“Food is Medicine” isn’t just a motto; it is the foundation to Project Angel Food’s Medically Tailored Meals delivery program. This program was featured on Project Angel Food’s Lead with Love 2021 primetime special, which aired on KTLA 5, Saturday, July 17, 2021.

 

Project Angel Food’s Associate Director of Nutrition Services & Therapeutics Alyssa Baldino, MPH, RD, and Executive Chef John Gordon walked Rachel Lindsay (star of The BacheloretteExtra, and co-host of the Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay podcast) through the Project Angel Food kitchen explaining Medically Tailored Meals while demonstrating the teamwork involved in putting the “food is medicine” principle into practice.

Alyssa works closely with Chef John and the chef team to design diets based on scientific research that improve clients' health outcomes with a variety of medical conditions. A client living with diabetes requires different dietary guidelines than someone living with cancer, or congestive heart failure, etc. Alyssa is constantly updating our evidence-based guidelines and standards based on the most up-to-date research. She collaborates with nutritionists and medical experts around the country to continually inform and improve our own Medically Tailored Meals program at home.

 

Broadly, Project Angel Food prepares meals that fall into five categories:

 

  1. All meals prepared at Project Angel Food are designed to be in the category of heart-healthy and diabetic-friendly.
  2. Chronic kidney disease meals are designed for clients with kidney issues who have later stages of the disease and whose bodies have a hard time processing waste. These meals are low in sodium, phosphorous, potassium, and protein. Proteins that are used need to be high quality and low in fat.
  3. GI-friendly meals are good for cancer clients because the meals are prepared without a lot of sauces or flavoring – they are a little bland. Chemotherapy tends to make people not want to eat and spicy foods are especially challenging.
  4. Vegetarian meals are all heart-healthy and diabetic-friendly.
  5. Renal meals are designed for people with severe kidney issues and on dialysis. This diet is like the CKD diet but gives more protein due to the loss incurred while being on dialysis. It also controls carbohydrates and limits saturated fats.


According to research from the Food Is Medicine Coalition, chronically ill individuals receiving Medically Tailored Meals, have 50% less hospitalizations than chronically ill individuals who are not receiving Medically Tailored Meals. 

 

Alyssa says the keys to the success of this program are creating consistency with portion size to help monitor the exact nutrition each client receives, being rigorous about updating recipes with the latest research, and providing one-on-one client counseling, so they are armed with information when they transition off service or are having a meal on their own, they know what foods to avoid and what foods, and how much of those foods, they should eat.

 

Project Angel Food is a member of the Food Is Medicine Coalition (FIMC), an association of nonprofit medically tailored meal providers who serve people in communities across the country who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves.

 


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