Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives: Teaching People to Cook and Eat Well for Life

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Earlier this year, I joined a group of physicians, dieticians, public health professionals, chefs, and research scientists who gathered virtually at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Napa Valley, California for the 17th Annual Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives Conference.  For three full days we were treated to intriguing presentations by the best nutrition researchers in the country; entertaining cooking demonstrations by CIA-trained chefs; and inspirational discussions about creating a nationwide healthcare system that teaches people how to cook and eat well for life.

Why all the fuss about teaching people how to eat?  According to Dr. David Eisenberg, Director of Culinary Nutrition and Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, studies suggest that 20% of all premature deaths are preventable with a diet featuring prominent portions of vegetables, leafy greens, fruit, whole grains and beans.  In other words, if Americans ate delicious plant-forward meals more often, fewer premature deaths from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes might occur.

A plant forward meal packed with fiber, nutrients, and flavor!

Multiple presentations at the conference featured members of The Teaching Kitchens Collaborative, a diverse group of health-focused chefs and food-focused healthcare providers who help physicians, schools, YMCAs, health departments, and others plan and produce cooking demonstrations in a variety of community settings.  Their goal: show as many people as possible how to affordably cook and eat well at home.

Other presenters shared a wealth of knowledge on cutting edge nutrition research and the negative effects of childhood food insecurity on lifelong health and well being.

In this latest video from YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, I share highlights from the conference plus intriguing research that might inspire all of us to eat more fermented foods!  New evidence suggests that two or more daily servings of fermented foods (including sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and more), may reduce inflammation and prevent chronic disease by supporting the microbiome, or the collection of bacteria that live on and within us.

Tempeh Sloppy Joes Recipe

For more information on the connections between your health and the microbiome, check out The Good Gut, Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long Term Health, by Erica and Justin Sonnenburg, PhDs.  Although the topic is complex, the Sonnenburgs present the links between our health and the health of our bacterial buddies in a friendly, easy to read fashion.

You can learn more about Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives and the upcoming 2022 conference live in Napa Valley at and the Teaching Kitchens Collaborative at

Be sure to check out all of our entertaining and informative health, nutrition and cooking videos at  Simply click on the blog and Your Healthy Kitchen to explore the wide variety of foods and flavors featured there!  Follow me on Facebook too, at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, where I share photos and videos of the meals I make at home, review new food products, and share some of my favorite food and health related sites on the web.