Food For Medicine

by Ashley on January 30, 2011

For those of you that don’t know, my mom was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) this summer and it has truly been an eye opening experience.  My mom is the definition of “go-getter,” if there is a definition at all.  She’s unstoppable.   You know when you have things in your house that you really need to do, but you just don’t feel like doing it, like changing a high light bulb?  When you say, “Geez I really need to fix that.”  She says, “So lets fix it??”   Like why in the world haven’t you done it already?  There is no task too big for her.  I’m not just saying this; she can literally do anything.  She could drink champagne with the princess of Wales or she could drink beer with the boys.  What I’m trying to say is she knows how to act in every situation; she never feels uncomfortable in who she is.  That’s something I truly admire.

Photo: me and my mom over the break 

This disease, RA, has slowed her down a bit but not too much.  I really do think she keeps her pain to herself, something that is hard for me to accept.  She’s the rock of our family, so she probably thinks if she slows down that it will worry us and that’s the last thing she wants to do.

Because of her diagnosis, I have found what it is that I am truly passionate about: using food as medicine.  Curing people through their diet.  I dealt with this a little bit through Dustin’s injury but that was much harder to manage and understand as his turned out to be a tear rather than inflammation.  

700 years ago there was no such thing as food labels filled with calorie, fat, carbohydrate and nutrient content; rather, there was a medical label associated with the recipe.  For example, if you were making sautéed onions as a side dish, the recipe would say, “Beneficial to those with inflammation,” or whatever the food helped cure.

The reason for this is because this was how God provided for his people; this is how He helped cure them.  Whenever I begin to talk about this subject with people, I always hear the same response, “Yeah, but back then people only lived until they were 40, now were living until were 90.” 

And here’s my defense: I don’t consider living until your 90 with cancer, heart disease, obesity, or any other terrible disease truly living.  That’s not the life God planned for us.  Do you really think God wants us to live the last decades of our life dying?  Not at all.  Those people who do live long healthy lives usually get it; they understand how the foods they put into their bodies each day can be the cure all for horrible diseases.

 We don’t have to just accept that, “Everybody has to die some how.” or “Everybody has cancer.”  These are two arguments that I have heard before. 

My mom has recently discovered and researched that a gluten free (also reduced animal intake) diet may help calm the signs and symptoms of RA, so she’s following just that.  Yeah, it may not be the easiest thing in the world for her but I think we can all agree that a life free of pain taste much better than a grain-fed steak or a slice of wheat bread. 

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This really sparked interest in my eye.  I want my mom to feel better; to feel good each and everyday, so I’m reading, I’m researching, and trying to learn as much about the gluten/animal RA link. 

Photo from glutenfreemamafriends.blogspot.com.

My challenge to you today, is to understand that your nutrition today can add years, healthy years, to your life down the road.  We don’t have to die from a disease, we can simply die from old age; wouldn’t that be nice?

Photo from uclinic.com.

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