LIFESTYLES culinary + medicine
Even today, dietitians and hospital staff are reluctant to
recommend certain foods for treatment for legal reasons.
And, there is a gaping hole when it comes to scientific studies
demonstrating the powers and health benefits of certain foods.
Widespread dissatisfaction with conventional medical
approaches, increasing suspicion of processed and convenience
foods, and conflicting weight-management advice are just
some of the reasons La Puma cites for why the idea of culinary
medicine and treating oneself through food and other natural,
holistic measures seems to be growing in popularity and
curiosity among consumers.
“I do feel that there is change on the horizon, and that’s
perhaps most evident by the growth of healthy fast-casual
restaurants,” says Haas.
We’re also seeing more yoga studios with smoothie shops,
Olympic sports medicine programs paired with good nutrition,
gardens at hospitals, schools and universities, and more.
According to reporting at WBEZ-Chicago, some 30 medical
schools now offer some form of culinary medicine training.
And several cooking schools in Denver, Seattle, and Berkeley
and Sonoma, California, are edging into a culinary-nutrition
curriculum, La Puma says.
Registered dietitian Lindsey Pine, MS, RDN, CSSD, CLT,
has been working with the University of Southern California
ABOVE, LEFT: Pink, black and green peppercorn-rubbed salmon.
ABOVE, RIGHT: A tropical smoothie bowl with chia seeds.
(USC) to develop menus not only with better taste, but with
enhanced nutrition. “I help to brainstorm, advise and give
suggestions on dishes and ingredients to ‘healthify’ menu
items, integrate trending ingredients, add more plant-based
items and accommodate a variety of special dietary needs,”
says Pine, who worked with university chef Nathan Martinez
to develop a 100% plant-based station at USC’s Village Dining
Hall. The station offers Buddha-style bowls with plant-based proteins, whole grains, veggies, flavorful sauces and
supplemental superfoods such as flax and chia seeds, as well
as gut-health-improving add-ons such as sauerkraut and other
One of the “principles of a sustainable menu” at USC is to
lead with menu messaging around flavor, selling healthy and
sustainable food choices by their flavor rather than actively
marketing health attributes. “Research shows that taste trumps
nearly all, even if customers want chefs, on some level, to help
them avoid foods that increase their risk of chronic disease,”
a USC dining report states. “Messages that chefs care and are
paying attention to how and from whom they are sourcing their
ingredients—such as by naming specific farms and growing
practices (e.g., organic)—can enhance perceptions of healthier