Using food as preventive medicine is an inspiring article written by Carmelo Mejia, M.D., an internist at Kaiser Permanente. In my opinion, his refreshingly honest and pertinent discourse should be read by every health care provider and be required reading by consumers prior to filling all prescriptions. Plant based nutrition should be the standard taught in all schools beginning with early childhood. Since 1997 at Slender For Life™ hypnosis for weight loss I have always advocated that plant based food should be our standard of care. I hope and pray that the current trend of sickness and obesity caused by unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices is finally changing to a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle.
Using food as preventive medicine
Statesman Journal, April 25, 2014: In my 16 years of practicing as an internist for Kaiser Permanente, a significant amount of my time and energy has been focused on treating chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. I have been able to successfully treat these conditions mostly by using safe and effective medications. This success comes primarily in the form of stabilizing or slowing down the progression of these conditions. The fact is, however, that most of these conditions worsen or give rise to complications over time. So I wanted a more proactive approach.
After all, using medications to treat these chronic diseases only after they develop — often as a consequence of years of unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices — is like dealing with a leaky faucet by repeatedly mopping the floor. Medications can be effective, but I wanted to find an option to stop the leak, or better yet, prevent it from happening in the first place.
Kaiser Permanente has made prevention and early detection of medical conditions a cornerstone of our mission. We do this with screening tests, counseling on dietary and lifestyle choices, promotion of exercise and weight management, emphasis on immunization and more. One area of special interest to me is how adapting a plant-based diet may prevent or even reverse chronic illnesses.
Using a whole-foods, plant-based diet as part of medical treatment has mostly been dismissed as an afterthought or a novelty. Yet medical research evidence of its benefits always has been there and continues to increase. Compelled by this evidence, I have begun to emphasize a nutritional approach with my patients.
The paradox of our times is that health care has become more expensive, while we as a nation continue to become sicker, not healthier. In fact, many people mistakenly assume that chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are inevitable as we get older. That’s why I believe that a nutritional approach to preventing and treating chronic illnesses with a plant-based diet is a simple, inexpensive and effective idea whose time has come.
You may remember my excitement last year when Kaiser Permanente announced that it now encourages its 15,000 affiliated doctors to recommend a plant-based diet to all patients, “especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.” Kaiser went on to say that, “The future of health care will involve an evolution toward a paradigm where the prevention and treatment of disease is centered, not on a pill or surgical procedure, but on another serving of fruits and vegetables.”
These are indeed, exciting times!
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Plant based food is my standard of care.
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