The Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans has added an unconventional course to its curriculum. Medical students can now take cooking classes in addition to their usual training. The idea behind this ‘culinary medicine’ program — the first of its kind in the United States — is to improve doctors’ nutritional knowledge and encourage them to use food to prevent or cure illnesses.

According to an article in Bon Appétit, most medical students in the U.S. receive on average 20 hours of nutritional education throughout their entire education. This is an appallingly low number, especially when one considers that diet is at the core of many modern Western diseases. From Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, reflux and irritable bowel syndrome to obesity, allergies, depression, arthritis, and metabolic syndrome, eating the right foods (and eliminating the wrong foods) can go a long ways toward healing, while significantly reducing dependency on medicinal drugs.

A big part of the problem is that nutritional guidelines in North America are vague, impractical, and difficult to know how to apply. Everyone, from doctors to schoolchildren, learn about specific nutrients and percentages of recommended daily intakes, but that doesn’t translate easily to the grocery store:

Let food be thy medicine!

Let food be thy medicine!

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