Cooking For Health

Innovative Med Schools Put Future Doctors in the Kitchen

By Ellen Kanner, Contributing Writer

The connection between food choices and wellness goes back at least as far as ancient Greece. Yet it’s taken two millennia for Western medical schools to make food part of medical training. Innovative medical schools around the country are beginning to introduce Culinary Medicine into their curricula.

Challenged by MS, the "Spice-Trekkers" Discover Their Own Culinary Medicine

By Ellen Kanner, Contributing Writer

Philippe and  Ethné de Vienne an explorer by nature. He and his wife Ethné travel the world, sourcing organic spices and herbs where they’re grown. That’s their job as the owners of the Montreal-based spice company, Épices de Cru. But five years ago, when Philippe was suddenly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, their search took a very different turn--one that led to important discoveries about how to use foods and spices to alter the course of serious autoimmune diseases.

With Sioux Chef, Native Americans Rediscover Indigenous Foodways

By Ana Maria Puente, Contributing Writer

With a restaurant and catering company called Sioux Chef, an Oglala Lakota chef named Sean Sherman is helping Native American communities--and many other non-Natives--to discover the original indigenous foods of North America. Many native foods--things like cattail shoots, prairie turnips, choke cherries, prickly pears, rabbit and bison--are extremely healthy.

Wholesome Rx: Prescribe Produce, Not Pills

By By Ellen Kanner, Contributing Writer

“Eat more fresh produce.” It’s an easy bit of medical advice to give. Yet it’s advice millions of Americans aren’t able to follow, even if they want to. A non-profit group called Wholesome Wave is working to make it a little bit easier for both practitioners and patients, by creating a system that allows doctors to literally prescribe produce for patients and their families in underserved communities.

A Taste of African Heritage Offers Culinary Path to Wellness

By Ellen Kanner, Contributing Writer

Sweet potatoes, peanuts, black-eyed peas, lima beans, collard and mustard greens, sorghum, millet.... these and so many other healthy foods originated in Africa and the African diaspora. Reconnecting with these foods offers the opportunity to make Black History Month a celebration of wellness as well as a celebration of culture.

Feeding the Multivore Family

By Ellen Kanner, Contributing Writer

Feeding a “multivore” family—where each member has distinct and divergent dietary restrictions and preferences--is challenging. But it is doable: all you need is some “good common sense.”

Okra: An Unsung Super-Veggie

By Lucy Ruetiman, MS, Contributing Writer

Mention okra to someone you generally get one of two reactions – a passionate declaration of undying love, or a repulsed face followed by a dismissive reference to its sliminess. Strong reactions aside, there's no denying that okra is a very healthy vegetable with some interesting medicinal properties.

Coconut Oil: From Food to Medicine and Back

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples in tropical regions have recognized the vast nutritional and medicinal value of the coconut palm. Referred to as the "tree of life" among tropical cultures, virtually all parts of the coconut palm have found use in traditional foods and medicines.

In Praise of Alligator Pears

By Erik Goldman

There are many reasons to love avocados: they're tasty and satisfying; they're packed with healthy fats, B vitamins, potassium. lutein and zeaxanthin; and they fit nicely into a wide freshavocados logorange of culinary styles.

But did you know that inclusion of half an avocado in one's lunch can markedly increase satiety and reduce the desire to eat over the next 5 hours? Or that consumption of avocados can mitigate post-prandial insulin spikes, providing plenty of calories without substantially raising blood glucose levels? Or that they can increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from other foods? Or that they're the only fruit source of monounsaturated fats?

Or how about the fact that addition of fresh avocado to a hamburger lunch will substantially reduce post-meal inflammatory cascades, improve peripheral vascular blood flow, and attenuate the triglyceride surge that usually follows consumption of guac-less burgers.

You can discover these and dozens of other reasons to eat more avocados on the brand new Avocado Central website, sponsored by the Hass Avocado Board (and note that it's "Hass" not "Haas"....named after a postman named Rudolph Hass, who began planting the small, black & bumpy variety in the 1930s).

recipe sweet-potato-and-avocado-empanadasUnder the banner "Fresh Avocados: Love One Today," the Avocado Central site amasses just about everything known to mankind about the versatile and delicious "alligator pear." There's a host of in-depth nutritional analysis, summaries of scientific studies aimed at healthcare professionals, avo-centric meal plans and culinary lessons, how-to videos, and of course bushels of recipes--many from renowned chefs--that go way beyond guacamole (who knew avocados could be combined with chocolate to make gluten-free fudgy bread?).

You can be sure that Avocado Central will have some impact here at the Upshots test kitchens, and we're looking forward to expanding our culinary "avocacy."