Although I’m not a vegan or 100% plant-based eater, I get a lot of fruits and vegetables in my diet. When I use the word “diet” I’m not referring to a restriction protocol. I’m simply referring to how I eat.
As a food intuitive, I do eat very healthy. I also feed my family a healthy bounty of food. My objective is for my entire family to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible, thus avoiding visits and stays in the hospital.
In the time I’ve been actively involved in educating, training and speaking about nutrition, I’ve noticed a huge shift in the public’s acceptance of healthier food choices than in the past. The greatest change has occurred in the last decade. What’s exciting is the change happening as individuals and communities are making conscious choices when it comes to their health and how they eat.
Grassroots Efforts Are Having a Major Impact
A grassroots movement is spreading to reconnect individuals, communities, schools, and health care institutions to their local food growers, farmers, and ranchers. My son Jonathan is involved on the forefront of this movement in his community as executive chef of Livingston Health Care hospital and Café Fresh, located in beautiful Livingston, Montana. This health care facility is setting an example for other such institutions to model. Believe me when I tell you that this is one hospital that does not serve “hospital food”!
The folks at Livingston Health Care believe that good food and healthy eating is key to healing their patients. With health care costs, chronic disease, and obesity on the rise, they decided
that healthcare providers need to find ways to increase health education and disease prevention in their community. They do this by providing healthy food and modeling healthy food choices through Café Fresh.
The goal of Livingston Health Care is to promote health and wellness among patients and staff, so the hospital opened its doors to the community with a new state-of-the art restaurant branded Café Fresh. Its design is unique in the hospital setting. The idea is that “people eat with their eyes,” therefore most of the food choices offered at Café Fresh are on display at mealtimes.
Foods are prepared from local, seasonal, fresh foods including locally raised and free-range meats like grass-fed beef and poultry; fruits; and vegetables. You will find huge stockpots of rich, nutritious, healthy broth slowly simmering in the Café Fresh kitchen as a healthy base for dishes,and weekly menus you would expect to find at only fine-dining restaurants. It’s definitely not hospital food.
The result of this forward thinking in health care has been a big success, expanding customer taste palates for a variety of high-quality, healthy, fresh foods, including ethnic foods,
and modeling positive eating habits. This earned Livingston Health Care’s Café Fresh the award for the Top Farm to Healthcare Institution in The Nation for 2017. The successful program has increased revenue benefits for the community and Montana by supporting local growers and local job creation.
The success of this program inspired Livingston area schools and other hospitals across the state to model it. Jonathan lent his hand with volunteer cooking for the local food bank. He
headed a free community course teaching chef skills so people could get better jobs to support their families.
Reconnecting with our best friend, food, starts with each one of us. And as we reconnect, this energy sends out far reaching ripples into our communities and beyond.
Bariatric surgeon, Dr Garth Davis, is on a mission to educate people about how absurd it is for a hospital that specializes in heart disease, bariatric problems, strokes and diabetes would actually have a fast food restaurant on the premises.
Sadly, a great many hospitals offer only fast food type choices. If you’re community isn’t on board yet with providing healthy meals in schools and hospital restaurants, why not get involved. Be an advocate for raising awareness within your community. After all, your life, your children’s lives and your grandchildren’s lives may depend on it.