Nutrition is Your Everyday Prescription

Photo Credit: davidszondy.com

Photo Credit: davidszondy.com

When I visited the Olivewood Gardens last month, I saw quite a few incredible things. For instance, I got a glimpse of elementary kids digging into yogurt and fruit parfaits with all the enthusiasm of an ice cream party—I’ve eaten a lot of weird things as a kid, but I would have never even considered yogurt at that age! And did you know that planting squash, corn, and beans together not only helps them all grow healthy, but eating them together forms a complete protein? For nature to build something so convenient can’t be a coincidence.

The most impressive moment for me, however, was hearing the history of it all.

To sum it up: the Walton family used to live on the plot of land now used for the Gardens. At a young age, their son was diagnosed with cancer and given months to live. His mother believed that he needed to change his diet, and so set about growing a huge organic garden from which she would press juices. On this new, organic, and all-juice diet, the son’s cancer wasn’t cured, but it stopped growing.

That is huge. Cancer of any type can have an unpredictable growth rate; a tumor could proliferate rapidly within months, or slow to a crawl that spans years. But as a result of this diet, the son is able to travel the nation, giving lectures on the importance of nutrition and public health to this day.

That really got me thinking about how we might underestimate nutrition as a part of our health. And really, how we approach medicine in general.

Part of the problem here is that our definition of health and healthy is largely a cultural construct. There is no objective and clear-cut definition out there, even though it seems a condition like “healthy” would be intuitive. It all really depends on the culture you choose to participate in—what is considered “healthy” in one can be completely different in another.

As you might know, in the case of the modern western world we tend to value slimmer body types. In the pursuit of this ideal, we’ve seen tons of different diets, exercise routines, and even clothing styles. And yet, while a slimmer body type may be culturally accepted as healthy, that does not necessarily mean it is so. What matters is not solely the result, but how it was achieved. It’s one thing to lose weight and trim your figure through balanced meals and exercise; it’s another thing entirely if you’re skipping meals or eating only salmon.

On top of that, while we might turn to various diet changes (some balanced, some more dubious) in an effort to drop a few pounds, a diet change isn’t our first course of action when it comes to frequently diagnosed conditions such as high cholesterol or hypertension—where such changes have proven to improve these more chronic and long term conditions. What we put in our bodies has an immense effect on how it runs, and yet nutrition in and of itself is frequently overlooked when there are health problems!

Too often we recognize medicine as pills and doctor visits. Don’t get me wrong; both are fantastically good at their jobs and an important part of health (particularly in emergency situations). But at the same time, medicine is not just diagnosis and treatment, but prevention. Why wait until you need the pills and visits, if it is possible to avoid them altogether?

We need to change our view of medicine. Medicine goes beyond ibuprofen, thermometers, and clinical definitions. Before all that, medicine is digging into yogurt parfaits, trying new vegetables, and maybe exploring a yoga class or two. It can involve figuring out where your food comes from and how far it travels. It can even mean just taking some time out of your day to relax and enjoy the sun (because far too often we neglect our mental health as well).

In short: medicine is about what you put in. Don’t underestimate the impact of the food you choose everyday.

This post supports:

Olivewood Gardens

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olivewoodgardens.org

About Jessica Morales

Jessica is the Marketing Director & Publisher of NWYT. With a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and a minor in Music History, she is an avid reader, less frequent writer, and altogether just loves to hear a good story. To that extent, her field of study may have been slightly influenced by a certain movie archaeologist. Read more about her here. See All of Jessica's Posts

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