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JOURNEY : Healthy Kitchen 101

Updated: May 4, 2020

By : Dra. Josephine Holgado

I think I’m a lot like you. I just want to be healthy but find it difficult because I don’t know how to prepare and cook healthy food.

I’m Doc Joy, with a successful private practice as a general pediatrician for almost 25 years at Calamba Medical Center. Every time parents bring their child to me for consult, whether for well child or sick baby visit, I make it a point to discuss the root causes and treatment of diseases and the preventive measures to avoid them by simply giving a brief lecture on good nutrition and related matters.

As a licensed physician, I know what to eat to be healthy. However, during the early years of my private practice, when parents ask me if there are healthy delicious food which are affordable, sometimes I’m at a lost . I just realized that I don’t have enough knowledge about nutrition. The one to three hours a week that we spent studying Applied Nutrition in third year medical school was lacking. Even my residency training in General Pediatrics at UP-PGH almost three decades ago did not arm me with the right skills to teach nutrition education.

Hence, I decided to enroll in Culinary Medicine Course to be a certified specialist and chef so I can prepare and cook healthy delicious food as well as teach and train others to do the same. Culinary medicine is not gourmet cooking. It is a field of medicine that is evidenced based which combines the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine. During this period of COVID 19 pandemic, we all want to be healthy and have a good resistance against infection which we can achieve if we eat the right and nutritious food.

Recent studies have shown a possible explanation on how our brains are wired to eat junk food due to repeated exposure to highly processed foods that are rich in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats causing addictive behavior. There are evidences that chronic illnesses can be postponed, prevented and even reversed like the Nurse Study which involves 116,000 participants that suggested a decrease in the risk of coronary artery disease by 82% with cessation of smoking, healthy diet and moderate exercise.

Through the years , there have been researches that used cooking intervention to evaluate the effectivity of health programs. But there was one study that struck me the most which was done in May 2013 with the objective of finding out the effectiveness of a massive open online course on nutrition and cooking in improving eating behaviors and meal composition of participants. The results showed positive improvement on both.

Most of the studies involved the use of predominantly whole food plant based diets. These diets are composed of whole, plant foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds but processed and animal foods are either limited or excluded. The optimal diet has the following daily recommendations: > 40 grams of fiber, 8 glasses of water, <50 mg of cholesterol, < 40 grams of fats and oils, < 2000 mg of sodium or < 5 grams of salt and < 40 grams of refined sugars which include cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses and other concentrated sweeteners.

In my next blog, I will show you how to start your journey from junk food to real food the easy way especially to those who cannot transition immediately.

But for now, I want you to write your questions or comments below so that I can address your concerns in my next blog.

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