Academic journal article Human Ecology

Interns Dish out Nutrition and Cooking Knowledge at Culinary Lab

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Interns Dish out Nutrition and Cooking Knowledge at Culinary Lab

Article excerpt

On a bright midwinter morning, 100 or so University of Rochester medical students may need to be fitted for a different sort of white coat. They've traded in their stethoscopes and scalpels for spatulas and skillets as part of their annual Culinary Lab, becoming chefs for a day to learn how to advise patients on eating well for good health.

Guiding the future doctors are ten Cornell Dietetic Interns, who lead them through four different case studies of hypothetical patients--such as a middle-aged Mexican American man with rising blood pressure and a palate for spicy, salty foods and a woman with celiac disease who recently suffered a stroke and is desperate to improve her diet.

Interns Kirby Moore and Gabrielle Gambino are advising a group of seven medical students on dietary changes for an obese African American teen girl who complains of fatigue, admits to drinking lots of soda and eating vending machine snacks, and shows early signs of diabetes. On the menu is pizza, but with a healthy twist: one with whole wheat crust, low-fat mozzarella, tomato puree in place of a canned sauce loaded with sugar and salt, ground turkey rather than pepperoni, black beans, and a bounty of vegetables on top.

Before the cooking begins, Moore quizzes them on the nutritional basis for their recipe substitutions. Noting the girl's lethargy, they determine her diet is probably lacking vitamin D, calcium, and iron. Her pre-diabetes makes them want to cut down on her carbohydrate intake. And they recommend more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as a fiber boost.

Moore agrees, and then asks, "What is the mechanism of fiber in the body? …

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