"Healthy gourmet food isn't an oxymoron," says Dr. Rani Polak, a Hadassah medical doctor and cordon bleu chef. Nor should you have to go out of your way to make special dishes to be eaten only by a diabetic child or adult, Dr. Polak insists. The entire family will ask for seconds when you serve the nutritious foods featured in his first cookbook, Delicious Diabetic Recipes: The Gourmet Cookbook for a Healthy Life, (Imagine 2009) published recently in the US.
Dr. Chef Polak, hangs his chef's hat, both at Hadassah Medical Center where he treats patients and at Hadassah College where he teaches future chefs how to cook healthy foods in general, and specifically how to create recipes that take into consideration the do's and don'ts for those suffering from Crohn's disease, diabetes and celiac disease.
Dr. Polak, 37, was born in Rishon LeZion, and after service in the IDF enrolled in the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine. Midway through the six-year medical school program, he took a one-year break to visit Australia. There he led locals and tourists on out back hiking treks and indulged his passion for cooking at the down under Le Cordon Bleu. When he returned to Israel, the disparate ingredients of his education fermented. Polak became interested treating Crohn's Disease, the severe gastrointestinal illness which requires a very strict diet. When his patients complained about the food restrictions, he starting coming to the hospital with his stethoscope and a spatula. He developed a cooking workshop that included a grand dinner. Soon, he was recruited to Hadassah College's Culinary Arts where chefs for restaurants, hotels and catering companies learn their profession. He continues to teach wellness cooking classes at Hadassah's Center for Healthy Living. "I'm not just interested in treating diseases," says Dr. Polak. "I want to improve the quality of everyday life for patients '. --Dr. Rani Polak, Hadassah medical doctor and cordon bleu chef
About the Author
RANI POLAK, MD, is the founder and director of Israel s first Center for Healthy Cooking at the world-famous Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. A Le Cordon Bleu-educated chef, Dr. Polak received the 2005 Hebrew University Kaye Innovation Award for the healthy cooking workshops he designed for people with special dietary needs. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Israeli Forum for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, has worked with the Israel Institute for Integrated Medicine, and is currently a lecturer at both the Hebrew University s School of Nutritional Sciences and the School of Culinary Arts, Hadassah College.