April 18, 2013

Enjoying the hive of activity that is TEDMED

There are 1,300 people here for TEDMED at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The whole program is infused with innovations, many of which are on display at the Kaiser Permanente space in The Hive -- the 50,000 square-foot tent which is the hub for exhibits.

Not all on display for Kaiser Permanente is high tech. I have had the opportunity to speak with many people from this country and others about how our Kaiser Permanente-based farmers markets have grown from the first all organic farmers market at a hospital in Oakland to 52 markets at our facilities around the country. And it's wonderful to hear about how much people love the markets at their hospitals, for example at the Veterans Administration hospital in Milwaukee.

Visitors are drawn to our display by big baskets of local small farm seasonal produce. While I can munch on carrots and apples throughout the day, it's tough to know I can't cook the kale, chard or sweet potatoes.

As a cardiologist from New York just told me (a researcher in epigenetics and cardiac regeneration-wow), bad genes can be shut off with good food. It still comes back to Michael Pollan's advice "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."