Past studies show that populations that make a priority consuming quality foods live a better life. I am defining “better” as a high quality of living which is free from cancer, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, etc. If you look at the Seventh Day Adventists located in Loma Linda, CA. you would see a population that has a higher longevity than the average American. In addition, they also have a much lower risk of chronic disease. Seventh Day participants are practicing vegetarians because one of their religious beliefs is to respect the body. They do consume dairy products. Adventists practice a very healthy lifestyle that includes exercising regularly and avoiding smoking and alcohol.
Research has also observed the lifestyle of populations living the “Mediterranean Diet (MeD) ” practiced in Italy, Portugal, Spain and other countries. In addition to the foods of the Adventists, they add fish and small portions of meat products. In addition, wine is a regular attitude adjustment to their meals. These countries also show preventative benefits of a long and fruitful life practicing the MeD.
Populations like those listed and others throughout the world are eating their way to a healthy future. “We are what we eat” becomes a realistic prescription utilizing healthy foods to prevent disease.
Renovating Your Mind (RYM) wanted to collaborate with a Greek physician named Hippocrates known as the “Father of Western Medicine.” He was Hip on the fact that gods didn’t cause disease. He cited diet, environmental factors and living habits being problems leading to bodily dysfunction. Since he was born almost 2,500 years ago we ending up meeting in one of my dreams for a very productive discussion.
RYM: “So Hip, how did you learn to be an “expert” in medicine?”
Hippocrates: “Please refer to me as Crates. Well, I was trained by my grandfather and my dad who were both physicians.”
RYM: “OK Crates. What do you think of the types of food establishments we frequent in the 21st century?”
Hippocrates: “If you’re referring to fast food like that girl with the freckles or that stupid man wearing the crown, that is purely stomach filling garbage! Much better to feed that right into the dumpster. Allowing that crap to enter into your mouth slowly poisons every one of our cells. I don’t believe in polluting our priceless bodies.
RYM: “Then what do you think is the healthiest foods available to us today?”
Hippocrates: “Anything that comes from the Mother Earth without man’s intervention like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.”
Don’t know if history ever corrected itself when it said one of my quotes was “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I actually said, “your nutrition is your medicine!”
RYM: “Really Crates, I am shocked! I never read that in Greek history.”
Hippocrates: “Hey, I am just busting your togas! I am so damn old I don’t remember what the hell I said. Sorry kid.”
RYM: “You really had me going there Doc.”
Hippocrates: “I believe that in today’s medical world, physicians, pharmacists, chefs and nutritionists (including dietitians) should work together to prescribe food prescriptions (Rx) for patients. For example, I had a stone worker with an inflammatory condition which I would prescribe anti-inflammatory foods twice daily. Listing out the food choices and appropriate recipes.”
RYM: “So you truly believe that food should serve as our medicine?”
Hippocrates: “Yes, to prevent diseases there is no other valid alternative.”
RYM: “Crates, do you think we still need to use medications?”
Hippocrates: “Well when disease raises its ugly head, your healthcare professional should diagnose and treat the problem appropriately. If that includes a “safe” and effective drug, so be it. In my experience, dietary intervention can be synergistic whenever medication is being used to treat what was diagnosed in the patient.
Now may I ask you something I have been puzzled about for a long time?”
RYM: “Sure Crates.”
Hippocrates: “Why do pharmacists not work in conjunction with physicians to prescribe medications? Seems to me they are experts in selecting the best medication for the patient. You go to college for six years, learning and understanding every different facet on the human body, diseases and treatment. Then you come out and supervise technicians, give injections, take blood pressure, etc.”
RYM: “Many of us are frustrated at society for not allowing us to utilize our core talents to have an even more significant effect on healthcare in the U.S. It’s all about corporate control and net profit margins. Companies make a significantly larger amount of money when they force their pharmacists to inject and fill prescriptions.”
Hippocrates: “Your society has taken 2 steps forward with medical technology and 3 steps back with common sense. The logic of your professional underutilization is ludicrous. Why did pharmacists not protest for the right to collaborate with a physician and prescribe?”
RYM: “The AMA (American Medical Association) was always a very connected group. Crates, you know how powerful physicians were in Greece. All the different organizations in pharmacy were fragmented and not united enough to strike out a scenario of pharmacists working with doctors.”
Suddenly, Hippocrates disappeared as the alarm rang out in my bedroom. His wisdom is still with us today in regards to sanitary practice, holistic medicine and patients being treated as patients and not as disease states.
The amazing thing about Hippocrates is that twenty-five centuries ago he was teaching that quality food is powerful medicine to prevent diseases. Here we are in 2014, coming full circle with the 10th conference in California of Healthy Kitchens/Healthy Lives. These meetings bring together chefs, healthcare professionals, dietitians, doctors, nutritionists, educators and sustainability experts to observe foods effect on prevention and healing.
It’s not a matter of substituting food with drugs. The goal of this conference is to “help people move in the direction of a healthier diet to prevent or manage illness that has already occurred.” These are the words of Dr. David Eisenberg, a physician, who normally works doing research at the Harvard School of Public Health. Here at the conference, he substitutes a white coat for a chef’s hat in a teaching kitchen at the Culinary Institute of America. Together, they are utilizing nutritional evidence to provide solutions to prevent diseases. These prescriptions (recipes) for health show how to make many easy, inexpensive, mouth-watering choices for daily good eats.
The choice is ours. Litter your body daily with shakes, burgers and fries now and pay the consequences later. Better to learn now how to put together delicious, easy-to-prepare, healthy foods and increase your odds for a healthier tomorrow. Eating right is a lifelong course. The earlier we start learning about great dietary preparation the better for each and every one of us.
Photo credit: Foodies / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: Morydd / <a h