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<em>Ladies Who Launch</em>: Health in the City

Before big pharmaceutical companies got very rich and before doctors had bad handwriting, ancient people used their intuition to discover healing remedies concocted from food and plants.
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Andrew Weil has said it. Mariel Hemingway says it in her book, Healthy
Living From the Inside Out
. Even Julia Child espoused it in her own
way. Food is medicine. Food is one thing that has the ability to
nourish or kill you--or do both simultaneously. It creates feelings of
home or comfort, or of ritual or indulgence...or guilt, of course. While
the air we breathe is subject to good or poor quality, contaminants in
plastics or other environmental pollutants are extremely hard to
control without living in a bubble (which, as clean as it would be, is
also a recipe for numerous deficiencies starting with stimulation of
any kind), food is this sublime requirement that ultimately can heal,
or not. So many of us do what we can to be healthier by buying organic
or cutting out sugar (as a start.) But how pro-active are any of us
really being about our own health and bodies? It's so easy to take an
aspirin, go on recommended medication without thinking or make
exceptions to our diets when it's convenient. Jennifer Cassetta makes
an interesting argument that traces the beginnings of real healing back
to Roman times, and makes a wise suggestion to look inside before
seeking synthetic support elsewhere.

Amy Swift, Editor in Chief,

Jennifer Cassetta, HHC, AADP

Certified Personal Trainer

Holistic Nutritional Counselor

2nd Degree Black Belt Instructor, World Pro HapKiDo Federation

Food as Medicine: Novel Concept or Ancient Wisdom?

I just returned from the most wonderful conference called Food As
Medicine, by the Center for Mind Body Medicine in Baltimore, MD. It was
a weeklong, jam-packed, seminar filled with lectures on holistic health
by leaders and true pioneers in the medical community.

Before big pharmaceutical companies got very rich and before doctors
had bad handwriting, ancient people used their intuition to discover
healing remedies concocted from food and plants.

Around 400 BC, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, "Natural
forces within us are the true healers of disease." This sentiment is
exactly what we need to be moving towards to make significant changes
in the health of our ever-deteriorating and ever-expanding American

1 in every 3 women and about 50% of men in the U.S. will develop cancer
in their lifetime. Diabetes and heart disease are also on the rise. In
a country with so many technological advancements, how could this be?
Could it be that all of these pharmaceuticals that we are popping never
really get to the cause of the disease but instead just cover up
symptoms of disease? Could it be that practitioners no longer have
enough time with each patient to educate him or her on prevention and
self-care? Could it be that as patients, we are demanding a quick fix
to our problem instead of taking responsibility for our own health and
doing what it takes to get well? Could it be all of these things and
more? I do think it is time to start asking better questions.

When living in the city, it is easy to slip into an overstressed,
on-the-go lifestyle. Sure enough, when the weather gets cold we get our
first bout of the sniffles, maybe a cough, and some of us, the flu.
The first thing we usually do is blame someone or something for it. We
don't look at the months leading up to it and all the ways that we have
broken down our immune system by poor food choices, too many late
nights, an imbalanced workout routine, and the constant stress of city

What we can be doing instead is educating ourselves and those around us
of ways to prevent the onset illness. I'm not talking about a flu shot.
I'm talking about a shot of wheatgrass or vegetable juice daily to
ensure you are getting enough antioxidants. We also need a consistent
exercise program to boost the immune system. And how many of us
actually get the recommended 8 hours of sleep so our bodies can have
enough time to recharge, rest, and heal?

Food As Medicine is not just a new-age concept. It is ancient wisdom
that has been forgotten about among the muck of fast food, junk food,
and pharmaceutical advertising. I guess it's just not sexy to see
television commercials for broccoli and kale. However, because of
organizations like the Center for Mind Body Medicine and all other
holistic practitioners, there is hope that more people will be able to
lead disease-free lives and those who are ill will be able to heal.

For more info on the Center for Mind Body Medicine see

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