Food is Medicine
Maintaining nutritional health is important to the overall health and immune system function for people living with HIV/AIDS. Many HIV-related conditions affect, and are affected by, the body’s nutritional status. To meet the nutritional needs of our clients, in 2016 Mama’s Kitchen began offering Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). Designed to educate and empower HIV positive individuals to manage their diagnosis through nutrition, MNT may help clients address common problems associated with HIV and its treatment, such as weight loss, wasting, fatigue or loss of appetite; and the treatment of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes. Overall, MNT can improve a client’s quality of life, enhance immune responses, slow progression of the disease, and prolong life.
Because MNT requires a medical referral, Mama’s Kitchen administers the program in partnership with local HIV clinics. The process of MNT is a face-to-face interaction between our registered dietitian and a client for evaluating and making recommendations regarding the client’s nutritional status. In collaboration with the client’s medical doctor, our registered dietitian (RD) develops a nutritional treatment plan based on a detailed assessment of the client’s medical history, height, weight and body mass index and a basic dietary history. After learning about a client’s health history, favorite foods, eating and exercise habits, the RD assists the client in setting goals and provides ongoing support and follow-up. MNT has been shown to reduce health care costs for individuals, employers, hospitals and insurance carriers. Mama’s Kitchen offers MNT free of charge.