Have you ever thought to ask your doctor about...cooking?
Chances are, despite the proven effect of healthy eating on many chronic diseases, your doctor might not have much to say on what you should eat or how you should prepare it to improve your health.
But several physicians in the field are looking to change that, including Dr. Stephen Devries of the Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology. Last week I had the opportunity to partner with Dr. Devries for a nutrition and cooking class at The Chopping Block for 20+ resident cardiologists, which was hosted by the American Heart Association. Dr. Devries highlighted years of research that demonstrates the transformative effect that proper nutrition has on cardiology patients. Some takeaways from Dr. Devries presentation:
- EACH daily serving of dark leafy greens reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by 23%
- As little as 4 handfuls of nuts per week can reduce the risk of heart disease by 37%. Almonds and walnuts in particular are packed with heart healthy monounsaturated fat, cholesterol lowering sterols, and magnesium.
- Darkly pigmented fruit like blueberries are packed with cell-protective antioxidants. Antioxidant pills have not been shown to be as effective as fruit.
After his presentation, I talked to the group about how to apply the research findings in their kitchens. My green smoothies are a fast and effective way for both patients and physicians to get in a serving or two of dark leafy greens first thing in the morning. Kale Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas gets another serving of greens in, plus the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes combined with the "massaging" technique we used to break down the plant fiber, makes this salad hearty and appealing even to kale newbies.
And finally we ended the evening with a recipe made with Dr. Devries "purple pill": blueberries! Based on the laughter from this group, that is a pretty hilarious cardiology joke. I might not get the joke, but I did craft a Blueberry-Blackberry Crisp that's a snap to make, topped with whole oats and almonds and sweetened with a just a kiss of maple syrup. Check out the recipe for yourself here.
The evening's menu also included Roasted Wild Salmon, a Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad and Seared Polenta with Roasted Peppers and Artichokes, with the cardiologists doing all the chopping, cooking, and kale-massaging before sitting down to taste how delicious and simple quality, healthy food can be.
Looking to get your group of healthcare providers learning about the power of food in a hands on way? Contact me to learn more.