Denise Pickett-Bernard, also known as “Dr. Dee,” is in the business of “using culinary medicine to help people reverse disease, optimize health, halt aging and flourish.”
Pickett-Bernard, who has a Ph.D, is an adjunct associate professor and functional nutrition liaison at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she teaches in the master’s degree program.
But, she also has a private practice, Dr. Dee Nutrition, in Roswell, where she lives with her husband.
“Usually the people who end up in my office are people who have exhausted their options,” Pickett-Bernard said, “or they’re somehow sick of their options, so they want to use food as medicine. My art of expertise is functional culinary medicine. It’s all food-based protocols, and people see lots of success.”
Pickett-Bernard attended the Culinary Institute of America, and is a registered dietitian, so much of her professional and personal life revolves around cooking and testing recipes.
“I have always cooked every day,” she said. “Interestingly, though, since COVID, we’ve been going out more, because we’re trying to support local restaurants with takeout. So, there’s some irony there. But, I cook all the time, and I develop recipes with very specific goals in mind. I’ve always felt that healthy food and delicious food should not be mutually exclusive.”
In search of food to help her clients, Pickett-Bernard said she often turns to international cultures and cuisines, and modifies those recipes for home cooks.
“Some get all the hype, like Mediterranean, but if you go to any international cuisine, there are aspects that can be really healthy,” she said. “For example, Asian cuisine is going to have a lot of ginger and garlic. Indian cuisine is going to have a lot of turmeric and garlic and ginger, all of which are very powerful anti-inflammatories. And, rather than just making a smoothie or something, you can eat real food.”
Immune Boost Gummies is a recipe Pickett-Bernard created for moms who want to give their kids something fun to help boost their immune systems.
It’s made with elderberries, fresh ginger and turmeric, and raw honey, and the gummies can be molded in a variety of shapes, or simply cut into squares.
“Boosting the immune system is something that needs to be happening all the time, not just when you get sick,” Pickett-Bernard said. “And, each ingredient in the gummies recipe has a reason for being in there, as an anti-inflammatory.”
In response to COVID-19, Pickett-Bernard is offering a free course, Food As Medicine, 10 Simple Steps: drdeenutrition.mykajabi.com.
Foods that boost the immune system are packed into these tasty gummies, useful for children or adults. This preparation is plant-based, easy to make, and lasts for up to two weeks in an airtight container.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your cooking? Have less frequent shopping trips taught you a lesson in resourcefulness? Did you prepare a recipe that reminded you of a loved one? Send your story and recipe to email@example.com.
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Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution