Let Food Be Your Medicine

By Monica Stoutenborough

Chronic diseases such as heart disease, type II diabetes, autoimmune illnesses, dementia, and osteoporosis, are now considered by many to be an inevitable part of aging. We assume that as we get older we will likely be diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions. In addition to blaming our age, we often credit our inherited genes for our health conditions. While there is certainly some truth to the fact that genetic factors may predispose you to develop certain diseases, it is not a guarantee. I suffered from migraine headaches after reaching the age of 25, and had accepted that I was simply following in my grandmothers footsteps. It ends up that grandma and I had some other things in common, mostly the food we were putting in our mouths. Many doctors now believe that genetic factors alone don’t cause all disease, but that these genes must be activated or turned on by dietary and environmental factors as well.

Your body is a very well designed machine. When given the proper fuel it has the ability to prevent and in some situations reverse disease. Today most people are acutely aware that smoking has a direct correlation to incidence of lung cancer. The day that a smoker takes their first puff they probably cough a little bit, however they don’t immediately have lung cancer. In fact, many smokers can have a daily habit for years or even a lifetime and never be diagnosed with cancer. This illustrates not only the miraculous healing mechanisms of the human body, but also our adaptability to environmental conditions. You can be downright abusive to your body and it will continue to try and repair the damage. It takes many years of exposure to pollution, food additives, processed foods and a lack of plant foods for disease to develop.

There are accounts of people that are able to reverse chronic conditions through food when pharmaceuticals could only treat the symptoms. Let’s revisit the example of smoking consequences. Incidence rates of lung cancer have been significantly lower for Fiji than for other South Pacific countries, despite similar rates of smoking; a higher intake of green vegetables is believed to explain this variance according to a study published by the International Journal of Cancer. When you provide your body with the fuel needed to facilitate cellular repair the results can be amazing! Phytochemcials are compounds found only in plant foods that can positively affect your health. So my advice to everyone is to EAT MORE PLANTS! Even if you have no intentions of becoming a strict vegan or vegetarian you will better your own health and the health of this planet by eating more plants on a daily basis.

Monica Stoutenborough,
Healthy Coach and Yoga Teacher
Monica offers yoga, meditation, nutrition & cooking instruction at her business, PuraVegan Cafe & Yoga. She is offering a “Healthy Vegan 101” class that is lecture and food preparation on July 7, and “Preventing Cancer with Diet” class July 21.