Culinary Medicine: Just What the Doctor Ordered


Culinary Medicine has become a hot topic at medical schools over the last few years. It blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine.

Tulane University School of Medicine launched the nation’s first culinary medicine program back in 2012. Since then 10 other medical schools have licensed the curriculum.

What we eat has been linked to many of our most prevalent diseases e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes. Culinary medicine programs provide doctors with invaluable cooking know-how directly tied to health.

  • Providing primary care clinicians with a knowledge base of diet, lifestyle, and nutrition, and how they relate to disease.
  • Teaching modules are from a food-first perspective with an eye toward what patients face day-to-day when trying to make substantive change in their lives.

The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) is also now offering a new continuing medical education course on culinary medicine and the clinical practice of helping patients use nutrition and good cooking habits to restore and maintain health.

  • Culinary Medicine recipes and cooking techniques follow a high fiber plant-based diet and are achievable with low income to moderate budgets and amid time constraints.
  • In addition to the course, recipes and instructional videos have been made available for all medical professionals and their patients.
  • These resources are helpful for patients who want to start cooking healthy meals at home and need clear examples and demonstrations.

Read on below for more on how interest in Culinary Medicine is spreading around the country based on Tulane’s success.

At the University of New Mexico School of Medicine a 4-week pilot course will be taught starting this October.

  • It will teach basic culinary skills along with providing the basic and clinical science behind nutrition-related chronic diseases to fourth-year medical students who don’t normally receive any nutrition courses in medical school.
  • The pilot course, which begins Monday, Oct. 16, includes four modules spread out over the four-week course.
  • The modules include: Introduction to Culinary Medicine, Renal Physiology and Sodium, Fats, and Weight Management.
  • Each week will consist of a 4 hour culinary lab.
  • The clinical component will consist of eight hours per week in a UNM-affiliated hospital and an Outpatient Clinic in collaboration with the UNM Dietetic Internship.
  • Local chefs will be teaching the culinary aspects of the course during each of the labs.
  • In addition, there are several seminars each week where evidence- based research, diet and nutrition assessment, and Mindful Eating concepts are discussed.
  • The Lab component will teach students basic culinary skills and nutrition that can be translated to practice.
  • There are also online modules that focus on the basic sciences: physiology, biochemistry and metabolism reinforced with comprehensive assessment tools.
  • The course also includes collaborations with Chartwells and La Posada, both of whom provide food service to UNM.

Other universities recently adding Culinary Medicine courses include: University of Colorado, Johnson & Wales, Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pomona, California,

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