Defining Culinary Medicine And Its Benefits: Here’s How it Can Help You

By: Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS

Contributor: Stephanie Wu

Spoiler Alert 

Culinary Medicine integrates the art of food with evidence-based medicine to help support and improve health outcomes for people.  We spotlight this topic today in honor of National Nutrition Month. Please read on and share…

I asked one of my close friends the other day about the New Year’s Resolution he made back in December–something about eating healthier and losing a few pounds. He winked and said with a chuckle, “It was just that time of year, man…”

Indeed, it most definitely was that time of year, the time when a lot of resolutions get made with good intentions.  Then, as time slowly slips by, January 1st becomes a faded memory and most of those resolutions take a steep nose-dive, crash and burn. I’ve been there, haven’t you? (Shh! I won’t tell!)

But, what if those healthy eating  promises you made to yourself were not inspired by January 1 but rather following a doctor’s visit?

What if your doctor’s or dietitian’s advice required you to eat a certain amount or type of food to help improve your health – you’d give it a try most likely, wouldn’t you?

You may have noticed on the Healthy Meals Supreme website on the Nutritional Page that we describe our meals and meal plans as “culinary medicine inspired”.  Many people have asked us: “What is culinary medicine and how is your food inspired by it?”

Defining Culinary Medicine

Some believe that culinary medicine is nutrition, dietetics, or preventive, integrative, or internal medicine. Others think that it is another term for culinary arts or food science or just some type of diet philosophy.* WRONG!

Let’s set the record straight: Culinary medicine is built on evidence-based science. It takes the beauty and art of cooking and food and combines it with the science of medicine.

The goal of culinary medicine is to help people strive towards making good eating decisions for nutritionally appropriate meals for their goals.  These meals help to achieve your personal goals and medical therapies. In addition, culinary medicine meals may help to maintain well-being, and potentially delay or prevent the onset of disease progression.

The principles of culinary medicine have over the years become widely accepted to the point  that The Tulane School of Medicine introduced culinary medicine into their academic program under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Harlan also known as Dr. Gourmet.

Tulane created a kitchen at the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine where medical students learn about hands-on cooking techniques and apply the basics of nutrition to support medical therapies.   Some examples of course content include flavor building without relying on salt and fat, how to shop nutritionally smart, and how to create a personally-healthy pantry.

What Does ‘Culinary Medicine Inspired’ Mean?

Now that we know what culinary medicine is, we turn to answer the question, how are Healthy Meals Supreme meal plans inspired by this new branch of medical and culinary science?

We all understand that having a chronic condition usually means the need to adopt a different lifestyle when it comes to food and daily living. We also understand that this can be VERY overwhelming, especially at the start.

This is going to sound familiar to many –  When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I didn’t know what to do and where to start. The more I researched and read the mountains of conflicting information, the more confused and frustrated I became.

When I went to look for food that the doctor said I should eat, I couldn’t find meals that tasted good and were easy to prepare.  Also, the meals needed to be quick to make and that I could eat on the go with my busy lifestyle, let alone something that I would stick with for the long-term. This is my personal experience.  So, yes, I get it.

My vision in creating Healthy Meals Supreme is to  help others like me, no matter their chronic condition or personal goal, and to avoid the aggravating frustration that I suffered.  We should all have easy access to delicious meal plans that follow the doctor’s advice, AND without the stress of planning, calculating and even less preparation.  

All of our healthy meal programs follow the nationally published dietary guidelines of the respective leading health associations for certain chronic conditions, using the Mediterranean and DASH diets. Our food is also nutritionally dense but not calorie dense.   We do all the shopping, nutritional calculations, shopping and cooking,- you just “heat it and eat it”.

In addition, we also have a unique dynamic nutritional calculator on the top right of the website that shows you in real-time, the nutritional value of your order. The benefit and blessing of this is that you and your medical professional know exactly what you are eating every step of the way. And here we are, full-circle: culinary medicine inspired.

I am always happy to answer questions on the subject. If you have any, please email me at info@healthymealssupreme.com

In the meantime, just imagine these healthy meals suggestions the next time you are hungry, and yes, they are ‘culinary medicine inspired’ meals from our kitchen.

 

Happy National Nutrition Month – wishing you the very best of health!

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.  Culinary medicine may impact the need and amounts of different medical and prescription therapies and this will vary on an individual basis.  Information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only and not meant as medical, nutritional or pharmaceutical advice.