Changing dietary habits and lifestyle aimed at reducing inflammation can be an effective treatment for various mental and physical conditions including:
- Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar and other mental disorders;
- Irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease and other gastrointestinal disorders;
- Premenstrual syndrome, fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and other gynecological disorders;
- Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome and other metabolic disorders;
- Hypo- or hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders,;
- Osteoarthritis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, and other pain disorders;
- Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s Diseases and other neurological disorders;
- And more.
Food as Medicine is an 8 week physician-led group medical program which will empower you to make changes to reduce chronic inflammation and improve your physical and mental health.
MDABC’s Food as Medicine Program
Research shows that most physical and mental disorders have something in common: chronic inflammation.
Our understanding about how diet can impact various mental and physical disorders has expanded dramatically over the past decade. We now know that diet and lifestyle habits can have a significant impact on inflammation, depression, pain and other chronic medical conditions.
This group medical program will provide a personalized approach to reducing inflammation and identifying treatable root causes contributing to physical and mental disorders. There will be an assessment of common nutritional deficiencies that can contribute to physical and mental disorders including bloodwork.
Treatment will include evidence-based dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and the select use of supplements. There will be a focus on the gut-brain axis and how to improve gut health and nurture a healthy microbiome. You will be taught which foods cause harm to your body and how to use food as medicine. Participants should be prepared to make major changes to their diet.
Who should join the program?
Any individual with any medical diagnosis that is interested in and willing to make changes to their diet and lifestyle as a treatment for their medical condition.
Individuals can be on prescription medications, however the Food As Medicine program physicians will not be prescribing or managing medications – this will continue to be the responsibility of the referring physician/family physician.
Individuals who may want to consider joining this program include:
1. Individuals who prefer to make dietary and lifestyle changes rather than use prescription medication.
2. Individuals who are only partially improving with medication or are not responsive to medication.
3. Individuals who would like to reduce the amount of medication they are on by using dietary and lifestyle changes.
Exclusion criteria for the group treatment include::
Unwilling to change diet and lifestyle. Unwilling or unable to participate through Zoom for 8 weeks, 1.5-2 hrs per week. Active mania or hypomania, psychosis, active eating disorder, active alcohol or other substance use disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and severe cognitive impairment.
Food as Medicine Program Physicians
The Food as Medicine program is currently being offered to all B.C. residents through the MDABC by two physicians: Dr. Patricia Mills, MD, FRCPC and Dr. Carmen Chornell, MD, CCFP.
Dr. Patricia Mills lives in Smithers, B.C.
Dr. Carmen Chornell lives in Squamish, B.C.
If accepted into the program following a screening consultation, participants that are residents of the Northwest Bulkley Valley region will be assigned to Dr. Patricia Mills into either her psychiatric or nonpsychiatric diagnosis group.
Participants with psychiatric diagnosis that are residents of Squamish will be assigned to Dr. Carmen Chornell.
All other B.C. participants with psychiatric diagnosis will be assigned to one of these two physicians.
Regardless of location, all program sessions are held via Zoom.
How to participate
To participate in the Food as Medicine group program, you need to be a resident of B.C. and you will need a referral from your family doctor. With the referral, the Food as Medicine program is covered by MSP.
Go to your family doctor and provide them with this website or (even better) a printed out referral form.
Here is link to download the referral form for residents of Northwest B.C. who lives in and around the Bulkley Valley region: Food as Medicine BV Referral form.
Here is the link to download the referral form for all other B.C, residents: Food as Medicine Referral form.
You will be scheduled for a consultation prior to acceptance to ensure that the group program is a good fit for you.
Space is limited, and not all referrals can be accepted. There will be a waiting list, and you will be assessed for commitment and availability before being accepted.
How to Refer a Patient
To refer a patient to the Food as Medicine group program, download the relevant referral form using these links:
Referral form for residents of Northwest B.C. who live in and around the Bulkley Valley region: Food as Medicine BV Referral form.
Referral form for all other B.C. residents: Food as Medicine Referral form.
Please fax the completed form to MDABC at 604-873-3095 (NOTE: also please fax to 1 866 821 5992 until further notice as we are having technical difficulties with our usual fax machine).
Individuals will be scheduled for consultation prior to acceptance to ensure that the group is a good fit for the individual.
Space is limited, and not all referrals can be accepted. There will be a waiting list, and individuals will be assessed for commitment and availability before being accepted.
The Time Commitment
The Food as Medicine group program meets once a week for 1.5-2 hours. The total program length is 8 weeks. Various program sessions are offered throughout the year.
At your initial screening consultation you can discuss with the Food as Medicine physician which session timings would be best for you, however specific session times cannot be guaranteed and will depend on program space and availability. All sessions are held via ZOOM.
Summary of What Is Included: :
- Initial 1 on 1 screening consultation by a Food As Medicine physician
If accepted into the program:
- Initial screening blood work for markers of nutritional deficiencies, chronic inflammation, and gastrointestinal/autoimmune/hormonal/metabolic disorders amenable to a Food as Medicine treatment approach.
- 1.5-2 hrs weekly group sessions for 8 consecutive weeks (group size maximum 10 participants). All sessions are held via Zoom.
- 1-2 additional follow-up group sessions as needed
Participants can be re-referred for repeat program participation as needed (depending on availability, priority given to new participants)
What is not included: :
- Medication prescription and medication management
- Provision of care beyond the group medical program
- 1 on 1 patient care
The Food as Medicine program was founded by Dr. Leslie Wicholas, Functional Medicine practitioner and psychiatrist. Dr. Wicholas and our Food As Medicine program have been featured in this article from Best Health magazine, which summarizes what researchers are learning about nutrition and mental health.