Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food

Monday, November 09, 2009
Famous words from the father of medicine, Hippocrates. Too bad no one, not even doctors, pay any attention to him anymore.

Food Matters. Indeed it does. We all know that eating a healthy balanced diet is essential to good health but most people here in the west don’t. Instead we fill our bellies with processed food that barely resembles anything grown in nature. I watched this documentary that promised to look at the role good nutrition could play in the body’s own healing processes. Avoid disease, live longer, enjoy a happier, healthier life. While the film has a few of these moments, what I got was an hour and 20 minutes filled with “pop these vitamins and you’ll cure your own cancer”.

One point I agreed with was the lack of nutritional training, and the importance of a healthy diet in fighting disease, most medical students these days receive. If you have a health concern and you visit your doctor for help, the first thing they suggest is taking a pill. What about examining the causes of the problem? Get to the root of the problem and don’t just treat the symptoms. This is something that modern medicine in general does not do. I would much rather my doctor look at what’s causing my high blood pressure rather than just trying to bring it down with medication. Even the specialist I saw two years ago only gave me a pamphlet which briefly described a suggested diet for hypertensive patients. The rest of our visit was about the medication and how to use it properly. Send me to a nutritionist if you’re not an expert. Talk about the right kinds of foods to eat, what to avoid. However, the documentaries focus on pushing huge quantities of vitamins on viewers with the claims of losing over 100 pounds, curing cancer, etc. also scare me.

Now, I’ve never been to a naturopath or herbalist or whatever you’d call them. I don’t want someone pushing vitamins and shakes and various extracts on me anymore than I want the pills. Perhaps I have a skewed vision in my head of what naturopaths do… I do like the comfort of my doctor and the often mistaken belief that the medical community can cure all. My question is…why can’t there be a melding of the two? If people ate healthier, and avoided all the crap that is quite literally shoved down our throats, health care costs would plummet thanks to people living healthier lives. This however entails making healthy food readily accessible and available for everyone. There should really be no need to take vitamins, in my opinion. We should, theoretically, be able to get all of our nutrients from the foods we eat. Granted, even when most of us think we’re eating healthy, our food has already lost much of its nutritional value by the time it reaches our plates (a reason why should be patronizing farmer’s markets, CSAs, and growing our own).

I can’t say I was completely disappointed in this documentary but I certainly wasn’t thrilled and I’ve seen others which were far less biased. Where were the representatives for the pharmaceutical companies or for the majority of the medical community? I should have known this was not going to be stellar when I saw David Wolfe being interviewed. He may just be an expert on raw food (which is a good thing) but to me, he’ll always be one of the Alts on Mad Mad House.


Red said...

Is crap "quite literally shoved down our throats"? I must disagree with that statement. People make a conscious choice to eat crap, usually because they favour convenience over quality (which usually comes with a modicum of effort, since the best food is always the one we prepare ourselves).

We watched a terrifying documentary last week about the percentages of meat in canned products like sausages, hot dogs and spam. The meat content in some of these items is as low as 17%. In order to inflate that figure the manufacturers then add what is known as "mechanically recovered meat", which is whatever comes out of an animal's carcass when it is squeezed into a big grinding machine.

Revolting? You bet. But I cannot help but feel that people who eat these products deserve what they're getting. Meat should never -- NEVER -- be cheap. If it is, there is something seriously wrong with it.

If I was strapped for cash, I would much rather eat a meat-free diet than insist on putting cheap meat on the table.

* (asterisk) said...

Further to what my better half has written, I'd say you don't have to visit farmers' market and other similar alternatives. Head to a supermarket and simply buy fresh vegetables. Sure, you can't be entirely in the know about fertilizers, herbicides etc, but you know that nothing has been taken out before it hits your pan or plate.

Buy free-range chicken or organic meats that come fresh with a short shelf life. Canned stuff is great for certain beans and pulses, but anything else just doesn't belong in a can!

We have a choice, whether in the UK, Canada, or the USA, to but good or crap food. And whether or not to wash it all down with Coca-Cola...

sp said...

I hadn't heard of this doc., but after your review, I think I'll skip it.
I see a Naturopathic doctor, and she doesn't "push" any pills on me. Naturopathic medicine believes in the body's natural ability to heal itself with the aid of natural remedies (herbs, foods, etc)
My traditional medicine doctor spent 10 minutes with me a prescribed a vertigo medication (with a list of side effects) that I ended up never taking. It wasn't vertigo I had, I was anemic, and had a low level of B12.
Bottom line, my ND saved me. She also believes that a combination of traditional and naturopathic techniques would be the ideal way to treat illnesses.
In India it is not uncommon to encounter doctors trained in both types of medicine.

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