COOKING UP HEALTH
The only class in medical school where you'll eat what you dissect!
Culinary Medicine is the utilization of a unique combination of nutrition and culinary knowledge to assist patients in achieving and maintaining optimal health. This course is intended to expand students’ comfort in counseling patients in successful behavior change around nutrition and cooking. Through this course participants will learn basic culinary skills, steps to create nutritious meals, relationships between food, health, and disease, and cultural competencies around nutrition.
Nourishing to Mind and Body
The six culinary medicine classes run 2.5 hours, during which students learn practical information about relevant topics and gain hands-on experience in a kitchen.
Each culinary medicine lesson focuses on one aspect of a healthy diet and its application to disease prevention. Class time is faculty guided and discussion based. Groups are comprised of 10-12 students led by one to two faculty facilitators.
Community service-learning sessions provide an opportunity to apply learned knowledge by teaching elementary school children about nutrition and health connections.
Students receive pre-work in the form of brief videos and articles to review the role of nutrition in certain disease processes and small group case based discussion on evidence based nutritive literature.
Topics addressed include mindful eating, the Standard American Diet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition guide, understanding state of the science of macronutrients, the gut microbiome and impact of diet, food sensitivities, and inflammation as a precursor to chronic disease.
Scientific literature underpinning each of these topics are presented in the form of journal articles, videos and websites and discussed in class with the students.
Hands On Learning
Each culinary medicine class begins with a shared experience, comprised of learning kitchen techniques and preparing foods relevant to each session’s discussion in the kitchen. Students and instructors then share a healthy plant-based meal. During dinner the conversation is focused on student-led discussions regarding the complex social and cultural functions of food in which they share their own food stories and reference weekly assigned journal articles. The class closes with students practicing nutrition coaching using semi-scripted patient cases and preparing for community teaching.
Recipe for Success
Throughout the teaching kitchen course, students participate in a service learning component teaching upper elementary school students from at risk communities about basic healthy nutrition concepts and how what we eat relates to health, and guiding the kids in easy hands-on food preparation. The community sessions run about 1 hour and are based on the Common Threads Small Bites lessons.
Besides the benefits of service learning, health professional students are able to apply and solidify the newly acquired knowledge by teaching in local classrooms.