Food is magical.
[I want to preface this post while my mom is a medical professional, I am not. I am simply relaying my experience with a health transformation that occurred in front of me, in my own house. As always, consult with YOUR medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle.]
Not only for its wide range of tastes, textures, and joy-inducing properties, but also because of its nutrition. The old cliché of “food is medicine” could not be more true.
I’ve always believed that, but after seeing a firsthand example of it in my own life, I am even more convinced. The importance of a healthy diet is so underestimated sometimes in society, especially in the US.
As I mentioned last summer, my elderly uncle moved in with us after experiencing some significant declines in his health. Read the details here. In addition, to heart disease, dementia, a severe smoking addiction, and neuropathy, he had diabetes and a weight problem. My uncle was on over twenty medications and could barely walk anymore.
Notice how I used the past tense above? Well that’s because in 5 months of living in our house, he has dropped 40 pounds, virtually reversed his diabetes (unfortunately not some of the side effects of it), reduced his cholesterol to healthy levels, and is on the lowest amount of medications he’s been on in over a decade.
This is all do to my mom. But more specifically, the lifestyle and routine she’s created for him. He now consistently eats 3 meals a day, whereas before he was barely eating and when he did, it was mostly unhealthy, junk food. He eats balanced, whole food-filled meals that contain all the necessary food groups, whereas before he was mostly eating sugar and processed foods. He’s more active and now does physical therapy weekly, whereas before he hardly got up or out. He’s more social, whereas before he lived a very solitary, isolated life. And overall, HE’S HAPPIER! Even the simplicity of having a dog around has greatly improved his mood and health!
Of course, he is not a pure picture of health. But at 83, he’s doing a lot better than he has in years despite a number of setbacks he’s faced recently and a lifetime of abusing his body. Obviously there are a lot of contributing factors to his improved state, but the number one thing that has impacted his health (and my mom, his nurse, agrees) is the change in diet.
It’s truly incredible what consistent, regular eating can do for the body. Keeping the blood sugar steady on top of nourishing yourself with wholesome, real foods is one of the simplest, most effective actions you can take for improved health. It doesn’t have to be hard, complicated, or expensive! SMALL changes make a big difference…and the results can be seen relatively quickly. Here’s a little proof…
+When my uncle came to live with us his Hemoglobin A1C was 12.5, after 5 months of ‘healthier’ living, it is now down to 6.5. Virtually cut in half!
+As I mentioned above, my uncle lost 40 pounds! For an elderly person, that is truly incredible and it only has to do with diet since he can’t regularly exercise. The quips about weight being 80% related to diet and only 20% related to exercise are true.
+His swelling in his extremities has almost completely disappeared. My uncle used to have edema in his arms, legs, and belly and now these parts have returned to their normal size. This is due to eating a diet more moderate in salt and ingesting a wide variety of foods.
One of the biggest changes? His blood sugar is NORMAL. Think about it! A Type-2 diabetic has virtually reversed his illness simply by eating healthier! If an 83-year-old man who was set in his ways can do it….ANYONE CAN.
His world has opened up. Not only in regards to the quality of living and amount social interactions, but to food choices as well. My mom and I have introduced him to tofu, beans, lentils, all sorts of veggies, new-t0-him fruits, healthy baked goods, alternative dairy products, tempeh, jasmine rice, quinoa, buckwheat, Cheerios (he used to never eat breakfast!), peanut butter, kefir, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and all sorts of other healthy additions to his diet.
Things aren’t perfect of course, and no diet should be! He still regularly enjoys sweets and treats, takeout, pizza, and other “fun” foods. But in general, his diet is MUCH healthier, more balanced, and more LIFE GIVING.
And that’s truly what I think food’s purpose is…to give us life! Not only in the sense of nutrition to our bodies, but in nourishment of our minds, spirits, and souls as well. Food heals, folks. It truly does. Now that I’ve seen it right within my own home, I am even more of a proponent of health and wellness.
Whatever I do when I am out of school, I want to keep spreading the word about good nutrition, balanced fitness, and self-love. These three components can lead to a life of fulfillment and ultimate happiness inside and out.
Do you believe that “food is medicine”?
Have you or anyone in your life changed their health by making smarter diet choices?
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