Food as Medicine: No Prescription Needed {Natural Medicine Challenge}

in naturalmedicine •  2 months ago 

Happy Monday my friends! I hope you all enjoyed the weekend and are ready to take on the week with plenty of energy and determination to accomplish whatever goals may be on your list. One of my big goals this week was to knock out an entry to the latest @naturalmedicine challenge Let Food Be They Medicine. Besides always wanting to jump on any excuse to share more inspiration on taking control of your health through nutritious food choices, I thought it would be a great follow up to my Veggiversary Post to share more about how I've had such success maintaining my plant-based lifestyle for six years now. Of course I would need more than one post to share all my tips, but at least this will be a good start. 😉


I had a bit of trouble nailing down what angle I wanted to approach this challenge from as there are a lot of topics that really interest me or hit home personally. Of course I am a huge proponent of a well-balanced, varied vegan diet. I also have my ongoing love affair with the farmers market that is the healthiest form of obsession, in my humble opinion. I also have a few favorite foods that play an integral role in maintaining my own health. However, the basic core of my food philosophy is spending time in the kitchen to prepare your own food. I couldn't agree with my fun bumper sticker from Penzeys more! Cooking heals in more ways than one.

Though I know many of my Steem pals are excellent cooks, the population of the United States (and perhaps the world at large) has moved quite far from the traditional home-cooked meals that were a staple in all households not all that long ago. With fast food restaurants on every corner, and worse yet--delivery services happy to bring that bag of fries and milkshake right to your door, it is all too easy to let your food be prepared by someone else. Though my sisters and I grew up helping out in the kitchen, I knew someone in their late twenties who didn't even know how to boil water to make pasta. I have also had clients in the past who never made home-cooked meals despite having plenty of time and opportunity to do so. It hurts my heart to think some people cannot even put the most basic of meals together!

I could probably insert some scary statistics about the high rates of obesity in adults and children here or perhaps numbers on heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure. I think most of you probably know the dire state of the health of humanity without having to look at any empirical data, though. I can also tell you that after ten years in the health and fitness world, from my personal experience the clients I have that prepare the majority of their meals at home have the most success reaching and maintaining their goals. Of course there are a lot of contributing lifestyle factors to overall health, but food is a huge piece of the puzzle.


Just the other day I was speaking with one of my personal training clients about nutrition. He loves to learn, but also enjoys using food as a good way to distract me from making him do more reps, haha! However, we were speaking once again about how even seemingly healthy food from restaurants can still be surprisingly dense in calories, sodium, or other preservatives/chemicals/Frankenfood. The other major issue with eating out a lot is a distorted sense of portion size. I can't attest to restaurants in other countries, but here in the US bigger is seen as better. When you look at nutrition information, even salads in many places are total bombs with more calories than you need in a day or enough sodium to make your ankles swell and mouth go dry. Of course there are some places that are better than others and ways to navigate a menu to make better choices (topic for a whole other post), but ultimately I still believe eating out should be seen as a treat and not an everyday occurrence.

There are many convenience foods that can technically be "cooked" at home, so you will need to watch out for relying too heavily on processed foods even if you are making more meals at home. Ideally you should be crafting your meals out of whole food ingredients for the most optimal health. Personally, I'm not a fan of counting macronutrients or following specific dietary rules as far as carbs, fats, and protein. For one, different lifestyles might require a different ratio of nutrients and there are plenty of individual differences in what works best for each person. Also, focusing too much on the smaller level of individual components can be a bit reductionistic (the sugars in an apple are not treated the same by the body as the sugars in a donut) and I find cooking becomes more of a chore than a passion. I do like the daily dozen recommendations on as a great base to build my meals from. Dr. Greger researches all of the nutrition data he can find to share, so I trust his guidelines. They also come from a place of finding what foods enhance our optimal health and possibly are the best at preventing disease, as opposed to many "diets" out there that are more focused on losing weight. Weight loss alone is not always a sign of optimal health.


To refer back to the original cover photo and the message on the sticker, cooking can also be healing from other standpoints. I find it very meditative at times to get in the kitchen and start breaking down the beautiful fresh produce from the market. As an introvert, it can be a great time to recharge my batteries and spend time alone with my thoughts. I would love to use it as a time to start listening to podcasts about healthy living or other interesting topics, as well, but most of the time I enjoy the quiet repetition of the knife on the cutting board. Taking the time to prepare your food makes you more aware of the source, as well, which is why I can never fathom eating meat ever again. I'm definitely not perfect, but I try to be very mindful of not only the food's impact on my own body, but the impact on the world as a whole.

