Is food really medicine? Or is the art of the meal the true cure?

Research consistently points to how different foods, nutrients, or patterns of food intake are associated with health outcomes. From low-fat to Mediterranean to plant-based eating patterns, health advocates line bookshelves with the “new” and “curable” food antidote to any condition. It becomes all-consuming to try and pinpoint the science of the human body, the science of food, and how to prevent and/or treat disease. Prevention and treatment efforts are very different frameworks and require different discussions. Yet, either way, food is stated frequently that it can be “your medicine”. Yet is that enough?

What if the art of your meals makes more of a difference upon your health than the actual food served?

What if the regulation of your nervous system at a meal can influence HOW you digest the food which will influence your health?

What if the inner dialogue you’re having at your meals influences your endocrine system more than the totality of your carbohydrates?

What if the beliefs you hold about your body at your meals impact your heart rate more than the quantity of your fat intake?

If these questions were all true, the focus would then be more on HOW you eat than what food you eat. Would your health behaviors change if you shifted to prioritize how you ate? If yes, what would change first? Your timing, your inner dialogue, or your belief system (your sense of self)?

One of the most interesting finds for me is in regard to the focus on the Mediterranean diet and its positive impact on health outcomes. Sure the type of food eaten has been widely accepted yet the factor that seems to be forgotten is HOW the Mediterranean culture eats. The slow pace, the connected community at meals, the rest after, and the gratitude of a loved meal.

Maybe your diet includes more than just “what” you eat. Maybe it’s the experience of a meal. How would you define your diet then? Tell me, what are your meals like? Are your meals like medicine? Are they healing your health?