Advance Your Nutrition Career with a Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition

The Doctor of Clinical Nutrition program is designed for nutritionists, registered dietitians, other clinicians, educators, and researchers seeking the high-level knowledge and skills needed to work at the forefront of functional nutrition. Functional nutrition uses a holistic, flexible, and personalized approach to address an individual’s unique health goals and needs.

The webinar will provide an overview of the program and insight into how the Doctor of Clinical Nutrition can enhance your career opportunities.

Dr. James Snow, Department Chair for Nutrition and Herbal Medicine will present the webinar.

Sign up through Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link for this webinar. The recording will automatically be available after the event.

By registering for this webinar, you will receive our bi-weekly Health & Wellness Newsletter. You may opt out at any time.

Please take note that we do not offer certificates of webinar attendance.

Webinar | Doctor of Clinical Nutrition Program – Progressing Your Career

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Advance Your Nutrition Career with a Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition

The Doctor of Clinical Nutrition program is designed for nutritionists, registered dietitians, other clinicians, educators, and researchers seeking the high-level knowledge and skills needed to work at the forefront of functional nutrition. Functional nutrition uses a holistic, flexible, and personalized approach to address an individual’s unique health goals and needs.

The webinar will provide an overview of the program and insight into how the Doctor of Clinical Nutrition can enhance your career opportunities.

Dr. James Snow, Department Chair for Nutrition and Herbal Medicine will present the webinar.

Sign up through Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link for this webinar. The recording will automatically be available after the event.

By registering for this webinar, you will receive our bi-weekly Health & Wellness Newsletter. You may opt out at any time.

Please take note that we do not offer certificates of webinar attendance.

Learn about one of only two graduate programs in the U.S. to focus on the emerging field of culinary health/medicine.

Join this webinar to learn more about the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Culinary Health and Healingoffered at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH).

This program fills a national gap in the educational needs of the emerging culinary health/medicine field. MUIH’s program is one of only two graduate programs in the U.S. at the intersection of the nutrition and culinary fields. It uniquely focuses on whole foods cooking and holistic health and wellness. This 12-credit program can be completed fully online in 2 trimesters (8 months).

In this webinar, you’ll hear from Dr. Eleonora Gafton, Associate Professor and Director of Whole Foods Cooking Labs at MUIH.

Visit our website to learn more about our Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Culinary Health and Healing program.

Sign up through Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link for this webinar. The recording will automatically be available after the event.

By registering for this event, you will receive our bi-weekly Health & Wellness Newsletter. You may opt out at any time.

Please take note that we do not offer certificates of webinar attendance.

Webinar | All About Our Certificate in Culinary Health and Healing Program

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Learn about one of only two graduate programs in the U.S. to focus on the emerging field of culinary health/medicine.

Join this webinar to learn more about the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Culinary Health and Healingoffered at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH).

This program fills a national gap in the educational needs of the emerging culinary health/medicine field. MUIH’s program is one of only two graduate programs in the U.S. at the intersection of the nutrition and culinary fields. It uniquely focuses on whole foods cooking and holistic health and wellness. This 12-credit program can be completed fully online in 2 trimesters (8 months).

In this webinar, you’ll hear from Dr. Eleonora Gafton, Associate Professor and Director of Whole Foods Cooking Labs at MUIH.

Visit our website to learn more about our Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Culinary Health and Healing program.

Sign up through Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link for this webinar. The recording will automatically be available after the event.

By registering for this event, you will receive our bi-weekly Health & Wellness Newsletter. You may opt out at any time.

Please take note that we do not offer certificates of webinar attendance.

Join us for an informative webinar on our Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health program.

Our Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health integrates contemporary nutrition science perspectives with traditional dietary wisdom to address the complex role of nutrition in human health. It is designed for individuals entering the profession as a first or second career and who are interested in providing evidence-informed personalized nutrition interventions and education programs.

The webinar will provide an overview of the program and a nutrition case study demonstrating the knowledge and skills you will gain as a student.

The webinar will be presented by Department Chair for Nutrition and Herbal Medicine, Dr. James Snow, and Adjunct Faculty Dr. Sherryl Van Lare.

By registering for this event, you will receive our bi-weekly Health & Wellness Newsletter. You may opt out at any time.

Please take note that we do not offer certificates of webinar attendance.

Webinar | Earn Your Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health

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Join us for an informative webinar on our Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health program.

Our Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health integrates contemporary nutrition science perspectives with traditional dietary wisdom to address the complex role of nutrition in human health. It is designed for individuals entering the profession as a first or second career and who are interested in providing evidence-informed personalized nutrition interventions and education programs.

The webinar will provide an overview of the program and a nutrition case study demonstrating the knowledge and skills you will gain as a student.

The webinar will be presented by Department Chair for Nutrition and Herbal Medicine, Dr. James Snow, and Adjunct Faculty Dr. Sherryl Van Lare.

By registering for this event, you will receive our bi-weekly Health & Wellness Newsletter. You may opt out at any time.

Please take note that we do not offer certificates of webinar attendance.

February is American Heart Month, and while this is an important topic all year round, this is a wonderful time to raise awareness about making changes and choices to improve cardiovascular health. Understanding the root causes of heart disease can guide the development of preventative strategies, such as the use of integrative medicine and a holistic approach to self-care. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease mortality is increasing in working-age adults. As the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, it is crucial to be proactive about our heart health. Cardiovascular disease typically involves the development of plaque in the arteries that obstruct or reduce blood flow and can cause heart attack or stroke. Several factors contribute to plaque formation, including foods rich in sugar and cholesterol, excess stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.  

Depending on the specific illness, the symptoms of heart disease can show up as indigestion, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, excessive exhaustion, upper body discomfort, dizziness, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet or ankles, excessive fatigue, fluttering in the chest, or chest pain and discomfort.  

How can we be more proactive in reducing our risk of heart disease? Here are some simple tips to consider to care for our hearts: 

  • “There are many aspects of heart health, and nutrition is part of it. We have an abundance of whole foods that are excellent sources of polyphenols. These are compounds found in whole foods and have antioxidant properties; they scavenge the free radicals which are formed in our bodies. Red wine in moderation, green tea, and chocolate are only a few to mention,” says Eleonora Gafton, Program Director Whole Foods Cooking Labs, and Associate Professor at MUIH.
     
  • Adopt healthier behaviors such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. As Gafton explains, “Even when something is good for us, we need to be mindful and not overindulge. In addition, our body makes its antioxidants like CoQ10, one of the most potent antioxidants that support our heart muscles. Most of us know about the supplement, yet we also have foods high in CoQ10, like wild-caught salmon.”
  • “Herbal medicines can offer a variety of benefits for supporting heart health. Hawthorne (Craetagus oxycantha) has a long history for supporting a healthy heart, and has been examined for its hypotensive and antioxidant effects. It is a safe herbal medicine and well tolerated, and a good place to begin if you want to add in extra support and prevention,” says Bevin Clare, Program Director Clinical Herbal Medicine, and Professor at MUIH.  
  • Monitor your blood sugar and cholesterol levels to keep your blood pressure under control. Increase your fiber, omega 3-fatty acids, fruits, nuts, avoid fatty foods, red and processed meats. Having regular checkups with your doctor can help to monitor and manage these health markers.
     
  • Learn to manage stress through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. Have a supportive social network that you can rely on. Get the proper amount of rest by practicing good sleep hygiene and having a sleep schedule. Sleep tips include keeping your bedroom dark, taking a warm bath, and avoiding screens, such as smart phones, in the evening.  

Remember, these changes should become new habits for life. Following these tips can significantly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. 

For 40 years, patients have received healing experiences from the Natural Care Center, the student’s clinic at Maryland University of Integrative Health. To craft a personalized nutrition plan, experience relaxation with yoga therapy and acupuncture techniques, and achieve balance with herbal medicine, call 443-906-5794 or visit NCC.MUIH.edu  

5 Tips to Improve Your Heart Health

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heart health

February is American Heart Month, and while this is an important topic all year round, this is a wonderful time to raise awareness about making changes and choices to improve cardiovascular health. Understanding the root causes of heart disease can guide the development of preventative strategies, such as the use of integrative medicine and a holistic approach to self-care. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease mortality is increasing in working-age adults. As the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, it is crucial to be proactive about our heart health. Cardiovascular disease typically involves the development of plaque in the arteries that obstruct or reduce blood flow and can cause heart attack or stroke. Several factors contribute to plaque formation, including foods rich in sugar and cholesterol, excess stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.  

