There’s something we all do, every day, that can influence our health in a major way.
It’s not pills or vitamins (who takes 200 pills a day?)
It’s not the number of steps we make (you hopefully walk more than 200 steps a day)
It’s…..the number of times we put a fork into our mouth.
You heard it right: we put something into our mouth 200 times a day on average. And every single bite we take can either be beneficial, neutral, or simply bad for us.
You see, food is more than just calories and energy. It’s more than just something we consume for the pleasure of filling up our stomach when the uncomfortable feeling of hunger starts creeping in.
Food contains information. Not all calories are created equal-a common misconception which many calorie-counting people obsessed with weight loss still abide to. Some foods can be addictive, others can be healing, others can be metabolism-boosting, etc. The same amount of calories in a portion of kale compared to a muffin won’t give your body the same signal. Food doesn’t just contain calories: once it’s inside your body, it gives different information.
Food is also medicine. I’m a sucker for a good quote, and I also happen to be Greek Cypriot and proud of Greek physician Hippocrates, who thousands of years ago said:
Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.
Specific foods have properties that have the power to heal inflammation, fight cancer cells, help our digestion, boost our energy by helping our mitochondria function better, and the list goes on.
This doesn’t mean that every single of those 200 bites has to be perfect every day. Writing this after the Christmas holidays, even I will admit that my eating habits were less-than-perfect while at home, but that’s normal.
It’s not about perfection. It’s about doing the best you can under the circumstances.
Unfortunately, in our modern world we have replaced "food as medicine" with…"medicine as medicine": If you go to the doctor, they will most likely prescribe a pill before asking a single question about your diet or other lifestyle habits. WE also look for "medicine as medicine", because we haven’t been taught about the power of food and lifestyle in general. We constantly hear that it’s important to "eat well", but not many of us understand what that really means.
Here’s a simple and helpful rule to remember: Eat real food as much as possible.
By real I mean not processed food that came out of a factory, but food that came straight from nature: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, meat, fish (and not biscuits, muffins, pastries, breads, crisps, milk chocolates and other sweets, ready-made meals etc.)
It’s a simple rule, but many people find it difficult to apply. Lack of ideas, lack of time, lack of knowledge about the possibilities of eating and cooking real food. I offer supermarket trips and cooking lessons to my clients in Berlin. Contact me if you're interested and living here.
If not, how about trying to follow the rule next time you go grocery shopping? One tip: avoid the inside aisles, which is where most supermarkets keep processed foods.
Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food