Last month I read an article in The Times that I found so astounding it’s still on my mind today. It wasn’t that it told me anything I hadn’t heard many times already, but there’s something about it that’s holding my attention – in part simply because it was in The Times.
It described a new book, The Doctor’s Kitchen by Dr Rupy Aujla, an NHS doctor based in North London. Briefly, the message from Dr Aujla is:
“Your health starts on your plate and it’s more powerful than any pill I can prescribe.”
“He is less likely to write a prescription for high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes than he is to copy out his recipe for herby mushrooms and greens.”
“He is passionate about the curative powers of nutrition for everything from high blood pressure to cancer, depression to cognitive decline… and he has read the scientific papers to back up his recipes.”
Do you find this as bold as I do? Or maybe unbelievable? The backstory is that Dr Aujla was headed for heart surgery, in large part the result of eating the food provided at the hospital he worked in. He cut out “the canteen sandwiches” and restored his health to such a degree that he ended up convinced that,
“What you put on your plate is the most important health intervention anyone can make.”
Over the next few years he kept thinking he could bring what he’d learned about nutrition into his work,
“…but first he had to fill the glaring gaps in his medical training. He read papers, attended conferences, all of this without the help of a research grant. He began asking patients about what kind of food they ate.”
Now, I’m not in a position to say anything about medical training in this or any country, but if there are “glaring gaps” in our doctors’ education – gaps that can make the difference between major surgery and vibrant health – isn’t it important for everyone to know about this? Does this deserve to be buried in an article in the magazine supplement?