Depending on the specific illness, the symptoms of heart disease can show up as indigestion, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, excessive exhaustion, upper body discomfort, dizziness, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet or ankles, excessive fatigue, fluttering in the chest, or chest pain and discomfort.  

How can we be more proactive in reducing our risk of heart disease? Here are some simple tips to consider to care for our hearts: 

Remember, these changes should become new habits for life. Following these tips can significantly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. 

For 40 years, patients have received healing experiences from the Natural Care Center, the student’s clinic at Maryland University of Integrative Health. To craft a personalized nutrition plan, experience relaxation with yoga therapy and acupuncture techniques, and achieve balance with herbal medicine, call 443-906-5794 or visit NCC.MUIH.edu  

In our recent live discussion, How to be Healthy This Winter, Sean Rose, Sarajean Rudman, and Sherryl Van Lare from the Maryland University of Integrative Health shared numerous ways to feel healthy in winter.  This blog reveals 10 easy ways to use herbal medicine, Ayurveda, and nutrition to stay in top shape all season long and beyond!  

As temperatures turn colder, strategies to stay healthy become even more critical. The global medical community is currently challenged with curing new viruses and conditions without known cures. Boosting our immunity is a powerful way to take charge of our health and prevent illnesses. Whether you are looking to stay healthy or recover from an illness, herbal medicine, Ayurveda, and good nutrition can help. 

Try making the following tips a part of your daily ritual: 

  1. According to Ayurvedic principles, consume more warm and oily foods during winter to balance the cold, windy, and dry season. It is essential to eat at the warmest time of day – at midday – when the sun is brightest.  
  1. Make meals a ritual – mindful and intentional eating will aid your body’s digestion and allow you to absorb nutrients. 
  1. Herbal Medicine tries to counteract the coldness and dryness of winter by boosting metabolism and increasing circulation to stay warm. If you often have cold hands and feet, boost your circulation by moving your body, and drink warm foods and tea or tisanes to warm yourself from the inside out.
  1. Food provides our body with the nutrients and information it needs to function. Carotenes, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin D help to stimulate our immune response in several ways. Eat foods that contain all colors of the rainbow to receive the variety of nutrients that you need to stay healthy, and consult your nutritionist or health care professional to see if supplements are right for you. 
  1. Use herbs in steams and potpourris. Simmer a mixture of cinnamon sticks, citrus peels, clove buds, and star of anise on the stove and let the scent permeate your space. Evidence shows that the volatile oils released into the air from steam could have antimicrobial effects if someone feels sick.
  1. Cinnamon and ginger are spicy and warm, and those tastes tell us they will warm us up. They can be used often in your daily winter recipes or as needed!
  1. Drink warming herbs and spices! Cardamom, black pepper, rosemary, and turmeric have warming qualities and can be blended into tisanes. Adaptogens such as holy basil, ashwagandha, and medicinal mushrooms can help the body’s immune response.
  1. Control excess mucus with cooked oatmeal, flax seed tea, cinnamon, and mullein which contain mucilage and can help reduce excess mucus.
  1. Slowing down is important in winter. Nature goes dormant in winter because there is less energy in the air. It is important for us to do the same.
  1. Eat foods that are in season. If you reside in a colder environment, these might include onions and garlic, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, winter squash, apples, and citrus. Pumpkin seeds, elderberry, citrus peel, and rose hip also provide a variety of components that help us stay healthy in winter.

Please visit www.muih.edu for more information about our herbal medicine, nutrition, and Ayurveda programs. Be sure to access our recipes for more nutritious and delicious ideas as well.  

