MOULTRIE – What you eat and how you cook meals can affect your body for better or worse. That’s what first-year PCOM South Georgia students are learning in a one-week culinary class this summer.
The course was under the direction of Dr. Joanne Kakaty-Monzo, an instructor within the PCOM Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and chef Budd Cohen. About 10 students learned real-life applications for the biochemistry and nutrition topics they studied in their first-year curriculum.
“This is a wonderful course for the students. The main thing that we teach them about is how to talk to your patients about lifestyle [such as] what you eat, what you do, and exercising. It gives them the ability later when they’re done and are physicians in the workforce. They’re able to talk to their patients,” Kakaty-Monzo said.
When the participants become physicians, they will be able to give patients concrete methods of how to lose weight instead of simply giving them the task to lose weight.
The course has been offered to students across all three PCOM campuses, but has been instructed at the South Georgia Campus for only five years, Cohen said. Wednesday, June 14, marked the first day of this year’s PCOM South Georgia course.
Kakaty-Monzo’s second-course day lecture was focused on hypertension, which is also known as high blood pressure. She told the students, “Hypertension is the silent killer.”
The Culinary Medicine course participants were divided into five groups and began cooking meals with Cohen’s supervision. Thursday’s meal recipes included low-calorie and low-sodium options such as pork tenderloins and mashed sweet potatoes, shrimp fra diavolo and roasted asparagus, chicken fajita bowls, and Asian peanut tofu with noodles and sesame ginger broccoli.
Prior to cooking, Cohen explained to the class how color affects foods and consumer consumption within the food service industry. He used a Cheeto as an example. If a person examined a Cheetos original color, which might be gray, the chef said they probably wouldn’t want to eat it if they didn’t already know how it tasted.
Several of the students found the class beneficial not only to their academic studies but to their personal families.
“Of course, I think the best part is cooking, but I do really appreciate learning how to discuss these things with patients because it’s such a huge aspect of medicine and health,” Teighlor Livingston, a culinary medicine course participant, said in an interview.
Each group assists in creating a meal display after the cooking sessions. The class discuss the groups’ meals calorie levels and how the food can affect potential patients with diagnosis.
PCOM South Georgia Student Nahomie Louissaint said the course will benefit her tremendously in the long-run. “I have people in my family who have a diagnosis and I would like to use the information that I’m learning immediately,” she said.