Food As Medicine

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am growing increasingly fascinated by the idea of food as medicine. Not that this is a novel idea at all. Hippocrates stated some 2500 years ago: "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." It seems simple enough: eat healthy, whole, real foods and overall health and well-being will improve, and use foods as remedies for sickness when possible. I am drawn to the idea of the home as the source of a family's health and wellness, and feeding my family unprocessed, homemade foods seems to be a simple way to boost our overall health.

I recently watched the excellent documentary, "Forks Over Knives," which expands on the important idea of whole foods as the key to health and well-being. With a thesis similar to that of Michael Pollan's book, In Defense of Food, the documentary discusses the correlation between diet and illness around the globe, showing that those cultures that consume more pure, whole foods and fewer meat products are significantly healthier than those that do not. It makes sense, really, and I have happily hopped on the real food bandwagon.

I always thought we ate healthily, but when I think back to what I fed my oldest when she was a toddler, I shudder. Boxed white pasta, boxed cereal, boxed crackers, foods with refined flour and sugar, jarred baby food, and a variety of other processed foods filled our diet. Now I have shifted to foods that are as untouched by a factory as possible, including significantly increasing our consumption of organic fruits and vegetables, making all of our baked goods at home using whole wheat flour and honey over more processed flour and sugar, getting milk delivered straight from the farm, and eliminating meat.

So far, we all seem to be healthier and more energetic as a result of these dietary changes, but the real drive is one of selfishness. I don't like it when my kids are sick, I don't like it when my husband and I are sick, and I'd like to keep colds and illnesses as far away from my home as possible. So I am administering lots of doses of real, whole foods and hoping that this vegetarian army keeps us all in good health.


  1. Oooh, interesting! How time-consuming is it to make all your own bread? Do you do a bunch and freeze it, or make it as you need it? And do you have a favorite whole wheat recipe?

  2. This is a great post. I am undergoing a similar shift in my home. Who would have thought that whole wheat bread and cheerios would constitute "processed food"? I used to think processed food was things like Oreos or microwaveable meals. Now, like you, I see that so much of our western diet consists of "processed" foods. It's great that you are moving away from these and making your own food now. I am too!

  3. @ Basbusa's Mama - Thanks for your comment. I use a bread machine, so it's not very time-consuming at all. I probably make bread every 2-3 days, but you could certainly make a big batch and freeze some. I keep experimenting with different bread machine recipes, but check out the website "100 Days of Real Food" on my sidebar for excellent recipes and resources! -Kerry

  4. @ Victoria - Thanks for commenting! I felt the same way as you regarding "processed" food, never realizing that the breads, cereals, pastas, yogurts, etc. were all processed! -Kerry