Hippocrates said: “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”
Food has the incredible ability to lift up our minds and bodies. Filling our bodies with nutrient-dense foods can heal us, as well as protect us from disease and illness. Food is the most powerful form of medicine that we could ever put into our bodies – it is not only preventative medicine but also a remedy for a multitude of diagnoses.
In ancient Greek history, Hippocrates saw the power of food acting as a medicine, and that discovery still rings true today. What you choose to fuel your body with can be more effective than the pills, bills, and wills of the major pharmaceutical companies out there to change your strength and wellness for the better.
The Damage of Processed Foods
A few months ago, I sat down with Robert T. Jones, the founder of Roots Food Group and Roots Food Foundation. This foundation was started with a goal to bring unprocessed, clean-label food products to those in need, in hopes to improve overall health and wellness for people, all while reducing the cost of healthcare nationally.
Talking with Mr. Jones about the problem of processed food was an eye-opening realization that I wrote about for The Sage, a few months ago. I believe these next few paragraphs will sum up the danger of cheap, processed foods well.
The influx of chronic diseases in the United States, as well as globally, is largely a result of processed foods being the only reliable and accessible form of sustenance for the majority of the population. These are forms of food that are loaded with sodium, saturated fats, sugar, and contain little to no fruits, vegetables, or nutrients. Therefore, “cheap food has created a very expensive problem” and has caused a rise in chronic disease for people all across the country, and the world.
According to the National Institute of Health, over 50 million adults in the United States have hypertension, and abnormally high blood pressure. Additionally, over 24 million children and adults suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. These diseases cost thousands of dollars to combat and put a heavy burden on the health care system. For example, heart diseases and strokes cost the industry $216 billion per year, as well as $147 billion in lost productivity on the job, diabetes costs $327 billion in medical costs and lost productivity, and obesity costs the healthcare system nearly $173 billion a year.
And that is just the financial cost. The cost of lives is far greater, with one in every five deaths in the world resulting from a subpar diet. This is a loss larger than any risk factor, including tobacco usage.
Gardening as Medicine
Eating well is a huge cornerstone to your health. As evidenced above, when you constantly put unhealthy, processed foods that do not add any nutritional value to your mind or body, you may end up with life-threatening circumstances on your hands.
People always say, “your body is a temple.” We should treat our bodies as such when deciding what we want to eat, drink, ingest, and how we want to live. You only have one body for your entire life, there is no second chance, so treating your body with kindness and nutrition is one of the best decisions you can ever make.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to encourage yourself to show yourself a bit more love and care. That is why we would like to bring gardening to the table. When you have a garden to care for, water, and provide nutrients, it can serve as a tangible example of how your body deserves to be treated. For example, when a garden is not cared for properly, you can instantly see the damaging effects, which usually result in death. While we are unable to see changes so drastically and immediately within our own bodies, the message still stands. Foster and care for your body the way that you would care for a garden.
Additionally, when you are taking the time and effort to grow your own herbs or vegetables, you subconsciously become more cognizant of what you eat and how you are fueling your body. Being surrounded by fresh, homegrown produce can be the kickstarter you need for a happy, healthy life where food becomes more than just something to eat. Furthermore, gardening encourages a healthy and active activity that gives you the opportunity to reap more than just a harvest of good food. Moving your body, spending time in nature, taking moments of mindfulness, and soaking up some Vitamin D are all added pluses to gardening.
Finally, gardening for your own food is a wonderful way to connect with nature and develop a greater understanding of what you eat.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the participants in an urban home garden program reflected on their experiences saying, “it’s changed our way of eating a lot.”
Change your mind, body, and soul with gardening!