Is Food the Answer to Modern Medicine?
Visiting Women’s Health Live 2019 to find out if food is the answer to modern medicine?
By Dr Julie Moltke
The Panel Speakers
I attended Women's Health Live 2019, and one of my most anticipated talks was the panel debate; Is food the answer to modern medicine. The discussion was featuring leading food, nutrition and health experts:
Dr Hazel Wallace; founder of the Food Medic, a qualified medical doctor, a best-selling author, content creator, and health influencer.
Dr Rupy Aujla; a dedicated General Practitioner, frequently working in emergency medicine and the author of "Eat to beat illness" and the "Doctors Kitchen"
Dr Giles Yeo; the Cambridge scientist and researcher who studies brain control of body-weight.
Jasmine Hemsley; Auyvedic, nutrition and wellness expert, three-time best-selling author and founder of Hemsley + Hemsley and East by West.
Is food the answer to modern medicine?
There seemed to be a consensus between the panel participant that food is not the sole answer to modern medicine, though all of them could agree that it is a crucial factor to prevent many major lifestyle diseases and conditions like diabetes, obesity and chronic pain and inflammation.
Dr Hazel Wallace was stressing the point that we need not be afraid of modern medicine, but rather marry the old and new traditions and be open to what both have to offer.
Focus on the patient
Dr Rupy Aujla was focusing on the importance of a patient centred approach, to help people find their personal reasons for change. The era of unconsciously giving the same health advice to everyone should be succeeded by a time where health-care professionals inspire patients to find the motivation to change. Health should be measured by how you feel in the morning, how your energy level is, and how your body feels. These factors can be the main driving forces for change, once the motivation is there the medical theory and the how-to can follow.
Jasmine Hencely explained that according to Ayurvedic teachings, all disease begins in the gut, so focusing on food to prevent illness makes a lot of sense. She underlined the importance of looking at health as a full package. It is not only about diet and exercise but about your mind, body and spirit as a whole, connected entity. Jasmine is a firm believer that we need to reestablish the connection to what we eat; how it is grown and where it comes from, to get a more conscious and healthy relationship to how, and what we eat.
The people with the lowest income suffer the most from obesity
Dr Giles Yao, who is an expert in the genetics of body-weight, explained that obesity is often not a choice but driven by genetic and environmental factors that are hard to control ( it is a so-called neurobiological disease). He stressed that the main factor that can change the obesity epidemic is the level of privilege; having access to sufficient money, time and education. The lowest income group and the people with the lowest educational level are by far the groups who suffers most from the obesity epidemic. If you fix privilege, you fix obesity (we did sadly not get the answer on how to solve privilege.)
Just as Dr Aujla believes in the power of having a patient centred approach, Dr Yeo says that you should not give general food advice; Every single person ought to get individual nutrition advice.
As personal medicine is an emerging trend in many other parts of the medical world, it likely that individual nutrition plans will be the future for food as a medicine.