Let food be thy medicine…

Avocado toast with poached eggs and a side salad

Many know the famous quote “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food” that is attributed to Hippocrates. Research into this famous quote led to many references to food as medicine, but this quote was unable to be found in any of Hippocrates text. However, a similar quote by Hippocrates does exist. “In food excellent medicine can be found, in food bad medicine can be found; good and bad are relative.” One may interpret this quote as knowing that some food may cure you and others make you sicker. Results would vary case by case. If Hippocrates (believed to be born in 460 BC) only knew what would become of today’s modern day diet. Especially when evaluating the modern American diet (MAD). In America today, the food that is readily available and affordable is much less nutritious, highly processed, and chemically engineered to cause addiction to these processed and sugary foods. Our society today faces more chronic illness, mental illness, and obesity than ever before because of it.

The makings of my husband and I’s favorite pot roast!

Over the past few months, I decided to go down the rabbit hole and really learn about GMOs (genetically modified organism), nutrition, and how our brain is affected by what we eat. I have always had the desire to be healthy and fit. However, like many of us, I too have a sugar addiction and often eat garbage because it is quick, easy, and tastes great in the moment. Yet every time it leaves me feeling terrible and drowning in guilt. As I continue this journey, I have come to realize that I don’t want to live a life where I don’t have time to take care of myself. For example, I legitimately LOVE to cook. Unfortunately, at the end of a crazy day as a veterinarian, that is often the last thing that I want to do. Three things have helped me turn this around. 1) Cutting my hours back to a reasonable amount to avoid burnout. 2) Using Sundays or other days off to meal prep. 3) Changing my mindset when I get home. Number 3 is particularly important. Your mind and brain are considered by many neuroscientists to be two separate entities. YOU control your mind. So instead of letting my mind tell me that I am too tired and burnt out to enjoy my evening, I instead ACT the way I want to feel. I put a smile on my face, take my dog for a walk, turn on some good music, maybe poor myself a glass of wine, and start cooking (which also helps if you have prepped some beforehand). If you truly act the way you want to feel at the end of the day, you will be surprised that you actually ARE happier and more relaxed. Then, whether my husband is home yet or not, I will sit at the dining room table to eat. This allows me to truly enjoy the food I prepared and be thankful for it. This is called “mindful eating.” So far, it has REALLY cut back on mindless snacking and over eating! I have also learned that your body’s ability to digest is also directly affected by how you feel when you are eating! Meaning, if you are happy when you eat, your ability to digest is better. If you are sad, depressed, or angry when you eat, then you will digest your food poorly (i.e. sitting on the couch sad and depressed with a carton of ice cream). Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can outthink the garbage you eat into becoming healthy for you, just that your mood does affect your body’s ability to digest. Don’t believe me? Read Think and Eat Yourself Smart by Dr. Caroline Leaf. This chic is an amazing neuroscientist that has more than done her research in the food industry and how what we eat affects our mind, brain, mental health, etc. For the rest of the nerds out there like me, I recommend reading this book!

Breaking the routine is the hardest part. My husband and I LOVE food. I guess you would consider us “foodies.” We love to try out new restaurants, go to food festivals, and create new recipes. Thankfully, we both also want to live a healthy life and try to fuel our bodies with good food as much as possible. I will certainly brag on my husband as having more discipline when it comes to his diet than me. We often give ourselves a cheat day on Saturday that can easily get out of hand and leave me feeling like pond scum most of Sunday. Sadly, I often have a hard time getting back on track after a cheat day and now know that I need to change up my routine to achieve the healthy lifestyle that I have always intended on having. I do want to point out that when I discuss “diet”, I mean it in a sense of how I eat every day and not some sort of weight loss regimen. I firmly believe that what I consume directly effects how my mind and body work. When I am consuming more whole and nutritious foods, I am a better veterinarian, more active, a better wife, sleep soundly, more adventurous, happier, and overall living my best life! My diet trickles down into every single aspect of my life, and I vow to make what I consume more of a priority from here on out. This does not mean that I won’t venture out from time to time for food that is less nutritious. I fully intend on traveling the world with my husband and enjoying local cuisine everywhere we go. These are life experiences that have become some of my favorite memories and definitely contribute to a more rewarding life for me (i.e. pasta and pizza in Italy!) However, for daily life at home, I will continue to make the effort to put good food into my body.

