Doctors as Chefs

Overview:

A visit to the Doctor usually entails the dictum of eating healthy food apart from consuming medicines. A new set of diseases are cropping up due to sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits especially fast food and processed food. It is in this context that the role of a doctor as a chef is accentuated.

Job Responsibilities:

Not all doctors are equipped with knowledge about nutrition. But there are some who  not only bring out the flavours but enhance the nutritional value of the dishes to create a positive impact on health. The common diseases plaguing one and all regardless of age, gender and location are diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Diet plays a huge role in the onset of these diseases. Medical education in itself does not include enough knowledge about nutrition. . Although the professions of Doctors and Chefs are poles apart, they play a complementary role in letting you lead a healthy and active life.

Skills/ Training required:

Medical education imparts a thorough knowledge about the anatomy, physiology, diagnostics and psychiatry and some knowledge about food and nutrition. It is not easy  to be a chef, who combines the legacy of a place, its environment and the food to lend it a special touch which not only draws out  the flavour but enhances the nutritional value of the food item, making it truly a gastronomers delight. It requires great skill to find the right blend of food and spices in a recipe. It is not only the cooking part that is important, but also awareness about the quantity of food to consume, the best times for a meal and the foods to avoid.

Following are some pointers to keep in mind while dining out in restaurants, hotels or on certain celebratory occasions.

  • Pass over the Appetizers: Most Indian appetizers are deep fried items with a high content of fats and carbohydrates. Make do with a light lentil soup instead.
  • Look out for the Spices: Indian culinary tradition is replete with generous use of spices, of which a major one common to most  dishes is the turmeric. It is an anti-oxidant packed with many health benefits.
  • Say no to high-calorie dishes: Many Indian dishes ar high in calories and fat content due to the addition of certain foods such as high-fat paneer, ghee and cream. These usually form the base of a vegetarian dish. Keep it light with lentils and chickpeas etc.You can also go in for tandoori items and lean proteins like chicken and seafood.

Be guarded when it comes to the consumption of rice/wheat. Everyone likes bread or rice. But ensure you eat just one serving of it with plenty of vegetables on the side to create a balanced meal.

List of Doctors who also don the hat of a  Chef:

When your doctor asks you to eat healthy, it is not only about being wary about consuming fatty food but also about maximising nutrition. Nature sure has a wonderful way of balancing and providing the right food in the right season. It is an accepted fact that seasonal foods are best consumed in the season of their origin to derive the maximum benefit out of them. Some of the “Doctor-Chefs” who have left a mark on the scene are:

  • Rupy Aujla: A trained NHS physician, he uses his scientific knowledge to to boost the nutritive value and bring out the medicinal benefits in food. The basic principle that he propagates is about eating healthy and living healthy. He has authored a book titled “Eat to Beat Illness” which offers a professional’s perspective in increasing your awareness and choice of food to impact your lifestyle and health.
  • Nandita Shah: She is the inspiration behind the establishment of SHARAN (Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection to Animals and Nature) which propagates a holistic lifestyle through the consumption of a healthy diet. Her initiative has so far been impacted the lives of over 20000 individuals in India and abroad with reversals of diabetes, thyroid and heart diseases to her credit. She has a support team of doctors and professionals aiding her mission.
  • Chatterjee: He propagates the four pillars of good health propounded during the two decades of his medical practice. According to him, the four pillars important to a healthy life are – Food, Movement, Sleep and Relaxation. In what he describes as progressive medicine, he urges you to be an architect of your own health.
  • David M Eisenberg: A faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, he is also the founder of the cooking conference for doctors and medical professionals. He is a pioneer in the business of providing nutrition advice trying to assimilate the best of medicine and cuisine as a viable inspiration and integration for Healthy Kitchens / Healthy Lives. It is the only way to combat the scourge of Diabetes and Obesity, which has been off-late acquiring epidemic proportions.
  • Jim Fox: A cardiologist from Traverse City, Michigan has shed the doctor’s apron to don the chef’s cap and says that his culinary offering is good enough for the patients not to need himas a Doctor! He is ready to celebrate being put out of work!
  • Kriston J. Kent: A plastic surgeon of repute from Naples, Florida is happier making incisions on vegetables than on the faces, his area of specialty. His inspiring words “How you look has a lot to do with how you feel”, rings true in the light of the promotion of the healthy foods dished out by him.

Bottom Line:

Food and nutrition have been an important aspect of healthcare through the ages. In fact with suitable adjustments to lifestyle and dietary habits, one can lead a healthy life. The dependency on medications will also come down. A change in the perspective has been brought about by very distinguished doctors who have worn the mantle of chef and propagating their “To Heal, First Eat” dictum, which has turned out to be the new age mantra.

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