by Ann Taylor
Resilient health is multi-faceted. It’s an outcome of what and how we eat, drink, sleep, work, move our bodies, recreate, relate to people, other species and our environment, our sense of purpose, our sense of humour, our spiritual connections, our response to stress…anything else?
How our bodies and brains function depend on our biochemistry. These biochemical reactions depend on the fuel we put into our bodies, being the energy content of food plus the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and enzymes that – synergistically – make these biochemical reactions happen. SO, our choice of fuel/food is vitally important.
Here in Sydney, we are blessed with access to a wide variety of nourishing food choices: fresh, quality, locally grown, seasonal produce; animal foods from genuinely free range and grass fed animals (meat, poultry, eggs), artisan foods made with quality ingredients without synthetic additives IF you know where to find these; IF you make time to source and buy them; IF you make time to cook; and IF you have enough money to spend on better quality food. Does this all sound so inconvenient and tedious?
I gave up my engineering “career” in 2006 when I acknowledged that I’d served up a third dinner of the week of tinned baked beans on toast to my young family and we were all suffering various forms of emotional stress (my brain was consumed with work). Believe me, I still have other things I’d rather be doing than food preparation, but it’s both a discipline and an act of love to think about, plan for and prepare simple, nourishing meals for oneself and for people you care about. Through various health challenges, we have strategically used nourishing foods, food-based supplements and tissue salt mineral supplements to support recovery, while also receiving medical attention as needed. We have time and energy to enjoy doing what we love, and our better quality home-cooked meals – simple and delicious – save lots of money otherwise spent on more of lesser quality food that we don’t enjoy (even restaurant food, made with cheaper, poorer quality ingredients), and waste more of. Our food is nutrient dense, not calorie dense; and our healthy metabolisms naturally maintain our healthy weight without need for excessive exercise. Sound good?
One of the most challenging aspects of my work now, as a qualified and accredited nutritionist, is addressing adverse psychological relationships with food: joylessness of lonely mealtimes and dis-flavoured food and fearfulness of reactivity to specific food ingredients, real or imagined; complicated by side-effects of pharmaceutical medications. So, Food as Medicine is easier to say than to do for many people, but there is plenty of evidence of people who do use food as medicine who improve their health remarkably (and joyously!) when they improve their dietary habits.
You’ll see from the profile of practitioners in this Hands Up 4 Health collaboration that there is plenty of support if you are willing and committed to changing bad habits for good, plus emotional and physical therapies to help you achieve your health goals.