Hippocrates, the father of medicine himself, said: “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. These words could not ring truer today, where people are experiencing more health issues and suffering from more diseases than ever before.
Seems too simple, doesn’t it? But that’s just it, the truth is simple. It cuts right to the heart.
It doesn’t appear that the solution lies in taking medications to do what the body should be able to achieve perfectly well on its own when it is in balance. The body is an amazing organism, functioning in super intelligent and efficient ways – mostly without us being conscious of them – it’s mind-blowing!
For example, did you know that the human brain produces enough electricity to power a small light bulb?
But, as a society, our view of food has become pretty distorted. Steadily over time, we have increasingly given our power away to it, when it is meant to be empowering and fuelling us. Many of us have used food to fill a void, as a comfort, a way to feel nurtured and safe in a world where there is much we can’t control. There is also a strong link between food and body image, where the world has become obsessed with appearance, and people as a consequence have developed a very unhealthy relationship with what they eat.
To complicate things further, there’s lot of misinformation out there regarding food and nutrition. It seems that every few minutes there is new ‘information’ emerging, often touted as fact. The problem is that these so-called facts begin to contradict one another, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and confused. As a result, we’ve become suspicious of everything we read.
What we perhaps don’t realise, is that the answers can be found within. If we start to become attuned to the sensations in our body and how we’re feeling, we can intuit what we need.
However, one fact we cannot dispute is that the least processed and close to the nature the food, the better. So, in essence, the most effective way to restore our bodies to balance and good health is to simplify. Use foods grown naturally and in their natural state (or as close to as possible), eat raw or cook very simply, and use less ingredients… not more! In the spirit of Minimalism, it’s a process of taking away that is required; that is, eliminating everything from our diet that does not add value. Take out the unnecessary ingredients and where a certain flavour is required, use healthy alternatives to unhealthy foods – if those alternatives are beneficial, then they add value to your life and will benefit your health as well as tasting delicious!
We also advocate for food procured ethically. If other sentient beings have been harmed for the sake of an attachment to a certain taste, this cannot serve us. Some may argue that eating animal products is necessary for our well-being, but this has been proven untrue by the growing number of people who are converting to plant-based diets and not only surviving, but thriving. There are many inspiring stories, where these diets have been adopted as a lifestyle to cure disease and been hugely successful.
And eat local! For the sake of freshness, for the sake of the environment.
Here’s some incredible, nutrient-rich items you could be including in your diet that will serve as your medicine and your fuel – so you can get the most value out of your food.
Herbal Tea –
Herbal teas, or ‘tisanes’, have been considered a medicinal drink for centuries. Not only are they delicious and warming, they also have an amazing array of health benefits. Herbal tea drinking is thus both an enjoyable and healthy habit. Plus, there are so many to choose from! We like the trend in tea towards simplification; that is, buying loose leaf – where bags are no longer necessary, the tea is more raw and natural, and you can control the strength as everyone has a different palate. Make it wild tea, and you have the perfect choice! One of our favourites is Hibiscus Flowers and Peppermint Power Tea – 100% African and organic, time honoured tea blend from West Africa, deliciously deep-purple, and can be enjoyed hot or iced. It is good for fighting candida, balancing blood pressure and blood sugar levels, controlling cholesterol, boosting the immune system and cleansing your system, while the peppermint aids in digestion. Another is Indigenous African Bliss Tea – also 100% African and organic, it is wild harvested from the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, with an earthy taste. A unique blend of Makoni tea, Resurrection tea and Hibiscus tea, it contains five times more zinc than rooibos tea, is packed with vitamin C, Omega 3 and Omega 6, helps with high blood pressure and boosts the immune system, as well as vital mineral elements such as potassium, magnesium and iron. Start introducing this soothing medicinal practice into your daily routine!
Look no further than our own continent for some wonderfully medicinal African superfoods you can easily add to your food in powder form, while using less ingredients because they are so packed with nutrients! These should, of course, be taken in conjunction with a balanced diet. 100% African and organic, Moringa powder has more calcium than milk, more magnesium than eggs, more potassium than bananas and more iron than spinach! It’s a natural multivitamin supplement, containing a total of 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants. Take every day in smoothies, soups, salads, etc. (in raw form) for a stronger immune system, better sleep, decreased anxiety, better blood sugar control, healthy cell functioning as well as giving your body and brain the essentials for optimum vitality. And then there’s Baobab powder – from the ancient, African, wild-growing, upside down baobab tree that bears super-fruit, which is highly nutritious, providing your body with more vitamin C than oranges and more – easily digestible – calcium than milk as well as vital omegas. It has anti-aging properties and a high-fibre content to aid in digestion. It’s a creamy powder with a unique sweet-citrus taste, and forms naturally inside the baobab tree’s hard-shelled fruit, requiring no processing at all. Add to smoothies, sprinkle over cereals, add even to baked goods or just add to water for a healthy energy boosting drink. Children love the taste too! The last African superfood we will focus on is Teff – grown mostly in Ethiopia, it’s a fine grain containing many nutrients and has even been referred to as a ‘super grain’. It’s high in calcium, iron, vitamin C (unusual for a grain) and protein, favoured by endurance athletes! In flour form, it serves as a wonderful gluten free alternative in baking, and makes a delicious porridge for a medicinal, energy-packed breakfast.
Not only do spices add flavour to our food, they represent a wide array of health benefits you may not have been aware of! This is why cooking with intention can turn your food into the medicine it has the potential to be. We like African Nutmeg, or ‘monodora myristica’, growing naturally in several African countries. It has a popular and unique flavour, and aids in alleviating pain, strengthening cognitive function, aids in digestion, has a detoxifying effect, is good for the skin, helps with sleep, boosts the immune system… the list goes on! We like using it in baking and deepening the flavour in curries. And we couldn’t talk about super-spices without mentioning the incredible Turmeric – widely grown in East Africa, turmeric has a multitude of benefits, with the main active ingredient being curcumin. This bright yellow spice has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, is a strong antioxidant, improves brain function, lowers your risk of heart disease, aids in the treatment of cancer, and even aids in alleviating depression! On top of that, it’s delicious, and can be used to make ‘golden milk’, give your rice or potatoes a beautiful colour, and as a flavouring in various curry dishes.