3 On Your Side

Some medical schools offer classes that teach food is good medicine

Posted: Updated:
Cardiologist Dr. Mimi Guarneri showed her patients how to eat and cook better in an actual class. (Source: 3TV) Cardiologist Dr. Mimi Guarneri showed her patients how to eat and cook better in an actual class. (Source: 3TV)
More and more doctors and medical groups are building classes and teaching kitchens into their practices, or creating preventative food pantries as part of their pharmacies of sorts. (Source: 3TV) More and more doctors and medical groups are building classes and teaching kitchens into their practices, or creating preventative food pantries as part of their pharmacies of sorts. (Source: 3TV)
Michael Kaehr dropped more than 150 pounds thanks to classes about how to eat and cook. (Source: 3TV) Michael Kaehr dropped more than 150 pounds thanks to classes about how to eat and cook. (Source: 3TV)
Salima Ruffin also saw drastic changes once her doctor intervened. (Source: 3TV) Salima Ruffin also saw drastic changes once her doctor intervened. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Michael Kaehr is a new man these days after dropping more than 150 pounds.  

“I wore a size 52 trousers. I’m wearing a size 34 now,” he says.

He was on all kinds of medications for things like cholesterol and diabetes.

He says his doctor made all the difference when she prescribed a brand new lifestyle, explaining it’s a “…combination of cooking, what I ate and certainly the exercise.”

Salima Ruffin also saw drastic changes once her doctor intervened.

“She put me on a special diet. She taught me how to eat healthy. That inspired me so much that I decided to open up a vegan restaurant,” Ruffin said.

It’s not uncommon for a doctor to say eat better or lose weight, but Ruffin and Kaehr's doctor, cardiologist Dr. Mimi Guarneri, showed them how in an actual class.

Dr. Guarneri is the founder and president of Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine and head of Guarneri Integrative Health, Inc.

“We have a cooking school. We have a large emphasis on teaching people that food is medicine,” said Dr. Guarneri.

More and more doctors and medical groups are building classes and teaching kitchens into their practices, or creating preventative food pantries as part of their pharmacies of sorts.

Dr. Guarneri says this has been the missing link in medicine for years.

“I was taught to tell patients, 'Go home and lose weight. Go home and lower your blood sugar,' and, you know, patients would say, ‘How do I do that doctor?' And most physicians don’t get that in medical school,” she said.

Even that is changing now, as some medical schools add culinary curriculums. 

Some practices are adding programs for kids, low-income families and people with specific health concerns.

Patients like Ruffin and Kaehr say it’s making a real difference.

“My blood pressure is totally normal. My cholesterol is lowered,” Ruffin said.

“What I eat, how I exercise. These are all part of her Rx, as it were, to make sure that I have a lifestyle that’s worthy of living,” Kaehr said.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Hide bio

Contact 3 On Your Side