Culinary Medicine Workshops at Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition 2016

Culinary medicine combines two of my favorite things…food and health. The first in a series of Culinary Medicine Workshops being offered to ACCN attendees focused on disease implications of diet. The faculty from the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, a physician, dietitian, and chef, spent three hours discussing the benefits of both the Mediterranean and DASH diets. The workshop participants included physicians, dietitians, food scientists, and a nurse practitioner. This diversity provided a lively discussion with all sharing their different perspectives. Using a flipped classroom approach, the participants were asked to view an online webinar, read reference material, and pass a post test. This was a helpful way to introduce the concepts of both these diet interventions. In a very interactive format, the participants were given a patient case study and asked to reflect on the weight loss, nutrition, and exercise treatment options for the patient. The most fun was a cooking session where six different recipes for spaghetti and meat sauce were prepared. With each successive recipe healthy alternatives were introduced to increase the health benefits of this traditional dish. These alternatives included whole wheat pasta, lentils, and plenty of fresh vegetables. These modifications lowered the calorie and fat content as well as raised fiber and protein intake. The food tasting that followed made for a very healthy lunch. The key takeaway message was to move people as far as they can toward making healthier food choices. Tim Harlan, MD, Executive Director of the Goldring Center, gave great advice on how to discuss nutrition and diet with patients. He emphasized “It is important to meet the patients where they live”, suggesting healthy food alternatives that are both affordable and accessible in their daily lives. As Dr. Harlan reminded us, our focus should be less on weight loss and more on healthy food choices to improve our overall health and well being. Sound advice for us all to follow.

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