Culinary medicine to me is a coming together of the soothing comforts of home cooking and the healing touch of the great physician, our Lord Jesus Christ. The culinary medicine courses I have taught in the past have had other names, but they are all focused on the role of foods and nutrition in health.
My first foray into culinary medicine was when I took a demonstration to the Iowa State Fair on how to cook the vegetables from my garden so they retain the most nutrition possible. I was about 8 years old when I gave my first nutrition presentation. By the time I was 10, I had won awards for my yeast bread baking skills. The yeast bread I took to the fair that year was a beautiful monkey bread decorated with a glaze and candied cherries. I was making bread for as long as I can remember. I have wonderful memories of helping my mom deliver fresh, hot breads in exchange for money to buy groceries and pay the bills. Everyone loved our bread and I still deliver fresh yeast breads to neighbors and friends on holidays.
I wrote a textbook for college level students using the title of “Nutrition and Diet Therapy” but today, that text would be more appropriately called “Culinary Medicine”. It is divided by diseases and describes the most appropriate nutrition for each. This is also the approach we take in our Culinary Medicine class at the University of Central Florida. The students spend time in the classroom and in the kitchen honing their ability to translate science into application for their patients.
One of my favorite culinary medicine applications is growing and -serving micro-greens. Planting and harvesting them yourself is such a great way to introduce a novel food into your diet. They are easy to grown and are ready at a moments notice for any meal or snack.