This course breaks important ground in bringing nutritional science to healthcare professionals in a digestible, practical, hands-on format.
Dr. Jim Gordon, who was the chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, pioneered this course more than seven years ago. He was recently honored as one of the five pioneers of integrative medicine by the Bravewell Collaborative and has been a leader in mind-body medicine, nutrition, and healing for nearly 40 years.
Over the last seven years, he has trained hundreds of practitioners, including faculty from more than 50 medical schools, which are now including this knowledge of how to use food as medicine in their curriculum.
Clearly, things have changed.
I remember a food-related meeting years ago, which included the nutritionists, doctors, chefs, and owners of Canyon Ranch, where I worked. I made it very clear during that meeting that I believed the future of nutrition and the culinary arts must recognize the therapeutic value of food to heal chronic illnesses.
As soon as the words “food is medicine” left my lips, I was under attack.
The vehement response from the chief chef was that food is only about good taste, not good health, and that we were not the Mayo Clinic.
Fortunately, this antiquated view is changing.
More and more food services, restaurants, and other institutions are recognizing the healing power of food and are including healing foods as part of their offerings.
The “Food as Medicine” course addresses things that most practitioners never learn in medical school, such as the scientific basis of nutrition as a therapeutic tool, how we can eat in a sustainable way, and how the health of our planet has directly affected the health of our food and the health of our bodies.
The course stresses areas such as nutrigenomics, the idea that food is information that speaks to our genes and turns on messages that create health or disease.
It also explores the role of stress, nutrition, hormone balance, the health of our gut, and the importance of detoxification and food.
The course is based on the basic tenets of Functional Medicine but is broken down into simple, practical tools practitioners can use every day with their patients.
It addresses specific nutritional approaches for conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, ADD, asthma, allergies, autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, and adrenal, thyroid, and neurodegenerative problems. Practitioners are advised on the use of nutritional supplements and cutting edge laboratory tests.
All this is done in an experiential way that increases self-awareness and includes food demonstrations and organic meals. In fact, this year they are using The UltraMetabolism Cookbook as a source for the meals that are served during the course.
The faculty this year is outstanding.
James Joseph, a leading antioxidant researcher from Tufts University
Collin Fogarty Draper, an expert in nutrigenomics
David Ludwig, head of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Gerard Mullin, from John Hopkins Medical School
Michael Lumpkin, a professor at Georgetown University Medical School
Many other distinguished speakers
The course director is actually the nutrition director of The UltraWellness Center, Kathie Swift, who has been involved in creating and developing this course over the years.
Anybody interested in nutrition is welcome to come.
Any healthcare practitioner will benefit -- including physicians, osteopaths, medical school faculty, nurses, nurse practitioners, registered dietitians and nutritionists, physician assistants, community healthcare practitioners, psychologists, mental health professionals, and other health professionals.
According to Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the leading researchers in the world in nutrition, “It is time to end the confusion. ‘Food as Medicine’ presents the best current scientific evidence for physicians, nutritionists, and other health professionals who want to counsel patients and teach students.”
I encourage all of you to tell your healthcare practitioners about it -- and consider attending yourself. This course provides tools and information to use the most powerful weapon against disease in the 21st century, your fork.