April 7th is World Health Day. Sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), the first World Health Day was held in 1950 to help raise awareness of critical public health issues. It’s a celebration of all the effort that goes into building healthier societies, and a platform to bring attention to challenges that still exist.
A lot has changed in the 67 years since the first World Health Day. There have been great strides in medicine and public health, including the development of new technologies and treatments. In many ways, we live in a healthier world than our forebears did. However, one of the most recent and indeed, most powerful changes in healthcare is one that looks back to the past for inspiration on how to build a better future.
The power of nutrition, rediscovered
After many years of focusing on a drug and surgery-based approach to health, the medical field is beginning to open up to the power of food to promote health and wellness. Simply put: eating the right foods can have a tremendous effect on how you feel, how quickly you recover from illness, and whether you get sick in the first place.
This isn’t news. Our ancestors understood that food had an important role in wellness. The fifth century Greek physician Hippocrates, regarded by many as the father of modern medicine, famously said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
However, the importance of food as a part of sustaining wellness was forgotten for a time, especially in America and other western societies. As we became a less rural and more urban civilization, people moved away from having a direct connection to what they ate. Supermarkets replaced farmers’ markets, processed foods, frozen dinners and fast food became routine, and food was less about a connection to the land, nurtured over time, and more about convenience.
Today, that paradigm is changing, and for the better. After a half century, people are waking up not just to the dangers of a diet loaded with processed foods, but to the benefits of one that is heavy on what our ancestors would have recognized as real food. A real food diet is mostly plant-based, organic, and steeped in the wisdom of traditional cultures as well as in the latest contemporary science.
In other words, fill your plate with food that is fresh, green and comes from a farm, not a factory. When people begin to eat this way, whatever their condition, their health often improves dramatically. Many people experience significant relief from chronic health problems, as well as new levels of energy and vigor.
Food can nourish, heal and improve quality of life.
For a deeper look at the evidence of a real foods approach to healing, as well as an overview of how different traditions have put that approach into practice, check out this fascinating lecture from John Bagnulo, PhD, MPH: Just Food: Traditional & Revolutionary Principles of Health & Healing. This presentation is part of a series of educational programming Functional Formularies offers to health professionals. In the lecture, Dr. Bagnulo looks at current research on nutritional science along with frequently asked questions and controversial topics that many of us wonder about.
He asks questions such as, “how does diet influence health?”
Dr. Bagnulo also examines traditional healing systems that include an integral whole foods component. Examples include Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, ancient Greek medicine, and Central African medicine, the latter with one of the oldest and most extensive known herbal pharmacies. Ancestral diets are contrasted to contemporary popular diet trends, with an evidence-based perspective.
John notes that after 1980 when we established our first dietary guidelines for Americans, emphasizing low-fat, staying away from saturated fat in particular, and high in carbohydrates, we saw a sharp rise in obesity in the country. What went wrong? Ketogenic, paleo, vegetarian and vegan, pH-balanced and other popular diets are looked at through the lens of research.
Conclusions? Real, whole foods are part of the solution when it comes to optimal health.
You are welcome to dig in!
How does Functional Formularies fit into today’s world of healing?
Functional Formularies is the first company to take a real foods approach to feeding tube formulas and meal replacements. People who are in the hospital or otherwise unable to eat normally need the healing power of real foods more than most. Until recently, however, they had no options other than traditional, highly processed, high sugar products.
Functional Formularies is changing that. We are dedicated to creating the cleanest, purest, and safest feeding tube formulas and meal replacements. Our products are packed with nutrient-dense whole foods that give our customers the real food boost they need to help heal and maintain wellness or significantly improve quality of life.
If you or a loved one is on a feeding tube or a liquid diet, we can help make sure that your body gets the nutrition it needs to thrive.
Our founder and CEO Robin Gentry McGee created our first formula in 2006 for her father who suffered a traumatic brain injury from a fall. Frustrated that she could not find a whole foods feeding tube formula on the market, she created one.
Robin and her team now offer products and support to families around the country and the world who wish to support loved ones with the power of real food, bringing a quality of life to people with complex chronic conditions not available to them before.
For our many customers, we’re not just providing science-based formulas that have the power to improve their or their family member’s health. We’re providing hope.