Food As Medicine – A Novel Approach

An amazing revolution is happening in California and that too in the grocery aisles of supermarkets and local grocery stores. You can find doctors on a regular basis prowling the aisles several times a month and they catch unsuspecting passersby making casual observations on their shopping cart includes.

Take for instance Daniel Nadeau who recently spent some time meandering through the cereal aisle with Allison Scott. He gave her ideas on how to deal with kids who fastidiously avoided anything healthy.

Smoothies from raspberry and blueberry are an excellent source of protein as well as being great for the brain. Besides they are cheaper than other ingredients. This is the belief of Daniel, which he wanted Allison to learn.

Allison on the other hand is happy to receive such advice considering Nadeau is director of Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center. This center operates a program called Shop With Your Doc, in which its doctors visit grocery stores and meet patients who sign up for the program. They even include shoppers who have questions.

According to Daniel, the biggest factor behind a growth in diabetes is processed food and sugar. America currently devours over 50% in processed food and just 5% in plant food. Reversing this would automatically eliminate diabetes and other such health conditions that are food driven.

The Revolution

The food revolution or rather this program isn’t something new. It has been lurking around in the fringes for few decades now. However, because of medical institutions and doctors making food an integral part of their treatment plans, this program is making a major comeback.

Instead of prescribing just medicines, nutritional changes help prolong or even limit and reverse certain diseases. As Dr. Nadeau says, food is the long way forward to preventing cancer, reversing hypertension and reversing diabetes but it is a safer way and one with long lasting consequences. Besides medicines always work better and longer on a healthier individual.

Another stalwart example of food as medicine is the Therapeutic Food Pantry program. This one operates at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Currently completing its pilot stage, it has already received requests to expand to five more clinics across the city. Under the program, patients not only receive medication but also several bags worth of food depending on their condition plus intensive training on how to make specialized recipes for their situation.

The hope is to not just provide food but also teach patients the importance of food and medicine. Take for instance the specialized training offered by the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. It offers this training to all resident physicians and it concentrates on using food to treat various conditions and diseases.

While diet alone is not the answer to any cure, it sure goes a long way to treat illnesses and increase efficiency of medicines. There is a clear picture emerging from the cumulative data collected that sugar, fat, salt and processed stuff all play a big role in heart diseases, diabetes and obesity. In fact, according to WHO, nearly 80% heart disease related conditions happen from poor consumption of vegetables, fruits, tobacco use, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.

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