Kale, Soda and Functional Medicine

Dr. Mark Hyman, functional medicine expert, gave another brilliant talk at last weekend’s Integrative Nutrition’s (IIN) Fall conference that I attended. I’ve seen him speak in 2005, when I attended IIN as well as at a Food As Medicine conference given by the Center for Mind Body Medicine in Baltimore in 2007.  I love him and his message more every time!

His approach to healing is holistic and this is really vital to understanding the body. The body’s systems all work together, usually harmoniously. What modern medicine has done is to try and treat the body’s systems separately, and ignore the inter-connectedness of this great machine – the body. So now you need to see specialists of all kinds like cardiologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, etc. as well as your primary doctor when you have ailments. Or, you can go to an integrative doctor, like Dr. Hyman, and try to find the root cause(s) of your dis-ease and treat that. The body will heal itself when given half a chance.

Our country is in crisis. Yes, financially, but even bigger (and related to) is the state of our health. Did you know that food stamps pay for 50 million servings of soda per day!? And that every U.S. state has an obesity rate of over 20%?

According to Dr. Hyman (and I completely agree), the cure for obesity is not liposuction. It is the food we are eating and feeding our children. Hyman believes calories in does not equal calories out. I LOVE that he pointed this out and says, “1,000 calories of kale is not the same as 1,000 calories of Coke”! I often hear weight loss experts like Jillian Michaels (yes, I’m outing people here), use this myth that all calories are created equally and as long as we burn them off, we’ll be fine. It drives me bonkers! Food is information that talks to our genes and can turn on or off hormones that can lead to weight gain or loss. That is the reason that choosing healthy, whole foods is more important than counting calories and buying 100 calorie snack packs.

Food is medicine and it can also be our biggest poison. Take that to the grocery store with you and let’s all make better choices today!

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