Zest: The Health meets Food Newsletter – December 2021

Welcome to the December 2021 edition of Zest.

Zest. It says a lot about what the folks who are involved with Culinary Medicine are about. People connected with the Culinary Medicine movement have just that: a zest for life, learning, and teaching.

Zest evokes the excitement and passion that is happening at the intersection of where health meets food.


Registration is now open for the 8th annual Health meets Food: The Culinary Medicine Conference

This year’s meeting will take place June 9 through June 12, 2022 and offer a hybrid experience.

The conference will be held in Orlando Florida in collaboration with the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management. There will be an online streaming option similar to the 2021 conference that will allow for the full conference experience including lectures, expert panels, culinary skills-building programming and small group interactions with your colleagues.

The overarching theme of this year’s conference is using Culinary Medicine and teaching kitchens as a practice transformation tool — how do we restructure clinical practice and healthcare foodservice with a focus on food and health amongst our patients, colleagues and policy makers.

View the List of Speakers »

View the Agenda »

Register Here >>


Conference Tuition and Discounts

Full conference tuition is $425.00.

There is a $50.00 Early Bird Discount for the conference registration that expires on March 1, 2022. The early bird discount is automatically applied.

In addition, there are discounts for different groups that are automatically applied:

$50.00 off for those in academia using their institution email address during registration, RDs, nurses, pharmacists, certified diabetic educators, chefs and those working in foodservice. This discount is applied in addition to the Early Bird Discount. Use coupon code “welovelegumes”.

$150.00 tuition for medical students, nursing students, and undergraduates attending Health meets Food. Student discount does not apply to post-undergraduate students, residents, or fellows. (No Early Bird Discount is available for student tuition). Use coupon code “studentoflegumes”.

Register Here >>

You can also pre-purchase this year’s conference T-shirt and apron.

2022 Conference Host Hotel

This year’s host hotel will be the Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld, and we have negotiated a nightly rate of $159.00.

Shuttle will be running daily between the hotel and the Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

Book your hotel room now! >>


Featured Conference Speaker: Karen Washington

Rise & Root Farm

Karen Washington has lived in New York City all her life, and has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to access to fresh, locally grown food.

Karen has been a resident of the Bronx for over 26 years, although in 2015 she began living part time in Orange County, NY near the farm. Since 1985 Karen has been a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, Karen worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As an advocate, she stood up and spoke out for garden protection and preservation. As a member of the La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition, she helped launch a City Farms Market, bringing garden fresh vegetables to her neighbors. She also co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012 Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was awarded with the James Beard Leadership Award.

Professionally Karen was a Physical Therapist for over 30 years, and she “retired” in April 2014 to start Rise & Root Farm.

“To grow your own food gives you power and dignity. You know exactly what you’re eating because you grew it. It’s good, it’s nourishing and you did this for yourself, your family and your community.” 


Curriculum Update for Health meets Food Courseware

Health meets FoodThe Health meets Food curriculum committee continues to make updates to the courseware. We hope you will find the efforts of the team and the curriculum reviewers worthwhile.

1. We have updated the Module 1 – Introduction to Culinary Medicine lecture with more focused and up-to-date information from the Mediterranean diet literature. The video lecture and PDF of the PowerPoint are loaded in the programming now.

2. Revisions have been made to Module 5: Protein, Amino Acids, Vegetarian Diets, and Eating Disorders. The video lecture and PDF of the PowerPoint are loaded in the programming now.

3. The Curriculum Committee is nearing completion of revisions to Module 23: Myths, Fad Diets and Controversies module.

4. We are currently working on revisions of case studies for Modules 1 through 8.

5. In January the team will begin working on Module 7: Carbohydrates and Diabetes, including a very detailed look at the role of fructose in metabolic health and the use of novel non-nutritive sweeteners.

Health meets Food Curriculum Committee meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 5:00 PM Eastern time. All partner sites are invited to join the Zoom meeting and information is included in this newsletter under the heading Upcoming Culinary Medicine Events.


Monthly Profile: Academic Medicine

Nimisha K. Parekh, FACG, AGAF

Clinical Professor, School of Medicine
University of California, Irvine

Dr. Nimisha Parekh intended to follow her grandfather’s footsteps and become an ophthalmologist. She liked the idea of having long-term relationships with patients. But after a few years in medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans, it was the digestive system that caught her eye.

“I was interested in all the new things happening in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and I really liked doing procedures. Being a gastroenterologist would mean I could provide care for chronic diseases, allowing me to develop long-term relationships with patients, and I could also perform endoscopies and colonoscopies.”

After completing her residency in internal medicine at Tulane, Parekh went on to the University of Texas-Southwestern for a fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology, and then to the University of Chicago for advanced training in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), making her a rare subspecialist in the condition. As director of UCI Health’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program in the H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center, Parekh works with a multidisciplinary team to provide a seamless, humane approach to treating patients with IBD and related conditions that can result.

What is your favorite ingredient?

Oh, that is a hard one, so many great ingredients. One of my favorties is Cilantro. It is very versatile and brings great flavors to all types of cuisine.

What is your least favorite ingredient?

Indian bittermelon. I really just don’t like the taste.

What turns you on creatively?

Traveling and connecting with new people allows me to learn about other cultures and people. I get to see how other people do things.

What turns you off?

EPIC inbox 🙂 and inefficiency

What is your favorite recipe or meal?

Favorite meal is a staple of the Indian Gujarati meal consisting of Roti (Indian Bread), Dal (any type), Curried Cauliflower, and Rice. It is filling, healthy and well balanced.

What culinary flavor or aroma do you love?

Tumeric, it does not have much aroma but the color it brings to food is stunning. Tumeric has so many great medicinal properties to decrease inflammation.

