By: Patricia Leigh Brown | May 11, 2018
SEBASTOPOL, Calif. — On a foggy afternoon, Diana Van Ry, a retired judicial assistant, dropped by the boisterous kitchens of the nonprofit group where she volunteers to pick up rock cod, cauliflower couscous and an “immune broth” enriched with vegetables and seaweed. She planned to deliver the meals to Brandi Dornan, 46, who is recuperating from breast cancer.
“It’s food I wouldn’t have thought to make myself,” said Ms. Dornan, who started getting the meals during radiation therapy and is grateful for the help. “Wow, bless their hearts.”
The Ceres Community Project — its meals prepared for cancer patients by teenage sous-chefs — is at the forefront of the “food as medicine” approach increasingly embraced by physicians, health insurers, researchers and public health officials.
The group is now participating in an ambitious, state-funded study to test whether providing daily nutritious meals to chronically ill, low-income people on Medi-Cal — California’s version of the Medicaid program — will affect their prognosis and treatment, or the cost of their medical care.