Cookin’ up a healthy future

December 20, 2010 —

On a recent Wednesday in the DMU wellness kitchen, the mouth-watering aromas were almost torturous: David Spreadbury, Ph.D., chair of biochemistry and nutrition, and Joy Schiller, wellness director, were fixing a pre-holiday lunch for 25 DMU students and employees, demonstrating that healthy eating can also be luscious. Munching on homemade hummus, savory roasted vegetables, marinated turkey tenderloins and a kale and potato hash, the diners agreed.

These two self-described “missionaries” of home cooking also teach a popular six-week nutrition elective in the wellness kitchen, because they want to equip DMU students to counsel their future patients on what to eat. That’s critical for America’s increasingly obese, diabetic population. But they also want to share the joy of cooking.

“So many people are scared of cooking,” Dr. Spreadbury told the Wednesday lunch bunch. “Just make it creative and fun.”

Other take-aways from these culinary crusaders:

  • Follow foodie author Michael Pollan’s advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.”
  • In England, rutabagas are called “swedes”; in Scotland, they’re “neeps,” commonly fed to sheep.
  • The worst way to cook vegetables is with water.
  • Consuming tree nuts has been consistently shown to reduce vascular disease.
  • A traditional English dish made with leftover Sunday-dinner roast and vegetables is called “bubble and squeak.”
  • Kale is a true nutritional powerhouse, full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients and cancer-preventive glucosinolates.
  • The wellness kitchen’s fruit crumble is a guilt-free, to-die-for wonder.

Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.