MedWatch: Food Prescription - Northern Michigan's News Leader

MedWatch: Food Prescription

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Prevention is the best medicine, it's not a secret.

That's why Munson Medical Center jumped at the chance to apply for a state grant that pushes healthy eating as a way to treat patients.

Learn about their new program in this week's MedWatch report.

Tricia Morrow has turned over a new leaf in life.

"You can create meals that are beautiful, they're tasty and they're very nutritious," says Tricia.

She's a regular at the farmers market these days, but that wasn't always the case.

"In recent years, I have developed some challenges with cholesterol. Most recently high blood pressure, and for some time now, some weight gain that I'd like to get under control," explains Tricia.

But instead of drugs, Tricia got a different kind of prescription.

"It just intrigued me right away that they have this thing called a fruit and veggie prescription. I just thought ‘wow what's that?’" says Tricia.

Dr. J. William Rawlin says, "As a provider, if I recognize a chronic disease and think they would be benefited by this particular program, very simple prescription or form I fill out that we take to our front desk."

It's a prescription that could change a patient's life.

"Basically education about what are some of the fruits and vegetables out there, how do you utilizes them in your diet, whether in a salad or cooking, integrating them into your overall meal planning," explains Dr. Rawlin.

Dr. Rawlin prescribes this to people with diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments who could benefit from a better diet.

They have to attend four cooking classes, then they get a $100 credit toward the farmers market.

"I think what this program does is it gets the patient invested in themselves and the process. So now they attend the education, they see, ‘Hey I can do this. I've learned more, I know how to shop better, I know how to cook better’," explains Dr. Rawlin.

Tricia adds, "It's just added to my enjoyment of shopping, and also my enjoyment when I open my fridge and see what's in there, it's a lot more exciting than it used to be. So it prompts me to use it, and eat it, and cook with it. It's all just lovely."

Tricia is one of a handful of people who've finished the classes, but there are more than 100 enrolled.

He says even one little change in the end may make a big difference.

"It may mean the difference between you needing a medicine, or a second medicine or a third medicine, and it will ultimately make the difference in you living, hopefully, longer or a better quality life."

Tricia has added exercise to compliment her diet and says she's certainly on her way.

"The nutritious shopping, the nutritious eating, and then I swim, so it all just fits together. It makes me feel like I'm doing all the things I need to do to succeed, so I'm looking forward to better health, no question," says Tricia.