Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” When I was diagnosed in 1997 with incurable thyroid disease, I began my healing journey by changing my perception of food.
I got off the crap, began cooking for myself, and incorporating wholesome “healing foods” as my medicine.
The first diet I tried was Macrobiotics – its origins were steeped in Traditional Chinese Medicine and the principles of yin and yang. It’s a food philosophy that teaches about eating food that is naturally raised, pesticide free, and lovingly prepared. I ate that diet for many years, and it was a HUGE catalyst to helping me understand food. But, it was not complete for me.
The next healing diet I tried was “veganism.” With macrobiotics I was still eating small quantities of fish once per week. So, I removed fish entirely. I read in few books that I could enhance my spirituality and connection to the universe by NOT eating animals.
Veganism worked great for me for about a year. But, I soon began feeling weak and exhausted, and my immune system kept crashing. My blood pressure was scarily low (80 over 50!), and my muscles ached all the time. I was suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.
Plus, when I was vegan I was judgmental of myself and others. I believed if I ate animal products I was harming my soul in some way, and would probably go to hell. And, if you were eating a hamburger in front of me … well, you were surely going to hell because I was the witness and the judge to that crime!
It wasn’t until I sat quietly one day listening to another vegan friend that I began understanding my error. We were in Louisiana on a swamp tour in the bayou. As we were floating down the waterway a dragonfly with blue and green iridescent wings landed on the boat.
I said, “Wow, look at that beautiful dragonfly.”
She said, “ugh! I HATE dragonflies!”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because they eat other flies. They’re disgusting cannibalistic creatures. And, I’m glad we haven’t seen any alligators yet, because they are horrible. They eat innocent little animals!”
I said, “Isn’t that just a part of nature?” And, my idea of veganism began shifting.
Besides, I had to listen to my body. I was feeling weak and exhausted, and needed to honor my body with the food it was craving; which was animal meat and fat. A similar way the crocodile eats the water rat, the bear catches salmon from the stream, the bird eats a worm, and the snake eats a frog.
Those animals are not going to hell – they are just living a natural life, eating what nature provides for them… without judgment.
And, besides the meat-eating alligator is no less important to this world than the grass-eating deer.
I also dabbled in raw foods when I was vegan. I went to Hippocrates Institute in Florida. Upon arrival, I was given a “live” blood test.
The gal administering the test said, “Your blood is very good, how long have you been raw?”
I said, “I’m not really raw. I eat cooked food.” At that time I was macrobiotic/vegan.
She said, “Well if you are going to take on a raw foods diet you will need these supplements and digestive enzymes.”
She pulled out a sheet of paper and checked off 15 different enzyme supplements that would enhance my raw foods experience.
Once again I looked into nature and saw there are NO herbivores or ruminants taking supplementation to digest their food. I lasted one week on a completely raw foods diet. All raw, all the time, and came to the conclusion that it didn’t feel good inside my body.
The various ways of eating I experimented with helped me gain insight into my body and how it can be affected physically, emotionally and spiritually by my daily food and lifestyle choices.
I’ve learned so much, and I’m still learning, as I continue to live well and eat healthfully while here in this body, on this planet. Understanding food seems like a never ending and delicious process.
And, sometimes it’s a not so delicious process. Like noni juice for example. For me it tasted like fermented dirty sock water packaged in an expensive bottle. I had the same reaction to noni juice as I had the first time I tried scotch whiskey: a gag reflex.
Once again I looked into nature. That same gag reflex happens when a snake eats a poisonous tree frog.
I know that noni juice and whiskey are not the right drinks for me, personally. Now beer, on the other hand, is smooth and creamy with a nice silky finish. I have to honor that!
After experimenting with various healing foods and “isms,” I found something that works best for me. It’s essentially what the ancient sages and philosophers taught thousands of years ago to help us attain health, vitality and a connection to the universe.
Ancient healing arts advise that human beings are a part of the whole universe and are not separate from nature, but are part of nature.
We human creatures need to figure out what nature provides for us (animal, vegetable and mineral) in the climate and environment that we live in, just like all other creatures on the planet.
An easy way to understand what type of food is available in your area starts by shopping at a farmer’s market. You’ll discover with each season that the produce and products change.
I believe we need to trust the wisdom of the universe and let nature provide for us. With the help of the farmers that are naturally and ethically raising these foods, of course.
As famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
Want a deeper understanding about food and healing? Listen to this audio recording from my talk at the NOFA conference. You’ll discover, without any judgement, how and why connecting with the cycles of nature can enhance health on many levels; physical, emotional & spiritual.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.