We discuss with Dr. La Puma:
- How he came to combine medicine, cooking, and farming.
- The state of the medical profession today in embracing of Culinary Medicine.
- What he sees as the pillars of a healthy diet from the Culinary Medicine and EcoMedicine points of view as we age.
- How some major diseases may be preventable with the right lifestyle modifications, in his opinion.
- What he’s found works in helping people make changes in their lifestyle.
- The unique health challenges that men face – and what areas men should focus on.
- What role Nature and EcoMedicine play in a healthy lifestyle.
John La Puma MD is Clinical Director and Founder of Chef Clinic; he’s also a professionally trained chef, organic and regenerative avocado farmer and a New York Times best-selling author twice.
He has led clinical trials of nutritional interventions designed to improve burnout, obesity, hypertension, osteoarthritis, insomnia and diabetes, and pioneered culinary medicine. His mission is to help you get measurably healthier with what you eat and how you live.
Dr. La Puma guest taught the first medical lecture on Nature Therapy at Harvard University’s Lifestyle Medicine course, and taught the first Nutrition and Cooking course for medical students in the US, at SUNY-Upstate with Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic, and the first Culinary Medicine clinical course for medical students in the US, at DMU.
He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers and three medical books, including a CME book and the first peer-reviewed article about culinary medicine. His work has been published by the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and the British Medical Journal.
Four of his books–Refuel, ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine, Cooking the RealAge Way and The RealAge Diet–have been bestsellers around the world, been translated into 8 languages and sold over a million copies.
Dr. La Puma is a renowned speaker and demonstration cook. He delivered the first lectures at Harvard and at TEDMED on Culinary Medicine, and at the University of Chicago on Comfort Food. He has also presented at the prestigious TEDx and Gel Health conferences and is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses. He has been a consultant and spokesperson for CIGNA, Caremark, GSK and Kraft, among other partners, and founded Alternative Medicine Alert, an evidence-based monthly newsletter for clinicians on dietary supplements and integrative medical approaches.
On The Benefits of Lifestyle Modifications
“The CDC actually addressed that and they believe that 80% of heart disease, stroke and diabetes and 40% of cancer is preventable with lifestyle change. The CDC is about as conservative an institution in American medicine as exists. I think that almost all arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis is preventable. I think that loss of mobility as we age is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to decline quickly. Having major diseases become and be thought of as preventable problems that can be mitigated is really a game-changer…So having more control than you think means that you can make better choices – and that they will matter. And after 50, almost all of aging is your choices before 50. Your genetics have a lot to say, but if you make a decision, you can change your life….not just improve your longevity, but improve your quality of life. And of course your flexibility, your energy level, your curiosity, your cognitive alertness, your ability to communicate. There are a lot of amazing things you can do with lifestyle change.”
On Men’s Health
“…what we can do first and most controllably is change what – and how – we eat and do so with these behavioral strategies that I’ve identified. And in our research, this worked really well. And in the thousands of men who have read the Refuel book and written to me, the changes have been remarkable. People lose 10 pounds or more and have better muscle mass and strength and sleep better and just sort of get their lives back. And men have to be given permission for this. I think because it’s not expected of us be healthy – but that’s actually a sexy thing to a lot of women that healthy men take care of themselves and are proud of it. And so it’s been a privilege to help so many people get well, and I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done.”
“Leading a life that is purposeful – as an attitude- is probably the secret to longevity. These behaviors – and sleeping well, eating well, getting enough exercise, being outside, managing stress – are behaviors that improve wellness. But while…well-being starts with purpose, [it’s] understanding who you are as a person and what your role is in the world in relationship to both other people who you love and to others and to the planet itself. Shadow journaling is one mechanism for reflecting on who you are and what your purpose is so that when you get up in the morning, it’s not just what there is to do, but the reason for doing it.”
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