At the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center in Houston, Texas, patients are often prescribed fresh, organic fruits and vegetables from the facility’s ‘Farmacy’ in lieu of pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Garth Davis, medical director of bariatric surgery at Memorial Hermann, said patients have responded positively to the health and prevention-focused switch.
“As physicians, we perform surgery or prescribe medications to our patients to make them well,” Davis explained. “Why not also educate them on healthy eating, and make fresh fruits and vegetables readily available?”
Davis and Kristina Gabrielle Carrillo-Bucaram, founder and ‘chief co-operator’ of Rawfully Organic, operate the “Farmacy Stand” at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center every Wednesday. Patients prescribed fresh fruit and veggies — bananas, oranges, apples, romaine lettuce, and more — by Dr. Davis receive a $10 discount for a box of produce which otherwise sells for $25.
The Memorial Hermann Foundation funded construction of the stand and makes the deep discount for patients a reality.
“We have actual prescription pads that we are starting to give out to doctors that they can use,” Davis explained. But the unfortunately atypical program has stirred some confusion.
“I have people come up to me and tell me that farmacy was misspelled,” noted Renee Garrett, Davis Clinic senior patient access representative, as Elizabeth reported. “I tell them that it is spelled correctly. We get organic vegetables from farms, and then the people want me to tell them more about what we are doing.”
This Farmacy, though unusual, isn’t the only one in existence in the U.S.
Dr. Robert Weiss also understands the connection between eating well and staving off disease and illness — he sold his traditional medical practice in New York to run a farm-based practice on a 348-acre plot in New Jersey.
“Plant-based whole foods are the most powerful disease-modifying tools available to practitioners — more powerful than any drugs or surgeries,” Weiss explained, as The Free Thought Project previously reported.
“I am not saying if you fall down and break your ankle, I can fix it by putting a salve of mugwort on it. You need someone to fix your fracture,” Weiss elaborated. “I am talking about treating and preventing chronic disease — the heart attacks, the strokes, the cardiovascular disease, the cancers … the illnesses that are taking our economy and our nation down.”
Big Pharma’s profiteering from illness has, indeed, fueled any number of societal ills, both in the U.S. and abroad — particularly and notoriously in Afghanistan’s opium supply. But opioids aren’t the only potentially harmful drugs pushed by pharmaceutical companies — antidepressants can have the telling side effect of suicide. Thousands of other drugs cause countless problems for patients every year.
Programs touting traditional plant-based nutrition and disease prevention, like Weiss’ and Davis’, would go a long way toward loosening Big Pharma’s stranglehold on the American healthcare system.
“I think a few doctors have written prescriptions,” Davis said. “I would like to get more doctors writing the prescriptions. Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.’ Produce is medicine. The vegetables and fruits are an alternative for use in treating diseases.”
As people are further and further removed from the origins of the food they ingest, often opting for the convenience of highly-processed microwaveable or ready-to-eat food-like products, programs like these represent a return to our roots, pun intended. Organic produce presented as ‘medicine’ when a doctor ‘prescribes’ it, offers the patient a new way to view the important connection between food and health.