By: Kirsten K. Martin
Many people of his time regarded Hippocrates as a fool yet he knew that it was bacteria that caused disease, not demons or evil spirits. He knew that illness was not due to unholy acts or going against the church. Hippocrates believed in treating the body as a whole not a series of separate parts, this started with eating a nutrient rich diet, as well as getting plenty of fresh air and staying clean. Hippocrates said, "Let Food be thy Medicine." This is brilliant because it is completely true. Although this quote means different things to different people. To the health conscious person this could mean that most diseases and ailments could have been prevented and even cured. They say that cancer can be prevented by eating a diet rich in certain foods.
Food is a key medicine when dealing with ailments like heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity. To the logical thinker the effect of food on your health might be simply physiological. Sure, a nutritious diet will help your body, but it's probably not the best medicine. For many food is a pain killer. We have all seen it in the movies, and many of us have experienced it first hand, emotional eating. First thing after a break up or a hard day at work, every women is pictured grabbing a pint of Ben and Jerry's and drowns there sorrows over spoon after spoon of delicious ice cream. Although this might be a stereotype, it is reality for many people. When we are upset, we eat. It makes you feel better.
To me, a lover of all things food, it means much more. For me cooking and baking truly is the best medicine. For as long as I remember I wanted to be in the kitchen, ever since that old nursery rhyme with the butcher, the baker, and the candle stick maker, I knew I wanted to be the baker. When I am having a bad day I bake. It is a freeing experience. For me there is nothing better than seeing how happy food can make someone, and that happiness is even greater when it is something I have created.
The first time I baked a croissant it was a life changing experience. It was amazing, and the way everyone reacted to them was even better. It makes me feel wonderful when someone loves a dish I have prepared. What does this have to do with medicine? Well, sometimes illness isn't the only ailment we have. In order to feel great you have to be physically and mentally well. I believe food is the key to doing both. Food can keep you healthy if you eat the right things. Food can make you happy as well. For most people food doesn't have the same kind of effect as it does on people like myself. Those who produce it, live it and love it. But the truth is that food affects everyone. Whether it is someone eating chicken soup to get rid of a nasty cold, or an apple each day to keep themselves healthy, or baking a cake to give to a friend going through hard times, food is a staple in all of our lives. It is odd that someone like Hippocrates would understand this over 400 years BC. But if we think of how things were different when he was around, they treasured food. They spent hours eating a meal. Today our meals are much different but still prove to be just as important. I believe everyone should "let food be thy medicine."
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