By LeeAnn Chisolm
Hippocrates said it best. Food is our original source of medicine. But today we’ve literally all but stripped food of its nature by prioritizing taste, look, and even convenience over purpose. Compare it to choosing a life partner for their looks over how they make you feel. Choosing the former can, and will, typically leave us unsatisfied and sometimes even ailing. This summer, I had the remarkable opportunity to immerse myself in the healing power of food at the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta, GA. Every month, people travel from around the world to take part in this transformative experience. Here, I learned that healing our bodies is the greatest act of self-love we can undergo.
In my family, growing old and growing ill are practically synonymous — one of the reasons I started on my own path to wellness. Even though I didn’t have the ailments, I was already gathering the building blocks for predisposed diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and fibroids. In hopes of furthering my own food education, I enrolled in the 10-day course at the Institute. On day one, I found myself surrounded by beautiful strangers — some local, some all the way from Australia and Nigeria. We were a hodgepodge of diverse races, ages and of varying beliefs. But at 9 a.m. on that beautiful Friday morning, we all joined together knowingly, and some unknowingly, in search of healing.
For 10 days, we spent our mornings in the kitchen, learning about and preparing raw and living foods. Our afternoons, devoted to meditation and holistic therapies. It was amazing to witness the transformation among my fellow students in only a matter of days. One person I remember in particular, was a 16-year-old young man. He and his mother came to the center as their last resort. He was suffering from cancer, and the metal plates in his legs and a pair of crutches were his only source of mobility. By day eight of the Living Foods Institute, we all rejoiced when we saw him not only walking without his crutches, but smiling and laughing — a sight we had yet to see. It was a joy that filled every student and the entire staff. In that moment, we remembered our own healing power. In that moment, miracles were within our grasp.
When I speak of the healing power of food, it is important to note that food doesn’t heal us. Our bodies do. Our bodies have the innate capacity to heal themselves. We just have to give it the proper tools. One of the most important tools is the food we eat. Is it alkaline? Is it processed? Is it living? It’s critical that we make conscious choices if our intention is healing. But consumption goes beyond what we eat. Our lives are consumption: what we see, what we hear and what we tell ourselves. We are constantly being fed information that can either hurt us (physically, emotionally or mentally) or heal us. I like to say that with everything I think, listen to, do, eat, and say, I am affirming what I want in my life. We fill ourselves up with these small affirmations that become our thoughts and in turn become our life choices. We must actively guard our thoughts as actively as we guard our bellies. This was a key lesson at the Living Foods Institute. While we can restore balance in our bodies, illness can often reemerge if “dis-ease” still exists in our hearts and in our minds. Healing is and can only be holistic.
It’s so consuming to be ill, to be stressed, to be lethargic. It gives us little time to be great. When we feel our best, we can give all of our gifts and talents to the world unrestrictedly. That is why I choose to eat and live consciously. Because we are meant to live our very best lives. What we choose to feed our body is a radical act of self respect. So today, intend to give your whole self what it deserves. For to be healthy and to feel whole is our birthright.
LeeAnn Chisolm is a writer and an award-winning filmmaker. Born and raised in Germany, now residing in Atlanta, this self-proclaimed workaholic found her calling early on through the written word and performing arts. From photography to poetry, to dance and film, her art is a conscious effort to inspire, empower and simply be the change she wishes to see in the world. Check out LeeAnn’s latest projects on her website www.MissChisolm.com and follow her on Instagram @MissChisolm.