Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsHELEN TRUBY: Hi, I'm Helen Truby. I'm head of Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics here at Monash University in Australia. And it's a pleasure to welcome you to the course, "Food as Medicine." We live in an era where we're surrounded by multiple messages about food and nutrition. A plethora of information's available to us from the internet, from food blogs, magazines, newspapers, all purporting to tell us what's new and what's good about food. The trouble is, it's very difficult to work out what's right and what's not. There's a lot of people who claim to know a lot about nutrition, but actually are they really telling you the truth?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds"Food as medicine" is been designed as a way to try and encourage people to think critically about that information. And we aim to help you explore how to use the internet or how to use information that you get via the media and appraise it in a critical way so you yourself can make informed decisions about what's right for you and your family and what really food as medicine is going to do for you in your life. This course has been developed as a starting point for people who want to know more about food, nutrition, and health. In terms of nutrition science, though, it's a complex area.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 secondsExperimental studies are often designed where we test only one particular food or component of a diet because it allows us to see in context of change, whether that particular element has made a difference or not. Consequently, this reductionist approach doesn't take into account the fact of whole diet. So we obviously don't eat just one single food. So an experiment might tell us whether that food is good or bad, or whether it's working or not, but it does change in terms of the complexities that we have to think about when we realize that our whole diet is involved. So this course will take a whole diet approach.

Skip to 2 minutes and 1 secondWe'll be talking about dietary patterns as much as we will have about single foods because obviously, in the real world, we all eat lots of variety of foods and lots of different components, which go to make up our whole of diet. It's also important to remember that food when it's eaten in a whole of meal or whole of diet approach, will vary. So we have interactions between food and nutrients. And this will change depending on the type of diet that you have. So for example, if you choose a largely bad diet, no amount of a single food, of such so-called super food such as blueberries is going to make it into a good one. So there's no magic bullet.

Skip to 2 minutes and 42 secondsUnfortunately, food aren't drugs. And this concept of complexity really needs to be thought about in terms of how we all think about food as medicine. We've approached food as medicine as a body systems approach. That is, we've designed some of the course around body systems, such as food for the brain and food for the gut. Of course, these body systems don't work in isolation. The brain talks to the gut, the gut talks to the brain. This is how we start to think about how our appetite works, for example. The signals of the brain says you're hungry, you need to start eating. My gut sends signals back to our brain to say, no, you're full now, you need to stop eating.

Skip to 3 minutes and 23 secondsSo there is complexities again around body systems. And if you're new to science, we'll try to simplify this as much as possible. But if you've got a background in medicine or nutrition science, you might find this approach a little simplistic. I'm sure all of you will have different ideas and different expectations of what you think about food as medicine. And part of the richness of the value of this course is the discussions that you'll have where you can share some of your ideas and examples of how you use food in your own cultures.

Skip to 3 minutes and 54 secondsThis is a worldwide audience, so we need to understand also that people have very different genetic profiles and people's genes are going to impact on the way they actually can cope with different types of food and what might be a medicine for one person isn't necessarily going to be good for someone else. So we do have a lot of diversity and complexity to manage. All of you will have different ideas about how you might use food as medicine and what that means to you. This is a very worldwide audience, and we know that people with different genetic profiles, food is going to react differently with them.

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 secondsSo in terms of that, that also brings a complexity, but also more enjoyment in terms of understanding how food might be used, both in prevention of disease but also in the management of certain conditions. And these again are going to be individual and will vary. In three weeks, we can only provide a taste of the huge world of nutrition and nutrition science. But we hope we've chosen areas of interest to most learners, and perhaps ones that we feel have the greatest strength of evidence around them that we can share with you this new world of nutrition and food as medicine. We really hope that you enjoy it as much as we have here enjoyed putting it together for you.

Welcome to the course

Watch Helen Truby introduce the course and talk more about what you’re going to learn, and how you’ll go about learning it.

We would like to start the course by hearing from you. There will probably be a variety of reasons why each of you have signed up to do this course and we have been really interested to read the introductions that many of you posted in the welcome area before the course started.

Talk about what motivates you, but don’t get personal

If you haven’t already introduced yourself or would like to provide more reasons for taking part in the course, take a moment to share your thoughts within the Comments.

Perhaps you might like to tell other learners about who you are, where you’re from and why you are interested in learning about food as medicine, how you’re using food as medicine in your life right now or how you’re planning to change your approach to food.

Also consider reading and commenting on contributions made by other learners or following learners with similar interests as you. You can also ‘Like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

This course is not designed to be therapeutic for any particular health condition. If you have any significant health concerns it's better that you do not to discuss those concerns with other learners and seek professional advice and support.

Follow the course mentor, Melissa

The course features mentoring by Melissa Adamski. She’ll support you as you make your way through the course, facilitating discussions and providing additional information to help make your learning experience the best it can be.

It’s worth noting that Melissa will focus her mentoring efforts in the current week of the course and not previous weeks.

  • Week 1: Monday March 9 to Sunday March 15
  • Week 2: Monday March 16 to Sunday March 22
  • Week 3: Monday March 23 to Sunday March 29

You’re welcome to keep the conversation going outside those dates, but please note that Melissa will not be able to monitor or provide guidance in the comments or discussions.

We strongly recommend following Melissa to make sure you’re aware of the comments she makes throughout the course.

Personal food journal

You may want to record the types of foods you’re eating now and then continue to record your intake throughout each day of the course as a personal food journal.

Keeping the journal is optional, but it will encourage you to stop and reflect on the food you’re eating, but also help you to record and reflect on any changes you make to your intake over the duration of the course.

This is a valuable means of looking back, reflecting on where you’ve come from and where you want to go.

Continue the conversation

Follow @FLFoodAsMed on Twitter and use the hashtag #FLFoodAsMed to stay informed of course-related news and events, and to keep in touch with other learners outside the course. doing so is optional.

Learn with others, and from others

We can also learn a lot from other people’s insights and experiences so the more you actively share your ideas and join in the discussions the more you will get out of this course.

We suggest that you simply share insights from your own experience and ask the questions that are of interest to you.

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Food as Medicine

Monash University

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: