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Food As Medicine: Cooking and Eating for Health

Learn about cooking healthy with local, sustainable foods through a demonstration and food sampling from Gregory Gates, Kaiser Permanente regional chef, at Cowabunga July 12-14.

Presented by Kaiser Permanente June 19, 2019

Before you nosh on that platter of nachos or nibble on a slice of naan at Cowabunga — Portland Monthly’s three day salute to Portland’s booming foodie culture — take an opportunity to make informed choices about the foods you eat.

Learn about cooking healthy with local, sustainable foods through a demonstration and food sampling from Gregory Gates, Kaiser Permanente regional chef, at Cowabunga July 12-14.

Healthy, local, sustainable — and delicious

Chef Gates began his culinary career at South Seattle Community College and went on to serve 15 years as executive chef at Pacific Coast Restaurants. At Kaiser Permanente, he leads a team of professionals in delivering fresh, healthy, made-to-order food for members, patients, visitors, and staff.

He enjoys busting the “hospital food” stigma, and delights when patients ask for a recipe, or if they can take food home with them. On any given day, you’ll find hungry diners from local businesses and homes who come to Kaiser Permanente’s Clackamas and Hillsboro hospital cafeteria because the food is that good.

“I am proud of the accomplishments that Kaiser Permanente has made to serve food that is nutritious, healthy, local, sustainable, and delicious; in other words: food as medicine,” says Chef Gates. He’s also proud that Kaiser Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro grows many of its own vegetables and herbs.

What does “food as medicine” mean?

Food as medicine is the belief that what we eat impacts vital processes throughout our bodies. The goal is to avoid using medication to solve a health problem that a healthy diet can improve.


Many of the chronic diseases that we deal with in the United States can be prevented, improved, or eliminated by making healthy food choices. For example, eating an excess of saturated or trans fat and sodium over time can result in heart disease. The reverse, then, is also true — eating foods that are low in saturated fat and sodium, and high in fiber, can improve one’s health.

Chef Gates says there are many testimonials of people using food as medicine, coupled with exercise, to turn around serious diseases.

Join Chef Gates at Cowabunga

Stop by the Kaiser Permanente presentation and booth at Cowabunga during Farm to Fork on July 13 at Rossi Farm. Sample food that tastes good (and is good for you!) and learn more about how a healthy diet can help you thrive.

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