Impact-Driven Category — Not Alt, Smart, or Functional, Join the Restorative Foods Movement

Karthiga Ratnam
5 min readSep 19, 2021

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates

Hippocrates, considered to be the father of medicine. He was a Greek born in 460 BCE. He created the impact-driven category of medicine. Although there is debate as to whether he wrote the Hippocrates Oath. It is attributed to him. Most physicians have it hung outside their door.

Loosely speaking it speaks of the ethical and moral obligation of the physician towards the patient. According to, this is the watered-down version.

Treat the sick to the best of one’s ability, preserve patient privacy, teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, and so on.

There is also a modern version of the oath. Here’s the line that stood out for me:

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

Hippocrates had the foresight to design the category of medicine with impact. He understood that only through impact can the field of medicine be sustainable.

Today in the midst of a raging pandemic, those at high risk are the ones with pre-existing conditions. Obesity, Diabetes, cardiovascular disease are some of the most deadly.

According to recent WHO statistics:

These deaths are preventable. They are caused by the food we eat.

Photo by Akil Mazumder from Pexels

Food — a universal language that needs no words. It embodies a mother’s love. It brings friends and family together. It helps us communicate with animals. It nourishes plants. Its impact-driven by design, from the outset.

Source — Google

How can what is supposed to nourish us and keep us alive, kill us? How did food become functional? Food lost its impact and ability to nourish us because it became profit-driven. How food is being produced has dramatically changed over the last few centuries. The onset of the Agriculture Revolution leads to crop rotation, selective breeding, and increased output. This increased output in food supply contributed to an increase in population and in turn lead to the industrial revolution.

This of course lead to factory farming and the mass production of animal agriculture. This saw the ousting of small farms in favor of larger industrialized farms and food production mechanisms. Regenerative agriculture and other age-old practices were abandoned for faster time to market and maximum yield.

Food — the most natural substance in the world became unnatural. According to health line, here are the top junk foods that are bad for you:

  1. Sugary Drinks
  2. Most Pizzas
  3. White Bread
  4. Most fruit juices
  5. Sweetened breakfast cereals

And so on it goes. Isn’t it time food returned to its roots? Became what nature intended it to be? To nourish and restore the human body?

I know there is a new food revolution driven by the consumers is now in motion. As consumers become more informed and conscious of the types of food, their diet, and its impact on the planet. Flexitarian and plant-based diets are being fast-tracked as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are replacing animal-based products with plant-based ones that are equal if not better in taste, texture, and nutrition. But these new categories are just functional food categories.

Yes, they are kinder on the planet and kinder on the body, but they have not been created with the original impact in mind. It still feels like more of the same.

Food is designed to nourish, heal and restore our bodies. But that wasn’t all food was supposed to do. It was also supposed to nourish, restore and heal the soil. Food was always meant to sustain not destroy.

That’s why I am calling on impact-driven entrepreneurs to create a new restorative food movement. One that looks to restore the planet, the livelihoods of farmers, and the health of humans.

We need to restore food to its former glory as a nutritious substance that helps life on earth. But while designing this new restorative food category we need to be mindful of the consumers. We cannot ignore food memories. Food is personal to each of us and impacts us all differently.

We need to look to impact the individual and the collective. The individual through familiar taste, texture, and nutrition. Consumers will only join the restorative foods movement if it invokes the same taste, smell, and memories as existing food categories. This is why it's important to start creating restorative comfort foods.

We can impact the collective by restoring livelihoods of farmers through regenerative farming practices that restore the health of the soil. Livelihoods that have been destroyed by profit-only driven agricultural practices and the onset of climate change.

Factory farming, over-cultivation, soil erosion, and a myriad of other climate emergency factors are turning that which nourishes us into that which makes us extinct. We are on a collision course with our own extinction.

The time to act is now. Through the restorative food category, we can restore the health of humans, the soil, and the livelihood of communities.

As consumers, it's up to us to demand restorative foods from our food companies.

And doctors? They need to view food as medicine as a way to restore human health.

If the wrong type of food is what is killing us, then the right type of food is what restores us. And as Hippocrates very rightly said:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates

So join the restorative foods movement and let’s together restore our collective health and that of our planet.



Karthiga Ratnam

Impact-Driven Category Designer | Working group member Wicked 7