Supporting your patients and clients to be more comfortable in the kitchen and learn how to cook with more anti-inflammatory ingredients is one of the best ways to help them to embrace the self-healing and self-nurturing power of using food as medicine.

When your clients didn’t grow up in a home where cooking was common and passed on to the next generation, they may be simply unaware of how to use herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of healing foods.

Many of your clients and patients will be more comfortable at restaurants or eating processed foods since that is what they grew up with or what they have gotten used to.

Thus, it can be challenging to help them to shift their taste preferences so that they enjoy healthy food and cook with anti-inflammatory ingredients.

If you want your clients to eat healthy foods and incorporate more anti-inflammatory ingredients, it’s crucial to teach them to play in the kitchen with beautiful herbs and spices.

How do you do that if you don’t have much experience yourself with cooking with anti-inflammatory ingredients, herbs, and spices?

  • Overcome your fear of the kitchen by making a mess and making mistakes.  Yesterday I was in an advanced cooking lab with a master chef and some of the most brilliant minds in functional nutrition.  And, I made a mess of my cauliflower rice recipe.  I was supposed to steam the cauliflower (which did come out at the perfect level of doneness – not too hard, not too mushy.  Beginner’s luck I suppose!), and then gently put it through the food processor.  And, only then, add the dressing.  Well, I added the dressing first.  Then I had to very carefully put the dressed cauliflower through the food processor.  Keep in mind that there was a significant amount of turmeric in the dressing.  Turmeric stains everything yellow.  It was a mess!  But, it actually came out just beautifully.  Other than some extra clean-up, the dish was amazing!  (And now my new apron is christened with turmeric!)

Bottom line: Make mistakes in the kitchen yourself so that your clients and patients can learn through your experience.

  • Hide anti-inflammatory herbs in unexpected places.  One of the desserts we sampled yesterday tasted like the most luxurious chocolate fudge that you could imagine in one of the patisserie windows in Paris.  And, hidden inside was a medicinal dose of anti-depression and anti-cancer turmeric.  What a luxurious way to take your medicine.


  • Bring back pleasurable food memories by using herbs and spices for flavor enhancement.  Is your client Italian?  Adding anti-inflammatory oregano to a basic store-bought jar of tomato sauce can amplify the flavor and remind her of pleasant healing memories.  Does your client have fond memories of the autumn harvest?  Add doses of ginger, cinnamon, and other pumpkin pie spices to a sweet potato or butternut squash soup.

Now that I’ve made you hungry, let me share a recipe that is similar to one that we made in the cooking lab yesterday.

Wendy’s Chocolate Date Nut Truffles

This recipe is flexible.  Try using walnuts instead of almonds for more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat.  Try adding a dose of turmeric, spicy red pepper, or cinnamon to vary the flavor profile.

Remember that playing in the kitchen is just like healing, it’s both a science and an art.