18 THE NATIONAL CULINARY REVIEW • MAY/JUNE 2018
LIFESTYLES culinary + medicine
lant-based. Paleo. Vegan. Vegetarian. Gluten-free. Everything-free. “Diet” talk, these days, brings with it many multipart,
intricate and often confusing connotations and ideas. But what
if we were to go beyond these trendy terms to approach nutrition
in a different way, one that speaks to natural/Eastern medicine
circles and culinary-driven ones at the same time?
Enter the term “culinary medicine.” It’s a daunting one, of
course, perhaps eliciting visions of doctors wielding whisks and
other kitchen tools. But the reality is, it’s a term that’s currently
helping to bridge the longtime separations between the clinical
and the culinary in the U.S. It’s a term that can reference simply
good food, as well as good-for-you food. And it’s one being used
by culinary-minded doctors and nutrition- and wellness-focused
So, what does “culinary medicine” mean? And, is it truly
relevant in today’s culinary profession?
“Culinary medicine means blending the art of cooking with
the science of medicine to create restaurant-quality meals and
beverages that can help prevent and treat disease,” according
to John La Puma, M.D., a trained chef and clinical practitioner
who has centered his career on culinary medicine and treating
his patients more holistically. Author of ChefMD’s Big Book
WILL CULINARY MEDICINE HELP US
LOOK AT NUTRITION IN A NEW WAY?
BY AMELIA LEVIN
Pof Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover’s Road Map to Losing
Weight, Preventing Disease, Getting Really Healthy (Harmony,
2009), and co-author of national best-seller The RealAge Diet:
Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat (William Morrow
Paperbacks, 2002), along with other books, La Puma is also
founder/clinical director of Chef Clinic®, Santa Barbara,
California, where he sees patients who want to improve their
health the natural way, using food.
For example, by growing broccoli in a sustainable way and
cooking it lightly versus charring it, and pairing it with the right
foods, such as healthy oils and fats, we can activate even more
naturally nutritious compounds in the food, not to mention
enhance the flavor, La Puma explains.
Culinary medicine goes well beyond the idea—and current
trend—of “clean eating.” It is about choosing naturally and
sustainably grown and produced foods and spices to not only
enhance the flavor of and add more balance to dishes, but to offer
what some insist are natural health benefits beyond supplements
Culinary medicine only partially explains the anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle initially introduced by Dr.
Andrew Weil that has become the basis for the popular fast-casual