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Food as Medicine

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Food as Medicine is a documentary that introduces nutritional therapy as a way to treat chronic illnesses.

Lenore Eklund[edit]

Food as Medicine is a documentary directed by Lenore Eklund. Eklund was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2000. She was prescribed numerous medications which only made her feel worse. Seven years later, she decided to stop the use of all medications. Then, her husband introduced her to the Specific carbohydrate diet. She had a dramatic change in her health; in her next colonoscopy she showed a healthy colon. Her results were so dramatic that they inspired this film.She lives in Portland, Oregon and co-owns a restaurant with her husband there.[1]

The film[edit]

The Food as Medicine documentary was released in 2016 and is available on several platforms such as Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, and iTunes.

This documentary addresses a different approach to medicine, where food is the tool being used to heal chronic illness and disease.A Chronic condition is a disease that is long-lasting.The film highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy and balanced diet in order to provide the resources it needs to the body to heal. In the United States, one in five people are affected by chronic illnesses and 75% of the population are deemed not healthy. This film addressed the idea of nutritional therapy rather than pills as a way to heal chronic illnesses. Nutritional therapy involves incorporating a variety of nutrients into the body in order to reverse many types of chronic diseases. It is a more holistic approach to medicine where the body is seen as a whole; a specific diet is designated after assessing the underlying causes for the symptoms the person was experiencing.[2] Research regarding different diets such as the specific carbohydrate diet, the FODMAP diet, and the Paleolithic diet is currently being conducted in order to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Studies have shown that nutritional therapy along has had drastic effects on Crohn's disease, another type of chronic illness.[3]

The Food as Medicine program is a 6-week program where people learn to cook in a healthier way together and understand the importance of nutrition along with the adequate amount of sugars and portions a person should consume. By having a supportive community, they were all driven to improve their lifestyle together.As stated in the film, the most important property of a healthy gut microbiome is diversity; a healthy gut microbiome can directly affect our brain health, how neurotransmitters regulate themselves, and can also influence our hormones. This documentary followed the dietary transformation of different people who suffer from chronic illnesses and by following this dietary approach, they were providing their body with resources they needed to heal. The lives of Sabina, Adam, and Amanda are followed in this film. Sabina is a 40 year old woman who suffered from Olestra Colitis, primarily on the lower side of the colon. Adam is a 31-year-old male who suffers from premature ventricular contractions. Amanda is a young woman who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis primarily in the wrists and ankles. She is very limited to activity in the wrists which as a result compromises her lifestyle. When redesigning their diet, they all noted changes in energy, sleep, and mood. Also, their symptoms lessened and their lifestyles improved.

Different restaurants have also joined the trend of providing a healthier, non-GMO menu for their consumers. Examples include Dick's Restaurant, Broth Bar, and Brooklyn House Restaurant.Genetically modified food, or also referred to as bioengineered food, is derived from organisms that have experienced changes in their DNA via genetic engineering. This documentary also addressed the concern that the quality of diet in the US is rapidly declining.The food culture of the United States is driving consumers to purchase high calorie foods that do not have the adequate nutrients, yet consumers purchase it because it is the more affordable option. Currently, the prevalence of obesity is at 42.4% in the United States.[4] Obesity related conditions include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, as well as certain types of cancer.Organizations such as My Street Grocery brings food in a renovated trolley-store that are healthy yet more financially accessible. Amelia Pape founded this mobile grocery store in Portland, Oregon where consumers could purchase fresh products for an accessible price. This mobile store was then purchased by Whole Foods Market in 2013.[5]

Terry Wahls[edit]

Dr. Terry Wahls is an internal medicine doctor at the University of Iowa. She was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and was treated aggressively with drugs. Her condition was leading her to be bed written. However, she redesigned her diet and began seeing various improvements in her health such as a loss in fatigue and the ability to walk without a cane.Throughout the film, she speaks about the Wahls Protocol Diet which she created after researching diets to help improve her condition. This diet is a type of a paleo diet which consists of eating fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish while staying away from dairy products, sugar, grains, and nightshade vegetables.[6] In the film, V Capaldi is a patient who followed this protocol and within 30 days says to have seen miraculous changes in her body. She was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. She was legally disabled for fifteen years and experienced bilateral loss of the use of her hands as well as the inability to swallow. After following the regime of the diet, she is now close to full employment and can drive again.


  1. "Episode 53: The Food as Medicine Documentary". Phoenix Helix. 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  2. "Nutritional Therapy meaning and definition". www.schoolofhealth.com. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  3. Lifschitz, C., ed. (2016-07-13). What Diet Can and Cannot Do. S. Karger AG. ISBN 978-3-318-05886-4. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. CDC (2020-02-27). "Obesity is a Common, Serious, and Costly Disease". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2020-04-11.
  6. "What Is the Wahl Protocol Diet and Does It Work for MS?". WebMD. Retrieved 2020-04-24.

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