On Food As Medicine

food as medicine

Let’s talk about this idea of food as medicine, shall we? Because I think we’re sometimes missing the point in the health and wellness world on this topic, and that it’s not as simple as we’d like to believe it is.

First, a story…

When I was in grad school, I often felt like I wasn’t doing a “good enough” job with my diet because it wasn’t dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, (fill in the blank)-free enough. I’d felt shame around my food for many, MANY years before starting the Chinese medicine  & acupuncture program, but the extreme emphasis on clean eating (whatever that means) & the prevalence of elimination diets & the mountain of mason jars full of fermented foods left me feeling like a total fucking loser when it came to feeding myself like an enlightened, natural-medicine practicing person.

At that point in my life, I was still figuring out how to eat without feeling guilty, how to not fear food for no reason, how to trust my body & my hunger impulses, how to feel safe & at home in my own skinFor me, restricting any foods was a bad idea. Psychologically, emotionally, even physically.

I’d been restricting for as long as I could remember. More of the same was not going to be better.


And yet, I did it. Because it’s what I was taught. It’s what I saw all around me. It was seemingly the “right” thing to do. Except that in my case, it was actually a harmful approach to health.

Are there situations in which removing certain foods from your diet is appropriate & helpful & even necessary? Yes. Of course. But I think the food-elimination approach to healing is WAY overused & that it can actually be far more harmful than eating the thing we’ve demonized as being bad for us.

Anyhoo, my point is this:  Food is medicine, yes. But it’s also much more nuanced than that.

And it can’t be medicine if you’re afraid of it or it’s your enemy.


Going gluten free is not a panacea of health. Neither is going sugar free. In some cases these things are appropriate & wonderful & life-changing. But not in all cases.

Find a healthcare provider who understands the difference. I consider myself to be in that camp. Call me if you feel like you’re not being heard. I don’t promise to have all the answers, but I do promise to listen. And to be more creative in my approach than just telling you to cut shit out of your diet because it’s the popular thing to do.