image photo : Girl making salad


By Sarah A LoBisco, ND

You may have noticed that I’ve written many blogs on the topic of food as medicine.

This is for a variety of reasons:

1. I’ve spent years studying the power of plants and researching how their phytochemical properties impact human health.

-It’s been a wonder and joy to behold how potent constituents in foods, herbs, and spices exert powerful medicinal qualities. In fact, various studies have reported how nature’s medicine can affect our bodies at the level of our genes, modulating our risk for cancer!

(I just read a new study yesterday on this! This study demonstrated that drinking a blueberry cocktail containing polyphenols (such as flavonols, phenolic acids, and anthocyanins) reduced DNA damage from oxidative stress!)

Blue berries

2. Our country is obsessed with food!


-We are bombarded by the media that we need to lose weight. We have been told to cut out calories and whole food groups and to count our carbohydrate and fat grams. Just as we scramble for these latest diet books to tell us how, we are stopped in our tracks when viewing mouthwatering advertisements for various “junk food porn”.

Junk food

-Then, trying to be good, we may select “diet” foods that have actually been found to cause weight gain!

(See the Yale Neuroscience reference if you want the science on how artificial sweeteners turn off our pleasure-reward feedback of eating. Even more disturbing, they have also been shown to have negative impacts on blood sugar and brain health!)

3. In order to decode these conflicting messages and coach people effectively on optimal nutrition- education and observation is a necessity!

4. The idea of intuitive eating and food as a sense of pleasure, nurturing, and social connection is dying!

image photo : Family Eating Lunch Together In Kitchen

-Today, with more scientific support proving how foods can heal, there’s a tendency to break our plates down into chemicals verses nutrients.

-I am seeing increased stress and angst around food in my clients, even to the point of avoiding social interactions and isolation to keep up dietary restrictions.

5. To stay in touch with my own inner truth balanced with tried and true nutritional advice.

-I’ve seen firsthand that what we put in our body has profound impacts on one’s emotional, physical, and mental health.

6. I’m a Naturopathic Doctor and Functional Medicine Doctor, so food is one of the most important base building blocks to obtain optimal health in my opinion.

-After five to six years of intermittent postings on nutrigenomics and the potent phytochemicals within broccoli, most of my clients are aware that the body responds differently to an organic carrot verses candy corn, yet many struggle in making changes that will benefit them.

-Why? I believe it’s because we’ve lost our own inner voice.

Recently, I’ve come across a wonderful book, Intuitive Eating.

Baby eating strawberry

This book explores the connections between eating for nutrition, emotional eating, and the “Diet Nazi” mentality. It provides tools on how to make friends with food while evoking the ability to make nutritionally sound advice (from your favorite Naturopathic Doctor).

The beauty of this book is it actually provides the emotional eater with permission to eat, breaking the forbidden food mentality and setting the eater free to make rational vs. emotional decisions about food. It’s a perfect union of individualized nutrition, health advice, and one’s own inner wisdom.

I definitely encourage those who are in the food wars with diet mentality to give this book a glance! J


Riso P, Klimis-Zacas D, Del Bo’ C, Martini D, Campolo J, Vendrame S, Møller P, Loft S, De Maria R, Porrini M. Effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink intervention on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in humans with cardiovascular risk factors (abstract). Eur J Nutr. 2012 Jun 26. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0402-9

Qing Yang. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010 June; 83(2): 101–108. Published online 2010 June.

Annie Ferland. Is Aspartame Really Safer in Reducing the Risk of Hypoglycemia During Exercise in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes? Diabetes Care July 2007 vol. 30 no. 7 e59. doi: 10.2337/dc06-1888.

More Resources:

1. Wondering other physical reasons why you can’t fight the over 40 flab?

View my answer on Dr. Oz’s Sharecare

2. Read more on the emotional impact of stress on health at my blog