Better Food as Medicine

Published on May 6th, 2014 | by Becky Striepe

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Food as Medicine: Can we really eat our way to better health?

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Food as Medicine: Can we really eat our way to better health?

If we treated food as medicine, could we curb many modern day diseases? A lot of research implies that we could.

We spend billions of dollars a year on medicine here in the U.S. to treat diseases that are largely preventable. How? It’s all about diet, baby. There is strong evidence that  low-fat, plant-based diet can help prevent or even mitigate the effects of diseases from diabetes and obesity to multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Of course, switching to a vegan diet isn’t going to cure MS or cancer, but studies are showing that eating this way can help prevent or reduce the impacts of these diseases in many people. Here’s some further reading:

And check out this infographic looking at what we spend on prescription drugs. Imagine if we reduced those numbers just by eating better?

Food as Medicine infographic

Food as Medicine: It’s Not that Easy for Everyone

Unfortunately not everyone can afford to eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. Obesity is linked to poverty because processed foods and animal-based foods cost less than healthy options.

Why? There are two major factors at play.

1. Farm subsidies. Instead of encouraging farmers to raise healthy foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, we subsidize corn and soy. Most of those crops are genetically modified. They’re either processed to make food additives like corn syrup or fed to farm animals.

2. Our industrialized food system. Meat is relatively cheap thanks to the subsidies I talk about above and to factory farming. The trouble with our industrialized food system is that it comes with hidden costs to our health and to the environment.

When we talk about food as medicine, I think there’s often an attitude that folks should change their habits overnight. If you can afford to do that, by all means do! But I think that it’s important to recognize that we can’t all afford to eat preventively. If we really want everyone to be able to eat well, we need to address poverty, our farm subsidy system, and change the way that we grow and produce food.

Image Credits: Food Prep photo via Shutterstock; graphic via Best Master of Science in Nursing

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://www.hisfarm.org Chris Downs

    Food IS My medicine now. But it must have all of the minerals that our bodies need to heal and encourage optimum health.

    There is a youtube video called “Dead Doctors don’t Lie” It was recorded by Dr. Joel Wallach who is both an naturopathic Dr. and a Veterinarian. He has researched health for over 40 years.

    I follow his advice and take supplements. I take no drugs for the healing of my arthritis,which is gone, or my Congestive Heart Failure, which is improving!!! I am energized, Healthy and growing nutrient dense food on a farm in Colorado.

    It works. Please feel free to email me or contact me for my testimony if you want to ask me questions.

  • http://www.gardendish.com/ Tim Graettinger

    Really nice information and infographic. Is there a way to see the “sources” information more clearly? I’m having a hard time reading it on my screen. Thanks, and like your work!
    -Tim

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