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Foods can cause disease… or foods can cure disease.

Animals in the wild tend to know innately, which foods to eat and which to avoid. They also tend to know which foods to consume to help heal. In modernity humans tend to be removed from this instinctual knowledge. This is just something that happens when we have the leisure and privilege to learn to create foods in all kinds of treats and delicacies, often far removed from its natural form.

Most of us tend to forget that food is for nutrition, healing and survival over taste. As the average child, teen or adult, what they’re going to have for lunch or dinner, and chances are the majority will choose based on what they feel like eating.

What if we had the ability to do an instant-results saliva test that could tell us at any given time of day which nutrients our body needed most? Then we proceeded to consume those foods next. When we begin to look at food as medicine and fuel, it’s easier to make better, healthier food choices and harder to choose that donut, french fries, soda or potato chips.

food as medicine, shutterstock_106809434

Hippocrates said:

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be they food.” Hippocrates, 460-370 BC

It must’ve worked for him because Hippocrates lived to be approximately 90 years old, (exact dates are uncertain).1)

We know we need food and water to survive. But…

few people eat for nutrition over flavor.

That’s a bit like casting garden seeds into a meadow. Some may grow, but none of them will have their best chance.

Instead, we turn the soil, add amendments (supplements), we plant nourishing ground covers to feed and restore the soil. Then we plant and water and feed the garden what it needs, so that in turn, it will feed us well.

food as medicine, shutterstock_290841278Foods from the garden reap health.

Every bite we consume has one of three results.

Our Foods Are Either:

  1. nourishing
  2. detrimental
  3. neutral

This is not a scientific conclusion. Rather, it’s a general rule of thumb in our family that for optimum health, at least 80% of our diet should fall under the first category: nourishing. That means not only eating the amazing fresh organic foods from the garden, but also, not overcooking our veggies, and not over adding salt and sugar, like our grandmas might have.

An example of “neutral” health benefit might be a vegetable that has been overcooked to the point that most of the natural nutrients have been destroyed or rendered mostly useless. Some foods, when overcooked, or fried, can actually become toxic, and cancer-inducing,2) but we won’t go into that here.

For most of us, when we’re deciding what to eat for a meal or snack, what’s one of the first things we say or think? “What do I want to eat?” Right? But what if instead, we said, “What does my body need most?”

If that seems impractical given the vast array of temptations and favorite foods today, okay. What about 80% of the time? That’s more doable isn’t it? And to shoot for that goal turns the current average American diet upside down in a good way.

Food as medicine is a really logical and appealing, low cost solution over disease and drugs. For instance, here’s the power of just one simple and very common garden favorite from Bottom Line Publications.3)

If blood pressure is an issue, it maybe that you have to take a pill. Or, it may be that you can just eat a stalk.

food as medicine, IMG_0560

One man in the GardensAll community, David, not only healed himself through his garden, but is making a decent living on just 1/8 acre of gardening.4)

Celery Lowers Blood Pressure

We love natural cures, and always go there first. Natural remedies just make sense. Sometimes we forget that natural remedies have been around longer than modern medicine.

Natural remedies have been around longer than modern medicine. Let's grow more health!

So… for starters, (and these are just a few of these vegetable’s benefits):

  • Celery for blood pressure
  • Jerusalem artichokes for blood sugar and diabetes
  • Persimmons for cancer prevention
  • Squash as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
  • Garlic as antibiotic and antiviral
  • You name it….

Add any vegetable or fruit and you’ve got health and healing benefits when eaten in its natural form or fermented for a probiotic boost.

There are so many healing foods and ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen that can help specific conditions. For details on these and other food cures, you may enjoy reading The Healing Kitchen, co-authored by Stephen Sinatra, MD, of

And, since it’s a favorite topic for us, we also have other articles that may interest you, such as this one on kitchen cabinet remedies for colds and flu.6)

Healthy Food is the Key to a Healthy Life

One of our favorite go-to sites is World’s Healthiest Foods site and book, World’s Healthiest Foods, 2nd Edition: The Force For Change To Health-Promoting Foods and New Nutrient-Rich Cooking by George Mateljan.

Here’s some more from George on The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Food is the key to life. It is the source of good health and energy. Eating healthy foods can benefit all of us.

One thing that can prevent us from eating the right foods is a mistaken idea that a “healthy diet” takes the enjoyment out of eating and deprives us of good taste. That’s why George Mateljan has created the George Mateljan Healthy Way of Eating, a meal planning approach that emphasizes healthy, wellness-promoting foods whose wonderful tastes will allow you to continually experience the pure joy of eating. Its principles and tools provide you with everything you need to make eating healthy foods enjoyable, convenient, easy and suited to your individual needs.

History of The World’s Healthiest Foods

George Mateljan’s study of food began over 30 years ago. He wanted to know how to feel his best while maintaining the pure joy of eating. His search for answers has taken him to over 80 countries around the world. He studied foods wherever healthy people live long lives. He tasted Russian borscht, Bulgarian yogurt, Hunza apricots and Mediterranean fish, vegetables, fruits and pasta. By traveling around the world, George discovered which foods are the world’s healthiest, and he learned how to prepare them so that they are full of flavor.

Food as Medicine is Growing in Popularity (Again!)

As more and more people have experienced how nutrient-rich foods, like the World’s Healthiest Foods, can help them look and feel their best, the popularity of these foods has skyrocketed. Additionally, due to higher consumer demand, increased availability and the entry of some large-scale foods manufacturers into the natural and organic foods marketplace, prices of these foods have been steadily dropping, creating another factor that has made these foods more accessible and, subsequently, even more popular.

Principles of Healthy Eating

The basic principles of The Healthy Way of Eating are:

  1. You have to know how to choose the most nutritious foods.
  2. You have to know how to prepare them the healthy way using the right recipes to enjoy the full flavors.
  3. You have to select foods and recipes to meet your individual needs.

Source: World’s Healthiest Foods website: WHFoods.com7)

And here’s David Frenette’s inspiring story of how he used food as medicine to completely transform his health: Gardening for Health to The Accidental Farmer.8)

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