Winn-Dixie Store Helping to Make a Difference
Using Food as Medicine to Help Floridians with Epilepsy
Epilepsy in Florida
In 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated 223,900 Floridians have active epilepsy1. Even with medication, over one-third of people with epilepsy are estimated not to have control over their seizures2. Additionally, people with epilepsy are more susceptible to poverty, unemployment, heart disease, asthma, and depression.
Food is Medicine, When Available
When medicine can’t control seizures, the Precision Ketogenic Therapy (PKT) program can help. The program started in 1995 and has had more than 300 patients. It is a collaboration among faculty in the UF College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, Epilepsy Division of the Department of Neurology, and the UF/IFAS Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. The program often prescribes patients a personalized low-carb, high-fat diet along with recipes to control their seizures. The patients and caregivers become a part of the PKT Village, an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals and researchers committed to the patient’s success on the therapy. While making recipes, the PKT village considers the food’s nutritional value, taste, and appearance, so it is appetizing for long-term patient adherence to this highly restrictive diet. Pure canola oil with Omega-3 DHA is an essential ingredient in these recipes, not only because the fatty acids in this oil are heart-healthy, which our patients especially need due to their increased risk of heart disease, but because new research suggests these fatty acids are important in seizure control.
Winn-Dixie Supports the PKT Village
Unfortunately, pure canola oil with Omega-3 DHA is not commonly used, and as a result, it became unavailable in the State of Florida or too costly to purchase. However, our patients still require this oil in their meals. This oil is “food as medicine,” and it is vital to the patients’ health and the PKT families need to be able to affordably purchase this oil at their local grocery stores.
Fortunately, Trisha Radank, the Fresh Manager, and Hope Dauss, The Store Manager at a Winn-Dixie in Gainesville, Florida, came to the rescue by collaborating with the PKT village and securing a case of Crisco canola oil with Omega-3 DHA. We approached Trisha with the need, and she continues to enthusiastically work to resolve our dilemma. This donation will go directly to the PKT patients and will greatly increase our patients’ health. Thank you, Trisha Radank, Hope Dauss, Gainesville Winn-Dixie store #2564 for this donation and their efforts toward making this essential ingredient available to our patients in need!
Epilepsy data and statistics. (2020, September 30). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/data/index.html
Epilepsy. (2020, August 17). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/epilepsy.htm
Samantha Waterman, Author
Julie Barber, Editorial Assistant