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Food Is Medicine

Why is is that we neglect hundreds of year’s worth of proof that the food we eat can kill us just as quickly as it can heal us? Ancient cultures all around the world survived for years without modern medicine. They were able to listen to their bodies and use their environment and natural therapies to heal their ailments.

How often do you look at the food you consume and the environment that you live in as being contributors to poor health?

How many times has your family doctor or specialist considered them as factors for poor health?

Rarely. The ‘solution’ always lies in some form of medication. When that fails? Another medication to deal with whatever issue is next.

I see patients day in and day out with pages worth of medications for conditions that can be managed through other therapies. Diabetes, for example, can be controlled through diet and exercise interventions. There has been a shift towards this in recent years, however the advice regarding diet is to eat more carbohydrates as opposed to just adjusting the medication dose as they become more insulin sensitive.

I had one patient in particular that was experiencing regular hypo’s (low blood sugar) as a result of changing her diet and becoming more active. As always, I referred her back to her regular doctor and specialist assuming they would reduce her medication. The advice was to eat more carbohydrates – this is why she had diabetes in the first place.

Arthritis is another common condition that I see regularly, with patients taking medication after medication to control the pain and immobility. The biggest cause of arthritis related pain is food sensitivities – meaning something you are exposed to is causing an immune response. Obesity is another contributor, but how many are given the recommendation of altering their diet or increasing their activity? Not many.

Look at cancer as another example. The recommendation from a dietary perspective is to keep up the calcium intake through dairy to reduce bone density issues, and to eat carbohydrates to avoid excessive weight loss. While the idea of staying healthy is there, the advice that is given is completely wrong. Increased carbohydrate consumption can cause an increased insulin response which can promote rapid cell growth. Certain tumors rely heavily on glucose for continued growth, so why would we recommend these foods? Also, dairy has been shown to provoke an inflammatory response for a lot of individuals. Why would we recommend these foods be included in an individuals diet, let alone the diet of someone with cancer? The ketogenic diet has been shown numerous times to be able to assist individuals whilst going through chemotherapy and radiation, and in some cases, replicated the same results as these treatment modalities. Why is this rarely recommended if it is so effective?

Popping a pill is not always the answer, at times it is, but for the most part, it’s not. Modern medicine medicine does play a role in health, a huge role that allows us to survive catastrophic events, infections and is the reason why a lot of people are still alive today. The acute health concerns is where modern medicine is most effective. Chronic health concerns is where it tends to fall short.

If you are unwell or just not feeling as vital as you should, ask your doctor or health professional about addressing your lifestyle. There may be medication needed short term to control a symptom, but there should also be a conversation about what it is that’s causing the problem in the first place. If you are diabetic, chances are you are overweight and you need to change your diet and lifestyle. If you have arthritis, you can bet that something you are doing on a daily basis is causing inflammation. If you have back pain, you can be sure that you are either not moving enough or moving wrong. These 3 conditions will 9/10 times result in some form of medication supplied, but how many times would alternative therapies be recommended?

If we don’t start asking, never.


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