YOU’VE LIKELY HEARD THE FAMOUS QUOTE BY HIPPOCRATES, “Let
food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I wholeheartedly believe that food is medicine, from both a nutrition perspective and a nurturing perspective. Food serves as fuel for our bodies, providing us with energy and nutrients that can either preserve our health or hinder it. It’s also a nurturer, as it speaks to our emotions, our cultures, and our personal histories. As a registered dietitian and chef, I am passionate about tying together the nutritional and nurturing aspects of food through cooking.
When it comes to nutrition, you’re more likely to eat healthful foods when you prepare them yourself. Cooking can give you greater control over the nutrients you consume, and you can customize your diet to meet your health needs and goals. When it comes to health conditions—both preventing them and managing them— following a therapeutic diet and feeding yourself well can make a big difference, and learning to cook good food at home is a great way to set yourself up for success.
Cooking can also be therapeutic in an emotional sense: It can be satisfying to know that you crafted a meal for those you love as a way to care for them. There’s nothing like the sense of pride that comes from taking simple, fresh ingredients and serving a dish that smells and tastes delicious. You create a deeper connection with the food you eat when you prepare it yourself. That sense of connection can help improve your relationship with food.
I have had the opportunity to see both the nutritional and nurturing aspects of cooking come to life. For several years, I led a teaching kitchen program for an academic medical center where I developed programs and taught patients how to cook for specific therapeutic diets. This included ketogenic cooking for epilepsy patients, low-FODMAP and gluten-free cooking for digestive health patients, and low-protein cooking for patients with phenylketonuria, better known as PKU—a life-threatening genetic condition that inhibits the metabolism of certain amino acids. I have also developed and taught cooking classes aimed at managing heart health, diabetes, and weight loss; preventing chronic conditions through improved nutrition; and offering general cooking guidance. I saw many people go from being intimidated in the kitchen (and quite frankly, annoyed by the idea of having to put a meal together every night for their families), to being confident with knife skills, simple cooking techniques, and meal planning. As a nutrition and food professional, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing other people take care of their bodies and their health through cooking, and to see the positive changes manifest through improved health outcomes and improved quality of life.
Alzheimer’s is a
debilitating and devastating disease. Researchers have been working tirelessly
to find cures and treatments, and research tells us that nutrition and
lifestyle play a pivotal role in the prevention of cognitive decline. I am here
to help you take the research and recommendations surrounding the MIND diet—a
therapeutic diet for reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia—and
put them into practice in the kitchen. Just like I did with my patients in the
teaching kitchen, I will show you how to cook and eat in a way that reduces
your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. I hope this book not only inspires you,
but also shows you that food is a powerful tool for preserving the health of
your brain and your entire body.