Diet & Nutrition–Food is Medicine
Dr. Leslie Burgess, ND, BCN CNS
Dr. Leslie is a naturopathic doctor, certified nutrition specialist, with additional studies focused on plant-based nutrition from Cornell.
Alexia (Lexie) Bennetts, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.
Lexie studied nutrition from a Traditional Chinese Perspective and has over 10 years of experience incorporating nutrition into her treatment plans.
Alexia Bennetts and Dr. Leslie often discuss the crossovers between Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western medical perspectives on nutritional value in the diet.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diet is called the cornerstone of health. A wholesome diet is seen as a tool for maintaining good health and healing a variety of disorders from common colds, skin disorders, emotional imbalances, chronic pain, to heart disease and diabetes.
Americans are increasingly understanding that the food they put into their bodies is highly correlated with the state of their health. There are thousands of diet plans one may choose to follow and our next step is to truly understand how to incorporate a healthy diet regimen into our lifestyle. If we can change our lifestyle so that we can live a higher quality of life, then we will collectively be making progress toward decreasing healthcare costs and enjoying happier lives.
In Chinese medicine we think of food as the medicine we eat daily. Even thousands of years ago, according to TCM, only a diet comprised of all five flavors (sweet, bitter, acrid, sour, and salty) and five colors (yellow/orange, black, red, green and white) can keep the bones straight, the sinews supple, the Qi and blood flowing, the pores closed, and the functioning of the five major organs coordinated and balanced harmoniously.
In Western medicine we have gone from the Basic 7 to the Basic 4 to the Food Pyramid and subsequently to My Plate. One thing we appear to know for sure, is that eating a diet high in vegetables is greatly beneficial to reducing chronic disease occurrence.
Learning what foods to eat, when to eat or avoid them, and how to prepare them becomes a powerful tool in managing our health.
In TCM, whether a food is good or bad for a person is entirely dependent upon that person’s Chinese Medicine pattern diagnosis and the nature and flavor of that food.
In western medicine, we look at lab values, skin, nail, and teeth presentations, neurological function and digestive function, and listen to the patient’s main concerns
Everyone should try to eat fresh food, freshly prepared, with a minimum of chemicals, preservatives, or additives.
When you see Dr. Leslie for a nutritional consultation, your nutritional assessment may include:
Elimination Diet Instructions to assess sensitivities to foods
Recipes to follow pertaining to specific diet regimens
Gluten sensitivity and allergy lab tests
Lactose sensitivity lab tests
Complete Blood Count
B12: Methylmalonic Acid lab test
Vitamin D:25-OH lab test
Hemoglobin A1C to assess diet and medication compliance with a diabetic
Physical Exam to assess inflammation and nutritional status
Assess genetic markers for nutrient utilization such as for MTHFR mutations