Why We Should Give Food its Proper Due

Why We Should Give Food its Proper Due

One of the most important truths is that we are a part of a natural world that has an order; it has mechanisms in place over millions of years of evolution that maintain overall balance. When we live with sensitivity to the world we inhabit, we become aware of how our environment is set up to provide for us -- we live with better health because we make better choices.

New Zealand Maori's have a concept called kaitiakitanga, which essentially means that we are all responsible to be guardians and custodians of the natural world. They view the world as alive and very much like a family member, with just as much reason to care for it as any one of their own. This wonderful philosophy translates into choices that exemplify the right path to living well and being well. In practical terms, Maori's only hunt for what they need to eat, never for sport, they plant and harvest using the proper cycles (lunar-based), they periodically ban taking food from an area, and they treat the food they receive with respect and gratitude (which translates into the preparation.) There is an equilibrium to their world, and they benefit from it.

In our typical western approach, we are so far from our natural roots, and have lost all awareness of our proper place, so we fail to understand how health is a relationship we participate in. We do not consider that if there is no love in the way we tend our environment, then what it will produce for us will not sustain us (and will certainly not be charged with the energy of mutual care.) In the last century our diets have changed radically, from what we eat to the way we prepare it. We have embraced engineered foods, rich in refined sugars and starches, highly processed fats, and sodium, that are designed to be delicious and easy to encourage overeating. Junk food is now the number one source of calories in the US.

The more we process foods, create artificial and synthetic foods, fixate on speed and convenience and ease, the more we are likely to pay a price with our health.  It is harder than ever to make healthy choices, and too many people grow up never having even seen a vegetable patch or an animal farm. One just needs to look at the host of environmental issues we face today to see how most of us respect our planet and what it has led to. Sickness and poor health is prevalent. Degenerative diseases are rampant. We are out of balance. There is a disconnect between what we eat and how we feel, and our health is ultimately where we will suffer for it.

Learning to reconnect with nature's wisdom and to respect its bounty will result in a healthier, happier life.

Armed with proper knowledge, and thereby a better fundamental approach, one becomes the captain of a steady ship. We may not be able to control the seas but we can certainly learn to navigate them. Choosing the right nutrition prepared in the right way will head off problems down the line. Being aware of how food gets to you, and avoiding things like GMO's, processed foods, additives and preservatives, and all the myriad chemicals in modern food is ever more important. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say. Now, visiting a physician and needing drugs to solve problems can now be a last resort because we make smarter health decisions and find ourselves in better balance. Health should be proactive, and it all dtarts with diet. 

One of the main principles of naturopathy is the vis medicatrix naturae -- usually interpreted as the ability of botanicals to heal. It means literally being in connection with nature and surrounding yourself with the therapeutic smells, sounds, tastes and visual beauty that is your source as well as your curative. We have heard it said that for every ailment, nature has a cure.

Today there are at least 120 distinct chemical substances derived from plants currently in use in one or more countries in the world that are considered important drugs. We are turning nature into something man-made, as though we know better. Instead of focusing on proper nutrition, we are turning botanicals into pharmaceuticals to cure illnesses. This may may work for some issues, but it is not the answer to good health. The key is to re-sensitize ourselves to the ways of the natural world that we are a part of and are sustained by. To live in balance with it. Believe it or not, scientists, doctors and drugs are not the source of good health. And chemically engendered and artificially processed food is what creates the problems that send seeking medical remedies.

So what does this actually mean? Well, choosing health means being proactive. Food should be the ultimate source of health and well-being. No matter what ails you, there is a solution in the natural world. Whether you suffer with allergies, low energy, diabetes, memory problems, anxiety, or pretty much anything else, the solution is available in food and nutrition if you know how to look for it. Having proper respect for food leads to better health for us and our planet. Choosing unprocessed, well cultivated foods from mother nature sustains and supports us.

For instance, did you know ...

Pineapple can help speed healing of wounds?

Berries can help you fight off a cold or even a mild infection?

Ginger can reduce nausea?

Yoghurt can prevent skin infections?

Some mushrooms can prevent cancer?

But growing these foods using chemicals and genetic modification, and then processing them before consumption means that nutrition has no value anymore. The natural world no longer sustains us, we have corrupted that bio-availability with our processes.

Hippocrates supposedly said, let food be thy medicine.

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The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.


    • Avatar
      Jun 11, 2014

      Well said

    • Avatar
      Jul 19, 2014

      This reminds me of the movie Avatar. The visceral response that we saw to this movie stems from the fact that we have become so distanced from mother earth. We are poisoning our environment and ourselves. I wish more people would wake up.

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