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Stop it before it starts!

By: Leah Brooks

So many diseases and complaints that the current population suffers from could have been avoided. And I don’t mean treated, I mean avoided—never happened. Arthritis, obesity, heart disease, and even cancer; the one thing that all of these ailments have in common is the fact that with a little--or sometimes a lot--of hard work and perseverance, they can be very effectively evaded. And not with drugs or prescription medicine. Although those things may be effective immediately for a short time, in the long run, many drugs and medicine have enough negative long term effects to make one wonder if the temporary relief is really worth the resulting consequences from repeated use.

No, the type of barrier between disease and health that I’m talking about is simple. It’s a natural firewall between your body and all the toxins which exist in our everyday world. It’s called eating healthy--letting the food you eat be your medicine.

In my family we don’t really have a choice about this. I’m not saying that it isn’t any less difficult for us to eat healthy, but we still don’t really have a choice. Why? My Mom. She’s the Health-o-Meter in my family. She began teaching healthy eating classes over five years ago, and ever since then she has seen to it that her family follows her guidelines. So, while most kids get to pick the lumps out of the brown sugar to nibble on…her kids get the lumps out of the barley malt powder. And when everyone else goes to a fast food restaurant…we get carob brownies to hold us over.

Despite the fact that on occasion eating healthy in my family isn’t the most pleasant experience, it has set the stage for all of us to continue to eat healthy, even after we’ve moved out and have lives of our own. The simple absence of refined white sugar and flour in my house growing up, forced me to make do with other natural sweeteners and whole wheat flower when I cooked. I grew to acquire a taste for them, and its second nature now to reach for a healthy alternative instead of the cheap refined staple sold at most grocery stores.

My mom’s perseverance to teach her children how to eat healthy has paid off. Despite the fact that all of us are, at different times, in environments which are prone to disease, my family is very rarely sick. None of us has ever suffered from any sort of chronic disease, and not only that, but the energy and vitality that we feel just from the simple act of feeding our bodies the whole nutrients they need are incredible. (Just ask my little brothers…they’ve got tons of energy!)

Although cancer in my family seems to be a hereditary disease, no one in my immediate family has any signs of it. I believe that this is for the most part because of the preventative measures that we have taken to eat healthy, and stop the disease before it even has a chance to develop.

To me Hippocrates words, “Let food be thy medicine,” mean simple preventative tasks. Things like passing up your mid-afternoon snack and instead eating a wholesome dinner, having granola in the morning instead of sugary cereals, drinking tea and taking vitamin supplements when you feel a cold coming on. All these and more sum up the meaning of Hippocrates wisdom, I believe that he knew then something that even now people have a hard time accepting: The food you put in your body can drastically affect your quality of life. Treat your body with respect, it’s the only one you’ll ever have!

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