Food as medicine?

What do we mean when we refer to food as medicine? Well, like most things it's a simplified way of conveying a complex message. The reason we refer to food as medicine is because there are many conditions and symptoms that can appear when our dietary foundation is lacking. Thanks to a pervasive diet culture, constant bombardment in the media about what foods are bad, good, best or worst and countless other factors - what to eat and how much can become very confusing.

So let's start at the beginning. The most simplified way to look at food is are you getting enough calories? Despite what the media tells us, often the answer is "no." When you Google "calorie calculator" the results you get use the Harris Benedict Equation. This is a mathmatical formula that uses your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate (the amount of calories you need just to stay alive and not do anything else) plus an "activity factor" which is the additional calories you need to do things like get out of bed, move through your day and/or exercise. Some coaches and weightloss professionals, however, recommend cutting calories beyond what is healthy and sustainable. This can lead to reducing your metabolism, insomnia, mood swings, digestive issues and more. So let's start with making sure we get enough calories.

Next we need to look at macronutrients. These are things like carbs, protien and fats. Are you getting enough of each of these to support your body. In our practice we see folks falling into one of two categories with macronutrients. Either they are eating a lot of carbs and not enough fat and protein or they are eating very limited carbs and putting themselves into too severe of a calorie deficit. We like to keep things simple at Growing Wellness, so when we start ta

lking about macronutrients what we would like to see is that our patients are eating a solid serving of protein, a bit of healthy fat and a lot of veggies at each meal.

Finally, we look at micronutrients - things like vitamins and minerals. We offer in office mineral testing and partner with Quest Diagnostics to check vitamin levels. Sometimes, a symptom or disease process can be narrowed down to a couple vitamin deficiencies. For example a recent patient who was experiencing severe fatigue was suffering from iron and B vitamin deficiencies. When we added the appropriate level of supplementation to her protocol, her fatigue resolved. We also recently had a patient that was having a mental health challenge that included hallucinations, paranoia and agitation. After a deep investigation and working closely with his therapist, it was determined that a severe vitamin deficiency was contributing to his mental state. We heavily supplemented and his symptoms drastically lessened.

Food and health can both be complicated. But that's what doctors are for, we worry about the complications, the multitude of factors and all the details of coming up with a simple plan of action for you to reach your health goals. Click

to schedule a functional medicine appointment with Dr. Kelly to find out if your food is acting as medicine or harming your health.

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