What culinary flavor or aroma do you hate?

Anything fishy because I am vegetarian.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Owning and running a coffee shop with great snacks and food. This would allow me to create a space for others to come together and create a sense of community. The other career I would consider is being a stock trader, I really enjoy the stock market.

What profession would you not like to do?

Sales. I would not want to sell something that I don’t believe in.

Julia Child invites you to a potluck dinner with James Beard and Auguste Escoffier. What dish would you take?

Indian Dish called Khandhavi. Simple, flavorful and tasty.


Free Food Security Continuing Medical Education

Continuing Medical Education Online

The Health meets Food team now offers free continuing medical education programming focused on food security issues. The first two modules are available and can be accessed free online.  One module covers food security in older adults and the second the SNAP and WIC programs.

This is a significant issue for many in our society and the courseware covers background as well as actionable information for healthcare professionals.

Register Here >>


Upcoming Culinary Medicine Events

Continuing Medical Education via Zoom

The Health meets Food team began offering online hands-on cooking classes for CME credit in early May 2020. The classes have been very successful and our first round sold out, so we are adding more classes! Participants will use Zoom to gather, collaborate, cook together, and discuss case studies. Each module will follow the workflow of in-person programming and will take about 3 1/2 hours to complete.

A shopping and equipment list is available for each module to guide you in preparation. We also recommend using an iPad for the Zoom meeting and purchasing Gooseneck Tablet Holder to make participation easier.

For registration issues, questions, or for more event information, please contact Cecilia Hatfield at [email protected]

January 14, 2022 – CME Module 03 – Fats

January 16, 2022 – CME Module 08 – The Pediatric Diet: A Family Approach to Healthy Children

February 11, 2022 – CME Module 06 – Sodium, Potassium, and Hypertension

February 12, 2022 – CME Module 01 – Introduction to Culinary Medicine

March 12, 2022 – CME Module 16 – Anti-Inflammatory Diet

March 13, 2022 – CME Module 04 – Food Allergy & Intolerance

April 8, 2022 – CME Module 07 – Carbohydrates

April 10, 2022 – CME Module 01 – Introduction to Culinary Medicine

May 6, 2022 – CME Module 02 – Weight Management & Portion Control

May 7, 2022 – CME Module 05 – Protein, Amino Acids, Vegetarian Diets, and Eating Disorders

Register at this link >>


Curriculum Committee Meetings Every Second Thursday of the Month

Health meets Food Curriculum Committee meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 5:00 PM Eastern time. All partner sites are invited to join the Zoom meeting. The goal for the remainder of this academic year is to review two new modules related to food security – one covering food security in the elderly and the other a combined WIC & SNAP overview. We will also work on revisions to Module 1 and Module 7.

You can find Zoom information for registration in the Instructor Resources inside Moodle.

Research Committee Meetings Every Third Thursday of the Month

The Health meets Food Research Committee meets on the third Thursday of each month at 5:00 PM Eastern time.

Information on how to join the meeting via Zoom can be found in the Research Information for Health meets Food section of the Instructor Resources


Culinary Medicine in the News

South Carolina Programs Partner to Fight Diabetes

With November being National Diabetes Month and November 14 being World Diabetes Day, “Making It Grow” addresses that topic with the help from Clemson Extension Health Agent Ellie Lane and Christa Gonzalez, Director of Culinary Medicine of FoodShare South Carolina. Ellie shares with our viewers information about the Health Extension for Diabetes support program being offered, and Christa talks about how the FoodShare program provides fresh food boxes, recipes and culinary medicine cooking classes.

Doctors want their patients to benefit from new farm at St. Joe’s Oakland

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System had its grand opening for the second farm location at St. Joe’s Oakland in Pontiac earlier this year. After tearing down the north tower on the hospital campus, and checking the land for toxins, the hospital saw an opportunity to expand the farm program to Oakland County.

NU Grad Dr. Geeta Maker-Clark focuses on culinary justice in her work

When Dr. Geeta Maker-Clark (Weinberg ‘94) thinks about her patients’ nutritional health, she doesn’t imagine the food pyramid. Instead, the physician considers the overall impact of social factors like access to nutrition and lifestyle on their health.

Dr. Madison Humerick to provide introduction into culinary medicine for WVU Walk with a Future Doc session | Health Sciences Hub | West Virginia University

Madison Humerick, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor for the Department of Family Medicine at the WVU School of Medicine Eastern Campus and the assistant program director for the Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Track. The title of her presentation is “Doctors Practicing What They Preach! An Introduction to Culinary Medicine.”

UAMS Wins AAMC Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

The Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement is presented annually to an AAMC-member medical school or teaching hospital with a long-standing, major institutional commitment to partnering with the community it serves to identify and address community needs. The Foreman Award highlights community engagement as an important element of the academic mission and singles out institutions that serve as exemplars of social responsiveness on the part of the academic medical community.


The Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist (CCMS) Program

The Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist (CCMS) designation identifies clinicians who have a unique foundation for incorporating healthy eating into patients’ diets: comprehensive knowledge of nutrition and the culinary techniques to prepare food that is consistent with real-world budgets, time constraints, and nutritional ideals. Physicians, Physicians Assistants, Pharmacists, Registered Dietitians and Nurse Practitioners are eligible for certification.

The hybrid 60-credit curriculum includes a distinctive combination of online nutrition education courses, live conferences, and in-person attendance at hands-on teaching kitchen modules.By completing the program, clinicians will enhance their confidence and quality of care by learning how to:

  • Integrate nutritional counseling to supplement pharmacological treatment
  • Educate patients about weight loss and weight management
  • Develop practical examination-room dialogues that inspire behavioral change
  • Implement new strategies in even the busiest primary care offices

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