09/12/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Fresh Juice Not Fast Food in Hospitals

Many Americans have a "live it up!" mentality. We've all been there. You eat and drink to your heart's content and then you try to make up for it by eating well and exercising for the next couple of days. Then we do it all over again. It's a never ending cycle that eventually leads to an exhausted immune system, weight gain, diabetes, or any other preventable disease.

The medical system has made it very easy for us to live this way. If we feel ill or want to lose a few pounds we just ask a doctor for a magic pill. We take pill after pill and when that stops working we go for an operation. This cycle has become very dangerous not only for our health, but also for our bank accounts. In a time of economic crisis these medications and operations are costing us big time. Americans spend trillions of dollars on these quick fixes and little to none is spent on prevention. It's astonishing!

While medications and operations still have a big presence in our healthcare system, I believe the world is waking up to the reality that fast food and fast fixes do not create healthy people. We see it in the papers, on television commercials and hear all sorts of people talking about it. Big corporations recognize the value of whole grains, vegetables and fruits and cutting out the chemicalized, artificial junk foods. President Obama is striving to put more money in prevention and education and more hospitals are looking at alternative therapies.

Many of you have probably heard about Dona Karan's The Urban Zen project which trains professionals to offer alternative therapies in hospitals. Right now they're working with Beth Israel in New York City and it's been a huge success. It is my belief that in the upcoming months more and more hospitals will see the benefits of introducing yoga, meditation and acupuncture to their patients. There will always be a need for medications and operations, but I do believe costs can be dramatically reduced by improving people's health from the beginning.

The one area in hospitals where I have not seen improvements and which definitely needs work is food. People go to hospitals to get better not sicker and yet they are fed jello, doughnuts and other highly processed foods. It's outrageous! It seems like feeding patients these foods would not support them to a quick recovery, but rather keep them in the hospital for longer.

As the government is making huge improvements in healthcare, this is one area that needs some serious attention. As the leader of a nutrition school this is an area that I am truly passionate about and I want to do everything in my power to get healthier foods in hospitals across America.

Last month 1,500 health counselors graduated from Integrative Nutrition and boy are they ready to get out there.

During my graduation speech I spoke about Obama and the new healthcare reform and how it's focused around prevention and education. I spent a few minutes talking about hospitals and the food they serve. I mentioned how great it would be if we had juice bars in every hospital across America. One student stood up and said she had introduced a juice bar in the hospital in her community. How great is that? Then other students started raising their hands saying they wanted to get involved.

After graduation weekend I posted a juice recipe on our facebook page to get people inspired and I got over 50 responses within a few hours. This is an area that hits home for many people and all it takes is a few recipes and a conversation with a hospital board member.

Let's do this folks! Let's get chemicalized, artificial junk foods out of hospitals and introduce fresh juice and smoothies along with yoga, acupuncture and other alternative remedies so patients can get better faster and lower medical costs.

Joshua Rosenthal is the founder and director of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition--the largest nutrition school in the world. For almost 20 years he has been teaching the forefront of nutrition with the leading experts in the world--Dr. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Barry Sears and many more. The program certifies students as health counselors, wellness coaches and nutrition advocates so they can go out and make a living helping others. With over 9,000 graduates Integrative Nutrition is creating a ripple effect that is transforming the world.

The school offers its program via live classes in New York City as well as Distance Learning. Visit for more information