CCMS Medicine Summer 2017 - 18

www.CHESTERCMS.org

Prescribing Food Medicine
at The Clinic in Phoenixville
BY ANA M. NEGRÓN, M.D.

F

or many years I have expanded my
patients' plant food literacy with regular
cooking workshops. Seeing, touching,
smelling, combining, and tasting new foods
beats any printed diet plan that I could ever
prescribe.
Two months ago, a group of ten patients
with diabetes met with me twice a week
for six weeks. The goal: to learn, cook, and
sample easy delicious nutritious inexpensive
food made with whole plants - food that could reverse their
diabetes. Within this short time, three participants came off all
their medications including insulin and their blood sugars remain
normal.
The project will continue thanks to The Clinic in Phoenixville
and a grant from the Chester County Health Department. This
time it will include people at risk for common conditions, such as
obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and arthritis,
as well as diabetes.
Why focus on diabetes? Diabetes is the most important
contributor to heart disease - which is the number one killer in
this country. Add to this, years of suffering, reduced quality of life,
impaired productivity, and higher health care costs - there is no
question diabetes deserves our attention.
To date, almost 9% of the U.S. population has developed
diabetes, a disease tragically spreading to children. Twenty-eight
million people in this country are suffering with type 2 diabetes at
younger and younger ages. How did this happen? Diabetes runs
in families through the kitchen and in communities through the
typical diet of animal products and highly refined processed foods
- the perfect storm.

18 CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine | SUMMER 2017

We should remind ourselves that people
develop high blood sugars, not for lack of insulin,
but because of insulin resistance. Research
abounds demonstrating that we can restore
insulin sensitivity with the right kind of food -
namely a diet of whole-plant foods low in fat. In
other words, diabetes can be prevented and even
reversed.
Why don't we hear more about this? For one,
our patients are not the only ones on the typical
western diet - health care professionals share misconceptions
on what constitutes a healthy diet, mistakenly promote milk for
calcium or meat for protein, and perceive obstacles to a wholefoods plant-based diet, such as cost, difficult cooking techniques,
preparation time, and unfamiliar taste, just like the general public.
More important, medical schools do not arm physicians with
the scientific knowledge and confidence to recognize, arrest and
reverse chronic illness through food. As a result, patients often get
no more than a watered down suggestion to "eat better" or "watch
what you eat" along with their drug prescription.
On top of this, many physicians assume that patients will
not change their eating habits - we used to think the same of
people who smoke - yet expect them to manage their diabetes
on multiple medications and monitor blood sugars for the rest of
their lives. This reasoning is faulty and needs to be updated. When
people are taught that diabetes can be reversed with food and are
shown the details of such diet, they are better informed and may
indeed choose change.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCMS Medicine Summer 2017

CCMS Medicine Summer 2017 - 1
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