What Hippocrates Said
Centuries ago, Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” He wasn’t kidding. Since the beginning of civilization, cultures have turned to food to heal all kinds of illnesses, including fever, rash, aches and pains, weakness, rickets, headaches, infections and other conditions too numerous to mention. More recently we have documentation from authors who penned The China Study, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Healing with Whole Foods, and many others, all illustrating the power of food to both prevent and heal many ailments.
What’s Wrong with Medicine?
You might say, well, if I have an ache I can take a pill. Medication will calm my heartburn. Or lower my cholesterol. This is true, but what if you didn’t have to experience these conditions in the first place?
The Integrated Benefits Institute, a non-profit research organization found that poor health costs the U.S. economy more than a half a trillion dollars a year. Sadly, many of these illnesses can be prevented if workers ate healthier plates, both at home and at work. Steps such a switching from a morning muffin and coffee to a poached egg and steamed spinach or a veggie smoothie can make a world of difference.
Change Dining Hall Offerings
A simple walk through the average company dining hall reveals many high calorie/low nutrient foods like bagels, muffins, white breads, commercial energy bars and sodas. These foods raise blood sugar and form the basis for developing Type I diabetes and other metabolic conditions. Replacing these foods with whole oats, fresh fruit cups, steamed vegetables and fresh eggs will improve not only the health of the workforce, but the productivity of the workforce.
Planning for a Shift in Workplace Foods
Change of any sort can be daunting for people To make a change in food offerings successful, employees need to be engaged in the process. In my experience in working with small companies, surveying the workers to determine the “healthy foods” they would be willing to try is an important first step. Ongoing education on how these foods support their health reinforces their willingness to participate. One group of nurses in a large pediatric practice completely restocked their break room. There was full engagement in making these changes. In other instances, simply changing the food offerings at team meetings can set the tome for future changes, both at work and at home.
Contact me for Support
The bottom line for any company can increase when workers’ health improves. Let food be the medicine that changes the health of your workers. Contact me for information on how I can help your organization.