A history of food as medicine

A historic idea

The idea that food can be used to heal the sick and boost vitality in the healthy dates back to the beginning of written history. The ancient Greeks ate onion for its curative qualities, traditional Chinese healers prescribed garlic for respiratory and digestive ailments, and the indigenous Aztec people drank cocoa to cure fatigue.

While many ancient remedies have been debunked by modern medicine, numerous studies have found plant-based and anti-inflammatory diets beneficial in preventing and reversing chronic disease.

Chronic disease and diet

The United States is now facing an epidemic of chronic disease The number of people suffering from diabetes increased from 1 million in 1958 to 34 million in 2018, with the condition now affecting over 25% of those aged 65 or older.

As our lifestyles and eating habits adapted during the last century, the leading causes of death shifted from infectious diseases (pneumonia, tuberculosis etc.) to lifestyle diseases (heart disease, chronic lung disease etc.). Even as the Covid-19 pandemic brought an unwelcome reminder of the power of infectious diseases, many of those who face the highest risk from Covid-19 suffer from diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other diet-related chronic illnesses.

National nutrition strategy

In September 2022, the White House released a National Strategy to end hunger, promote health and increase access to nutrition across the country by 2030. The second pillar of that strategy focuses on prioritizing the role of nutrition and food security in disease prevention and management.

In support of that goal, leading health sector organizations have committed to making nutrition education one of the foundational competencies for professional training in health-related fields and medically tailored meal providers have committed to expanding their services to those who are most in need.

Research shows that providing medically tailored meals and groceries to people suffering from chronic illnesses can result in improved clinical outcomes, fewer hospitalizations, lower healthcare costs and overall better quality of life.

The RxDiet approach

At RxDiet, we’re working to simplify access to medically tailored meals by combining the power of artificial intelligence and online grocery delivery. Our technology creates recipes and meal plans tailored to each member’s taste preferences and medical needs, and delivers groceries directly to their door each week.

Our founder and CEO, Dr. Roman Kalista, shared that "healthy diets have been the #1 step in management for the majority of chronic conditions for ages. However, not many of us have left the doctor's office with a dietary prescription for what to eat every day. We developed RxDiet to make dietary advice easy to follow by having healthy groceries delivered directly to members’ doors."

We have already worked with a group of advanced-stage diabetes patients to significantly reduce their blood sugar levels in just three months, and are now working on pilots for people with hypertension, patients undergoing cancer treatment, and women with high risk pregnancies.

Changing habits is hard

Eating healthy will help you live a healthier life! Well, dah! This fact is universally accepted and not argued with. So why, then, the adoption of both food benefits (offered by most Medicare Advantage plans) and healthier eating habits is so low? The answer is exceptionally straightforward: changing habits is hard, and members don’t know what benefits their health plan offers nor how to get them.

Food is a Magic Drug

In 1928, a chance event in Alexander Fleming’s laboratory created Penicillin, which many call a “magic drug” for its wide application and usability.

RxDiet helps people battling obesity and associated health challenges live healthier and feel better

At RxDiet, traditional approaches such as educational resources, diet/nutrition guides, and workout plans still need to deliver meaningful results.

Digital or Telephonic Healthcare – Which Way Is Better?

Spoiler: The answer is BOTH A lot of “digital-first” and “digital front door” products and vendors are penetrating the healthcare market and specifically, the healthcare payer space. At RxDiet, we believe that while digital solutions are the future, the future may not be here quite yet!

Going beyond prepared meals in Transition of Care Programs

A recent study found that members receiving food (prepared meals) post-discharge from the hospital experienced fewer readmissions than those not signing up for the program.

Food as Medicine: A Primer

When you think about “food as medicine,” what comes to mind? If you imagine antioxidant-rich green smoothies or nutrient-packed grain bowls, you’re not wrong. But you’re only hitting the tip of the iceberg—because food as medicine means so much more than a nourishing meal choice here and there.

Meal programs for maternal health

Gestational diabetes impacts over 300,000 pregnancies in the US each year. If expectant parents act quickly to change their diet during pregnancy, they can combat gestational diabetes and dramatically reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. We designed RxDiet to make that change simple and affordable.

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