A few times a month I volunteer my time at a local health food store. I greet the customers, answer their questions and try to guide them, gently, towards a solution to their health concerns. I always find it challenging. It’s not because their questions are particularly difficult or because I don’t know the natural solutions to their problems, it’s because many people enter a health food store and expect to be treated as if they entered a pharmacy. I think that our modern health food stores should emulate the historical apothecaries, showcasing the latest in herbal, nutritional and supplemental technology coupled with competent staff that are there to guide customers towards the best solutions for their particular health needs. However; this can’t be supported through the model of ‘There is a drug for every ailment’ and ‘Talk for 10min and I can solve all your problems with this one, simple pill’. I think that this approach has proved its worth. The proof is in the pudding and look at the amount of disease in our country. Using natural, holistic or nutritional science is not, and will never be, the ‘quick fix’ for any health problem. These modalities work to support your body’s natural ability to heal it’s self and, for many of us, this ability has been abused and will take time, patience and persistence to reinstate. Dramatic results can be achieved when a strict regime is followed like a juice cleanse, as shown on shows like ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’. While helpful in showcasing the power of food and diet this approach is only useful in certain situations and only if it can be used in conjunction with a sustainable whole foods diet. Otherwise these cleanses are unsustainable and could cause more problems if not administered properly. After all, Hippocrates did say ‘Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.’ Maybe we need to approach food as a medicine, one that can support health just as persistently as it can hinder it. When people approach me in the store and ask what they can do about their heart problems, diabetes, arthritis or any other health issue it’s difficult to really know where to start. All these problems could be the result of so many imbalances. Where do I start? I start with the fuel. Our bodies can only create cells with that which we feed it. My challenge is that changing your food means changing your life. This could mean changing the people, your career and the ‘securities’ that are currently in your life. Subconsciously we all know that and that’s why we are so resistant to eating consciously and with the understanding that we are, indeed, medicating ourselves by doing so. Changing your diet is a process that is delightfully self-directed. The key to success is changing your focus from self-deprecation to self-awareness. Becoming aware of how you feel after you have eaten something and honouring that sensation through gentle self-reflection is the key to making healthy eating a lasting, enjoyable act. Everyone stumbles, but in these instances bringing your attention back to how you feel without judging it will change the way you see your food choices.