Welcome back! Last week’s blog garnered a record breaking 2,058 hits! It appears that Food as Medicine is a trending topic on social media. We are all concerned with living a life that affords us wellness, long into our golden years, but many simply don’t know how to attain this end of life goal. Being healthy is important if one is to enjoy the ride, so taking care of our bodies in simple ways along the path is appealing to most. This week’s blog, A Cup of Coffee, wraps up our month long discussion on using Food as Medicine.
I would like to thank our guest DO, Sally Magnum, PhD, DO, and our various community bloggers who took the time and had the insight and foresight to see that this topic is important to the average person. Thank you!
And now, go grab a Cup of Coffee and let’s chat…
As I reviewed all the blogs from this month, one thing kept going through my mind…food needs to be healthy. I then started to fret. In researching this blog, I watched a video of farmers putting green dye in water and soaking their cucumbers, spraying them with a chemical that makes them shine, and injecting the stems with a chemical to make the cucumber appear full. I sat there in shock, and thought…no way. But then video after video showed me these exact same procedures…giving hormones to chickens to plump up their breasts, injecting silicone into shrimp, and adding chemicals to our foods to make them more addicting. It was overwhelming, and so I stopped, took a break, and thought back to my childhood…
Growing up, I lived on eight acres with my parents and two sisters. What my father did with that eight acres was amazing. He not only had an azalea nursery, which provided us with an income, but he grew all of our fruits and vegetables. Around dinner time, mama would call out for me to go to the garden and get some green beans, and some strawberries for desert. She would go into our pantry and pull out five potatoes dad had grown and harvested the year before, and, if fresh fruit was out of season, a jar of canned peaches she had put up in the summer. We never went hungry, we were all fit and healthy, and our food was chemical free. I rarely became ill with anything. Eight acres. That was all it took.
Now, looking back, it didn’t even take the entire eight acres to give us food to eat. Most of that property was in greenhouses, sheds, our home, and several acres stood empty between our house and the highway. It took less than 1/2 acre to grow all of our fruits and vegetables. A peach tree, a pear tree, an apple tree, and at their base our potato patch. To the side were the berries, and at the end, a garden for carrots, beans, onions, cucumbers, and anything else my mama asked him to plant. Our local fruit stand provided what we didn’t grow, such as lettuce, and the butcher provided local farm animals for our meat.
Today, with the rural land diminishing, and more and more housing developments needed to sustain our population growth, people are starting to realize that they are too dependent on the local grocery store for their food. Some worry that in a disaster (man made or nature made), our food supply would be cut off, and then what would we do? Many are “going back to basics” and growing their own fruits and vegetables, or going to local farmers markets to purchase directly from the local farms.
Now, more than ever, we are worried about what we are putting into our bodies. The CDC conducts studies using samples from the population, with the intent to determine how many chemicals we are exposed to, and how many of those chemicals stay in our systems once we are exposed. The study is then put into a report called The National Report On Human Exposure To Environmental Chemicals and Updated Tables. Biomonitoring measurements are made using samples from participants in a series of surveys conducted by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is designed to collect data on the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population.The NHANES protocol includes a home interview, followed by a standardized physical examination in a mobile examination center. As part of the examination, blood is obtained by venipuncture from participants aged 1 year and older, and urine specimens are collected from participants aged 6 years and older. Starting with the 2015–2016 survey, urine specimens were collected from children ages 3–5 years.
Click HERE to find the results of the study. You will be as shocked as I was. It doesn’t take a scientist to tell us that this is not good.
Given this information, I then researched ways that I could help you to help yourselves, by growing your own food source, and controlling your own chemical blue print, if you will. The following are some ideas on how we can all work towards wellness using Food as Medicine (in this case, eating food without chemicals injected into it).
I found a resource called “City Girl Farming”. This really appealed to me, because if you live in a space that doesn’t afford you much acreage, you should still be able to grow your own food. We all deserve healthy food. Here is her suggestion for planting potatoes in the city:
“First, you need a container to plant your potatoes in. You can grow potatoes in just about anything–garbage cans, laundry baskets, buckets, even chicken feed containers! Drill or slice drainage holes all over the container (not just the bottom). Fill with soil and compost. Plant your potatoes (eye side up, cut side down).
Once the plants on top start to die (late summer), you can harvest your potatoes. Simply dump your bucket/bag/basket over and spill your harvest out on the ground. Pick through and gather all your potatoes….it’s simple. No digging and tilling required.”
Her web site offers advice on raising your own chickens for both meat and eggs, gardening tips, recipes, canning, and she even writes a very funny blog that offers advice such as “How to tell if your chickens are laying”
And so, there you have it. That’s the best advice I can give you. We are all in this together, we all want to experience wellness, and we all know that our current food environment is downright toxic. If you have never thought about Food as Medicine before, maybe now is the time. Osteopathic Doctors, such as Sally Mangum, our Guest DO, put a priority on treating the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. What better way to find wellness, than starting with what we eat?
Thank you for reading us…we appreciate you. Next month, we tackle the subject of “Chronic Illness”, and our Guest DO will be Dr. Robert Ellis. See you next week…