Integrative medicine is a combination of conventional medicine and complementary alternative medicine (CAM).

Conventional medicine often takes a linear, cause and effect approach to illness and disease. It rarely looks at the person with the illness as it attempts to create a precise diagnosis that leads to treatments involving medications and surgery.

Complementary alternative medicine is interested in the background milieu upon which the foreground event of an acute or sub-acute illness occurs. By recognizing imbalance caused by dietary, environmental and emotional/societal issues, and correcting them, vitality can be optimized, leading to health improvements.

Health care is optimized when integration of these two perspectives occur.

Integrative medicine therapies include the following areas:

*Diet

*Nutritional Supplement Therapies

*Herbal Therapies

*Exercise

*Physical Therapies

*Energetic Therapies

*Self-Regulation Therapies

Diet is a very important component of integrative medicine and conventional medicine. Public interest in diet is evidenced by the publication of new books and magazine articles touting a solution to health problems from a newly created dietary program. It is very difficult to make sense of the constant stream of new information and recommendations.

Interestingly, conventional medical researchers have spent a great deal of effort trying to determine the health benefits of various diets. Their conclusion is that the Mediterranean diet produces the most reliable benefit in individual and population health.

An article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine noted that when a population of people changed their dietary patterns and increased from 5 to 7 points on the Mediterranean diet, all causes of morbidity (death) and mortality (illness) decreased by 20 percent.

We created the Teaching Kitchen because we wanted to create an atmosphere where health transformation could occur. We wanted to do more than just talk about good dietary practice. We wanted to provide a place where people saw healthy food, learned how to procure it, watched its preparation, and ate it in the company of others with laughter and light-heartedness.

Our integrative medical program promotes the Mediterranean diet (with individual adjustments) as an optimal maintenance diet. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a diet that emphasizes whole grains (2 to 4 servings per day), legumes (1-2 servings per day), nuts and seeds (1-2 servings per day), vegetables (4-6 servings per day), fruits (2-4 servings per day), dairy products (1-2 servings per day), fish (2-4 servings per week), healthy oils (such as olive oil), and wine (1-2 servings per day, although not essential). Red meats, poultry and sweets are eaten only occasionally.

We emphasize the importance of obtaining foods that are fresh, preparing them in a way that preserves the nutritional value, paying attention to portion control, and eating in a pleasant environment with friends and family.

The maintenance diet is adjusted for individual health issues such as obesity, hypertension, high blood fats, diabetes, inflammatory problems and cancer. Our patients can work with a licensed nutritionist on an individual basis as well as take classes in our Teaching Kitchen.

The Teaching Kitchen at Integrative Medicine holds classes on different aspects of the Mediterranean diet, as well as classes for special therapeutic diets such as Anti-inflammatory, Detoxification and Low FODMAP.

The Low FODMAP diet is a diet designed to help people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

FODMAP: Fermentable, the process through which gut bacteria ferment undigested carbohydrates to produce gases; Oligo-saccharides, (found in “gassy” vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and beans); Disaccharides, (lactose in dairy products); Mono-saccharides, (fructose as in fruits such as apples); Polyols, (sugar alcohols such as artificial sweeteners).

This diet can be very effective and is commonly recommended for people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The ability to create and maintain such a diet can be daunting. Our licensed nutritionists work with patients individually. More importantly the Teaching Kitchen provides a real experience of how to make this difficult diet work and work well.

For more information about working with our licensed nutritionists and our Teaching Kitchen at Integrative Medicine, please visit our website, www.crossroadsteachingkitchen.com or call 410-992-4747.