food as medicine

hand holding egg

In the pre-dawn half-light, I prepare my breakfast. I wash my hands with scented vegetable oil soap and warm water. I pull my ingredients out of the fridge, one by one. A base of green leaves – romaine or leaf lettuce, sometimes accented with kale or cabbage. A colourful harmony of vegetables – different every morning. Sometimes sweet pepper, tomato and zucchini. Sometimes tomato, grated carrot and snow pea. Sometimes cucumber. Sometimes purslane.

My fingers pluck withered or browned leaves away from stems. I hold, I turn, I position. I slice, I sliver. I separate, I rinse. I shake. I scrape.

A pinch of this, and of that. I measure everything with my hands, coating fingers with red-orange paprika, or dusty dried ginger. The jar of channa masala, once opened, fills my kitchen with the faintly sulfurous scent of cooked egg.

And I cook real eggs – scrambled, omeleted, boiled. The heat of them, straight from the pot or the pan, warms the salad I toss them on.

Olive oil, dark green and glistening. Splashes of wine vinegar. Squeezes of lime, or lemon. This is my morning ritual.

There is energy in my palms. Through gentle handling, passing, folding, this energy moves into the bites and morsels. Om sri dhanvantre namaha, I silently recite, over and over. The Sanskrit chant is an invocation of the healing energy of the Hindu god Dhanvantari. I once read that Indian women chanted this phrase to infuse their family’s food with medicinal power.

I’ve talked about experimenting with the best nourishment for your body… but have you ever thought about food as medicine for your cells, and perhaps even your soul?

I think I’ve always instinctively understood food this way, although it wasn’t until I read Maya Tiwari’s books that I heard someone else say it out loud. Food is medicine. This belief sits well with me, and gives depth to my blessings and graces.

I feed myself. I heal myself.

If you believed your food was medicine, would it change the way you choose your food, or prepare it?

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If you’re intrigued and want to read more, I highly recommend Maya Tiwari’s Ayurveda: A Life of Balance.

Below is a beautiful version of the Om sri dhanvantre namaha chant by kirtan artists Deva Primal and Miten.