Doctors in the Kitchen

What do a mechanic who drives a car spewing black smoke out the tailpipe, a psychologist whose personal relationships are in tatters, and an overweight, bleary- eyed doctor all have in common?  If you really believe something is true, then you have to show it by how you live.  Our mechanic should drive a car in good repair, a psychologist should have healthy relationships, and a doctor should know how to maintain a healthy body.  Apparently the logic here is starting to register with the medical community, and I for one am really happy to hear about it.

Dr. Eisenberg, an associate professor from the Harvard Schools of Medicine and of Public Health created what he calls an “interfaith marriage”  using chefs to teach doctors how to cook nutritious and good tasting food themselves. The goal is that they will first eat healthier themselves and then pass the inspiration on to their patients.  Dr. John Principe of Palos Heights, Chicago attended the 3 day cooking seminar after getting seriously discouraged about his professional approach of “a pill for every ill”.  Dr. Jim Fox from Michigan came to chop and mix saying, “I want to help my patients not need my services… I’d love to be put out of work.” (1)

We all need to pay attention. “By 2050, for example, as many as 1 in 3 adults will develop diabetes if current trends continue.” (2)  Two-thirds of people with diabetes have high blood pressure. This causes stress on our heart and increases the risk of heart disease.  It significantly harms the eyes even leading to blindness, weakens the kidney causing internal fluid build up, weakness and difficulty sleeping, or lethal kidney failure,  and is known to specifically deteriorate nerves in the feet which leads to injury and amputation. (3)  Diabetes can be avoided through eating and exercising lifestyle choices. We all need to pay attention to what we eat!

I was in the grocery store the other day waiting for the carts ahead of me to move through the line.  I was shocked to see the tired dad in front of me with his two teen aged daughters buying a cart full of colorful boxes of sugary, salty processed food items, stacks of red meat, and not one single piece of fruit or any vegetables.  I don’t see this at the Sprouts where I usually shop so it made me pause and look around a bit more.  I was horrified to see the same ingredients in every cart to my right and my left.  It might have been just a coincidence, but I doubt it.  When I unload groceries onto the conveyor belt it is an ocean of produce bags interspersed with something like a carton of eggs or a package of meat or chicken and various canned goods.

Like the good doctors learning to cook healthy food you would actually look forward to eating, I also believe that making homemade meals is a must for healthy eating.  Here are a few things that will help busy cooks overcome the obstacle of limited time and experience in the kitchen.

1- Print out the weekly menu of recipes and the shopping list that goes with it each week here at Orange Tree Lane.
2- Do one big shopping trip a week using your list and have all of the ingredients ready and waiting for you when it is time to cook.
3- Decide what you will make IN THE MORNING so that meat can be taken from the freezer, or so that you can delegate or chop some of the fresh produce ahead of time yourself as listed in the “Prep Work” section of the recipe.
4- Save lots of time by making double batches and eating leftovers for dinner or lunch the next day, or freeze them for another busy night.

Like any great endeavor, planning is absolutely essential to execution. The health professionals are realizing that home cooking is synonymous with healthy eating and worth the extra effort. I couldn’t agree more, and I hope you will use the planning you find right here at Orange Tree Lane to help you make the job that much easier!


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