Food as medicine

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“As a health professional of nearly 30 years, I’ve always been interested in the potential to use food as medicine,” explains Sue Radd, Sydney-based dietitian and author of the new Food As Medicine cookbook. “But in recent times, the scientific evidence base has strengthened for using a plant-based dietary pattern—including wholefoods like legumes, vegetables and nuts—to not only prevent chronic disease or better manage it but to even reverse some diseases. I wanted to share this information in a practical and delicious way with people around the world.”

Food as Medicine brings together Ms Radd’s expertise and passions as an experienced dietitian and a cook, a research scientist and a “foodie” traveller. The cookbook includes 150 plant-based recipes, as well as almost 100 pages offering an overview of the scientific research that underpins the recipes, responses to current dietary trends and tips for setting up a heath-promoting home kitchen.

The aim is to re-inspire Adventists and reach secular audiences searching for credible information to live a better life.

But it’s the recipes that take centre stage in Food As Medicine. “My inspiration has come from traditional cultures, ranging from the Mediterranean to Asia and visits to ‘aunties’ and ‘grandmas’ in village kitchens,” says Ms Radd. “Developing recipes is an extensive process so you have to be passionate about it—from concept stage to multiple testing, including variations in ingredients and methods and incorporating feedback from different taste testers! Then my recipes have been further refined at my award-winning Culinary Medicine Cookshops in Sydney where we actually show people how to use food as medicine.”

[Photo: DEC Creatives]

Work on Food As Medicine has also complemented Ms Radd’s doctoral research at The University of Sydney, where she is researching the effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet on memory and thinking problems. “There is good observational data that such a plant-based dietary pattern may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease—and dementia generally—by almost 50 per cent,” she explains.

Ms Radd was recently featured on ABC TV’s Catalyst program talking about her study and demonstrating some of her recipes. “Dementia is currently the second-leading cause of death in Australia and projected to become the primary cause in the near future,” she adds. “However, we believe there is a window of opportunity to intervene early with diet and other lifestyle measures like physical activity to slow down progression once a person starts experiencing memory decline and that is what we are testing.” Her research study will be using recipes from Food As Medicine as a key part of this lifestyle intervention.

While this research is an important part of her current focus, Food As Medicine is also part of a larger purpose for Ms Radd, thus her decision to publish this book with Signs after releasing her earlier book with larger publishers. “It has been a pleasure to work with Signs Publishing on this project and they have done an exceptional job ensuring the recipes are beautifully illustrated and presented,” she comments.

“But my larger goal was to team up with like-minded people and Adventist organisations to take our health ministry, underpinned by the latest scientific findings and practical application, worldwide. The aim is to re-inspire Adventists and reach secular audiences searching for credible information to live a better life. This book is one foundation stone for the work I am planning to do in the future in this regard. It was also designed to be shared by you with your friends and family, knowing that the health message is the right arm of the gospel and we can all participate in this ministry.”

[Photo: DEC Creatives]

Food As Medicine: Cooking for Your Best Health is available now from Adventist Book Centres in Australia and New Zealand. Subscribe to “Food As Medicine” updates at <www.foodasmedicine.cooking> or like “Food As Medicine” on Facebook and share with your online friends.