What If There Was A Way To Reverse Diet Related Disease?

What if there was a way to reverse diet related disease? What if this solution didn’t involve a pill, special diet plan, buying a book, following a guru, or installing a medical device? What if the answer didn’t involve any dogma, but simply some applied science, fun, and community – and, get this, what if it was pretty much free? What if this solution already existed? Well, headline news folks, it does!

Firstly, I have to start with the obvious – eating whole, real, clean food. Avoid or eliminate processed foods from your diet, including sugar and all the other crap that the food and beverage industry is throwing into our food supply. Yeah, try the JERF diet: “Just Eat Real Food.” Shop at Farmers’ Markets, CSAs, and focus on foods that come from a farm, ranch, or sea. Foods that look like food, don’t have a label, and haven’t been adulterated, processed, and jacked up with unhealthy sugars, salt, fats and non-food substances. 

If it was made in a factory, walk away. If it has a label, it is a warning label. Think you are safe in the health food store, Whole Foods market or Trader Joes? Not. Look at all the processed foods they are peddling, organic and otherwise, laden with sugar…they just don’t get it.

Do you really want to eat Enzymatically hydrolyzed protein or Acetylated Distarch Oxypropanol or the other 10,000 items listed in the GRAS list? Our government says these items are “Generally Regarded as Safe.” Have they lost their minds?  Processed food is a massive failed experiment. The evidence: over the last three decades, every country on earth has seen increases in obesity rates, and metabolic (food related) disease now affects over 25% of people on earth. 

Ok, if you understand the importance of real food, then what do you do next? Unless you live on a vegetable farm, your food environment is probably something akin to what is now called a food swamp. We are being bombarded with foods designed by chemists that are purposely and powerfully addictive. Their approach is called nutritionism – the idea that you break down real food into chemical constituents, then “reformulate” them into thousands of processed food items and additives. And then there is the constant social pressure – c’mon, lighten up – have a slice! Live a little. Or, live a little less?  

At best, health is a team sport – and so is grappling with our food system. It’s hard to go it alone.  I’ve been involved in food system work over the course of my 35+ year career in social change. Over the decades, I struggled mightily with bouts of obesity and metabolic disease – even when working on an organic farm. 

The best “program” I have ever seen, that really gets to the heart of the matter, is a little known group in New Jersey, called “The Suppers Programs” that offers a “learn-by-doing program where you'll learn to cook, taste and feel your way to vibrant health.” Click here for a brief introductory video by founder Dorothy Mullen. Their mission is to provide safe and friendly settings where anyone, and especially people with food-related health challenges, can develop and manage their own personal transitions to a healthier life. The IRN had the opportunity to interview Dorothy Mullen, the progenitor and vision keeper for this movement, in an online webinar.

What The Suppers Programs does is surprisingly simple, yet profound. Groups of people get together, cook together, eat together, and they conduct simple experiments to see what foods do the best job in helping them halt or reverse the onset of diet related ailments. Suppers Programs Logo

They cluster into groups, some focused on type 2 diabetes, some on cognitive disorders, some on allergies, etc.  They share knowledge, recipes, and most importantly – community and unconditional love – resulting in “logical miracles”.  Turns out judging oneself, or the dietary preferences of others, is harmful and obstructive to creating lasting changes in lifestyle and diet. There is no dogma, no fees, “no ups and no extras” as Earl Scheib used to say… just an amazing community of support that employs an advanced, community based form of applied science.  

Over the last two decades, The Suppers Programs has built up an amazing database of knowledge about food, disease, and addiction, and a long amazing history of dramatic results, testimonials, and fantastic recipes. No, there have been no clinical trials, no NIH study, no Doctoral theses written about their work – yet. However, their knowledge, methods, and community approach are all available by simply signing up, and becoming part of an active and motivated community. Does this sound radical? I am personally familiar with several commercial programs that try to get similar results, but charge thousands of dollars, and result in limited and short-term impacts.

One of the strategic objectives of the IRN is to “find the good and praise it.” There are many programs like The Suppers Programs out there, that offer creative ways to educate, engage, and transform health by changing the whole paradigm around food and health…school gardens, urban agriculture, farm to consumer programs, etc. The Suppers Programs is truly unique though, so check out their website. I travelled across the U.S.A. to take a training with The Suppers Programs and was blown away by what they are doing in Princeton and New Jersey. I plan to spread the program in California and suggest you investigate this incredible program on your own. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.


