You Are What You Eat: Diets, Healthy Eating, and Food As Medicine

Is the saying “you are what you eat” true? Mama Greenest investigates the philosophy of food as medicine

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a mom about her four-year-old daughter’s reoccurring butt rash (it’s a spicy life we lead, us moms). She had no idea what was causing it, and prescription creams didn’t help. After a round of 20 questions it seemed highly likely to me that it was a yeast rash — a vinegar bath made it better, and it happened every time her daughter was sick, when she would ingest nothing but fruit juice. We talked a bit about how the whole yeast overgrowth thing works and what sort of things she should eliminate from her daughter’s diet (all simple carbs, sugar, and fruit juice) to help eliminate the yeast from the inside. She was genuinely surprised to hear all of it; she had no idea that what her daughter was eating could be the source of the rash. Now, I’m not a doctor, and so by no means was making a diagnosis or prescribing a course of action based on scientific exactitude, but I’m big on the “you are what you eat” tip. I think that most people don’t understand the significant connection between what we put in our bodies and how our bodies feel and perform. And if food can make you sick, it can also make you well.

The idea of food as medicine is an ancient one. Hippocrates himself said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Lately it has seemed like more of the mainstream medical community is getting hip to this idea, from Dr. Oz to the many white coats who endorse the wisdom of wellness warriors like Kris Carr. It’s a fact: Good food is the holy grail of preventative health care. See below for a list of good reads on eating for wellness, and click here for the recipe for Alicia’s Magical Healing Soup (from Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet), which will help nurse you through this never-ending cold and flu season. It’s tasty, effective, and super quick to make, which is a double bonus when you’re sick and have kids. Gesundheit!

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