Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Mitochondrial Health Optimal Health

Food as Medicine – Dietary Prescriptions

Food as Medicine – Dietary Prescriptions

Here at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, an Integrative and Functional Medicine Clinic, we always use diet as one aspect of our patient’s treatment plan. Our patients walk out of the office with their prescription looking more like a grocery list than a typical prescription full of medications. When treating patients for a variety of issues – including gut issues, autoimmune disease, headaches, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight management, anxiety, even if they come to us for general preventative health and longevity – diet is always a priority intervention. When our more sophisticated patients have started a health supportive diet before they come to see us, then we are able to refine their diet by digging deeper into blood work and genetic details. Blood work allows us to see how their body is handling their current diet. Even if a person’s diet generally looks healthy, the blood work gives much more precise insight allowing us to individualize their nutrition plan. A patient’s genetic blueprint allows us to see nutritional weaknesses so that we can add additional support through specific dietary adjustments.

What does a dietary prescription look like? 

We prescribe food as medicine. A dietary prescription recommends the best foods for the condition and varies depending on the person and the health issue we are treating. Our recommendations range from general to very specific as needed to heal the issue at hand. When dealing with more complex cases, it can feel more like an experiment, as every person is different and will respond differently to eating or removing certain foods. We experiment with foods to address symptoms – from obvious symptoms like bloating or acid reflux which seem connected to food, to less obvious connections, like hives, headache or fatigue. 

Common recommendations might include eliminating or reducing: 

  • Gluten and other grains
  • Sugars and refined carbohydrates
  • Ultra processed foods
  • Common allergens or sensitivities like eggs, dairy, soy, corn, food additives

Other modifications: 

We also look at what foods to keep in a person’s diet, generally sticking to a modified Mediterranean diet for its studied health supporting benefits focusing on: 

  • A variety of proteins
  • Lots of non-starchy vegetables
  • Healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds
  • Whole gluten free grains

What are examples of prescriptive diets for various conditions?

General Preventative Health: 

Gut Issues like SIBO or SIFO

  • Mediterranean style diet
  • With the following modifications:
  • Limit sugars and carbs
  • No gluten and limited grains
  • Add time restricted eating
  • If someone is struggling with symptoms of bloating we might dig into a Low FODMAP diet (or at least pull out some of the higher FODMAP foods)

Autoimmune Issues:

  • Mediterranean style diet
  • With the following modifications: 
  • Limit sugars and carbs
  • Eliminate all grains
  • Add time restricted eating

Everyone’s prescription is slightly different. If someone is ill or looking to heal a specific health concern, we encourage sticking to our dietary recommendations for about 4+ weeks until the patient is feeling better. Our ultimate goal is to help our patients heal and get to a place where they can eat flexibly and not feel restricted. 

When our patients are healthy, we encourage a flexible diet, sticking to a Mediterranean style diet 80-90% of the time while still being able to enjoy a meal with friends or a piece of cake at a birthday party. We are not looking for perfection, but encouraging this healthy foundation to work from.

At the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center we support our patients to find recipes and foods that are healthy and delicious so that it’s easier to stay on track with their prescribed diet. There are so many wonderful alternate recipes and products out there that it’s easy to feel satisfied and keep the pasta and desserts for special occasions!

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