Making Time for Nutrition Counseling

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Why are health care providers so reluctant to discuss nutrition with their patients? I believe one of the reasons is that we know from our own experience how integral food is to human life. The foods we eat and how they are prepared are part of both our cultural and personal identity. Sharing a meal is a profoundly human experience in which more than food is exchanged. Movie producers have made films that in part show how much shared meals mean to, and even change, individuals, families, and whole communities. I am thinking of Babette’s Feast, Eat Drink Man Woman, Soul Food, The Big Night, and a personal favorite, Tortilla Soup. For most religions, food is a powerful symbol. The breaking of bread is essential to Christianity, and Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism require food restrictions of their followers. If we ask someone to give up eating a certain way and try new foods or food preparations, we may in a sense be asking them to reject part of their heritage.