Dr. David Eisenberg envisions a day when your doctor hands you a recipe instead of a prescription. He sees hospitals equipped with teaching kitchens, where patients learn some basics of cooking before being discharged into the world of junk food.
Eisenberg is on a mission to get Americans back in the kitchen and cooking again. And he wants doctors to help lead the charge. He’s been trying to facilitate ongoing relationships with culinary schools and medical schools.
Eisenberg directs the complementary and integrative medicine divisions at Harvard Medical School. He’s also a passionate foodie who loves to cook. As Janet Helm reported in a story for the Tribune newspapers, Eisenberg has now partnered with the Culinary Institute of America to help physicians get more comfortable in the kitchen.
The culinary conferences that Dr. Eisenberg helps lead are designed to give doctors enough skill and knowledge to inspire their patients to start cooking. He believes that getting America back in the kitchen and cooking is one of the best ways to fight obesity and chronic medical maladies in the U.S.
“We need to first teach the teachers,” he told Helm. “A physician’s own behavior is one of the strongest predictors of how they’ll counsel their patients.” He wants doctors to get excited about cooking healthy meals and to then pass along that fervor to their patients. Eisenberg says culinary skills and know-how have seriously declined in recent years. â€˜Many people simply don’t have basic cooking skills,â€™ he said.
This past spring Dr. Eisenberg led a four-day conference held on the CIA’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, Calif., which was attended by 450 peopleâ€”mostly physicians, who typically get little or no nutrition education. There were hands-on cooking demonstrations and discussions of nutrition science, reported Helm, who also attended the conference.
While they’re working on this, let’s hope the doctors devote some of their efforts toward improving the quality of hospital food.