A prescription for produce: How you helped Juana turn her health around
Juana Estrada was in pain. It was hard to keep up with her young children when her stomach hurt day after day. And she was struggling with anxiety as well.
Every day, Juana would shop and cook for her family. Their diet consisted of typical meals such as tortillas, pizza, and hamburgers. But after every meal, her stomach hurt even worse.
After battling this for months, she went to the doctor and was diagnosed with gastritis, a painful inflammation of the stomach lining. The doctor prescribed medications, but they didn’t work. Her pain continued. Then, while pregnant, Juana also began to suffer from gestational diabetes.
This time, her doctor took a new approach and prescribed a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.
But this worried Juana. With children to feed, medical bills to pay, and her husband out of work, the grocery bill was already a burden.
Her doctor told her to avoid cheap processed foods like pizza, pasta, and bread. But that was how her family got by on a budget. Fresh produce was more expensive, and she simply could not afford to buy enough of it to feed her family.
For many low income families like Juana’s, choosing fresh produce, nuts, and grains over processed foods can cost as much as $2,000 more each year.
But because of your support, Juana found a solution: Adelante’s Produce Rx program.
Produce Rx, a partnership with Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, serves low income Latino patients who have been diagnosed with health conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes, and who have been prescribed a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.
The program gives these patients vouchers to buy fresh produce at Adelante’s Forest Grove Farmers Market, making healthy food more affordable.
Even with the financial help, change wasn’t easy at first. Juana and her family were not accustomed to eating in this new way. And the farmers market was full of fresh produce that Juana had never seen. She didn’t know how to prepare it.
Funded by your generosity, Produce Rx not only provides patients with vouchers to buy produce, it also supports them with cooking classes, nutrition lessons, and shopping guidance at our Forest Grove Farmers Market as they work to change their diet.
That’s why Produce Rx also supports families with cooking classes, peer support, and shopping guidance at the market each week.
Because of you, Juana and her family have tried new berries, vegetables, and greens.
“Now, we eat all of the fruits and vegetables at the market. And we like all of them.” Juana says. “If I make a salad, or salsa, I throw everything in: tomatoes, onions, cilantro, everything.”
Juana’s health has improved dramatically. The pain has stopped. She has lost weight. And she no longer feels burdened with anxiety.
“Thank God that Adelante Mujeres offers this program,” Juana says gratefully, “I eat better, and I feel better.”
Juana is more motivated than ever to teach her children to eat a healthy diet. She knows first-hand that it can prevent serious illnesses. And thanks to your support, she has the tools to make that happen.