A new type of "farmacy" has made its way into Houston. The doctor running it believes it will actually heal you, instead of just treating your symptoms. This type of farmacy is spelled differently too, obviously beginning with an F, instead of the typical spelling using ph (pharmacy). That's because it goes back to the farm or garden.
"When I look at fruits and vegetables, I see medicine. This is what people should eat, so they don't have to come see me," exclaims Dr. Garth Davis, the Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Memorial Hermann, Memorial City.
He says we live in a society that's based on medicines and treatments.
"People come to me and they want a surgery, they want treatment. People are actually uncomfortable with the idea of getting a prescription for fruits and vegetables, but I'll tell you - once people start trying it, they notice those fruits and vegetables make them feel better than any medication I could give them, with a lot less complication," says Dr. Davis.
He actually writes his patients a prescription for fruits and vegetables and expects them to take it as seriously as any other medicine he prescribes.
"It's not all about the surgery. Surgery is not a cure!," explains Dr. Davis. "We have noticed that over time - surgery is not enough! For people who don't want surgery, who've had surgery, or just want to lose a little weight, the real answer is a healthy diet. We have found that patients respond to prescriptions. I can talk over & over to a patient and say, 'eat fruits and vegetables,' but if I write a prescription for medicine, they take their medicine." His office even offers cooking classes, to make sure patients know how to prepare their food correctly.
We met Orville McNeil while he was picking up his fruits and vegetables. He's surprised about this new concept, but thinks it's a great idea!
"The first thing they want to do is use pharmaceuticals to treat whatever is going on with you - that's been my experience, but I can't imagine a doctor telling me to alter my lifestyle and eating. What I have been reading up on raw, organic food is that it actually really helps to cure a lot of diseases that we don't have to go through - I think it's a good idea to promote the healthy eating," says Orville.
Dr. Davis says medical schools didn't teach him anything about nutrition. "When I went to medical school, I had zero nutrition - no one told me to treat diseases with fruits and vegetables, they told me to treat disease with medications, and that's how doctors are taught. It's not a conspiracy theory - they're not trying to make people sick - but they just don't know any better. Now they're starting to learn - medical schools are starting to treat nutrition - you want to not have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, then you have to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables. We need to eat like the cultures that are living long, healthy lives and that is eating predominantly plant-based diet," says Dr. Davis.
So, how did a medical doctor end up offering this type of advice? It's something many people hear from alternative health clinics, but probably not from their medical doctor. It goes back to his own health problems. "What really happened with me - I got sick! My cholesterol levels went up and I was told to take a prescription for a drug that I knew had complications. I knew the drug could cause diabetes, could cause muscle problems, and I said - I'm not going to do that! I started looking at diets from people around the world and what I found is people with the lowest high blood pressure, high cholesterol ate the most plants, so I switched to a plant-based diet. It was not that difficult for me to change my diet, people say to me wow - you must have a lot of will-power to eat that way, but I don't have a lot of will-power at all! It's easy to make the change once your body feels the way it naturally should! You don't really feel like you need to eat the way you used to, so it's not like a don't eat a double cheeseburger because I'm trying to be healthy - I don't eat it because it disgusts me and makes me feel bad, where as a kale salad - now I feel fantastic and that's what I want to eat. I think this is a passion on trend, I think people are starting to realize that medicines aren't helping us, they're not making us healthier and they're not making us better - they're actually making us sicker! The more fruits and vegetables they eat, the better they are going to feel," says Dr. Davis.
Organic fruits and vegetables can be expensive, but under Dr. Garth's new plan, you can actually get them at a discounted price. He has teamed up with the local group Rawfully Organic Co-Op in Houston to pull this off.