Buena cocina como medicina

Education Health

19 January 2016

Good cooking as medicine

Leah Sarris attempts to reach the heart of the well-known and highly discussed dietary problem in the United States in order to directly help the population. A simple idea like teaching them to cook and to eat, and at the same time complex enough to determine that the best route to achieve this is through the future GPs.

The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine is responsible for providing nutrition and cookery lessons to students of medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. The classes are optional as part of the curriculum that allow students to take seriously the role that food plays in health, firstly in their own and, as result, that of others.

Tulane School of Medicine Teaching Kitchen is the first centre promoting traditional medicine and a nutritious diet as a tool for change in the lives of many Americans.

Classes usually begin with lessons in biochemistry and physiology, and then move on to the kitchen by the hand of Sarris. Part of the optional course also includes an exchange programme with Johnson & Wales culinary school to link medicine with cookery once again.

They also offer a programme for graduate health professionals. The Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist (CCMS) qualification provides basic knowledge about nutrition and culinary techniques that translate into real options to respect the diets that each patient needs and their financial budget. In addition, the qualification seeks to provide continuing medical education in order to train professionals with full knowledge of diet, lifestyle and nutrition, which they did not receive in their university faculties.

The idea is that in all cases, the doctors who attend the school can in turn teach their patients in their daily consultations, offering possible options and teaching them to use food in their favour. The students' role is participative, they attend health expos, with the American Diabetes Association as partners. And putting into practice the lessons at the school, as free cooking classes are offered to residents of New Orleans.  In these lessons, medical students teach participants various culinary techniques, give advice on nutrition and on how to eat better. Recently they also started free cookery classes for families with children who attend the Crocker, Cohen or Sylvanie Williams College Preps.

On the website of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine you can download for free some recipes that the centre offers as examples of nutrition.