Celebrating Food Culture: Cultural Adaptations of the Mediterranean Diet



Course Dates

Release Date: May 6, 2022
Expiration Date: May 5, 2024
Format: Six pre-recorded 30-45 minute videos split into three sections: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Each section contains a 45-minute nutrient biochemistry video and a cooking demo. Accompanying recipes and background readings related to culinary medicine are provided.

Target Audience

This activity is intended for Medical Doctors/Nurses/Physician Assistants/Dietitians.


Food is culture, love, sustenance, and can even be medicine. Talking about food and dietary interventions are essential components of the treatment and management of chronic diseases. Culinary Medicine is an emerging field that translates nutrition science into the real food experience. Clinicians can incorporate culinary medicine into their practice to better meet the nutritional needs of their patients and enhance lasting behavior changes.

This pilot course sets out to evaluate the interest in learning about nutrient biochemistry and culinary medicine and assess different modalities by offering three didactic biochemistry lectures accompanied by topic-related, interactive cooking classes that explore the Mediterranean Diet principles.

Course Description

Over the last decade, the Mediterranean Diet has been used to aid some patients in weight loss and to protect against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Although some research indicates its success, the Mediterranean Diet may not be a complete solution. One notable barrier to the diet is that recommendations are based on one geographical location - countries along the Mediterranean Sea coast - while excluding other parts of the world.  

This series sets out to highlight the importance of an individualized approach to nutrition intervention by offering a brief background in macronutrient biochemistry along with realistic alterations to eating patterns within the context of a patient’s cultural, social, and socio-economic background. Each section targets a different macronutrient. Nutrient biochemistry videos are led by an MD, PhD Institute of Human Nutrition biochemistry professor. Each cooking class is taught by a registered dietitian and chef that will lead you through recipes that apply the objectives to delicious and affordable meals found outside the Mediterranean. Recipes can be adapted to comply with a vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free diet and each meal is intended to be made in under 60 minutes. Join us as we explore Mediterranean diet principles around the world. 

Educational Objectives

To make the Mediterranean Diet accessible and relatable while gaining an understanding of basic macronutrient biochemistry, this culinary nutrition course offers four objectives:

  1. At the end of this course, participants should be better able to discuss the basic biochemical breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in the body.
  2. At the end of this course, participants should be better able to define culinary nutrition and its function in medicine.
  3. At the end of this course, participants should be better able to identify the key principles of the Mediterranean Diet and how they relate to cardiometabolic diseases. 
  4. At the end of this course, participants should be better able to list at least one real food example of each key principle of the Mediterranean Diet from diverse cuisines. 


Course Introduction
Celebrating Culture Through Food-Based Eating Patterns, Olivia Weinstein, MS, RDN, LDN
Session 1 - Proteins
Biochemical Principles of Proteins, R Ariel Igal, MD, PhD
Cooking Video: Indian Dal, Olivia Weinstein, MS, RDN, LDN
Session 2 - Fats
Biochemical Principles of Fats (or Lipids), R Ariel Igal, MD, PhD
Cooking Video: West African Peanut Stew, Olivia Weinstein, MS, RDN, LDN
Session 3 - Carbohydrates
Biochemical Principles of Carbohydrates, R Ariel Igal, MD, PhD
Cooking Video: Chinese Fried Rice with Riced Cauliflower, Olivia Weinstein, MS, RDN, LDN


Physicians: $100.00
Other Healthcare Professionals: $80.00
Fellows and Residents: $60.00
Students: $40.00

Accreditation Statement

The Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

NCPD Disclosure Statement

This educational activity will provide 7.5 contact hours upon completion of the requirements for attending the course 

New York Presbyterian is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. P#0675

This course requires participant’s full program attendance and completion of any required course documents.

The Planning Committee, presenters, faculty, authors and content reviewers have no conflicts of interest to disclose. Disclosure forms are required and have been reviewed for any issues.

Speakers are required to present balanced and unbiased presentations. The presentation content has been reviewed and any bias has been eliminated.

Accredited status does not imply endorsement by NewYork Presbyterian or ANCC Commission on Accreditation of any commercial products displayed in conjuction with this program 

There is no commercial support for this program.

Activity Director

Sabrina Diano, PhD, Director, Institute of Human Nutrition, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics and of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Irving Medical Center


Sarah Bergren, MS, Education Officer, Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Ileana Vargas-Rodriguez, MD, MS, Culinary Medicine Specialist, American Board of Obesity Medicine Diplomate, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, Columbia University Irving Medical Center 


Olivia Weinstein MS, RD, LDN, Culinary Nutrition Director, Boston Medical Center     
R. Ariel Igal MD, PhD, Professor in Biochemistry, Institute of Human Nutrition


All those involved with the planning and delivery of this education will disclose all financial relationships in the past 24 months with ineligible companies. An ineligible company is any entity whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. For each financial relationship, the disclosure will include the name of the ineligible company and the nature of the financial relationship(s). 

None of the planners/faculty for this educational activity have relevant financial relationships to disclose.


All information contained within this activity is intended for educational purposes only. Physicians and other health care professionals are encouraged to consult other sources and confirm the information contained on this site. No single reference or service can take the place of medical training, education, and experience. This website does not define a standard of care, nor is it intended to dictate an exclusive course of management. This information should not substitute for a visit or consultation with a healthcare provider.

Technical Requirements

This activity is best experienced using the most current browser (or one back) of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, or Microsoft Edge. Use Safari or Internet Explorer to view full-screen videos. This feature is blocked in Chrome and Firefox. For all activities featuring audio, you must have a sound card and speakers. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, you must have JavaScript and session cookies enabled on your computer. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

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