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The History and Benefits of Culinary Hea

The History and Benefits of Culinary Health Coaching

Optimal health is a journey more than a destination that requires frequent reassessing and rebalancing. And in the post-COVID world, health and wellness are more important than ever. People are increasingly seeking personal, cost-effective remote care. Created by Rani Polak, MD in 2014, culinary health coaching helps patients improve nutrition and overall health with remote sessions. In this article, we’ll discuss what culinary health coaching is, the approach’s history, its benefits, and more. 


Interested in a free consultation with a certified health and wellness coach? Reach out to Jane Barg at Cook for Health Coach.

What is Culinary Health Coaching?

Culinary health coaching is an innovative, results-oriented program to help you overcome the barriers to cooking healthy meals at home. The culinary coaching approach is a form of integrative health coaching and was created in 2014 by Rani Polak, MD to improve nutrition by combining culinary training and health coaching principles. According to The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, culinary coaching sessions “aim to improve nutrition and overall health by facilitating home cooking through an active learning process for participants that combines culinary training with health and wellness coaching competencies.” 

Why combine integrative health coaching and culinary training? 


Cooking is a behavior that requires skill, knowledge, and confidence to be successful. Integrative health coaching motivates and supports health behavior change through a structured partnership between you and the coach. The coach helps you develop and realize your culinary and healthy vision. Then uses their culinary and coaching expertise to assist you in translating your new culinary knowledge into sustainable healthy habits. Coaches teach patients how to prepare healthier food at home, cheaper and faster.


How is health coaching different from therapy?

Integrative health coaches are partners in behavior change rather than mental health experts. They focus on enhancing health rather than making diagnoses, treating disorders, or managing mental disorders. 

Benefits of Health Coaching


Sustainable weight loss is difficult to achieve. The primary benefit of integrative health coaching and culinary health coaching is working with a coach to achieve long-term weight loss by adjusting your eating behaviors through healthy home cooking. By supporting behavior change in patients, health coaches help make long-term weight-loss sustainable. People looking to get away from yo-yo dieting will benefit greatly from health coaching. Changing your eating habits can help with more than making weight loss sustainable - healthy eating can increase your energy and mobility, improve your body image, and help you develop a better relationship with food


Time has been identified as a key barrier to healthy eating and home cooking. Preparing your food, cooking, and kitchen clean-up can take a long time, and that doesn’t include the time spent researching healthier eating habits, checking nutrition facts, or planning meals. Eating healthy can easily add two hours to your day if you’re trying to eat better alone - and that’s 14 hours a week. Another key benefit of health coaching is the time and energy your coach can save you. Health coaches can show you how to make home cooking quicker and less stressful. They will introduce new healthy foods that support your goals, share tools for easy meal planning, cook with you, and more. The one-on-one coaching sessions are specific to your needs, skill level - it’s your agenda. Health coaches offer guidance and use their expertise to help you overcome barriers and succeed in reaching your goals. 


Culinary health coaching is a personal, collaborative, flexible intervention for patients. Health coaches ask the right questions, listen to your answers, and partner with you to create a doable plan to achieve and sustain your health goals on your time. Health coaching sessions are remote and help you change your eating habits and improve home cooking from the comfort of your home. In the post-COVID world, the personal, flexible, and remote nature of the intervention is more valuable to patients than ever. 

A Certified Culinary Health Education Fundamentals (CHEF) Coach

CHEF Coaching Team.jpeg

Jane Barg, CHEF Coach, second from right, and Rani Polak, MD, and CHEF Coaching Faculty

Source - Institute of Lifestyle Medicine

Culinary health coaches receive a certificate of completion in Culinary Coaching from the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine to prove their expertise in the field. To date, there are only 400 CHEF coaches worldwide. Jane Barg, founder of Cook for Health Coach, is a member of the CHEF Coaching faculty, oversees operations and education for the program, and is a National Board-Certified Health and wellness coach. At Cook for Health Coach, Jane creates a safe environment and offers support and accountability. You will be inspired and motivated to take on challenges, see results and achieve your goals. Interested in a free consultation? Send Jane a message.

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