The worst part is that the FDA allows orange juice companies to add a manufactured molecule called ascorbic acid that mimics the chemical structure of Vitamin C into orange juice so they can claim 100% of your recommended daily dose.
Our approach to how we nourish ourselves is not nourishing us. Researchers have known since the 1940s that an emphasis on empty artificial fertilizers results in cheaper food, but our economic system is driven by profit, volume and shelf life, not qualitative or nutritional value. It’s a race to the bottom line.
This is exacerbated by illogical government subsidies that encourage farmers to grow food that sells for less than it costs for them to grow it. And on top of that, the subsidies are paid towards the least nutritious crops mostly to corporations who are not even farmers.
How many farmers do you think live in Manhattan? Search online for “farm subsidy Manhattan” and click on the first link.
There is plenty of data to back this up. For instance, the calcium content in broccoli has dropped from 12.9 milligrams dry weight in 1950 to only 4.4 milligrams in 2003 per USDA data. Minerals and amino acids have declined by more than 30 percent in wheat developed over the past 100 years.
This is driven by commercial interests, not human interests. Cheap fertilizer only makes sense until your soil is dead and the toxic rescue chemistry used to try and kill back the problems created doesn’t work anymore.
And this is where we find ourselves today.
Complete nutrition is a result of balance, not force. Pests, weeds and disease in our landscapes are manifestations of unhealthy conditions, no different than what happens to people if they eat fast food every day.
Again, to draw the easy analogy, the average doctor prescribes you a pill, they don’t ask you to change your diet. In fact, most don’t even go to school for nutrition.
Preventative agriculture and medicine prevents return business. May appear cynical, but it is truth. The soil must be alive in order to produce food plants that support life. Everyone knows that we are what we eat. So it’s time that we get our hands dirty, use our buying power and act like it.
Be a farmer, start a garden. Ask questions, be interested in your food, and eat your ideals. The rest will take care of itself.