Top 10 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter by Amy Riolo

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stay healthy this winter

In our recent live discussion, How to be Healthy This Winter, Sean Rose, Sarajean Rudman, and Sherryl Van Lare from the Maryland University of Integrative Health shared numerous ways to feel healthy in winter.  This blog reveals 10 easy ways to use herbal medicine, Ayurveda, and nutrition to stay in top shape all season long and beyond!  

As temperatures turn colder, strategies to stay healthy become even more critical. The global medical community is currently challenged with curing new viruses and conditions without known cures. Boosting our immunity is a powerful way to take charge of our health and prevent illnesses. Whether you are looking to stay healthy or recover from an illness, herbal medicine, Ayurveda, and good nutrition can help. 

Try making the following tips a part of your daily ritual: 

  1. According to Ayurvedic principles, consume more warm and oily foods during winter to balance the cold, windy, and dry season. It is essential to eat at the warmest time of day – at midday – when the sun is brightest.  
  1. Make meals a ritual – mindful and intentional eating will aid your body’s digestion and allow you to absorb nutrients. 
  1. Herbal Medicine tries to counteract the coldness and dryness of winter by boosting metabolism and increasing circulation to stay warm. If you often have cold hands and feet, boost your circulation by moving your body, and drink warm foods and tea or tisanes to warm yourself from the inside out.
  1. Food provides our body with the nutrients and information it needs to function. Carotenes, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin D help to stimulate our immune response in several ways. Eat foods that contain all colors of the rainbow to receive the variety of nutrients that you need to stay healthy, and consult your nutritionist or health care professional to see if supplements are right for you. 
  1. Use herbs in steams and potpourris. Simmer a mixture of cinnamon sticks, citrus peels, clove buds, and star of anise on the stove and let the scent permeate your space. Evidence shows that the volatile oils released into the air from steam could have antimicrobial effects if someone feels sick.
  1. Cinnamon and ginger are spicy and warm, and those tastes tell us they will warm us up. They can be used often in your daily winter recipes or as needed!
  1. Drink warming herbs and spices! Cardamom, black pepper, rosemary, and turmeric have warming qualities and can be blended into tisanes. Adaptogens such as holy basil, ashwagandha, and medicinal mushrooms can help the body’s immune response.
  1. Control excess mucus with cooked oatmeal, flax seed tea, cinnamon, and mullein which contain mucilage and can help reduce excess mucus.
  1. Slowing down is important in winter. Nature goes dormant in winter because there is less energy in the air. It is important for us to do the same.
  1. Eat foods that are in season. If you reside in a colder environment, these might include onions and garlic, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, winter squash, apples, and citrus. Pumpkin seeds, elderberry, citrus peel, and rose hip also provide a variety of components that help us stay healthy in winter.

Please visit www.muih.edu for more information about our herbal medicine, nutrition, and Ayurveda programs. Be sure to access our recipes for more nutritious and delicious ideas as well.  

By Amy Riolo 

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus was known for saying “We should look for someone to eat or drink with before looking for something to eat or drink.” Each October, National Eat Better, Eat Together Month promotes the health, social, and communal benefits of eating with others. Since enjoying food with others is key to my culinary philosophy, I have chosen this symbolic month to encourage others to enjoy the pleasurable and beneficial ritual of communal dining. 

The world has a long history of giving importance to eating together. Everything from biblical verses to Ancient Egyptian texts and the Renaissance  into modern times underlined this important tradition. Many modern health and wellness research confirms the importance of Epicurus’ quote as well. In modern times, however, when our economies became more industrial and less based on agriculture, communal eating no longer coincided with urban workdays, and the trend fell out of fashion. 

Nowadays, many American families enjoy the luxury of eating in large groups only on major holidays. Incidentally, according to MDLinx, a news service for physicians, “The newest epidemic in America (loneliness) now affects up to 47% of adults – double the number affected a few decades ago.”  Eating together doesn’t mean that you need to change your social status, move, or go on a date. It does, however, involve getting creative, especially if you live alone or have work schedules that vary greatly from the people you live with.  In many modern nutrition debates, we discuss only what we are eating, not who we are eating with, in stark contrast to Epicurus’ advice.   

