Culinary medicine (CM) is an evidence-based field that brings together nutrition and culinary knowledge and skills to assist patients in maintaining health, and preventing and treating disease by choosing high-quality, healthy food in conjunction with appropriate medical care. CM can be thought of as the applied, laboratory portion of a nutrition curriculum for medical trainees. CM training can be provided as part of medical and residency curricula, training programs for those in allied health professional fields, or incorporated later as continuing (medical) education. Good CM courses address basic healthy food preparation and acquisition (i.e., where to purchase or otherwise get food) skills while taking into consideration time, financial resources, and cultural food traditions of patients aiming to make dietary changes.
The field of CM arose out of a perceived need to make evidence-based nutrition education practical and accessible for everyone. Nearly 80% of the chronic diseases faced by those in the U.S. are preventable through lifestyle changes. Poor diet has been identified as the top contributor to early death and lost healthy life years in the U.S. and dietary risks are associated with 11 million deaths across the globe annually. However, only an average of 20 hours are spent on nutrition content in US medical schools—this is equivalent to approximately one week (or 0.6%) of the total average hours of instruction. Furthermore, only 25% of medical schools have a dedicated nutrition course and much of the content focuses on biochemistry and micronutrient deficiency states. Very little, if any, time is dedicated to helping students learn the components of a healthy diet, how to make a healthy diet enjoyable and practical, or how to effectively counsel patients on making healthy dietary changes.
Finally, CM principles are relevant to all specialties of medicine and allied health professions. Patients and families can and should be exposed to CM and nutrition principles, where relevant, in all parts of the health care system they interact with. This is particularly important because behavior change is much easier when there is buy-in from the whole family.
- Michelle Hauser, MD, MS, MPA, FACLM, Chef, author of Culinary Medicine Curriculum, 2019
Michelle Hauser, MD, MS, MPA, FACLM, Chef is board certified in internal medicine and
completed medical school, internal medicine residency, the Zuckerman Fellowship in Leadership and Public Service, and a Master of Public Policy and Administration degree at Harvard, as well as a Master of Science in Epidemiology and Clinical Research and the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Stanford. She is a certified chef via Le Cordon Bleu and a Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine where she has also served on the Board of Directors.
This 7-page booklet is an easy to read resource that outlines each of the six lifestyle medicine pillars, shares guidelines in support of healthful lifestyle practices and offers additional resources and information for those that wish to learn more.
"You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance." | Psalm 65:10-11
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* Please note, we do not provide responses to personal medical concerns. For specific, personalized medical advice we encourage you to contact your physician.