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Healing with Food - Bay Area Business Woman

As a multicultural food therapist with an unusual cultural diversity of life experience, background, studies and research, I have been considered a widely recognized authority on how food therapy practices work to provide the basis of healthy mind/body balance and disease prevention.

I will seek information from other experts and draw from my own research to give the most current information. I work from the integrative experience that is the whole person, body, mind and lifestyle.

I will present answers to questions and recipes for foods for specific health issues. These food therapy recipes are for healing and disease prevention and for optimal health. Your body talks to you in symptoms. The loving response you give it with nurturing and healing foods may provide the solution your body has been craving.

We should use whole foods as much as possible because we do not yet know what components are in each food and exactly how these substances work together. We do know that isolating parts of food and using excess or inappropriate supplements is not as effective as whole foods, and may eventually have side effects or be stored in your body in an unhealthy way.

This column will give special attention to the immune system, digestive system, hormonal harmony and other areas my practice focuses on. These include: improving energy, concentration, relaxation, memory, cleansing/detoxification, metabolidenzyme, and other body systems. craving control, weight balance, relief from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, disease prevention, cellular rejuvenation, what women need to know about the cause PMS, peri- and post- menopause symptoms and strengthening the total mind/body.

We will consider the various alternative nutritional medicine beliefs through which we maintain the balance of chi, or biochemical energy in our bodies. Chi comes from food and oxygen (breathing) intake and balance. Less food results in less digestion activity, al- lowing more oxygen for other systems, resulting in more chi (energy).

This Eastern cultural wisdom, which is being accepted in our Western culture, is that a combination of shallow breathing, poor eating patterns, poor food choices, poor food combinations, the byproduct of eating animal foods (production of more uric acid), and the imbalance of acidity and alkalinity are all factors which may use up available oxygen during metabolism; therefore, the body will have less chi and feel fatigued.

To help cut down on the excess amount of unneeded food we eat, and unwanted food desires, many cultures have used tea to fulfill daily food needs. This reduces calorie intake, allowing our systems to use oxygen in a more beneficial way.

What we put in our mouth and mind can affect our health. Everyone knows there are brain foods, bone foods, mood foods, hormonal foods, foods to balance our acidity and alkalinity, foods specifically for strengthening our blood, our neurotransmitters, weight, allergies and our entire body's sensitive interconnected systems.

Question of the month:
Dr. Sonia, I have heard that women (and men, too) in Chinese and Japanese cultures have fewer cancers, particularly stomach cancer, than we do in Western society. If this is true, why is it?

Research does show less stomach cancer in some Asian countries, but the statistics often change after people leave these countries and come to America or adopt Western diets. The answer may be that there are protective health benefits in these cultures in their use of phytohormonal (whole plant) foods and of teas. Many researchers believe whole plants, not isolated parts, interact with the body in ways not yet known.

Plants with antioxidants, we do know, inhibit the activity of enzymes, which cut down cell-damaging molecules known as free radicals, and help prevent cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and other autoimmune diseases. Prevention means healthful longevity.

Most American diets lack spices, teas, culinary herbs, nuts, greens, legumes and seeds. As soon as their diet and oxygen intake balances they start feeling better. By evaluating their lifestyle and food choices, definitely increasing intake of fiber and phytohormonal whole plant food, American women can grow healthier or help their conditions, according to the American Heart, Cancer and Dietetics Associations. The health and food organizations of the world all campaign for eating balance and variety to prevent diseases. Many health organizations also believe whole plant foods have substances which help regulate cells that inhibit cancer growth and substances that modulate hormones that may damage cells.

A survey I did of 420 American women of all ages, and a larger study of 1010 women, undertaken through universities in China, Japan, Russia, Iran and America, showed American women had a drastically higher fear of obesity, cancer, hot flashes and osteoporosis than women in other countries. Fear-stress can bring on the very symptoms feared because of our mind/body interconnectedness. Cultural differences in experiences, beliefs handed down through generations, were influences in each societies' practices and attitudes.

Women's health practices in other cultures include being active, praying, meditating, and valuing fresh air and breathing. They have a stronger belief that foods they eat affect their health.

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Dr. Sonia celebrating Persian New Year

Sonia in front of her WCW mural

Dr. Sonia with her grandchildren

Christine Jones
Created: 2004