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Director KIHO LEE
Director of Clinic Plate KIHO LEE
Major Practice Areas
‘藥食同源(Medicine/ Food/ Same/ Source)’ means, medicine and food are from the same source. There is a hospital, actually practicing the 'Medicine/ Food/ Same/Source' therapy. At Clinic Plate, the doctor prescribes food to patients instead of medicine.
Clinic Plate is located in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul and there is a restaurant called 'Rest' on the first floor of the clinic. On the second floor there is a cafe 'Water' where a patient is prescribed teas and on the third floor, there is an examination room. Clinic Plate's director is Dr. Kiho Lee, a former professor in the Family Medicine department of the College of Medicine, who created the concept of 'food therapy'. It is said that there are no hospitals overseas or in Korea, practicing the concept of prescribing food to patients as medicine. If a patient visits Clinic Plate, they can be prescribed food or tea according to their illness or symptoms in the examination room on the third-floor and can immediately consume them on the first and second floors. There are three chefs in Clinic Plate with the main chef being a nutritionist. Also, a tea-therapist, a nurse, or a pharmacist are present and they will provide an explanation regarding the food or tea and recommend a menu.
Studying food to solve patient's curiosity
While meeting the patients, Director Kiho Lee, a family medicine doctor, studied the food products in order to resolve their curiosity. ‘Most of the patients I met would always ask me what they should eat, other than their medicine, and I did not have the answer. Since the medical school does not teach anything regarding food products, I did not know a lot in that field. Most doctors use the words ‘avoid’, or ‘give up’ when advising patients regarding food products. However, patients wonder what foods they should eat. The patients would ask about the efficacy of bitter gourds, Phellinus linteus, Chaga, etc., and that sparked my curiosity as well.
He made a food therapy center in Chaum Life Center (CHA Medical Group) eight years ago to apply food to medicine. "At the Food Therapy Center, I treated foods the same as drugs, analyzed the nutritional status of each patient, and informed them about helpful foods and harmful foods. Our center had the most patients for the last eight years."
I believed that true food therapy could be realized.
‘Since I was at a big hospital, it was impossible to prepare the meals with the prescribed food, or even deliver the snacks, juice, and so on. To implement the genuine food therapy I had dreamed of, I opened this clinic.’
Various patients: Chronic fatigue, immune diseases, menopausal disorders, etc.
The patients seeking Clinic Plate have varying conditions.
In cases where the patient’s symptoms are severe, the director performs genetic tests, hormonal balance tests, tests to check the metabolic status, amino acid and fatty acid analysis tests, and prescribes food, as well as medicine, if deemed necessary.
‘In addition to informing them that certain foods are good, we also build a meal plan for them, and teach them how to cook the meals. Rather than changing everything you have eaten so far, we try to help them maintain their current diet as much as possible by analyzing their diet and prescribing in ways such as informing them to reduce consumption of certain foods while jjincreasing the consumption of others.’
For example, if you need to add juice or powdered cereal in the morning, and you need to eat out mainly for dinner, we prescribe by informing them to eat a certain menu or a specific food-oriented meal.
Oriental medicine also used food as medicine for a long time. Many asked about the difference.
'In Oriental medicine, we divide people into 8 kinds or 4 kinds of body types. There can be an error caused by simplification. Each man or woman has their own specific body type. The prescription differs depending on the environment in which the person is currently located. I think 100 prescriptions should be different for all 100 patients.
‘There are several centers in Chaum, but our center has been the best. That is to say, there were many patients who saw the benefits. We have not been open for long, but many patients visited us after word-of-mouth recommendations.
Efforts to spread food therapy
Director Kiho Lee created the Korean Food Therapy Association in 2015 to popularize food therapies that heal diseases and symptoms with food. The association cultivates food therapists through various forms of education. To start off, there is a basic food therapy course where they learn basic nutrition as well as culinary arts. Then, there also are more detailed courses such as the medical food therapist course, beverage professional course, and the health functional food specialist courses, etc. The courses are attended by not only doctors, but also by dieticians, pharmacists, agricultural farmers, as well as health food specialists.
In addition to the education business, we will create a company called 'Giho Sikpum(:Preferable Food)' in the future and start a delivery business that will make the menu suitable for each patient and deliver it to the patient's home. We are planning to create a market to sell potent ingredients all over the world.
'There is a lot of work to do to spread food therapy. I hope many people will be able to manage their health with food. '
Retrieved: Clinic Plate