Culinary Medicine: The Future Of Health Care?

The future of medicine may be in the kitchen. It’s called culinary medicine, and it’s not just treating symptoms- in some cases it’s reversing disease.

A new wave of medicine may soon be sweeping the the medical community- and it’s much needed in this state says Pharmacist and certified diabetes educator Amy Jasperse. Jasperse said, “West Virginia has one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes and also kidney disease.”

Culinary medicine aims to treat diseases like these by teaching proper nutrition. It is the practice of helping patients use nutrition and good cooking habits to restore and maintain health. It is a new field that combines important scientific principles related to nutrition, behavior and medicine. Jasperse added, “And not just teaching them by words but actually showing them. Doing hands on cooking classes showing them how to shop.”

Medical institutions are getting behind the movement. The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine has added a pilot program that puts doctors in training through cooking classes. Sarai Arbus a medical student at WVSOM said, “I’m hoping that when I’m in the room talking to people this is just another tool I can use to help people make better choices and live healthier lives.”

The pilot program also teaches medical students how to shop for groceries and how to talk to patients about nutrition. The class is an indicator that culinary medicine is only going to grow.

Dr. Robert Foster is the lead faculty of the culinary medicine program at WVSOM. He said, “I tell the freshmen now, probably [over] the last five years, that whether they like it or not, their practice of medicine is going to be genetics and nutrition.”

It’s no surprise when you hear about results like the ones Jasperse has seen with her patients. Jasperse said, “I have patients who are coming off of insulin, off of their oral medications, off of their cholesterol medicine, blood pressure medication.”

Dr.  Robert Foster said, “Now that we know you can reverse diseases and not just palliate and give them something for the symptoms or just slow it down it will be much easier to get at how can we fix this and give you not just a longer life but better quality of life.”- WVVA

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