Talk to Your Doctor about Cooking

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

According to recent polls, less than a quarter of physicians feel they have been trained adequately to give dietary advice to their patients. Physicians mention the importance of diet all the time, but don’t explain any of the particulars to patients. Most medical schools just don’t teach this, but that is beginning to change.

Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana is teaching doctors-in-training how to cook. Dr. Timothy Harlan, “Dr. Gourmet” to the food media, is also the executive director at The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane. The classes focus on talking about food so they can teach patients basic cooking skills, what to make, and why. Medical students learn how to cook with low-cost ingredients to provide healthy tips to low-income communities.

These skills are desperately needed in New Orleans, where 64% of adults are obese or overweight and have higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The medical school also offers cooking classes to practicing physicians and the public. People who have attended the community cooking class have had visible health improvements.

Tulane is among the first medical schools to have a licensed chef as an instructor. The curriculum has been sold to sixteen other medical schools so far.
Farr, Christina. “What if You Could Talk to Your Doctor About Cooking?” Future of You. KQED Science, 21 Dec 2015. Web. 29 Dec 2015.

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