Heals and Cooks – A New Breed of Physicians?

Doctor and Apple

photo: HealthyKitchens.org

It’s no secret that most medical doctors know very little about nutrition. They get at most 1 class on human nutrition during their studies. And yet, they are usually at the front lines of dispensing advice to their patients. Much more so than registered dietitians, who spend 4 years or more learning nutrition science.

We were happy to discover a program run by Harvard’s School of Public Health and the CIA (no – the other CIA – Culinary Institute of America) and aptly titled Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. Doctors are brought into 3 day conferences where they learn to cook healthfully, instructed by top chefs. Dietitians and other health professionals participate as well, making for a good mix of expertise in the kitchen.

The thinking here is that doctors that can cook healthfully will impart some of that knowledge to their patients. According to an article on the matter in the Los Angeles Times, program participants reported changes:

Before the conference, they cooked 58% of their meals, and  64% afterward; they ate more whole grains, nuts and vegetables; and while 46% said before the conference that they could successfully advise an overweight patient on nutrition and lifestyle, 81% said they could afterward.

Hippocrates once said “Let food be thy medicine”. Perhaps doctors can help show us the way…

We’re curious – what has been your experience with you physician(s)? Does she give you food advice? Does he provide nutrition tips?

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  • Julz

    Only 1 dr in my 37 yrs has advised me on nutrition. It was only after a serious bout with paralyzing pain, and constant headaches did my nutrition completely change altering my health positively when no dr could diagnose the problem.

  • Mamie Riyeff

    when my ob/gyn left her practice in 28th week of my first pregnancy, i was put onto contact with the most supportive and health-concsious doctor i have ever met. he opened his own lifestyle medicine practice 1.5years ago and practices what he preaches when it comes to nutrition and healthy living. i have pcos and am insulin resistant…Also had gestational diabetes. he helped me change my diet and manage my blood sugar levels through diet and exercise, and deliver a perfectly healthy and full term baby girl…all while empowering me to make the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid diabetes later in life. i weighed less after i ave birth than i did before i got pregnant. i am now a healthier weight and i continue to follow his advice and am eternally grateful to him. i realize this is an exception to the norm, but wish this could be commonplace.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  • InfiniteOnion

    I have never had a physician bring up the topic of food or nutrition in any way. I (a geochemist) suggested increasing my own acid intake (citrus and cranberry juice) as a treatment for a kidney stone (most are composed of calcium oxalate). For daring to think for myself I got a confused look, a vague story about how he had heard sweet tea didn’t cause kidney stones, and was informed that there was nothing to do but hope I passed the thing or get surgery. I trusted my own methods (acidic juice and increased water intake) and the problem went away and hasn’t bothered me since. Health is to important to trust those who’d prefer you were dependent on them.