The “food as medicine” movement is one that has existed for decades, but with culinary wellness becoming a major theme in healthcare around the world today, food as medicine is quickly becoming a much more literal reality. The Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, for instance, is merely one example of how actual food can be treated as medicine, with clinics across the coast now prescribing bags of food and intensive cooking classes for patients suffering various impairing conditions. The Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center’s “Shop with Your Doc” program is a similar example, proving just how possible it is for healthcare entities to adopt a more proactive and hands-on approach, when it comes to interacting with members from throughout their communities. Dr. Brenda Rea, of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, is another physician to agree, saying “what people eat can be medicine or poison” and that “as a physician, nutrition is one of the most powerful things you can change to reverse the effects of chronic disease.”
Of course, intention and action are two different things. In order to make a significant difference, you must be active in your efforts. Two of the best ways to do this are to promote greater education and outreach through various programs in your own community.
One of the most common problems that physicians run into is, people simply do not know how to cook – and in a world of prepackaged food and take-out, it’s all too easy to see why. Whether the reason for less authentically home-cooked meals stems from a lack of time or sheer convenience, people need guidance if they are ever going to revert back to simpler, healthier meal practices. Something as simple as hosting a free cooking/tasting class for your community a few times a month would be more than sufficient to improve the general attitude toward greater nutrition, and more conservative shopping habits. It’s not about telling people what they can and cannot eat, but rather showing them the awesome healing power of certain ingredients, and helping them understand how certain foods can positively affect their bodies to make them feel incredible.
Another reason people often don’t follow the diet they should is lack of ability. Whether a disability is keeping them home, or they do not have the means to buy typically healthy ingredients from a grocery store as most others do, there are people out there who need a little extra help in terms of acquiring the right foods for their unique health. Food prescription services, and/or weekly meal deliveries, are just two examples of outreach programs that you could potentially establish in your own hospital to dramatically help your local community.