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Using Your Food as a Targeted Approach to Better Health

5 min read time Sep 17, 2020


Each one of us is a genetic makeup of both parents.

As science continues to progress, it is becoming very clear that our genetics are not the determining factor for our quality of life.

I prefer to use the term inherent weakness when speaking of this “genetic phenomenon”. As we all know, the best way to fix a weakness is to first strengthen and then support it. If you do this, you no longer have a weakness and are less likely to become a victim of what you were told would be a life full of uncontrollable health problems. I want to be clear that there are many factors that play a role in the genetic mish-mosh. While mom and dad blessed us with our genes, in order for a gene to express itself there need to be “triggers” that provide the incentive for a negative genetic expression.

This process of turning on and off to express our genes is called epigenetics.

In simple terms, epigenetics is the study of a variety of biological mechanisms that switch genes on and off. Epigenetics is essentially how our genes are read by our cells. An interesting fact is that epigenetics is everywhere. In an article titled “Epigenetics across the human lifespan” there is a wonderful explanation of the factors that affect our genes’ ability to express themselves. (1)

All factors in your life, from what you eat, how you exercise to where you live, have the potential to cause chemical modifications. In turn, these modifications can turn the gene on or off. If the conditions are harsh enough for a long enough period of time, your chances of expressing that negative influence increase dramatically. Don’t kid yourself by believing that epigenetics is a new or fad topic. In fact, it has been around for over 50 years but it is only within the last 10 years that US scientists have begun to embrace its role in human health.

The other part of this is the suppressing of one’s genes or genetic coding.

Again this works on the same level as expressing your genes. The issue with both ends of the spectrum is whether or not our “constitution” is strong enough to handle the onslaught of abuse from factors we may have no control over.  The answer is determined based on your lifestyle. Factors of one’s lifestyle across the board have been proven to have a direct effect on the expression and suppression of one’s genetic coding. Therefore you may have greater control than you think.  

Functional foods

Functional foods are defined as…“Foods that are rich in various compounds which have a positive effect on one’s health beyond basic nutrition.”

To be clear, this goes way beyond just looking at a category known as “superfoods”. An amazing fact about the world we live in is that you don’t need to look far to find these highly nourishing functional foods. Foods like wild salmon, pasture raised eggs, avocados, kale, maca, cacao, pomegranate, tart cherries are all available in markets all over the world thanks to traditional and modern agricultural practices. Many of these wonderful foods are found right here at ZNaturalFoods.com.

A Targeted approach

In order to understand how to use your “food as medicine”, it is important to first understand one simple fact about the human healing response.

If you can resonate with this one fact, you will be miles ahead of the game. Side effects do not exist. All that exists are effects and responses.

Allow me to explain.

What we as a society look at as being a side effect, is often a healing response in order to maintain a level of homeostasis (biochemical balance). Here is a great example:

If you are fighting a cold or flu virus, then chances are you have all of the unpleasant effects that go along with it. What you see as negative effects are actually the body’s healing responses. The fever, sweating, vomiting and, diarrhea are all way for the body to kill and expel this virus out of your body before any damage is done.

Another example is the use of antibiotics:

What our society knows as side effects (mostly GI related) are nothing more then what is supposed to happen when both good and bad bacteria are destroyed and the microbiome is thrown off track.

With that said, let’s look at how we use functional foods in a targeted way. As stated at the beginning of this article, if you take what is weak and make it stronger it is no longer a vulnerability.

With functional foods, you not only want to pick those one or two foods that will lead the pack,  but you also want to use foods that will support the overall healing response. If you were dealing with vision issues and wanted to use your “functional food” as medicine, here is how you may consider approaching it.

Begin with the lead foods that have been traditionally used to nourish eye health like bilberries. Then, add in foods that will support the overall healing process like Wild Salmon for those powerful omega 3 fatty acids and pomegranate for the polyphenol content. So a perfect medicinal meal would be oven roasted wild salmon in a pomegranate sauce with dried black currants, bilberries and goji berries on top. What you have in the end is not just nourishing and delicious, but a beautiful synergy of powerful compounds which support the body’s ability to heal itself.  

In the high-tech world, we live in, we are always looking for the most current and modern resolution to a problem.

We often forget, the oldest and most simple advice seems to be the wisest. These wise conclusions were drawn through time, patience, observation and real experience. Sometimes we need to sit back and just observe what is happening as it is important to take note of our surroundings and be aware of the moment. 

If you take that time to observe, you will notice that nature provides us with everything we need to nourish and nurture our well-being.    

About Michael Stuchiner

Michael Stuchiner is an experienced Master Herbalist, the Head of Education for Z Natural Foods, a teacher, and an accomplished author. With an 18-year specialization in medicinal herbs, Mike also has a vast knowledge in tonic and adaptogenic herbalism. Mike has enjoyed a 25-year career as an elite-level competitive powerlifter where he learned to heal his ‘mind and body’ as an avid user of herbal remedies.

        As an “in-the-trenches” herbalist, Mike has done more than 85 speaking engagements, consulted with clients ranging from young to elderly, worked with athletes in virtually all sports and with clients who have “dis-ease” states of a wide variety. Mike also mentors student Master Herbalists and will continue to teach the next generation to grow a deeper wisdom of the human body through appropriate herbal remedies.

For Bulk inquiries and custom formulations click here: https://www.znaturalfoods.com/pages/bulk




1) Riya R. Kanherkar, Naina Bhatia-Dey, and Antonei B. Csoka*. 2014. “Epigenetics across the human lifespan”. Pubmed.gov referenced 6/8/18 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207041/

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