Category: Nutrition

Culinary Health and Healing: A Personal Statement

  |   By  |  0 Comments

What we eat; Does it really define who we are? Food has always been central to my life. My journey with food began creating absurd after-school snacks with whatever we could find in the cupboard to becoming sous chef of a Michelin-starred fine-dining kitchen. Food taught me how to savor the moment, how to focus and work hard, how to appreciate cultures other than my own, and how to connect with people around me. It’s a common denominator – we all need it.  

But cooking in restaurants isn’t enough. There is too much pain, too much disparity, too much waste, too much sacrifice at all levels of the food system to ignore. As my passion, I knew I wanted to focus on food but in a healthy and sustainable way. So, I left the restaurant, but I stayed in the kitchen. After studying nutrition at MUIH I now manage community nutrition literacy programming, supporting underserved populations to take back control of their own health and healing through culinary skills training and wellness practices.  

MUIH is accepting applications for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Culinary Health and Healing. This 8-month program is designed for individuals who want to reconnect to something essential for life. What does it mean to use food and cooking for personal and public good? If you are a chef looking to pivot your career, a caregiver for the chronically ill, a non-profit leader helping feed your community, a home-cook wanting to raise a healthy family, or if you are simply curious about nutrition and self-care – this is an opportunity to focus on how what we eat does define who we are. The food we consume impacts not just our bodies but our mentalities, economies, communities, and environments. It is essential that we understand these connections so that we can help build a healthier world from our kitchens. 

 

Christina Vollbrecht 
Adjunct Faculty/Cooking Lab Manager/Nutrition Literacy Outreach Programs 
MUIH MS Nutrition and Integrative Health Alumni 

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Culinary Health and Healing: Self-Efficacy and Community Health from the Kitchen

  |   By  |  0 Comments

Making healthy meal

Cooking is about more than flavor! A focus of MUIH’s new Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Culinary Health and Healing is giving students information they need to take back control of their own health and the tools they need to share this nutritional literacy with their communities. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed our food and health care systems to the breaking point, at no fault of the individuals devoted to these industries. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allotted more assistance to families and individuals in 2020 than in the history of the program (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2020) while hospitals are still running at maximum capacity to this day, dealing now with complications related to chronic illness like diabetes and high blood pressure as thousands delayed their medical care over the past year and a half. 

The Culinary Health and Healing curriculum provides students with the contextual, culinary, nutritional, and teaching background needed to make a significant difference in their communities. Malnutrition is more than not having enough to eat, it is not having the right food to eat, and is directly associated with the development of chronic disease and obesity. The multidimensional problem of malnutrition is related to culture, industry, the economy, politics, agriculture, education, healthcare, and inequitable division of power and resources. But there are accessible ways to regain individual health autonomy and prevent chronic disease in our communities. 

The program offers culinary skills training in addition to providing a solid introduction to behavior change, culinary education, and mindful eatingNutritional literacy is defined as individual knowledge, motivation, competencies, and awareness of one’s relationship to food, the food system, and nutrition (Vettori et al., 2019). Research and experience have demonstrated that higher nutritional literacy strengthens one’s self-efficacy, increases positive health behavior change, and returns power to the individual. This program combines knowledge with increased behavioral confidence for the students themselves and provides training for students to share this knowledge with others.  

MUIH is now accepting applications from individuals for the Spring 2022 start for this Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Culinary Health and Healing. We’re looking for applicants who want to understand the science of cooking and make a positive impact on their own health and wellness in addition to becoming leaders in a quickly changing food and health landscape through sustainable and equitable nourishment practices.