Culinary Medicine on the Rise.
t. Luke’s is proud to introduce a new addition to our beloved Biomedical Sciences Program: Culinary Medicine! The field of Culinary Medicine is one of the most rapidly emerging disciplines in medicine today, so naturally St. Luke’s has jumped on the opportunity to be at the forefront of this educational trend. This class offers discussions about nutritional habits, hands-on cooking lessons, introductions to new foods, and visits to local restaurants and food markets. The class will also often be found opening its doors to expert chefs, many who have been educated at the Culinary Institute of America . The ultimate goal of this semester-long course is to help students gain a basic understanding of the interrelationship between nutrition, pharmacology, and medicine.
The most recent (and arguably the most exciting) experience Culinary students have been to participate in involves a trip to the heart of our beloved city–Downtown Mobile. Our wildcats participated in a Bienville Bites Food Tour! With this experience, students were able to visit four local restaurants and taste some of their most prized dishes. Their day began at the Ruby Slipper Cafe where they sampled Buttermilk Biscuits with Cane Syrup Butter accompanied by Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce. This stop didn’t just include a mouth-watering meal, though; they also learned about the importance of safe food storage and proper food handling. The next stop was Squid Ink, a local restaurant recognized by the Food Network. They enjoyed the Quinoa Power Bowl, Mob Hot Chicken, and their Cadillac Burger. While there, the manager Brian talked about the importance of accommodating dietary restrictions, food allergies, and preferences without compromising quality and taste. The third stop of the day was the Joe Cain Cafe where they enjoyed Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and received a lesson about meal planning and how institutions such as hospitals are learning about the importance of creative and healthy meal planning from the hospitality industry. Because, of course, no meal is complete without dessert, the tour concluded with a visit to Mo’ Bay Beignet Co.for a sweet treat. The day for the class was not over yet, though. The group then headed over to the University of South Alabama to receive a cooking demonstration and culinary medicine lecture with USA College of Medicine professor, Dr. Robert Israel at his Teaching Kitchen. Excitement in these Wildcats was evident all throughout the day and continues to flourish as they look forward to their next experience.
Mrs. Diane McCleery, head of the Biomedical Sciences program and teacher of this new course, shows true excitement as she discusses the future of this new program. She hopes to extend the course to become year-round and desires to build vegetable and herb gardens to be able to use freshly grown ingredients in their recipes. Mrs. McCleery notes that she has thoroughly enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm for learning from her Culinary Medicine students and, particularly, has enjoyed watching them develop recipes that they wish to publish for the future for the St. Luke’s community.
Much of the curriculum for the Culinary Medicine course is developed from an idea by Michael Pollen. Pollen states there are three simple rules to healthy eating, which are: eat “real” food (i.e. food cooked by humans without unnatural ingredients), eat mostly plants, and don’t over indulge. The class takes these ideas in stride and hopes to inspire both students and even others outside the class to seek healthy diets. As Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”