When I wrote my 10th book, Mediterranean Lifestyle for Dummies, I had the opportunity to research the health benefits of communal eating. Here’s what I learned and included in the book: 

  • According to a study that appeared in the Journal of Adolescent Health which was based on more than 18,000 adolescents, even teenagers who eat regularly with their parents developed much better nutritional habits.  
  • Cornell University research revealed that even coworkers of diverse backgrounds who ate together performed better at work. They found that “companies that invest in an inviting dining room or cafeteria or shared meal space may be getting a particularly good return on their investment.”   
  • Research by Brain Health shows that communal eating not only activates beneficial neurochemicals, but also improves digestion. When you bond with others and experience a sense of connection, endogenous opioids and oxytocin (pain and stress-relieving hormones) are released. 

There are many other psychological and physical rewards that eating communally fosters as well.  For example, residents in Sardinia are ten times more likely to live past 100 than people in the United States. Researchers attribute this to daily communal eating and the psychological security of being surrounded by loved ones. But every country and culture in the Mediterranean region has its own way of encouraging people to plan meals and eat together, and this tradition also has been linked to improved digestion and eating less overall. 

Faced with overbooked schedules and increasing demands, most of us treat mealtimes as an afterthought. For many people, it’s a challenge just to make sure that they eat, and perhaps that their food is nutritious. With just a little extra effort in the beginning, however, your overall wellness will improve.  Luckily, starting your own tradition of eating with friends and family is easy to do.   

Here are ten simple ideas to help you enjoy more meals with others:  

  1. Schedule meals with others into your weekly planning. 

Just as we plan going to the movies, working out, carpooling, the theater, or spectator sports with one another, we should also plan our meal times and physical activity. Even if you start with just one meal a week, it is worth it to pencil it into your schedule so you can plan accordingly.  

  1. Remember, communal meals don’t have to mean dinner. 

Some people work really long days or have schedules which don’t permit them to get out for dinner. If that’s the case, plan other meals when you do have time with friends, family, co-workers or neighbors, even if it needs to be virtual. A lot of people I know enjoy meeting for breakfast or lunch, and then, of course, there’s always the days off which can be more flexible. 

  1. Make breakfast the new dinner. 

You can bond just as easily over breakfast as you can over dinner. Busy couples and families are taking advantage of a communal breakfast to enjoy a bit of time together before their hectic days begin.  

  1. Allow cooking to be part of the communal eating experience. 

Some people refrain from entertaining because they believe that they have to have everything “ready” for whomever they’re eating with, and busy schedules don’t allow for prep work. If you can relate, keep in mind that it can be fun and efficient to work as a team. Assign one person the responsibility to pick up the groceries—or order them online—and cook together. It allows for more communal time in the kitchen. 

  1. Brunch is Better

Brunch is an easy meal to fit into weekends, and it involves less rigid “dining rules” than other eating times. Try planning  a group brunch for you and your friends, invite the whole family to your place for dinner and a movie, or help your kids plan a fun and healthy food-themed party. You’ll be starting your own tradition and gaining a lifetime of health and happiness. 

Be sure to check out our recipe section from our Nutrition students here at MUIH or my blog for more inspiration. 

  1. Enjoy Lunch with colleagues

Many people have the most interaction with others during their work day—so lunchtime is a great time to eat together. Ask your coworkers or fellow students to join you for your midday meal or invite a friend to lunch.   

  1. Make technology work for you

One of the positive things that came out of the recent lockdown was our ability to use technology to help us feel connected to loved ones. Since some of my work (the writing portion) was always done at home even prior to 2019, I became accustomed to “eating” with others over the phone or internet. If I know I am going to be alone writing or testing recipes, for example, I’ll set up a phone call with a friend or family member during lunch or dinner. Even though they are not in person with me, we still enjoy each other’s’ camaraderie while eating, and therefore, many of the same psychological benefits that dining together offers, without ever leaving our homes or places of work.  

  1. The heart seeks a friend

There is a Turkish proverb that says “The heart seeks neither the coffee nor the coffee house, the heart seeks a friend, coffee is just an excuse.” It’s a beautiful reminder of how important company can be. Even if regular meals are impossible, be sure to schedule in some regular coffee or tea times with a loved one. 

