NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After your next trip to the doctor’s office, you may be heading home with a shopping list instead of a prescription.
More MDs are putting food ahead of medicine to help cure what ails you.
“Pills have a lot of side effects, the pills are expensive,” Dr. Eric Applebaum explained.
It’s not that he’s against medication, he’s just found a more effective way to treat some of his patients.
“Patients who trust their physicians take their medications more, so why not extend that to food prescriptions?” he said.
The goal now is to have doctors be the front line for nutrition information, instead of sending patients to dieticians.
“Dr. Applebaum started to talk to me more about food than medication,” Joseph Rios explained.
Rios was hypoglycemic for years. His nutrition prescription was to stop sodas, sugar, and red meat and start eating vegetables and other nutrient dense foods. He’s now off of all meds.
“It was the food. What I feed my body, that was the turnaround for me,” he said.
Dr. Applebaum says he’s a fish guy, and that eating more fish is central to any healthy diet. He added that garlic is good for everything from reducing high blood pressure to shortening colds.
There’s also the cost.
“Definitely is a lot cheaper than the co-pays for medication that we see,” he said.
Unless doctors take it upon themselves to learn about the potential of food and health, it may be awhile until this is a regular practice.
One recent study showed that 71 percent of medical schools failed to reach the recommended minimum of 25 hours of nutrition education.
“With nutrition, it’s getting down to the science of it. More lab research, and really breaking it down so we can really understand why,” Dr. Allyson Shrikhande explained.
Dr. Shrikhande recommended that endometriosis patient Jill Fuersich eliminate acidic foods.
“Coffee, alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes,” She said.
For patients like Fuersich, having a doctor take a whole body approach has meant feeling better overall.
“I get a lot of side effects from medications,” Fuersich said.
It’s also saving her money.
“It also gets very expensive for patients. We have all these specialists that we have to go to that might not necessarily be covered by our insurance,” she added.
St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx is taking the proactive food prescription, and plans to broaden its reach within their new wellness, culinary, and food garden that they will be opening next year.