Speaking of the world--cooking is a beautiful way of bringing all different people together! Though traditions vary from culture to culture, people from all of the world can come together to share the joys of preparing a meal together. When you look at how many dishes are similar across cuisines, how holiday celebrations center around the table, or how homes are built around kitchens you find that we all have more in common than we perhaps realize. There is still a lot of division in the world today and fear of the "other", but I truly believe if we all sat down to more meals together or rolled up our sleeves in the kitchen then perhaps that would serve us better than waging wars.


I get questions often about how to fit in time to cook in a busy lifestyle or how to meal prep more efficiently, so I would love to explore those topics even more fully in the future. I have tried to share my tips along this blogging journey of mine, but it can't hurt to try to compile them all together. I fully understand that there really are some people who have such a demanding schedule that any type of meal prep is daunting to think about. I'm not quite sure what is the answer in those cases except perhaps to find someone you know that you can maybe barter with or pay for help in preparing meals. I have cooked for a few clients before to get them through certain times, but you have to be willing to compensate someone fairly for the time and energy. I feel like if it is important to you, there are ways to make it work.

Also it is important to note that we are all at different points in our journey, so don't be discouraged if you are starting from square one. I am a far better cook than I was 15 years ago when I first moved out on my own for good, but I hope to be even better in another 15 years. I've also been preparing foods ahead of time for the week for a very long time due to a fluctuating weekly schedule. When I was growing up, my mom made dinner every night as she had a regular day job that allowed for her to be home with us in the evenings to share a meal together. So cooking can be a daily activity if that is what your schedule allows, but if you cook big batches at one time you can still easily enjoy home cooked meals all week!

Another tip I can give is to find people that inspire you! Part of the joy of being involved in #fruitsandveggiesmonday is finding new inspiration each week with all of the wonderful entries. I also tend to only follow people on social media that spark joy and passion for me to continue on my own cooking journey. Of course it is even better to find people in your family or friend group that also aspire to follow a healthy cooking routine. Swap recipes or even meet up for meal prep. I know some ladies that work together in the same office who each bring ingredients for lunch to make communal salads. That way the preparation is spread out, but everyone gets to look forward to a healthy lunch.

I think I might have gone off on a bit of a tangent, but as you can see I find the topic of food quite enjoyable! I have been lucky enough to be quite healthy so far in life in that I have never needed food as a treatment for ailments, but I think the biggest part of treatment should be prevention. While food alone may not totally protect you from cancer or other ailments, it definitely makes your immune system that much stronger to fight if the need arises. Our healthcare system makes too much money off of procedures and treatments after sickness has already developed, so it really is up to us to take control of our own health in any way we can. The most basic way to do that is watch what you load up on your fork...

This post is in response to @naturalmedicine's 'Food as Medicine' Wisdom Challenge. You can read about it here. It's sponsored by Curie and there are over 40 steem worth of prizes on offer. You can write about recipes, particular foods, family memories, special diets - anything you like! Entries until 27 July.


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I love reading your posts and your adventures with healthy food preparation. I love cooking from whole natural ingredients, but I've never tried the vegan lifestyle.

So glad you enjoy them! I think that's why I like being on here so much, there are tons of other people who enjoy cooking. Even if we all make different things, we can come together over the fun of preparing meals at home. Especially us Actifitting folks. ;) Gotta keep the energy up for all of our activities!

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A really great and powerful "medicine" that comes from food that we consume, is oil of oregano. This stuff is really great for all kinds of things, internally and externally. I buy the P73 stuff, which is the best from what I've read. P73 comes from one single, special area, but I can't remember where right now. It is a natural wonder drug!

Yes! I had a client years ago suggest that to me, so I always keep some in the cabinet. She had also specifically recommended the P73. Maybe you should do a post about it and enter it into the challenge. :)

Well said... I could go on about food for days too lol. I have never been to the States but I have the impression more people are finnaly starting to realuze the importance of food. Keep up the good work xxx

I think there's definitely more people trying to be better. I would say more of my friends are much more conscious of it, and there are tons of farmers markets around so there really is a push to consume more locally grown food. However there is still soooooooo much misinformation out there as to what is actually healthy, so I think people sometimes either get bogged down with it and don't even want to try or they jump on the latest fad diet thinking it is healthy. Also we have to contend with the government and certain lobbies dictating proper "nutrition". I have hope, though, and I will continue to try to do my part to inspire others! :)

You're absolutely right about our 'fast food' culture. Even the healthy foods in it are scary when you look at them. Have you ever looked at the health label on a McDonald's salad? Don't. Just... don't.

I think there is a lot to be said about preparing a meal and sharing a meal together, and I think it's almost a part of our genetic make up. If we look back even a couple hundred years, food could be scarce and hard to come by. The act of sharing a meal together on a bittery cold, winter night was a Big Deal. It certainly is a unifying force.