I have tried just about every type of diet out there to see what fits for my lifestyle (Whole 30, Keto, counting Macros, etc.) and although each one of these has helped me feel better, they aren’t all sustainable for me. There is also no one perfect diet for everyone. I will argue that the right diet for you does not likely involve highly processed food. Sticking to the perimeter of a grocery store instead of the middle is a good place to start. For me, I have recently settled into cooking with organic vegetables, meat that is grass-fed and humanely raised, limiting my carb intake, and focusing on my MINDSET. Yes, organic veggies and grass-fed meat are more expensive. Yes, my husband and I are still trying to save as much money as possible on our journey to minimalism. However, choosing what to spend my money on is an important part of this journey and this is where I justify spending a bit more on groceries to nourish my body. Now, back to mindset. If you don’t have control of your own mind first, then nothing (and I mean NOTHING) will work. Much of my knowledge on this subject came from Dr. Leaf’s book and it has been life-changing. Once you have taken the time to prepare a healthy meal, start by literally watching what you eat. That means, sit at a table or somewhere without distractions. Actually TASTE your food. Spend a minute or two being grateful for the food you have. Slow down and chew your food. Your brain needs time to process what you are consuming. Pay attention and stop eating when you are 80% full. Turn on some good music and do the dishes. Yes, this is more time consuming. Yes, this is more work after what was likely an already long day. But I am here to tell you, THIS MATTERS. Your health MATTERS. Sitting down at a table with your family making memories MATTERS. This doesn’t mean that I won’t occasionally prepare a healthy snack while I enjoy watching The Bachelorette. The difference is, I am mindful about it. Don’t you want to live a life where there is time to take care of yourself? You only have one life to live, and for so many years I worked myself into a coma by the end of the day. I spent just about every evening numbing out in front of the television while I mindlessly consumed garbage. How you spend your days is how you spend your life. Choose to make the most of your day and MAKE THE TIME to put good food in your body.

In addition to posting what is on my heart, I have decided to post some of my favorite healthy recipes as well! I have had an overwhelming interest from some of my instagram followers and I am happy to share tips, tricks, and recipes here! Stay tuned, but I’ll give you a preview of my pickled watermelon radishes I ate this week!

Pickled Watermelon Radishes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon of peppercorns

3 cloves of garlic (peeled)

1 large watermelon radish (sliced thin)

1 tablespoon of Kosher salt

Directions:

  • Slice watermelon radish into thin discs. This can be done with a very sharp knife or a mandolin (watch those fingers!)
  • Add water, vinegar, and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil
  • Add sliced watermelon radishes, peppercorns, and garlic cloves to a glass jar
  • Once water and vinegar are brought to a boil, pour the hot liquid over the radishes into the jar.
  • Allow to cool slightly and then refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Can refrigerate for up to 1 month.

TIPS AND TRICKS – Pickling vegetables is an incredible way to throw more flavor into a dish. Many pickling recipes out there include sugar for taste. As I am obviously trying to be more health conscious and avoid sugar, I left it out of this recipe and they still turned out great! Watermelon radishes are not the easiest vegetable to find. I purchased mine at Whole Foods, but you can use this recipe for regular radishes as well. Watermelon radishes are just SO BEAUTIFUL!

Best sliced on salads!

THE OFFICE:

{Kevin grabs two brownies and eats one rapidly}

Are you swallowing them whole? You’re eating them so fast, are they even touching your tongue?” – Angela

Yes” {Mouthful of brownies} – Kevin

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