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Kitchen teaches 'food as medicine' to Grand Rapids community

The Corewell Health Teaching Kitchen is part of its lifestyle medicine practice, teaching how to make food that tastes good and promotes health.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Healthy food is an essential part of a healthy life. 

In fact, if you ask Elizabeth Suvedi, she says, "food is medicine." 

Suvedi is the manager of culinary medicine with the Corewell health lifestyle medicine practice. She teaches classes at the Teaching Kitchen, located at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids. 

"Unfortunately, there's a really high increase of chronic disease within our community and many others," said Suvedi, "But there's a lot of things that people can do to prevent and reverse disease."

The kitchen holds classes for the community, various groups and also for physicians. 

"I think it's one of those things that is very underappreciated and underutilized when it comes to caring for patients and their health is that piece of the nutrition piece that people have," said Suvedi. 

The kitchen teaches how to make food that not only tastes good, but is good for you. 

Credit: 13 OYS
A class learns how to make roasted potatoes.

It also holds group teaching sessions for underserved families. Many areas of West Michigan have a lack of groceries stores near neighborhoods, these areas are referred to as food deserts. This limits the access many families have to fresh, healthy food. Sometimes, Suvedi said, they are making dishes with ingredients the families have never even tried. 

"A teaching kitchen is a really nice, safe space to say 'I'm going to try that,'" said Suvedi, "Food I otherwise maybe wouldn't have want to spend money on at the grocery store, and take the risk of if I will like it or not."

The goal, she said, is to improve diet quality by learning about food as medicine. Classes are taught by a dietitian and also a chef. At the end, participants learn how to make ingredients taste amazing and promote health. 

To find a list of community classes, click here.

To find out if you are eligible for free family kitchen classes, click here.  

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