Psynergy's Food Blog, with Peri Gershoni
Food as medicine: an introduction to Psynergy's healthy and delicious kitchen!
My name is Peri Gershoni, I am registered dietician and a consultant to Psynergy Programs Inc. I will be posting articles over the next few weeks about many interesting aspects of food as medicine and as a key component to Psynergy’s health philosophy. I thought it would be interesting to share my first experience at Psynergy.
In September of last year, I visited Psynergy's Morgan Hill facility. The plan was for me to meet with the head chef Christophe Haefele. I needed to examine the daily menu plans he had built for the facilities, to see how they could be improved, always with the emphasis and goal of serving the most delicious, nutritious and healthy food to Psynergy’s clients. To help clients achieve and maintain a healthy weight and improve their lifestyle. This is key to Psynergy's mission and philosophy of using food as medicine.
When I first arrived in the kitchen, I was greeted by Chef Christophe, who had begun his daily food preparation by chopping vibrant bunches of chard. On the menu that day was stir fried greens with farrow and lean beef strips. I was most impressed by a large delivery, that included a selection of healthy and fresh ingredients. Christophe explained to me that this was the important bi-weekly delivery of herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, thyme etc) and these herbs were the basis of all his dishes. As a rule, in his kitchen these herbs must be used every day, in every dish. This was music to my ears as fresh herbs replace artificial flavors and taste enhancers in this kitchen. This is wonderful because it means less harmful chemicals, less sodium and more nutrients in every bite!
As I continued to follow Chef Christophe throughout the day, observing the ingredients he used and his cooking methods, I realized that this kitchen was unlike any other hospital or facility kitchen I had ever worked in or visited. There were no processed frozen foods, like lasagnas, hot dogs, pizzas, pies etc., which are cheaper and faster to prepare (just heat and serve!). This kitchen was special because so much care and attention was given to the food, in line with the philosophy that food is a key element in enhancing the mental and physical health of Psynergy's clients. Processed foods may be easier to use but because they are packed with preservatives, sodium and are low in nutrients they have no place in this kitchen!
Chef Christophe explained to me that he sources the best ingredients: the freshest produce, always preferring locally grown ingredients - including vegetables, fruit, meat, chicken and fish. He builds his menus based on what ingredients are in season and readily available.
From my perspective, all of this ensures that the food's natural nutritional composition is maintained, which means that Psynergy's clients get the healthiest and tastiest food. This helps the clients maintain healthy weight, it improves overall physical health and without a doubt improves mental health and mood.