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Food: The Healthcare of Tomorrow?

Over my lifetime, food has undergone drastic changes. I was born when breastfeeding was rapidly disappearing. Mothers were actively encouraged to feed their infants formula, a form of processed cow's milk. The food I remember most as a child - white bread, jello, cool whip and tomato soup - had little connection to real food. It was processed and almost devoid of natural nutrients. Made in a factory, it was touted as modern and exciting.

When my own children were born, I rebelled against anything from a box. I made cake from scratch and mashed my own baby food. My meager attempts made only a small dent in the growing amounts of processed food my children ate as fast food restaurants became main stream.

My children are now grown and obesity is epidemic. Food is emerging as a means of improving our health. The focus is on real food, grown locally and consumed fresh - whether it is human milk for human babies or broccoli and kale on my dinner plate.

Not so long ago, breastfeeding was seen as a lifestyle choice. Today, parents are seeing breastfeeding as a health care choice. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has identified breastfeeding help as preventive health care. Private insurance companies are now required to phase in coverage of breastfeeding assistance and supplies. While this opens the door to more mothers obtaining help, it also means that MilkWorks is now entrenched in the vast and complicated world of insurance plans.