Food as medicine has had a long history, but until recently in the U.S., it’s been seen as a sort of fringe element. A little scruffy, not very tasty, and honestly, a bit weird.
Foodies often don’t like the idea because food should be about flavor, love, aroma, authenticity, personality and nuance. Or boldness. But certainly not clinical work. Sadly, only 1% of the attendees of the 2010 IACP’s Annual Conference identified themselves as nutritionists (I spoke…it was great!)
And medical types often don’t like the idea because it seems too squishy, scientifically speaking. Pharmaceuticals are single, usually short-acting chemical compounds honed down to FDA approval. Food is so much more complicated, biochemically, than pharmaceuticals that it’s hard for even the sharpest scientists to identify the single variable which is causing the effect in food.
And yet, the science has evolved dramatically over the past 15 years. The really great news is that physicians and scientists are getting it, and finally catching up to the public’s interest. Here, for example, is a TED lecture on cancer and food…just what the doctor ordered (culinary medicine, if you will!).