Long Beach, CA., USA – Obesity once again rears its ugly head in the news, comparing it to the opioid epidemic. “Bad Diets Are Responsible For More Deaths Than Smoking, Global Study Finds,” was the recent headline from NPR to the Washington Post. According to the article, globally 11 million deaths a year are linked to poor diet. Never in history have we had such an available abundance of food, but not the kind that nourishes our bodies. Our bodies crave nutrition that comes from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. The food scene has evolved into long lines at most fast food restaurants, but a steady “drive through” diet is a recipe for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
A new field of treatment is on the horizon. It is called Culinary Medicine. As most diseases can be prevented and tend to be linked to obesity, physicians are missing their most important tool to treat patients, skill-based nutritional information that patients’ can incorporate into their lifestyle. When patients receive a diagnosis for one of the above chronic conditions, beyond being treated with medication, scant attention is given to one’s diet. Frequently, a patient’s health has deteriorated due to lack of knowledge of how to prepare healthy meals. According to Nutritionfacts.org, the official requirements, for medical students specializing in cardiology, are performing at least 50 stress tests and at least 100 catheterizations, but nowhere within the 34 – page list of requirements is there mention of nutrition. One person has taken note and is on a mission to create the “Merck Manual” of Food Prescriptions, Dr. Deborah Kennedy. With deep roots in recognizing food, not just for enjoyment, but with emphasis on nutrition and wellness, Dr. Kennedy is leading an effort by bringing together expert chefs and nutrition scientists to write an e-textbook for the medical and cooking communities. “I recognized that with all the various food choices, consumers can easily get confused. When they are told to
“eat low fat” by their doctor, many don’t know how to do that. They are searching for someone to translate clinical recommendations into what that means for them in their kitchen” said Dr. Kennedy.
Dr. Deborah Kennedy holds a PhD in Nutrition from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy. From an early age she took an interest in food and was in the kitchen cooking at age 4 and worked her way up over the years to sous chef. She is the author of three books on children and nutrition focusing on food-parenting, preventing sugar addiction and offering meal solutions. “Good health begins with not only making healthy food choices, but knowing how to prepare fruits and vegetable so that they are delicious. I wanted to craft an e- textbook using a modular approach to culinary literacy. It will give physicians a resource on how to guide their patients’ dietary choices,” said Dr. Kennedy. “My e-textbook, available online, will be the first to make readily available a new field in Culinary Medicine.” Her focus is on describing foods for specific health conditions and how to use them in recipes. “I created this e-textbook to help the consumer make better informed food choices without being overwhelmed. There will be embedded videos of interviews as well as cooking demonstrations,” states Dr. Kennedy.As a majority of these recipes will center on introducing fresh fruits and vegetables, she is very interested in partnering with the produce community. This unique opportunity is in the form of sponsorships featuring participating produce companies in her e-textbook and in social media highlights in all channels, with the opportunity to be present in the text through videos and active links. This opportunity is unique from a social media perspective in that not only will Dr Kennedy use her influence to advertise the effort, but other contributors of the text will reach out to their networks as well. “This allows for an exponential reach. Not only will produce companies be given the opportunity to be present in the e-text, but a robust social media campaign will cover the development of the textbook over the next 15 months allowing for a much longer marketing opportunity for sponsors” says Dr Kennedy. She has appeared on the Dr. Oz Show and the New York Times to discuss her mission to transform kids, communities and patients with food.
A common phrase used in the produce community, “having experience through the supply chain,” is certainly applicable to Dr. Kennedy. She has served as the first Chair for Best Practices at the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative (CIA), has experience as a chef for many years and is the creator of many programs and centers in the field of nutrition/wellness/food. “Culinary Medicine is about taking charge of one’s health ‘one bite at a time’ by learning about nutrition through cooking. My e-textbook will help take the guess work out of the over 200 food choices made each day. It’s not enough to tell people to eat more fruits and vegetables, we need to teach them how to make cravable dishes with the essential elements for health- fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.” She invites you to her website to learn more about her and her mission to introduce Culinary Medicine to the medical community. For more information please visit her website: https://www.drdebkennedy.com/culinary-rehab.html
Dr. Deborah Kennedy is the CEO of Culinary Rehab© which establishes nutrition and culinary competencies, modular learning opportunities, prescriptive delivery methods and outreach programs for various populations. For the past two decades she has developed health and wellness programs, research and clinical centers, for not-for-profits and community outreach programs that focus on nutrition. She received her PhD in Nutrition from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy. She has authored three books on children and nutrition, is certified in value-based medicine and serves on the board of Chef’s for Humanity. Dr. Kennedy can be contacted at: [email protected]