Letter from Publisher: Food for ThoughtJun 30, 2021 08:30AM ● By Bernice Butler
Host: Bernice Butler
How wonderfully indulgent it is, exploring the connection between food and health in this month’s issue. It’s wonderful because here in North Texas, mid-summer marks the height of abundance of the luscious produce that we’ve become accustomed to enjoying during what is otherwise an oppressively hot and humid season. It’s wonderful because so many sweet, calorie-light, gut-friendly, mind-satiating fruits are at their lowest price of the year—so we throw caution (and discipline) to the wind and eat as much of them as we want. It’s wonderful because summer produce is, bar none, some of the healthiest food available to humans. And its wonderful because it’s finally being accepted that what we eat—and what we don’t eat—has the power to influence or even dictate our daily health, our quality of life and our resilience against disease.
Arguably, this is one of those silver linings that I’ve heard is part of every situation. In this case, it came from the COVID-19 pandemic that it appears we are finally emerging from: that is, an acute awareness of and attention to the things within our control to do to fend off disease by lessening our exposure to it and building strong and healthy immune systems and bodies. This is all wonderful indeed, but history cautions us that this grand epiphany may or may not be permanent. However, I am already seeing a lot of staying power. Farmers' markets are reporting record numbers of shoppers in 2021, and many of our natural health and holistic practitioner advertisers and partners are reporting increased interest in their services and booked-up calendars. Here at Natural Awakenings, we are seeing significantly more readers interested in our cutting-edge information on green and healthy living. Even the parks, trails and waterways in our area are seeing much higher usage.
The food connection at the center of all this is so exciting because it’s the one thing that each of us has in common and over which each of us has nearly total control —our current and future health. Our own UT Southwestern Medical School even has a Food As Medicine program, and there’s a culinary medicine program offered by another medical school. In “Food as Medicine,” Julie Peterson delves deeper into some of the research and statistics that integrative and holistic practitioners such as homeopaths and naturopaths have been exhorting to us for years.
While we have primarily focused on physical food for our physical bodies, I am left to wonder how we’re feeding our minds and souls. What are the foods that nurture and heal them? Has our awareness of that effect also grown during the pandemic? Are we using what we’ve learned to determine what foods we give our minds and souls—remembering that this food, too, is medicine? I am speaking of foods like what we read; what we discuss (or don’t discuss); the research we do and the questions we ask when looking for mind food; and the love, compassion and service we render to others which feeds our souls. For just like the physical food we put into our bodies, the non-physical food we feed our minds and souls is fully within our control.
I also wonder how our non-physical diets fared during the pandemic. Have we learned which foods are healing for our minds and souls and which are not? Our instruction manual, the Bible, has a lot to say on this topic, the most basic message being that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Here our manual is addressing the fact that each of us consists of body, soul and spirit, and that these last two need other kinds of sustenance, food that we ingest via our ears, eyes, minds and hearts—but not our mouths.
I hope that as you chew on this food for thought, along with all the foodie information in this month’s issue, you will be inspired to live your healthiest life on a healthy planet. And don’t forget to pull out our seventh annual Farmers' Market & Everything Healthy Food Guide in the centerfold on pages 16 to 36.
Until next month.