Food as Medicine

Hippocrates apparently once said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, I often think about these words.  Over the last ten years my diet has changed significantly and I have added regular cleanses and fasts into my annual body maintenance regime.  At points I have eaten almost wholly raw plant foods, other times I slip back towards more junky comfort foods.  The thing is there is no greater feeling than eating a plant, be it a leaf, root, or fruit, fresh and raw direct from the plant. 

I am giving a talk at the Off Grid Festival this Friday entitled “Food as Medicine” which has reminded me, and helped me refocus on that point over the last few weeks, as I have been getting my notes together.  The thing is everything we put into our bodies either helps build, maintain and replenish them, or deplete, damage and ultimately destroy them.

Raw wild foods are especially strong and good for you, just consider how they grow, forcing their way up through gaps in pavements, in dark shady corners, all kinds of challenging situations and all depite our attempts to clear them.  Compare that to a lot of the cultivated fruits and vegetables that need watering, weeding, pruning, primping and preening to put forth their best edibles for us.

So what would I suggest as seasonal edible medicine right now?  Well it has to be blackberry.  Strong and rampant it grows on any bit of waste land, or hedgerow possible.  The fruits slightly tart yet juicy and satisfying are ripening up in abundance all around.  And their medicine?  Simple yet effective, the berries are antioxidant, they help cleanse the blood; they help to maintain our bodies keeping them healthy fresh and clear of toxic build ups.  So go and grab a handful, feast on natures seasonal bounty!  Don’t forget to take the kids; foraging for blackberries is a great, free, fun summer holiday activity that will help connect your kids with nature and help teach them where foods come from.  I recently read a statistic that said 42% of kids have never eaten a blackberry, lets work together to turn this around.

Read more about medicinal edibles in “The Medicine Garden” or join me Friday afternoon at Off Grid and be inspired!!

Please note: when foraging for foods or medicines from nature always consider where you are collecting from, look for possible sources of pollution or contamination such as car exhaust fumes.  Additionally never take all you find; leave plenty for other foragers such as the birds and animals, and of course the plant itself, so it can survive to the next generation.  Happy foraging 🙂


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