Nutrition: Food is Medicine®

Promoting Health, Healing, and Well-Being

Food is Medicine® is our philosophy that brings together farmers, chefs and nutritionists to cultivate a food program that promotes health, healing, and quality of life among our students and residents. Long ago, we understood the power of food and the relationship between health and nutrition, which has been at the forefront of our care model for decades. Now more than ever, as we continue our revolutionary research on the ways in which food can be employed to promote health, healing, and well-being for individuals with complex conditions, The Center for Discovery is in a unique position to share this philosophy with the world.

The nutritional status of all residents is overseen by registered dietitians who are trained in medical nutrition therapy for all conditions.  In alignment with our HealthE6 philosophy here at The Center, increased attention is paid toward leveraging various food therapies for health promotion and chronic disease prevention.  Maintaining ideal body weight, as well as eating a wide variety of plant-based foods, along with healthy proteins and fats, are central to the optimal nutrition of our residents.

Our dietitians evaluate risks to nutritional status by observing all aspects of eating, including: sensory processing, eating skills, mealtime behaviors, and dietary intake. Additionally, DNA works closely with our interdisciplinary team to help transition those with extreme picky eating and food aversions, to our whole foods, plant-based menu.

Examples of our Food is Medicine philosophy in action are:

Our Whole Foods, Plant-based Diet: meals are based on seasonal products from our very own Thanksgiving Farm, with an emphasis on plant rich offerings, grass fed proteins, high quality fats, and limited grains and processed foods.

High Calorie, High Protein Homemade Snacks:  we have replaced the use of commercially made supplements like Ensure and Boost, with nutrient dense shakes, cookies, and muffins that are low in sugar and are made from powerhouse ingredients like almond meal, coconut oil, and eggs.  These snacks are nutritionally superior and are better accepted by our residents who need additional nutrients for weight gain or meal replacements.  Through this program, we have reduced reliance on commercial supplements by 75%.

Fruit Paste:  this blend of dried fruit, lemon, and Senna Tea is used for medication disbursement and/or for residents who are dealing with both chronic and acute constipation.  A trial of fruit paste demonstrated that we could reduce suppository use by up to 50% with regular use.  Fruit paste is now our first round therapy (before medication) to treat constipation.

Lacto Fermented Vegetables: in response to the need for GI support in our population, DNA developed lacto fermented vegetables to incorporate into our general diet to increase the pre and probiotic intake of our residents.  Pre and probiotics are proving to be key to overall health in scientific literature.  Currently, we produce lacto pickles, sauerkraut, and gingered carrots and are in development of a medical protocol for use of these products in most GI conditions.

Bone Broth:  the base for all stock and soups at The Center is bone broth – a nutrient dense liquid filled with collagen, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that is healing to the GI tract and can be an important treatment of bone disorders.  Currently, we utilize bone broth therapeutically in individuals who have low bone density or who have been on PPIs for an extended period.  We have seen an increase in bone density with this therapy of up to 20%.