Food as Medicine
I am privileged to share my experience and health insights with the readers of Weight Loss Mavens. I am a board certified internist in private practice in Indiana for the last 12 years. Like most medical school graduates, I left medical school eager to treat and cure-all diseases. After completing my residency, I was absolutely sure that I had found my mission in life by becoming a physician.
To my surprise, I was WRONG!
My wake up call came about a year ago when I realized that I was repeating the same, ineffectual mantra by encouraging my patients to “eat healthier and exercise.” But nobody was getting better! Every year I wrote more prescription medications to treat symptoms. I never truly identified the root cause of their disease, and certainly didn’t give them specific information about how to eat better and exercise. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even know anything about good nutrition and prevention at the time.
Enter Susan–my “Ah Ha” patient that changed my life for the better. Susan was in her 40′s with four young sons, a successful veterinary practice, and the awful disease LUPUS. Lupus is a debilitating, chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks its own cells all over the body. We had her on immune suppressing drugs that were packing on the pounds, causing severe symptoms, and frankly not controlling her symptoms. She was unable to spend any time in the sun and couldn’t attend her son’s ball games. She frequently missed work due to pain and was relying on narcotics to get her through her days. She was nearly suicidal. This intelligent, beautiful woman had everything going in life until she was struck by disease. I wasn’t helping her at all.
We decided to go on a mission to determine the root cause of her disease. We began educating ourselves on toxins in our food supply and environment that could turn on auto-immunity. I spent sleepless nights feeling like I was a complete failure and contemplated quitting medicine. I felt that I wasn’t doing patients any good.
CUE THE DRUM ROLL!
We figured it out! After tedious symptom/ food diaries, spreadsheets, research/prayers—We discovered that Susan was intolerant to RED DYE # 40!
We immediately removed it from her diet. Today, Susan is a drug free, vital, beautiful, thin, happy woman who no longer has Lupus. It may seem too simple and hard to believe, but it is a true story!
Today, I continually educate myself on the power of food as medicine and integrate this knowledge into my practice. Susan was my wake up call. Thanks to her, I’ve helped many patients re-examine how they eat, move, and think. The results are remarkable.
My challenge to you is to start today—Start being conscious of each and everything that you put in your body, and ask yourself “Is this something from the Earth that is going to nourish my body?” If the answer is NO–reconsider consuming it! It just may save your life and give you many years of vitality versus disease.
When Rosie O’Donnell had her heart attack last year, she stated that was the first time she actually became conscious of what she was putting into her body. So that is the first step we can take. Let’s begin this journey by reading labels, focus on eating real food, and being mindful of what we are putting into our bodies.
About the author:
Angela DeBord Henriksen, MD received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and her MD degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in Internal Medicine through St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Dr. Henriksen currently has a private practice at IU Health after serving as a hospitalist there.