As a physician who is Greek-American, I was raised preparing Mediterranean-based meals as a longtime lifestyle habit and the central glue of family and friendship. My grandparents through my father, “yiayia and papou,” whose modest home at the Jersey Shore served as the base for family recreation and dinners, lived well into their 90’s without diet, extreme exercise or rigid dietary rules. My mom who is of Russian and Slavic origin also embraced home-cooking as a cornerstone of our family lifestyle, and learned to cook traditional Mediterranean recipes as well as prepare her native Russian and Polish meals. Our mom taught us all well and now my sisters and I love to be in the kitchen to prepare meals celebrating food and family. Today our tradition of our preparing home-cooked meals lives on in my own family’s daily routine, despite the challenges of busy schedules and demanding time constraints of our modern life. My own three children actively participate in the process and are quite competent in the kitchen!
Having practiced internal medicine for 20 years, working as a private practice physician, hospitalist and consultant, I have witnessed firsthand the impact that a medical crisis can have on a family. Many times, the obstacle for making real changes and improvements in one’s diet is the lack of cooking skills, knowledge or misunderstanding of the science behind their disease.
Over the years of practice, I have often written recipes for patients on prescription blanks to give them simple recommendations of how to prepare foods that will benefit their nutritional health. There is much confusion about what constitutes healthful eating and my goal is to help people understand current best practices as well as debunk myths which are often more harmful than beneficial. Recently, there is evidence-based research, sometimes described as “culinary medicine,” to support the value of a Mediterranean-style based diet and to challenge some of the principles behind traditional guidelines for eating, for example.
What became clear was that I needed to do more…and as I did my own research and learned about the evolving study of culinary medicine I came up with the concept of “Food as Medicine” by taking the science, the properties of the foods and share simple cooking principles and recipes with a bigger audience, similar to what I have been doing with my own patients and family for years. I hope to create a resource guide for your own search for healthy and helpful information.
With a little planning and knowledge you too can incorporate the flavor and enjoyment of a Mediterranean style diet and reap the benefits of good health!
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