Why is today’s younger generation facing more chronic diseases such as joint pain, autoimmune, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular than our grandparents’ generation? What we are putting in our bodies on a daily basis has much to do with it. 

Our bodies are built to process and receive all our nutrients from food, which should maintain and heal our bodies. Unfortunately, most food today is chronically depleted of nutrients and devoid of necessary healing properties. The quick, cheap, “quantity not quality,” “more is better” mentality has also become our society’s downfall.

Other factors affecting our food chain include high pesticide and herbicide contamination, over-tilled soil, and antibiotic- and growth hormone-laden livestock which can all lead to health issues for us humans. The most common cancers in the world (lung, breast, prostate and colon) all have links to environmental toxicities. More recently, glyphosate, an herbicide used on genetically modified crops like wheat, corn, soy and rice, has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system. Heavy metal toxicities have been linked to thyroid cancer and other diseases on the rise. Fortunately, lab testing is available to assess environmental toxicities that may be affecting your health. 

How do we re-infuse our bodies with clean, healthy, nutrient dense foods? We start from the ground up. Choose organically grown fruits and vegetables from farms using regenerative, soil building practices, and pasture raised, grass fed, grass finished meat, and wild caught seafood. Organic foods have between 4 to 20 times higher phytonutrient value than conventionally grown foods. Meat and dairy products from organic farms have higher omega3 (anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids) than their feed-lot comparatives, which have higher omega6 inflammatory fats. Support your local farmers market, community supported agriculture, online food co-ops (Crowd Cow, Butcher Box, Wild Alaskan), or better yet, grow your own organic veggie garden and supplement when needed. 

Coachella valley has a long growing season (zone 9b), so you could have continuous crop growth through the summer in your own backyard or even in a potted deck garden. Plants just need sunlight, water and good soil, rich with compost and organic matter. 

If you need help getting started, free gardening, composting and vermiculture classes are also available through UC Riverside and Riverside County programs. Start loving on your soil and your soil will love you back, providing nutrient rich veggies and fruits. For more resources, see this article online at www.deserthealthnews.com.

We certainly have food deserts, and one may argue that eating healthy food costs more than fast food – and unfortunately, you’d be right – but that shouldn’t discourage you from doing your best to prioritize your health however you can. More and more grocery stores are carrying organic produce at comparable costs to conventionally grown foods, and places like Grocery Outlet have A LOT of organic options at outlet prices. Many of our local farmers markets also accept SNAP. You have options! 

Let’s get back to eating how our great-great-grandparents ate – from local gardens and farms fertilized by the animals that ate the healthy bugs, weeds and plants, continuously regenerating nutrient rich soil to feed us and keep our bodies healthy. 

Dr. Sonja Fung is a primary care naturopathic doctor with a focus on integrative cancer care and regenerative joint injections at Live Well Clinic in La Quinta. Her clinic offers B vitamin injections, IV nutrients, and functional lab testing for a personalized health plan. For more information, call (760) 771.5970 or visit www.livewellclinic.org.

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