The Happy Benefits of Plant-Based Foods
“Even the highest medicine can cure only eight or nine out of ten sicknesses. The sicknesses that medicine cannot cure can be cured only by foods.”
-The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Chinese, circa 400 B.C.)
“Food is better medicine than drugs.”
-Title of book by leading British nutritionist Patrick Holfor
“So what IS there to eat?” asks the startled newcomer to the Gerson way of life, after reading the list of forbidden foods. That is an important question to ponder, because it shows how alienated one can become from a natural way of eating, and above all from the huge range of available plant foods, rightly called the vegetable kingdom (which in this instance includes fruits, too.)
It is a fair guess that the majority of people in the so-called developed world regard vegetables as no more than incidentals that accompany a main course of fish or meat, while fruits are only considered if there is no dessert on offer. Well, this is the moment to think again—and to make some delightful discoveries.
The fact is that the plant foods, which are the basis of the Gerson regime, are much superior to animal-based ones. Besides being lighter, more pure and easier to digest and absorb, each one contains a subtle mixture of vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and trace elements, which work in synergy, (i.e., in cooperation) and supply the depleted organism with valuable nutrients. Only when the non-healing—in fact, harmful—food items are excluded, the wide range and variety of plant foods becomes clear. It is not their usefulness as well as their beauty that needs to be acknowledged.
Try to look at a display of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables with the eyes of an artist. Note the glowing colors and varied shapes of golden carrots, deep red cabbages, creamy cauliflowers with their light green collars, beige pears, multicolored apples, translucent green grapes—the range is vast, and eye appeal adds a great deal to the enjoyment of the produce.
There is another happy surprise that awaits the novice explorer of the vegetable kingdom: the discovery of the true flavor of vegetables and fruits. At first, without salt and pepper, plant foods taste bland and, frankly, boring, but they are neither. However, a lifetime of excessive use of salt deadens the taste buds of the tongue until they are unable to convey the true taste of any food, and even the salt intake has to be increased all the time to have any effect.
On the salt-free Gerson regime it takes a week or so for the paralyzed taste buds to recover. Once that happens, fruits and vegetables suddenly begin to taste more interesting. At the same time one’s sense of smell also becomes more acute and contributes to the enjoyment of every meal.
“Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food,” said Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, some 2500 years ago. We might add, “Let your medicine consist of happy foods only!”