Teaching Kitchens as Learning Laboratories of the Future

January 10, 2021 Joe Brady

Grand Rounds: Harvard Medical School, Free Zoom Lecture

At this month’s Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds, David Eisenberg, MD, will present his talk Teaching Kitchens as Learning Laboratories of the Future. David M. Eisenberg, MD, is the director of culinary nutrition and adjunct associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He is the founding Co-Director of the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives conference, and founding Executive Director of the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative (www.teachingkitchens.org), a group of 39 organizations with teaching kitchens, intended to establish and evaluate best practices relating to nutrition, culinary and lifestyle education.

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 12th | 8:00am – 9:00am
Cost: Free. CME credit available (for in-person and virtual attendance).

Read more including excerpts are from a recent conference on teaching kitchens at Harvard Medical School.

Both Chinese and Greek medical thought leaders of the 5th century B.C. appreciated that one’s ‘‘constitution,’’ as referenced by Hippocrates, and one’s ‘‘ancestral Qi’’ also known as ‘‘vital energy’’ in Chinese theory, are also determinants of one’s health and resilience. Accordingly, modern teaching kitchens can be viewed as ‘‘learning laboratories’’ and ‘‘translational research centers’’ where the relationships between food, health, our environment, and the regulation of our genes (and microbiota) can be rigorously studied.

Teaching kitchens, as currently designed and implemented across the United States and globally, have been designed as learning environments that include a kitchen; however, they are more than culinary instruction sites.

Teaching kitchens typically include instruction in most, if not all, of the following: (1) nutrition education, specifically what to eat more of or less of and why; (2) hands-on culinary instruction, that is, basic cooking skills for the home cook; (3) information about physical activity and its critical importance in health optimization; (4) mindfulness and its critical relationship to diet, portion control, satiety, and resilience; (5) the judicious use of web-based resources and information technologies; (6) the relationship between food choices and the environment; and (7) motivational inter- viewing strategies and health coaching techniques whereby personal motivations can be identified and leveraged to successfully achieve sustained behavioral change.