  1. Make like-minded acquaintances

We all go through transitions in life. Maybe you just moved or are experiencing a breakup, or have welcomed a new member in the family which makes socializing more challenging. Nowadays, there are many virtual and in person meet-ups for like-minded people who enjoy various themes such as wine, gardening, books, sports, languages, music, art, etc. Try joining one that appeals to you. You could, at a bare minimum, meet friendly people who would also enjoy dining together. 

  1. Change the rules

Our society has a social stigma around dining. Asking someone who isn’t a romantic partner, close friend, or family member to dinner is synonymous with asking someone on a date. But it doesn’t need to be that way. 50 years ago carpooling wasn’t a thing either, and the idea of signing up online for a tennis partner would have seemed outlandish. Nowadays, however, we sign up for carpools with people and play sports with others who we may not know very well and definitely don’t have romantic feelings for. Eating should be viewed the same way. If friends and family are not available, we should be able to comfortably mention to acquaintances that we value the health benefits of communal eating and would like to start a breakfast, lunch, or dinner club with them. Many of my friends have done this, and the tradition has become of one of the most anticipated events on their social calendar. 

Recognizing the benefits of eating together reminds us that the field of nutrition is more than counting calories and studying vitamins. MUIH’s programs approach nutrition from an integrative, whole-person perspective to understand the multifaceted role of food in our lives. Even though it can be difficult to arrange more shared meals, it’s totally worth it when you think about all you will gain. For delicious, nutritious, and fun recipes to share, check out our MUIH recipe resources as well as those on my personal blog 

10 Top Tips for Eating Better, Eating Together

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By Amy Riolo 

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus was known for saying “We should look for someone to eat or drink with before looking for something to eat or drink.” Each October, National Eat Better, Eat Together Month promotes the health, social, and communal benefits of eating with others. Since enjoying food with others is key to my culinary philosophy, I have chosen this symbolic month to encourage others to enjoy the pleasurable and beneficial ritual of communal dining. 

The world has a long history of giving importance to eating together. Everything from biblical verses to Ancient Egyptian texts and the Renaissance  into modern times underlined this important tradition. Many modern health and wellness research confirms the importance of Epicurus’ quote as well. In modern times, however, when our economies became more industrial and less based on agriculture, communal eating no longer coincided with urban workdays, and the trend fell out of fashion. 

Nowadays, many American families enjoy the luxury of eating in large groups only on major holidays. Incidentally, according to MDLinx, a news service for physicians, “The newest epidemic in America (loneliness) now affects up to 47% of adults – double the number affected a few decades ago.”  Eating together doesn’t mean that you need to change your social status, move, or go on a date. It does, however, involve getting creative, especially if you live alone or have work schedules that vary greatly from the people you live with.  In many modern nutrition debates, we discuss only what we are eating, not who we are eating with, in stark contrast to Epicurus’ advice.   

When I wrote my 10th book, Mediterranean Lifestyle for Dummies, I had the opportunity to research the health benefits of communal eating. Here’s what I learned and included in the book: 

There are many other psychological and physical rewards that eating communally fosters as well.  For example, residents in Sardinia are ten times more likely to live past 100 than people in the United States. Researchers attribute this to daily communal eating and the psychological security of being surrounded by loved ones. But every country and culture in the Mediterranean region has its own way of encouraging people to plan meals and eat together, and this tradition also has been linked to improved digestion and eating less overall. 

Faced with overbooked schedules and increasing demands, most of us treat mealtimes as an afterthought. For many people, it’s a challenge just to make sure that they eat, and perhaps that their food is nutritious. With just a little extra effort in the beginning, however, your overall wellness will improve.  Luckily, starting your own tradition of eating with friends and family is easy to do.   

Here are ten simple ideas to help you enjoy more meals with others:  

  1. Schedule meals with others into your weekly planning. 

Just as we plan going to the movies, working out, carpooling, the theater, or spectator sports with one another, we should also plan our meal times and physical activity. Even if you start with just one meal a week, it is worth it to pencil it into your schedule so you can plan accordingly.  

