Food For Thought

By / Food / December 14th, 2009 / 1

There was an article in the Toronto Star recently about the cancer-fighting power of soy, pistachios and hops. While this news is certainly great, it presents the same old perspective. Yes, food is medicine. Healers in every culture around the world and through time have always been able to extract products that heal from the natural environment to great effect or not. But, it seems that so many of these claims treat food like a magic pill. Take 117 pistachios per day. No doubt, that eating that many nuts everyday will benefit your health in one way or another. But food, and how our bodies use it, is so much more complex than that. Isolating a particular food and its purported benefits often just confuses the issue.

Once a food has been identified as having some kind of healthful property, it suddenly starts appearing in everything. Drink soy milk with a soy burger on a soy bun, soy french fries … to the point where that food that was once so healthy is now causing health problems of its own because of overkill. Not being a doctor by any stretch of the imagination, I still offer you this advice: eat everything natural. As a sufferer of ulcerative colitis, I can tell you that the medical community’s myopic view of medicine and food very nearly made my situation quite dire.

There’s another issue here, too. Prevention. The usual spiel is that we should eat healthfully, and everything will be fine. But, what about the barrage of carcinogens floating in the air, absorbed by fruit and vegetables, eaten up by fish and animals and eventually by us. The power of corporations (and ordinary citizens, too) to ignore the ways in which we continue to pollute the environment seems insurmountable. But, it’s not. For one, the Copenhagen summit on climate change puts pressure on world leaders to effect change. For another, there are lots of manufacturers of household items, food, transportation, etc that try very hard to produce truly green products. Disease will always exist, even in a pristine environment. But, maybe with some effort the incidence of disease will be less often and less traumatic.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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