Food as Medicine

Several months ago I was really taken aback by a TED talk by Dr. Terry Wahls, who discussed food and our diet’s role in our health.  Dr. Wahls was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000 and was soon in a wheelchair.  After years of medication and treatment with minimal improvement, she radically changed her diet in an attempt to give her body the nutrients it needed to help itself.  Within a year she was out of her wheelchair.

Here is a link of here motivating and thought provoking TED talk:

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You can read more about Dr. Terry Wahls at her website.  It goes to show, we really don’t know as much as we think we do about the human body.  How can we go to the gym, workout, and pretend we are being healthy, then grab some food from a box or a bag.

The more I learn about nutrition, they more that I think we need to avoid processed foods as much as possible.  And heck, sometimes we think we are eating healthy when we aren’t!  Core Performance has a nice article on 10 food items that are more processed than you probably realize.  If you eat things from a bag or a box, you are probably not feeding your body as well as possible.

We talk a lot of sports medicine and performance here, but shouldn’t we all be putting our bodies in the best position to succeed?

 

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  • Kelly

    Outstanding article! thanks

  • http://www.deltaspinecare.com Dr. D

    My wife had a MS episode almost 3 years ago, confirmed by MRI at Stanford…great neurologist but had nothing to offer but meds at $3500/month. She eats super clean now and has not had any further problems. Stanford even did an extensive interview with her but guess what….they left nutrition out of the question session.

  • Susan

    Mike I am so happy you posted this!!! It supports the movement we need to think about the body as a whole and not just what out pateints were sent to us for. Check out “The Unhealthy Truth” by Robynn O’brien I love how she lays out what’s she found after one of her kids developed a severe allergy. I don’t necessarily like her suggestions for foods but she’s trying to gear those suggestions to people who are VERY new to “whole” foods

  • Dr Seth

    One of the biggest failures in the US. I just saw on the “news” an article suggesting sugar may be toxic.
    As a PT I often feel like I have my hands tied as far as offering nutritional advice. Dieticians and mainstream nutritional therapy is outdated, and primarily based on the significantly flawed food pyramid. Them there’s subsidies, oh man I could go on for a while. BUT how can we expect proper healing when our patients interstitial fluids are toxifying their tissues?!! Chronic tendinitis?? Maybe more like chronic malnutrition!!!

  • Andrea G, DPT

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I think this is such a crucial aspect that is so neglected. I do a ton of side-research on this topic (purely internet based, so nothing formal), so I do tend to integrate it some, when I can, into patient care. I would absolutely love to take formal continuing education on the role of diet in PT rehab, but am not even sure if anything is available…not to mention I am so wary of outdated info out there. Plus, this tends to be a rather sensitive topic with a lot of backlash when mentioned to certain people who are just not ready to accept change.

    Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for bringing attention to this.

    If anyone happens to know of a good course out there (or even potential for developing one? research?), please let me know!

  • amy

    I am a firm believer that food is medicine and I agree with great vigor in the principles put forth by people like Michael Pollan, (In Defense of Food and the Omnivores Dilemma, and more). Having said that, I went off the ‘deep end’ following these principles about three years ago. I ate local, seasonal, and I went vegetarian. I had never liked meat and the more I learned about its processing the less I could ‘stomach’ it. Within 3 months I began to have difficulty running and sustaining aerobic activity and was having joint pain systemically. It took me another year to decide that there were some key nutrients, probably in the meat, that my body was missing, such as carnitine, and others. I also needed the salt in my diet as I was dealing with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia. Once I returned salt to my diet, my aerobic capabilities greatly improved. I say all of this only as a epilogue and to be some ‘Food for Thought’. There is a great deal unknown about the micronutrients and their interplay with day to day health. I am still a proponent of the principles, but now with a little more caution.

  • Cara PT, OCS

    I saw this a while back also, and I am so glad to see someone of prominence in our PT community endorsing the”crazy” ideas of healthy eating. Thanks for being one voice in the crowd. And thanks so much for your blog – I love all the information and links. Keep it up please!!

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  • http://www.swsgolf.com Sean W. Saunders

    Unfortunately, we live in a country that promotes SICK CARE more than PREVENTATIVE CARE. The majority (not all) Pharmaceutical Companies & Doctors aren’t looking out for the consumers best interests ($$).

    There has to be a shift in thinking about PREVENTATIVE care (good nutrition, fitness, & stress management) but that isn’t where the majority of $$ currently is being made. It’s not prestigious enough.

    More and more Doctors are starting to get it and study more about nutrition but for the most part it is up to the consumer and we need to make the decisions (nutrition, fitness, stress) to take care of ourselves through research and education.

    We need to teach our kids the importance of information that is found in this article by educating the entire health industry including our schools & PE programs / Health Classes.

    Why are schools getting help with technology (new ipads) but dropping Phys. Ed teachers & coaches / health programs? Doesn’t make sense to me when many of the children become obese and die of an eventual heart attack, diabetes, cancer, etc. at an early age. At least they knew how to use technology!

    Knowledge is power as long as you do something with it! You have nothing without your health! Just ask my mother who had cancer.

    My industry (golf) is finally coming around and making nutrition & fitness a priority in the industry thanks to (www.TPI.com & http://www.backtogolf.com)

    To good health & LIFE!