City Guides » Be Healthy Boise

You Are What You Eat

Eat well, be happy


As with all kids I was lied to by adults Particularly about food.

I remember hearing the story about my aunt pushing a bean up her nose when she was young. It grew in there for weeks until one night at dinner, my grandmother noticed a small green tendril snaking its way out of her daughter’s nostril. My aunt was rushed to the doctor and the bean sprout was painfully removed.

My aunt has neither confirmed nor denied the story but because of other stories—played on a similar theme—I heard throughout my childhood, I tend to think it’s a tall tale. According to my elders, if I ate watermelon seeds, I would grow a watermelon in my stomach. Likewise with apples. And pears. And putting a bean up my nose would result in a head full of leaves and pods.

Suffice to say, none of those warnings were strictly accurate but I never, to this day, consciously ate watermelon, apple or pear seeds. Shoving legumes up my nose was definitely out of the question. The thought of a plant quietly growing in my stomach (or head) was too horrifying to imagine. As with most lies, however, they contained a seed of truth. We are literally what we eat—though maybe not in the way the adults in my life told me.

In this edition of Be Healthy Boise, we take a look at a range of topics from Siberian cedar barrel treatments to the massive expansion proposed by St. Luke’s Medical Center in Boise. Several pieces, however, follow related topics.

We look at the growing body of research that links chronic inflammation to a range of common ailments, including cancer and heart disease. Even more interesting is the role that diet plays in lessening—or worsening—inflammation. Studies suggest that the right combination of anti-inflammatory foods like red wine, olive oil and almonds, can even help battle depression.

The relationship between food and mental health is also taken up when we explore the impact of Western food on the bodies and minds of refugees. As if leaving behind a home, friends and family wasn’t enough of a shock to the system, refugees are far away from traditional foods and agricultural practices that often kept them healthier than the heavily processed, chemically enhanced fare so prevalent in the Western diet.

Finally we check in with a group of culinary entrepreneurs who are working together in Boise to provide the kinds of all natural food that could help everybody—no matter where they’re from—live healthier and happier.

Look for our next edition of Be Healthy Boise in October. Until then, be healthy.