Food is Medicine

I woke up early the other morning to finally listen to a webinar. Sometimes that’s the only time I get! I came across Andrea Beaman through my studies at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.   She talks about a lot of interesting things, including face mapping. Where do you break out? The face tells you what is out of whack internally – check her out.  But this webinar was about food –

Food As Medicine.

I bet you are already doing it and not even realizing it. I mean, we are all familiar with chamomile to chill or ginger chews for motion sickness. It goes so much further.

Here is my compilation of notes I took; I hope you find it as interesting as I did. Some of this may seem familiar to you, (but always a good review!) and to others this may seem way out there. Some of these herbs may be new to you. Check out your natural food store and cheers to trying something new!

There are so many diets that work. Why? They take out the crap and you feel better.  Paleo, no crap. Vegan, no crap. Totally different diets for totally different values/lifestyles/body constitutions. You try a diet, it works, but eventually crash. A big reason is that it’s the wrong diet for the wrong body system.  This webinar went into understanding various types of food prep to support the organ systems and body as a whole. You can use food/herbs to create specific reactions. It’s important to not stay stuck in one way of eating. Keep the seasons and seasonal foods in mind. Soon we will be moving into fall, time to focus on the lungs now before cold season hits.  Think wholesome, organic, traditionally prepared foods. Not gluten free is medicine 3

From here, dig deeper.

It’s time we started understanding our body systems. We have the Energetic System (Hello Acupuncture and Thai Bodywork!) and the Organ Systems working for us. Each system has a time of year and each one requires something of us. Here are a few examples:

Respiratory – needs moist environment for silia (sorry for those of you who hate that word, sometimes it’s just the best!) When it is dry it becomes a host for disease and bacteria. You need to have saliva and lymph moving. Try incorporating mucilaginous foods such as seaweeds, okra, aloe vera, chia, and fenugreek. On the other side of the scale if you have Asthma, you have an excess of sticky mucus – the lungs and large intestines need to dry out. Try ginger/nettles.

Digestive – This is a big one, but for now we are focusing on the liver. I know liver detoxes are all the rage, we just need to let it do it’s thang and give it a break. It does not properly function if it’s always working.  Try not eating before bed. It can lead to monthly headaches if congested. An iron deficiency can also be a sign the liver and large intestines are out of whack. If the large intestines are backed up, they can not properly digest food. Then the liver can not absorb all the needed nutrients the Large Intestines were supposed to break down from the food. See the vicious cycle? Spirulina and, ahem, liver are good sources of iron.

Cardiovascular – needs movement/stimulation. Herbs such as rosemary, ginger, and  garlic help move blood.

Energetic Effect of Cooking Styles

Raw – cooling, refreshing, cleansing, hydrating. Great for someone who is hot, inflamed, or dry. Think SUMMER! Don’t drink raw smoothies every morning if your system is damp. They are good in the hot weather because the foods used are cooling, just maybe not all winter.

Pickled – sour, salty, astringent, probiotics. Good for digestive weakness. Eat yogurt (not sugary sweetened), kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut.

Steamed – slightly warming and hydrating. Easier to digest than raw.

Stewed – deeply nourishing with tons of moist (sorry!) heat. Great for a weak digestive system. Anyone with an osteo-issue or anemia, stewing your food really helps to break down food into small proponents.

Sauteed – warming and highly energizing. FALL!

Baked – removes moisture, drying. Great for runny nose, leaking fluids, cold. WINTER!

food is medicine 2

Energetic Reactions from Food and Herbs

Diaphoretics – opens pores to make a person sweat; sage, thyme or ginger.

Antispasmodic – eases spasms, cramps, muscles; warm water bottles or stewed foods incorporating anise seed, fennel, garlic, cohosh herbs.

Adaptogens – Have you heard this word yet? All the rage right now. They help the body adapt and moderate stress response. If you have adrenal issues you are not only not absorbing nutrients but are slowly destroying your system. Need to learn to calm them down. Try doing a castor oil pack, ginseng, holy basil, ashwagandha, astragalus, licorice root, rhodiola, or cordycep mushrooms.

Anti catarrhal – eliminates excess mucus; peppermint.

Antimicrobial – destroys pathogenic organisms; cinnamon, clove, allspice, thyme.

Astringent – tightens tissues; pickles, sage, goldenrod, yarrow, and raspberry.

Carminative – eases discomfort from gas; mint tea, rosemary, thyme, basil, fennel, ginger.

Demulcent – mucilaginous properties soothed inflamed irritated tissues; marshmallow. When used on the skin they are called emollients.

Diuretic – aids body in ridding excess fluids; dandelion, hawthorn, parsley, green and black tea.

It’s important to think about what you are putting in your body, and what the reaction will be. Ask yourself “What do I need?”  Be your own detective. I’d bet you are running to the store right now to pick up some liver and marshmallow root! No?

If any of this sounds interesting to you, let us know! We would be happy to expand on something if you are into it. This is where a Health Coach can help. Usually  we start with an elimination diet then by slowly adding things back in, it is easier to decipher what is it your are reacting to. Not as scary as it sounds!

food is medicine 1

Steeping in the Wellness,



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