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Healthy or Sick: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

By Brenda Fitzgerald

The father of modern medicine, said two and a half thousand years ago "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." All foods we eat have a purpose. Your immune system, anaemia, spinal bifida, vascular disease, cancer, birth defects, heart disease.

Nutrition with a balanced diet everyday will not only make you feel batter, but help keep you healthy.The 8 fundamental tips to eating well.

*Base your means on starchy foods.

*Eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.

*Eat more fish.

*Cut down on saturated fat and sugar.

*Try to eat less salt.

*Get active and try to be a healthy weight.

*Drink plenty of water.

*Don't skip breakfast.

When the energy is weak, tonics are best. Tonic will boost energy, when the energy is overly strong gentle infusions will quickly soothe. Yin and Yang govern not only Chinese philosophy but also an entire way of life, with the best balance manifested in the Middle Path, a concept preached by both Buddhism in its Zen and none Zen forms.

Its applied to all aspects of life, but nowhere else is it more apparent then in daily chinese gastronomic practice.

For the average chinese family, every meal must have "three dishes one soup", with a meat dish, a fish dish, a vegetable dish and a soup being the most common combination. It must also have a balance of steamed, stir fired and deep fried foods, and depending on the season the soup will be either a light summer vegetable concoction with a few slivers of meat to sweeten the stock or a heavier soup to warm against winter chills. My brother married a Korean lady and she has taught my family to eat sea weed soup once a mouth to cleanse the body of impurities. the best way to understand how it works is showcasing some recipes, and explaining how the ingredients and cooking methods fit into the " food as medicine" philosophy.

Although many patients are convinced of the importance of food in both causing and relieving their problems, many doctors knowledge of nutrition is rudimentary. Most feel much more comfortable with drugs than foods. And the" food as medicine" philosophy of Hippocrates has been largely neglected that may be about to change.

Concern about obesity is rocketing up political agendas, and a growing interest in the science of functional foods is opening up many therapeutic possibilities. It was in 1931 that Lucy Wills described how yeast extract could be effective in preventing tropical macrocytic anaemia of late pregnancy. Foliates was shown to be the crucial factor in the 1980's. A series of studies showed how periconceptional folate could prevent spinal bifida but then foliate might influence the change of developing cancer. There is thus great potential food good, some possibility of harm, and much uncertainty the question of fortifying foods inevitably becomes highly political and the politics of nutrition are just as complex as the science. Owen Dyer tells how the United States government- lobbied by food manufacturers, by the world health organization diet nutrition and the prevention of chronic disease. My unadventurous prediction is that we will be hearing much more about the science medicine and politics of food. Hippocates would be pleased.

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