“Then let man look at his food (how we provide it). For we pour water in abundance. And we split the earth in fragments. And produce therein corn. And grapes and nutritious plants. And olives and dates. And enclosed Gardens dense with lofty trees and Fruits and Fodder.”
The Holy Qur’an 80:24-31.
Taking the steps to heal yourself with the foods that nature has placed for you at your disposal is a God given right that many of us need to make more use of. While current and modern methods of modern medicine have allowed us to make some forms of advancement in the realms of surgeries and some acute illnesses, it seems that the aspect of illness prevention through the concept of Nutritional Medicine is one that is not fully understood or has been marginalized; mostly due to lack of understanding of just how important nutrition is in their medicinal healing capabilities.
Although the food as medicine concept is nothing new, it has gained recent attention being that several documentaries have been made just within the last 5 years on people who have had completely life changing revolutions by making some adjustments in their diets, food shopping choices and overall lifestyle patterns. But for those who maybe have not caught wind of these films or are unaware that this even existed, I will make a humble attempt to expand on just how the food as medicine concept can work in your everyday lives.
What is Nutritional Medicine?
The concept of nutritional medicine operates under the premise that everything you place in your mouth for consumption will either be a catalyst for good health or a step towards adverse health. And this is something we don’t have to try to disprove; we’ve all at times have had a vital meal that made us feel good afterwards. Likewise I am sure we have all had a meal in which it has left us feeling less than perfect. Within the realms of Holistic Nutrition, it takes this concept a step further and has a systematic platform form to actually treating acute and also chronic diseases first and foremost with food, then herbs and then through energetic means such as mindfulness meditation, inner reflection and a change in scenery if necessary.
In an ideal setting for healing, the Practitioner also partakes in their own nutritional recommendations so as to be on the same page when they give advice; because they can speak directly from knowledge regarding what does and what stands in the way with healing as quickly as possible. In the path of Holistic Nutrition as well as Naturopathy, the first line of defense for healing or treating any ailment is to use natural food sources first. And depending what line of educational thought the Practitioner comes from; their overall goal may or may not attempt to address the acid-alkaline balance within the individual in the process. Practicing Nutritional Medicine has lasting benefits such as having more energy, feeling less fatigued, the ability to absorb more nutrients and the feeling of the increase in the Vital Life Force within the person on a more consistent basis.
Imperative Foods in Nutritional Medicine.
While there are some specific foods that should be eaten if attempting to deal with a specific illness, there are some core foods that should be eaten regularly if not weekly for optimal health. These foods are high in micronutrients, contain high amounts of fiber and aid in regular elimination of toxins which allows the body to absorb more oxygen for optimal wellness. While this is not an exhaustive list, eating more of these items have their immediate benefits. Foods such as:
Chia, turmeric, (use caution if taking prescribed blood thinners), black seed, spirulina, apples, bananas, oranges, avocados, raw apple cider vinegar, cumin, flax seed and flax oil, peppers, beets, oranges, sumac spice, watermelon, cabbage, carrots, maca root, raw cacao powder, grapes, corn, ginger, almonds, walnuts, spinach, kale, oats, garlic, pears, rosemary, oregano, pumpkin, strawberries, cherries, cinnamon, broccoli, cauliflower and the like, etc.
What’s interesting though in the concept of Nutritional Medicine is that in many cases, remedies using the foods listed above are many times prepared in their raw state. This is done either to balance the acid that’s in the body or to add more alkalinity if the person is very ill and overly acidic. While cooked foods can be used as a healing treatment; it is when foods are in their rawest state that they provide the necessary enzymes for healing on an internal level. Again this is a very limited list of foods, yet these foods are very powerful in addressing our most common health issues that we are dealing with most like diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, asthma, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney issues, chronic inflammation, heart disease and much, much more.
Including Your Treatment Team.
Many times I have come across a client who has had a revelation concerning their health and they are very proactive about doing whatever it takes to get themselves into the best form of wellness that they have ever been in; and this is of course a positive move. When a plan to make a major change regarding your health and food choices are concerned, it’s just best practices to at least notify your primary care physician (if you are working with one) and anyone assisting you in your health care about this. I say this not because people don’t know what’s best for their bodies, it is said just as a safety precaution if you are taking any medications. You just want to be sure that there are no contraindications with any natural foods that you are eating at the time. If they truly care about your health and wellbeing, you shouldn’t encounter much resistance on your embracing healthier eating patterns.
Not a Stand Alone Treatment.
In the holistic way, Nutritional Medicine is not a stand-alone treatment. Or in other words, foods work their best in the body when it is balanced. This means that a healthy body without a healthy mind is in reality, not a “healthy” body at all. For this reason, exercise and stress reduction techniques are infused in with the healing prescriptions. It’s no secret that we are living in very stressful times. If this stress is not addressed in a timely and proper manner it can wreak serious damage on the body; mainly the internal organs, in spite of how much one may do their best to eat in a healthy manner. It is at this point that the person needs a Practitioner to help them navigate towards the best meal plan, exercise regimen and specific amount of stress reducing techniques so they can reach their holistic health goals quicker.
Health goals will vary from person to person and there usually isn’t a one size fits all plan when someone wants to feel better, but placing more fresh and more vital foods in your life is the best way to start. There are ways to address many of our most common health issues with just a shift in attitude and changes to our nutritional palates. And Allah (s.w.t) is the best source of all cures. As Salaam Alaykum.
Daud Scott- CHNP; CPT.
Daud Scott is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Practitioner and is the owner of Natures First Path, a Holistic Nutrition practice. Daud lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and son. To learn more about Daud’s approach to health and wellness you can visit him at: www.naturesfirstpath.com