We all recognize the notable words from Hippocrates, who said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
It’s easy to make the connection to food and our health, as what we put into our bodies is a reflection of our overall health. In the scope of today’s food landscape, understanding where our food comes from has become more difficult than ever. By taking a look at how food and human health can benefit one another, we can begin to see how nature can offer simple solutions and ultimately help us take control of our health.
For many of us, when we think of medicine, its association with food is viewed as a separate entity. Instead of nourishing and finding ways to keep our bodies healthy, we rely on modern advances for remedies. Conversely, when we look at chronic illness, it is so often linked to diet.
Food is Our Life Support
Food is a reflection of a culture and society. In many ways, it determines the health of its community. We can nourish our bodies with nutritious food, but what we put back into our environment to nourish the land is equally important. By understanding our food system, we take part in a movement of working towards simple solutions that keep us healthy and deepen our connection to the environment. Food as medicine is a simple concept when we break down the principals of nutrition, biodiversity and our relationship with the two.
Whether it’s the food we eat or the products we use, what we put in and on our bodies are only as good as their ingredients. At MANDA, our idea of optimum health comes from the ability to work with nature and keep our ingredients simple. We seek insight from local traditions as a way to improve our health and deepen our connection to our environment. Healthy skin is a reflection of overall wellness and is a great indicator of our health. Our bodies, like nature, have amazing capabilities. Simplicity allows for their natural functions to take place.
Our Modern Market
When we begin to analyze the scope of today’s modern market, we see disconnect of food as medicine. Nature’s resources are available at our fingertips but become complicated, processed and transformed in today’s market. Instead of working with nature, the modern market packs us with everything we need to work against nature. We see this in the food we eat and the products we buy.
For example, in the skincare market, a common rhetoric is anti-aging. When we think about this, aging is a natural, biological process. Instead of nourishing and protecting our skin with good ingredients that work with our body’s natural functions, we fight nature’s process with chemical ingredients that end up being more harmful to our bodies and environment than what they were intended to do. The same is true for our food.
As large corporations produce food at such a high quantity, they often sacrifice quality for profit and efficiency. In a previous blog, we’ve discussed the importance of biodiversity and how it plays a vital role in the health of our ecology.
Today, because so much of our food comes from mono-cropping, the soil becomes extinguished of its nutrients and no longer has the ability to preserve its biodiversity. With no biodiversity, the soil becomes exhausted and starts to invite pests and disease. These are not necessarily bad, just nature’s way of healing the land. The vicious cycle that begins to take place is that instead of allowing nature to take its course, we fight nature (to get rid of its pests and disease) with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Ensuring Quality of Ingredients
Ensuring quality of ingredients begins in understanding the process of how we obtain our food and products. While organic products are the better choice, we can’t solely rely on them to improve our health and community. As big organic brands grow, so do their production and shipping methods.
By looking at how our health and food benefit each other, we must define healthy food and our basic needs. When we allow our food to be our medicine, it's our due diligence to know where our food comes from, the importance of nutritious food and its impact on our environment and community. This goes back to the idea of working with nature while understanding the importance of what we put back into our environment.
Another thing to consider is shifting our perspective of healthy eating. We can personalize our approach to eating healthy by buying (or growing) what’s in season and locally grown. This allows farming methods to rotate their crops, preserving the health of the soil and its surrounding ecology. This also allows a variety of different fruits and veggies that change throughout the season into our diet. A healthy variety of food means healthy bodies.
When we break down the walls of where our food is coming from, we can begin to regress forward to simple solutions that improve our health and the health of our community and planet. Food really can be our medicine when we do it right. By empowering ourselves to know where our food is coming from, we develop a greater appreciation for one of our most enjoyed activities: eating!