Cure or Prevention?

by Gwen Ross

As a follow up from the Diamonds conference I am doing a series of blogs about how food matters for addressing common ailments and continued health.

God worked a miracle in my life! As a graduate in my early twenties I was diagnosed with a rheumatoid arthritic condition that steadily progressed until I was on opiate based drugs and spending weekends in bed to ensure I was fit for work in the week. Eventually, I was advised to give up driving and do part-time work. As I had only just set out on the career of my choice – social work – I was devastated. I prayed for God to intervene, to take away the pain. But miracles don’t always happen suddenly. God puts people in place and leads you to them. I tried lots of different ways of getting healthy but it was only when a young medic in his final year challenged me to experiment with food that I began to understand that food does matter. I had worked out that certain foods resulted in swollen finger joints and pains in my knees and elbows and this is what prompted the doctor to set me the challenge.

That experiment started in the 1970’s and 40 years later I am very familiar with the effect food has on my wellbeing. I am not medically trained and I do not have any qualification in nutrition or natural remedies. All I have is my personal experience of how trusting God and changing my diet took me from being crippled with pain to a pain-free and energetic work and social life.

“I will exalt you Lord for you rescued me … O Lord my God I cried to you for help, and you restored my health” Psalm 30:1-2 (NLT) 

I was placed on a very strict diet where it was easier to list what I could eat. Then after a few weeks I was asked to add foods, one at a time, and note in a diary the effect the food had on my body. I would advise everyone to pay attention to what your body tells you about what you put into it.

I want to start with general ideas about diet. You may be familiar with this list of foods to avoid, or at least cut down. Doing so worked for me!

Avoid: Processed foods; sugar; fast food carry-outs; fried foods;
Reduce: beef, pork and lamb meats; cakes and pastries; alcohol; dairy products
Increase: dark green leafy veggies; brightly coloured fruits, veggies , and herbs like sweet potatoes, beets, red, green and yellow peppers; foods rich in essential fats (avocados, nuts and seeds); water

Some examples:
Avocados: High in monounsaturated fats, vitamins C, E and B6, folate, iron, magnesium and potassium and antioxidant plant chemicals. The high vitamin E content boosts the immune system, keeps skin healthy and helps prevent heart disease

Bananas: High in sugar but feeds our beneficial (probiotic) gut bacteria. Contains high levels of potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Potassium and Vitamin C help transport oxygen around the body to renew and revitalize the skin

Chocolate and Cocoa Powder: Rich in antioxidant flavonoids, fibre and minerals, magnesium and iron – chocolate with 70% cocoa solids. It also contains caffeine (a 3.5 oz bar of plain chocolate has about as much as a cup of coffee)

Coconut products: Contains good levels of phytosterois, zinc and selenium, lauric acid which protect against viruses and bacterial infections, caprylic acid kills off fungal infections

The above ingredients can be put together to form a dessert for those of you who like me have a sweet tooth and children love it.

1 large ripe avocado
2 ripe bananas (the riper the sweeter)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil or 1/3 cup coconut cream
1 – 1.5 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (add more if you want a sweeter mousse)
30 -40 g chocolate (70% cacao), melted (optional)

Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust to suit. Serve in small amounts with berries or bananas. Enjoy!

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