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Culinary Medicine Elective

The Culinary Medicine Elective teaches UCI medical students hands-on, practical healthy cooking skills paired with evidence-based whole food nutritional concepts that will be applicable to their own health, as well as to many future patients they will see with diet-related illness.

Program Topics

We offer the course twice each academic year – once in the Fall semester, and again in Spring. The course is capped at 25 students for this series, and students are chosen based on their interest and expressed goals for taking the course as space allows. Topics covered in the elective include:

  • Introduction to Culinary Medicine, Knife Skills Safety & Sanitation, Meal Prepping 
  • Intro to Mediterranean Diet, What is mindful eating 
  • Anti-inflammatory foods, Emotional eating
  • Proteins: Understanding more about plant based proteins, Awareness of your hunger level
  • Fats: Understanding it all, How stress affects cravings
  • Carbohydrates: What are the healthy ones, Review of mindful eating

Director: Nimisha K. Parekh, MD, MPH, FACG, AGAF, Clinical Professor of Medicine (Specialty Gastroenterology), and Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program

Physicians: Sonali Iyer, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Hospital Medicine and Perioperative Care; Bavani Nadeswaran, MD, Clinical Professor, Internal Medicine and Associate Program Director, UCI Internal Medicine Residency Program;
Tan Q. Nguyen, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Family Medicine

Culinarian: Chef Jessica VanRoo, Director of Culinary Education, UCI Campus Recreation Dietitians: Karen Lindsay, PhD, RD; and Sherry Schulman, RDN, Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute

Health Coach: Cathy Parks, National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach

Culinary Medicine Initiative
Culinary Medicine Initiative

The Culinary Medicine Initiative is one part of our Integrative Medicine Program’s overarching plan to change the focus of healthcare and medical education for our residents, medical students and faculty to include a multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach that emphasizes wellness, prevention and self-care skills.

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Pickled Capers on a bagle
Blog for Nutrition Tips

Visit the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute Wellness Blog for nutrition tips from clinicians and researchers.

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A photo of Mussallem Nutritional Education Center kitchen classroom
Mussallem Nutrition Education Center

The Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute is proud to offer a variety of classes to patients, students, faculty, executives, and community members.

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The license and permission for using this well-tested and researched curriculum developed by Culinary Medicine Specialist Board for Health meets Food, was obtained through a generous grant from the Samueli Foundation. It is currently being used by over 35 other medical schools across the country, with research showing that the program improves students’ knowledge, attitudes toward and likelihood of following healthy diet principles. Studies of physicians attending similar hands-on culinary medicine workshop courses show greater likelihood of the physician attendees providing counseling regarding healthy diet changes.