Wolfram Alderson is just a guy who likes Real Food, and happens to Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition.

Find Wolfram on Twitter here.

(Photo: Wolfram in front of his prize lemon tree in San Francisco)


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  • commented 2016-03-17 16:10:28 -0700
    I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis 3 years ago. My rheumatologist recommended I join The Suppers Programs, where my much improved diet of anti-inflammatory foods allowed me to stop the progression of the R.A. disease. In the process I lost 39 pounds, drastically cut back on meds and improved my sleep apnea by 70%!!

    My gratitude for the support of the Suppers community and the successful changes it enabled me to make compelled me to facilitate my own Suppers meeting. My once a month meeting centers around seniors who need social support to prepare healthy meals for themselves even though they thought they were “through with the kitchen”! We have so much fun cooking and eating delicious, easy to make meals and discussing myriad ways to support healthy aging.

    Thank you IRN for your advocacy!!
  • commented 2016-03-13 08:15:22 -0700
    Suppers has changed my life! I discovered Suppers 8 years ago and have hardly missed a month of meetings since!. Getting regular support and inspiration and non-judgement has been a god send to living my life with type 1 diabetes. I never get a vacation day from this disease… so bonding with others also living with diabetes has helped me stay positive and constantly learning. Now I lead 2 Suppers meetings a month… one is a dinner for people with a diabetes diagnosis, whether it is the 1, type 2 or pre diabetes or other blood sugar condition. We call this Suppers for Diabetes Success! The other is a lunch for people wanting support around blood sugar issues and interest in learning how to prepare delicious low carb meals…Suppers for Stable Blood Sugar.

    We now have a new facilitator for Blood Sugar and diabetes meetings trained last month over Skype in Sebastopol, CA. She is looking for participants if you know of anyone in that area. She too has type 1 diabetes and is a trained natural foods chef.

    Thanks IRN for connecting with Suppers and helping us spread the word across the country!!!
  • commented 2016-03-11 07:39:26 -0800
    I am relatively new to The Suppers Program, but it has altered my life and my relationship with food. I have been looking for a program like this for years. I have learned an awareness of how certain foods make me feel, and use this information as data. It is a work in progress. I completely changed the way I eat, and cook. I love the warm non-judgemental environment of the Suppers meetings. I am hoping to clear my foggy brain, reduce the inflammation in my body, and stabilize my blood sugars. I know it takes time, but I am optimistic.
  • commented 2016-03-11 06:52:15 -0800
    Thank you for spreading the word about such an amazing program that has had such an impact on my life. I have been able to reverse my diagnosis of Lupus through diet changes and surrounding my self with a community of likeminded people at Suppers. The experience has been incredible. The Suppers Programs is one of a kind and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
  • commented 2016-03-10 09:41:48 -0800
    AWEsome article! The Suppers Programs is true genius - there is no model quite like Suppers out there and the successes have been unstoppable. The combination of food, community, and love is what makes Suppers an organization offering members the possibility of real long lasting lifestyle and behavioral change.

    Suppers can be ANYwhere, all you have to do is train to become a facilitator. You can train remotely through our Skype program. Each facilitator training is filled to the gills before it can even be promoted - which proves that Suppers has the ability to become a real movement. And who doesn’t secretly want to be an activist who gets results?

    I love love love everything about Suppers and have been working alongside the program for some time now. I’m in awe of Dorothy, her knowledge base, eloquence, and dedication. GO SUPPERS & IRN!
  • commented 2016-03-10 06:47:57 -0800
    Yes! I’m on the path to reverse my Type 2 diabetes with the help of Suppers’ social support. I’ve already reduced my medication needs and am fully embracing the JERF diet:) It’s harder than I thought it would be now that I’m in a food swamp AND desert in the Bronx, but I recreated what I know works - a community of unconditional support all looking for their own path to vibrant health. I can’t wait to see what you do with Suppers in CA!
  • commented 2016-03-10 06:46:01 -0800
    I absolutely agree that the Suppers Program is doing an amazing job re-educating me about food and nutrition. It’s incredible to join others in a home setting, preparing fresh, non-processed organic food together, learning cooking techniques and hearing what has helped with seemingly intractable chronic conditions. Suppers truly is as supportive, non-judgmental, non-commercial as you state in this article. I’m so grateful for this genuine, grass-roots approach to healthy living. It’s major to undertake food changes… and I’m doing it with Suppers!
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