Oh gosh, even at the grocery store I'll sometimes look at a box label and I'm sure my face says it all. I would say that was actually one of the first things I did when I initially started trying to eat better (even before going plant-based). Once you start learning and knowing how to actually decipher nutrition information it makes it a lot easier to make smart decisions.

I am so with you on the sharing a meal together! It really does solidify that familial and community bond.

I don’t think you went on at all this is a great post
I used to be one for eating out most of the time but now that is a rarity for us trying to balance our diet and with the dietary restrictions my wife has we cook for ourselves all the time it’s funny till my wife had these issues I never looked at the ingredients or nutritional info for food once I started doing that it really motivated us to go with fresh and prepare things for ourselves and it’s something I enjoy more than I thought I would
I am not a great cook and our diet is plain but I will say my make it up as I go along cooking style works well most of the time

Thanks for this great post and being an active member of @steemusa !tip

I think that is actually pretty common to not think too much about ingredients until you really are forced to due to sensitivities or other health related issues. I know from experience it can definitely take a little while to adjust, so sometimes simple really is the best! I have a few clients who really don't like to cook, so they balance out the desire to eat well with the lack of desire to cook by keeping it really simple and rotating out the same basic meals. Nothing wrong with that if it means you're doing what you can to consume healthy foods! I'm glad you've found what works for you and your wife. Thank you as always for stopping by with a kind comment!

Always a pleasure to visit, it was harder for my wife than for me I have always bene a simple and plain eater, she used to love all the spices and variety, but she has got used to it now although If we drive by An Indian Restaurant it is like torture to her

I really need to improve to bring healthy food to the table. Thank you for inspiring. =))

Just take it one meal at a time my friend! All of the small changes add up to make big progress in the long run. ;)

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Oh this post has got me wanting to go cook up a meal! And what beautiful meals you prepare - so colorful! What do they say - "presentation is everything!" You have a wonderful presentation there that makes me want to dig right in! Such inspiration to have folks preparing home cooked meals and hopefully healthy home cooked meals! Thanks for sharing!

This fortnight, we're having a food as medicine challenge, sponsored by Curie! You can win over 40 Steem in prizes. Check out the details by clicking here!

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Consider supporting Natural Medicine through continued use of the #naturalmedicine tag, or delegating any amount through clicking below. We're all for empowerment through natural wisdoms, and love to support those on their healing journey. Come join us on Discord if you're not already there! We'd love to have you! 50SPII50SPII100SPII200II500SP

Thank you @porters for your enthusiastic comment and shared joy of cooking, and to @naturalmedicine for hosting this wonderful challenge. I am honored to take part to give a little of my own wisdom to the community.

It hurts my heart to think some people cannot even put the most basic of meals together!

I love the way it says that it hurts your 'heart' - rather than your head. This is coming from a place of empathy and care, and it's one of the things I love about you. This is a wonderful post - your passion and love for wholesome food and healthy bodies and empowerment through healthy food choices totally shines through.

Your meals look delicious! I know what you mean about cooking being therapeutic. My brother in law gets pretty stressed and comes home and cooks healthy meals for the fam - lucky sister! It's usually down to me, and I don't mind most of the time, especially when I'm inspired. I do love putting different fruits and veggies together like you do! Tonight's dinner is black rice stir fry with wombok, coriander, silverbeet, and tofu - mainly as it's about all I have in the fridge, and I remembered to pick up tamari from wholefoods!

I wonder how many people have become better eaters through reading your posts on Steemit! You are totally inspiring!

Well you definitely filled my heart up with joy on this comment! That really is my biggest goal--if I can get just a few people to think more about what they are feeding themselves and their families, then it's all worth it. I remember when I first started blogging and sharing more on social media thinking that I didn't have as much "value" as some of the folks who had been doing it for a long time and had perfectly curated feeds, but then I realized (am still realizing, honestly) that we all have value in sharing our passions with the world. Different things resonate with different people, so I am trying to learn not to hold back and to just let my joy out in whatever ways inspire me at the moment. It is wonderful to be surrounded by people who support me in doing just that. :)


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I didn't have time to read your post yesterday and even today I am in the hurry, because I am going out with the boys. However, I made sure I read it before I go, since I want give you one of the Wonkies and wish you a good luck with the competition. I agree with every word and you are a living example to a healthy plant based/ vegan living!!! You are definitely deserving of the 1st PRIZE!!! Or at least one of the top PRIZES!!! Good luck Katie!!! 🍓😍🥑
The most Educational entry.png

Aww, thank you Lena! You should join in with an entry if you get a chance, as well. :) I hope you enjoy the day with the boys! We just got back from our last picking adventure until the apples come around. Help! 🤣IMG_20190716_110745362_HDR.jpg

Body is our temple. Feed it with all the natural stuff. :)

Beautiful post with your awesome meal as always 🍓🍓🍓🍒🍒🍒

Aww, thank you for the compliment!