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When Tom Shicowich’s toe started feeling numb in 2010, he brushed it off as a temporary ache. At the time, he didn’t have health insurance, so he put off going to the doctor. The toe became infected, and he got so sick that he stayed in bed for two days with what he assumed was the flu. When he finally saw a doctor, the physician immediately sent Shicowich to the emergency room. Several days later, surgeons amputated his toe, and he ended up spending a month in the hospital to recover.
Shicowich lost his toe because of complications of Type 2 diabetes as he struggled to keep his blood sugar under control. He was overweight and on diabetes medications, but his diet of fast food and convenient, frozen processed meals had pushed his disease to life-threatening levels.
After a few more years of trying unsuccessfully to treat Shicowich’s diabetes, his doctor recommended that he try a new program designed to help patients like him. Launched in 2017 by the Geisinger Health System at one of its community hospitals, the Fresh Food Farmacy provides healthy foods—heavy on fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-sodium options—to patients in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, and teaches them how to incorporate those foods into their daily diet. Each week, Shicowich, who lives below the federal poverty line and is food-insecure, picks up recipes and free groceries from the Farmacy’s food bank and has his nutrition questions answered and blood sugar monitored by the dietitians and health care managers assigned to the Farmacy. In the year and a half since he joined the program, Shicowich has lost 60 lb., and his A1C level, a measure of his blood sugar, has dropped from 10.9 to 6.9, which means he still has diabetes but it’s out of the dangerous range. “It’s a major, major difference from where I started from,” he says. “It’s been a life-changing, lifesaving program for me.”
FISH | Certain fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 oils can reduce blood pressure and inhibit growth of plaques in arteries
Zachary Zavislak for TIME
Geisinger’s program is one of a number of groundbreaking efforts that finally consider food a critical part of a patient’s medical care—and treat food as medicine that can have as much power to heal as drugs. More studies are revealing that people’s health is the sum of much more than the medications they take and the tests they get—health is affected by how much people sleep and exercise, how much stress they’re shouldering and, yes, what they are eating at every meal. Food is becoming a particular focus of doctors, hospitals, insurers and even employers who are frustrated by the slow progress of drug treatments in reducing food-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even cancer. They’re also encouraged by the growing body of research that supports the idea that when people eat well, they stay healthier and are more likely to control chronic diseases and perhaps even avoid
The Food as Medicine Institute provides nutrition education for individuals, families, and communities to help nourish healthy relationships with whole foods and to enhance healthcare professionals’ understanding of food as medicine.
We envision communities that are free of chronic disease and nourished through healthy, whole foods.
Spring FAME is open for registration! Register here.
The Food as Medicine Everyday series is a series of weekly workshops that demonstrate simple techniques for selecting and cooking tasty, nutritious whole foods and teach how these foods can improve health and fitness. FAME Charlee’s Kitchen is a 12 week series which include 90 minutes of nutrition education and hands-on cooking. Each week our naturopathic physicians or nutritionists share their in-depth knowledge around chronic disease, wellness, and nutrition. Learn more.
Our 8th Annual Food as Medicine Symposium brings together health professionals and the community to hear nutrition experts from across the country discuss the latest in nutrition research and application. Join us for amazing speakers, a vibrant vendor marketplace, and a delicious seasonal lunch!
“Food as medicine” has been a powerful approach to health and healing, intimately woven into naturopathic medical education for over a century. The book, Food as Medicine Everyday: Reclaim Your Health with Whole Foods, is highly accessible, exquisitely researched and beautifully written and illustrated. Dr. Jackson and Dr. Briley remind us that poor dietary choices are a major element in the expanding issues related to chronic disease. They also remind us that food is medicine, and a big part of the solution. A rapidly growing number of people determined to improve their health can take heart—medicine never tasted better!
Purchase the Food as Medicine Everyday book here or get your free copy when you register for our Food as Medicine Everyday (FAME) series.
Advice for food businesses on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Latest update: 18 March 2020
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The Food Act 1984 provides the regulatory framework for the food industry to ensure that food sold in Victoria is safe, suitable and correctly labelled.
The department shares responsibility for developing and administering food regulation with the Commonwealth and Victorian local councils, PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria, collaborating to promote consistent regulatory requirements in a widely dispersed and varied food industry.
Latest FSANZ food recalls and media releases
View the latest foodand media from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
Learn more about the Food Standards Code at the FSANZ
Intention of the Secretary to make or vary a declaration of classes of food premises
The State of Victoria, through the Department of Health and Human Services, under section 19CA of the Food Act 1984, hereby gives notice of the intention of the Secretary or delegate to make or vary a declaration of classes of food premises.
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A free departmental online learning program to support the safe food handling in commercial food settings.
To be your happiest and healthiest self, we bring you a wide selection of health facts from fitness to food to hydration.
These top tips and random health facts provide you with information to keep you fighting fit.
General Health Facts
These health facts cover a range of topics to provide you with knowledge and insights into how you can better take care of yourself and information about health around the world.
1. Laughing is good for the heart and can increase blood flow by 20 percent.
2. Your skin works hard. Not only is it the largest organ in the body, but it defends against disease and infection, regulates your temperature and aids in vitamin production.
3. Always look on the bright side: being an optimist can help you live longer.
- Studies have found that optimism is beneficial to your overall health, but is linked to a healthy heart and can even help ward off diseases.
- Optimists often have lower blood pressure, which reduces the risk of coronary artery disease as found in a study by scientists at Harvard and Boston Universities.
- People who are more optimistic also tend to have healthier behaviors – such as diet and exercise – that contribute to longevity.
4. Exercise will give you more energy, even when you’re tired.
5. Sitting and sleeping are great in moderation, but too much can increase your chances of an early death.
6. A lack of exercise now causes as many deaths as smoking.
7. Nearly 30% of the world’s population is obese.
8. Between 2000 and 2015, the average global life expectancy increased by five years.
9. Less than 1% of Americans ride their bike to work, while 50% of Copenhagen residents bike to work or school.
10. The US spends almost three times more on healthcare than any other country in the world, but ranks last in life expectancy among the 12 wealthiest industrialized countries.
Mental Health and Longevity
It’s easy to forget how important our mental health contributes to our wellbeing. Just like all muscles, the brain needs to be exercised and cared for to ensure you are performing and feeling your best.
11. Learning a new language or playing a musical instrument gives your brain a boost.
12. Feeling stressed? Read. Getting lost in a book can lower levels of cortisol, or other unhealthy stress hormones, by 67 percent.
13. Maintaining good relationships with family and friends is good for your health, memory and longevity.
14. Drinking coffee can reduce the risk of depression, especially in women.
15. Smelling rosemary may increase alertness and improve memory so catch a whiff before a test or important meeting.
16. Swearing can make you feel better when you’re in pain.
In a study conducted by Keele University in the UK, participants were asked to submerge their hand into a bucket of cold water.
While swearing, participants reported less pain and were able to withstand the pain longer.