Ask Dr. Graham: Informed, Nutritious & Affordable Eating

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Meet the Change Food “Doc-in-Residence”

We all carry plenty of questions for our doctors – the subjects of which we might not be always too keen to admit. Common though it may be, we imagine this phenomenon rings especially true for patients of Dr. Robert Graham… And that’s why we’re so excited to introduce our new column: Ask Dr. Rob!

Change Food Doc-in-Residence, Robert Graham, MD, MPH, ABOIM, FACP

Co-founder of integrative health practice FRxESH Med NYC, Dr. Graham is a Harvard-trained physician with a Masters in Public Health and Board Certifications in Internal and Integrative Medicine. Oh, and he’s also got the know-how to speak on Mind/Body Medicine, Positive Psychology, Lifestyle Medicine, Culinary Medicine, Botanical and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Preceding the birth of Change Food, we adored the opportunity to host Dr. Graham at TEDxManhattan, where he spoke on Fare Wellness: Back to Our Roots. Now (one rooftop hospital garden, one new integrative health practice, and countless leaps across conventional constraints of healthcare later), he’s the Change Food Doc-in-Residence, prescribing and advocating for Food As Medicine.

On the Change Food team, we promptly discovered the truth in our own opening hypothesis: Indeed we do have a lot of questions for Dr. Graham – He’s no ordinary doctor! Below, he graciously answered a few:

CF: What do you find are the greatest challenges in adjusting diet for patients with poor education relative to nutrition?

DrG: It can be difficult to find reliable nutritional education in the first place. Each day, a new study or diet recommendation comes out… People are confused when faced with the age-old question: What should I eat?

So finding a simple message is important. Regardless of the status of a patient’s nutritional education, “Eat more plants, eat less meat” is a simple message and one that resonates. Don’t buy things you can’t read or pronounce, and limit foods that come in a box.

CF: Which letter of the FRxESH model do you find challenges you, personally, the most?

DrG: We live in a fast-paced world; taking the time to slow down, pause and relax can be tough. I like to say that Relaxing is easy, remembering to make time to relax is tough. But I see challenges as opportunities!

CF: How can we encourage people to eat in a healthy way when they have financial difficulties and cannot afford organic produce and grass-fed or free-range meat?

DrG: Firstly, it is of the utmost importance that we value our health. Oftentimes, people pay upwards of $5 for a cup of coffee, but have a hard time paying for healthy food. In these cases, my advice is to eat more vegetables, period.

On the other hand, sometimes that’s not the case. Remember in these instances that organic is better, but local is good. I also recommend resources like the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen, both of which I use when deciding what I should buy that is organic. These guides help consumers prioritize which items to buy when all-organic is not in the budget.

Overall, produce and meats grown organically are far healthier for you and the planet in the long run – and they taste better!

Dr. Robert Graham (second from left) with Andrew Ive, Diane Hatz and Viraj Puri at the Lighthouse Dinner to benefit Change Food.

Keep up with the Guide 2 Good Food for future Q&A’s with our Doc In Residence – And submit your own curiosities on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #AskDrRob and #ChangeFood!

Change Food® works toward a healthier food system for people, animals & the planet.  Learn more about Plant Eat Share – planting food in public spaces. For free.