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July 17, 2012

Food As Medicine
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Canary in a Coal Mine

A Canary That Survived (and Thrives)

I was recently watching a talk on TED.com by Dr. Terry Wahls, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000 and within a few years was confined to a wheelchair.

Coming to the realization that she might lose both her independence and job, Dr. Wahls decided it was time for a change.

She discovered that there were certain nutrients that could feed her brain and nervous system. These nutrients were available in supplemental form (which she took). But more importantly she discovered that by eating a whole foods diet based on the way we ate thousands of years ago, she could obtain all of the nutrients she needed and more.

Dr. Wahls began a strict regimen of a whole foods diet, exercise, physiotherapy, and meditation. One year later, after a miraculous recovery, she went on an 18-mile biking tour to celebrate her good health.

What Is the Norm?

Dr. Wahls’ previous lifestyle is what’s considered “normal.”

Fast food, processed food, sedentary lifestyles, and poor stress-relief habits, are not the exception, they are the norm.

If you eat whole foods, exercise, and meditate, you are a minority. Dr. Wahls decided to join this minority.

Towards or Away From Health

Nothing in life is stagnant. Nature exemplifies this. Some plants are growing, some are dying. Streams are flowing, leaves and dead trees are decaying, and the seasons change.

Our body is no different because we are nature; which many people often forget. We are never stagnant. We are either growing or decaying.

What is Our Current State?

If we look at the state of health of “westernized” countries and ask the question, “are we moving towards health or away from health?”, we can clearly see that we are not moving in the right direction.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult-onset diabetes” because it was not seen in children. Now the name has changed to “non-insulin dependant diabetes” pointing to the fact that anyone, at any age can develop it. And diabetes is occuring at epidemic levels.

Cancer is on the rise and conventional medicine hasn’t made much progress in “curing” the disease. In fact, survival rates for breast cancer have been virtually unchanged over the past 70 years.  [1. Cancer Statistics, 2004. Cancerj. Clin. 2004;54:8-29]

Saving The Canary

It is obvious what happens to the canary (us) if it it enters the coal mine (the “westernized” lifestyle).

Instead of seeing this as a sad state of affairs, let’s look at this as an opportunity. An opportunity to make changes now, so we can avoid entering into a state of debility, as Dr. Wahls had to experience.

Every meal you eat, every thought you think, every decision you make either moves you towards health or away from it. Which way are you going?

– Josh

What do you do everyday to ensure you are moving towards health? (Please comment below)