  1. Remember, communal meals don’t have to mean dinner. 

Some people work really long days or have schedules which don’t permit them to get out for dinner. If that’s the case, plan other meals when you do have time with friends, family, co-workers or neighbors, even if it needs to be virtual. A lot of people I know enjoy meeting for breakfast or lunch, and then, of course, there’s always the days off which can be more flexible. 

  1. Make breakfast the new dinner. 

You can bond just as easily over breakfast as you can over dinner. Busy couples and families are taking advantage of a communal breakfast to enjoy a bit of time together before their hectic days begin.  

  1. Allow cooking to be part of the communal eating experience. 

Some people refrain from entertaining because they believe that they have to have everything “ready” for whomever they’re eating with, and busy schedules don’t allow for prep work. If you can relate, keep in mind that it can be fun and efficient to work as a team. Assign one person the responsibility to pick up the groceries—or order them online—and cook together. It allows for more communal time in the kitchen. 

  1. Brunch is Better

Brunch is an easy meal to fit into weekends, and it involves less rigid “dining rules” than other eating times. Try planning  a group brunch for you and your friends, invite the whole family to your place for dinner and a movie, or help your kids plan a fun and healthy food-themed party. You’ll be starting your own tradition and gaining a lifetime of health and happiness. 

Be sure to check out our recipe section from our Nutrition students here at MUIH or my blog for more inspiration. 

  1. Enjoy Lunch with colleagues

Many people have the most interaction with others during their work day—so lunchtime is a great time to eat together. Ask your coworkers or fellow students to join you for your midday meal or invite a friend to lunch.   

  1. Make technology work for you

One of the positive things that came out of the recent lockdown was our ability to use technology to help us feel connected to loved ones. Since some of my work (the writing portion) was always done at home even prior to 2019, I became accustomed to “eating” with others over the phone or internet. If I know I am going to be alone writing or testing recipes, for example, I’ll set up a phone call with a friend or family member during lunch or dinner. Even though they are not in person with me, we still enjoy each other’s’ camaraderie while eating, and therefore, many of the same psychological benefits that dining together offers, without ever leaving our homes or places of work.  

  1. The heart seeks a friend

There is a Turkish proverb that says “The heart seeks neither the coffee nor the coffee house, the heart seeks a friend, coffee is just an excuse.” It’s a beautiful reminder of how important company can be. Even if regular meals are impossible, be sure to schedule in some regular coffee or tea times with a loved one. 

  1. Make like-minded acquaintances

We all go through transitions in life. Maybe you just moved or are experiencing a breakup, or have welcomed a new member in the family which makes socializing more challenging. Nowadays, there are many virtual and in person meet-ups for like-minded people who enjoy various themes such as wine, gardening, books, sports, languages, music, art, etc. Try joining one that appeals to you. You could, at a bare minimum, meet friendly people who would also enjoy dining together. 

  1. Change the rules

Our society has a social stigma around dining. Asking someone who isn’t a romantic partner, close friend, or family member to dinner is synonymous with asking someone on a date. But it doesn’t need to be that way. 50 years ago carpooling wasn’t a thing either, and the idea of signing up online for a tennis partner would have seemed outlandish. Nowadays, however, we sign up for carpools with people and play sports with others who we may not know very well and definitely don’t have romantic feelings for. Eating should be viewed the same way. If friends and family are not available, we should be able to comfortably mention to acquaintances that we value the health benefits of communal eating and would like to start a breakfast, lunch, or dinner club with them. Many of my friends have done this, and the tradition has become of one of the most anticipated events on their social calendar. 

Recognizing the benefits of eating together reminds us that the field of nutrition is more than counting calories and studying vitamins. MUIH’s programs approach nutrition from an integrative, whole-person perspective to understand the multifaceted role of food in our lives. Even though it can be difficult to arrange more shared meals, it’s totally worth it when you think about all you will gain. For delicious, nutritious, and fun recipes to share, check out our MUIH recipe resources as well as those on my personal blog 

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 

Culinary Health and Healing: A Personal Statement

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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 

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. 

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

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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. 

An MUIH education is not just for living, but for life.