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proportional reckoning. What if we did this with the foods offered in the grocery store? Certainly it would simplify that long list of unrecognizable ingredients. The actives would be the nourishing foods in a given can of soup, say, while the inerts could be bunched together as so many nutritionally useless, if not downright harmful, unknowns. The denatured grains, food additives, artificial colorings, refined sweeteners, heat-processed oils, and hydrogenated fats could all be summed directly on the front: “This dinner contains 87 percent inerts.” Perhaps best of all, we’d lose this senseless preoccupation with lowfat, low-salt, low-worth advertising. People might start getting it through their heads that whole foods are the only real foods. Why were heart attacks rare in the United States in 1900 but the leading cause of death by the late 1940s? Fully half of individuals suffering heart attacks today have none of the statistical risk factors generally implicated (high-fat diet, high blood cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and hypertension).²¹ The industrialization of food at the turn of the century must be the explanation. In particular three kinds of food were made universally available that had previously been only occasional treats: sugar, processed white flour, and refined vegetable oils and margarine. All are linked with heart attacks. Our diets are very near and dear to our hearts. The gumption to make positive change is best brought about by awareness of how intimately health and nutrition are linked. Food and Healing by Annemarie Colbin is Nancy’s current favorite for viewing the big picture. The information about the remarkable healing qualities of specific foods presented in this book complements herbal wisdom nicely. Andrew Weil recently

added another gem, Eating Well for Optimum Health. We’re absolutely intrigued by the integral perspectives Sally Fallon has brought to center stage in Nourishing Traditions. Read this book and you’ll soon be setting yourself up to milk goats and learn entirely old ways to preserve foods through lacto-fermentation. The Whole Foods Companion by Dianne Onstad stands as our pantry encyclopedia to look up the nutritional value of each fruit, vegetable, grain, and legume, as well as culinary tips, health benefits, lore, and legends. Food plays a major role in our health, but of course it is not the only underlying cause of disease. Elderly people who are in fine health, despite eating junk food and whatever else pleases, are testaments to other avenues to well-being and longevity. Breast-fed as babies, these people were then

• Enjoy your food. Prepare and eat it with thoughts of nourishment, beauty, and a spirit of gratefulness. The love and care we infuse into the food we prepare is life-giving as well. • Eat whole foods in or as close to their natural state as possible. A good overall test of fresh food is the following: If it won’t sprout or rot, don’t eat it! • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Here’s where you generally find the fresh produce, dairy products, and lessprocessed foods. The foods you want have ingredients that all sound desirable to eat. • Sit down. Chew your food well. Savor it. Eat to satisfaction, without overindulging. • Remember, everything in moderation, including moderation. Strive to eat healthfully most of the time, but don’t punish yourself with guilt if occasionally you don’t follow your own guidelines. Being active helps balance out those occasional slip-ups.

The Medicine of the People / 