Food As Thy Medicine

Food As Thy Medicine

Experiencing the unknown and mysterious can be overwhelming. Each person reacts differently when they are faced with the unknown. It’s always difficult to say how one would react to an adverse situation until they are forced to confront it. It’s easy to say, “I would do this,” but when the time comes to act, one may surprise themselves with their real reaction.

The actions of James “Rhio” O’Conner upon hearing the diagnoses of mesothelioma cancer,, are a testament to the strengths of human nature in the face of adversity. As a 61 year old man, Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with cancer and told he had a few months to live. He was advised by the medical experts that he should put his affairs in order. But instead he decided to do something different.

I wonder, how many of us would “do something different” than we are told by those in position higher authority or education, especially with issues pertaining to our health? I believe that most people fall into compliancy and just follow the doctor orders and do as they are told because they don‘t know there may be other alternatives. In a world of such unknowns, full of daily new discoveries, as well as disproved beliefs, I find it hard to remain compliant when confronted with a medical crisis. Of course. doctors have years of experience and medical training, but the body is such an amazing creation, hard wired to treat and heal itself, that medicine alone does not always have the answers. The body may have some answers, if we would listen. The thought of there only one way to treat an illness or fight a disease seems improbable. In the past two hundred years, modern medicine has made amazing achievements in the care and treatment of the human body, but the traditional medical model, or “western” diagnosis and cure is only one approach.

I became a believer in the natural healing powers of the body when I was a recent college graduate. I had spent the spring semester finishing up my thesis and celebrating with my friends the end of four years of college. The stress and celebrations took a toll on my body and I ended up in the hospital on graduation day, diagnosed with severe pneumonia. I had ignored the bloody coughs, shortness of breath, lack of energy and appetite for too long, underplaying my symptoms as just a result of exhaustion and stress. I was in the hospital for over a week. When I regained strength to eat, all I craved was fruit. I was given several choices for meals while in the hospital, from scrambled eggs to pancakes, overcooked vegetables and even meat, but all my body desired was the vitamins and pure simplicity of fresh fruit plate.

After I left the hospital, I was intrigued by my body’s desire for certain foods, all the while taking the prescribed antibiotics and medications. I healed slowly over time, but to this day, if I get overworked or do not treat my body well, I can count on getting sick in my chest and lungs. Over the next few years, I read a lot on the healing powers of food and herbs, and how the body absorbs all the different vitamins and minerals found in each natural, wholesome food. I was, and still am, impressed by the history of the power of healing foods, dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks, and unimpressed with how this seemingly fundamental idea of healing foods is, for the most part, ignored by the medical community in general.

The SAD( Standard American Diet) of today is far from the natural foods eaten by our ancestors. I believe that we need to return to the roots of food, and stay away from the processed, packaged and prepared foods that has become staples on the grocery store shelves. Cancer has become a prevailing presence in the medical community, and as methods for identification improve, the number of people diagnosed with cancer increase, but the costs and treatments can be severe, taking a mental, physical and financial toll on the patients and their families. The direction Rhio took with his diagnosis was a brave and wise choice. Though the opinions of doctors should be considered, they are not always the final word. We don’t always know why cancer appears in the body, but we do know that cancer hinders the body’s ability to heal itself correctly. Therefore, alternative steps must be taken to help the body fight off the disease. I strongly believe that food and herbs can help, and that alternative therapies should be explored in addition to modern medications and treatments.

With my research and knowledge, however limited it may be right now, I believe that if confronted with a situation similar to Rhios,‘, I would not be completely compliant to the medical community. Unfortunately, not every one has the knowledge of the healing power of food. I wish to study nutrition and dietary medicine to help give those who are confronted the “unknown,” like James Rhio O’Conner the knowldge to make informed choices and to have the opportunity to “do something different.”

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” -Thomas Edison

By: Frank, Erica E.

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