Let Food Be Thy Medicine, and Medicine Be Thy Food

Nearly 2500 years ago, Greek physician Hippocrates, the “father of medicine”, recognised the simple importance of food and drink to our human health.

In modern times, however, this age-old wisdom of the health benefits and healing properties of natural unprocessed food has dwindled.

Unhealthy eating has become conventional and convenient, with many of us simply not mindful enough of the food and drinks we consume on a daily basis.

And yet when our health is compromised, the first thing we do is head to the medicine cabinet or the doctor.

Unhealthy Eating and the Effects

Often now when I shop, I find myself standing behind someone who has a trolley loaded with cartons of soft drink, processed meals and huge packets of processed chips.

These items in general have too much salt, too much sugar and preservatives, and will not strengthen their bodies or help their immune system. The strain on their digestive system will compromise their moods as well as their ability to wake up happy and jump out of bed ready to enjoy their day.

Instead, they will find it hard to wake up and face the day; they will feel sluggish, heavy and often very irritable. They will need coffee to even get dressed and are likely to find little things annoying. Feeling like this, they will miss the connection between their diet and their ability to wake up happy, strong and eager to go about their daily functions.

With a weekly trolley full of these purchases, they are staring down the barrel of ill-health.

Is Healthy Food More Expensive?

At the same time, I tend to overhear these same shoppers complaining about the cost of their purchases.

I remember once hearing a young woman on the radio complaining about the fact that she couldn’t save enough for a deposit for an apartment, and how years ago it had been so much easier to buy your own home than it is now, especially for the younger generation. The announcer then asked her to give him an idea of what she did every day as a general routine.

She told him about her morning and afternoon coffee, the lunches she bought every day and the takeaways she ordered at night. He did the sums, and she was shocked to learn that she had eaten her deposit in the space of three years.

Not only is unhealthy eating bad for our bodies, but it is expensive to maintain. It is a commonly thought myth that healthy eating is more expensive.

If only more of us planned our menus, did our own shopping and cooked our own food, then both our health and finances would win.

Health is Wealth

Life is meant to be enjoyed and good food is one of the many things that enable us to do that.

We are so lucky in this country to have access to good, natural food.

At one stage when I lived in the country, running a holiday park with four children, we were without income for nine months due to continuous flooding.

I had to learn very quickly to adjust my thinking and my planning. I made use of garbage bins full of yeast, wholemeal flour (SR and plain), sugar and brown rice. I also learnt to make my own bread and biscuits. My second son managed a family vegetable garden. 

We were fortunate enough to be near a jetty where the professional fishermen came with their catch and we could buy fish very cheaply. We virtually lived on fish for months. We also knew a farmer that would bargain with us: our fish for his meat, his flour for my bread, plumbing jobs for his eggs and milk.

It was simple living at its best, but it kept my family healthy for minimal cost. And our health is always what is most important.

We all should learn to treat our food with the respect it deserves, as – just like Hippocrates advocated – it is one of the major attributes to good health. And as many of us go through life, we realise, sometimes too late, that our health is our greatest treasure.

You can have all the money in the world but without good health, you cannot enjoy it.

In addition to good natural food, another way we can look after our health is through natural medicine. Read more helpful masterclasses on health, natural remedies and more at Naturopath Australia.