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This summer, Robert Israel, M.D., will lead a series of cooking classes in USA Health’s teaching kitchens to prove food can be as delicious as it is healthy.

Published Jun 20th, 2024

By Michelle Ryan

Healthy food is often misconstrued as not tasting very good, but don’t tell that to Robert Israel, M.D., FACS, an internal medicine physician at USA Health. He’s on a mission to prove that food can be as savory as it is healthy.  

This summer, Israel, the director of USA Health’s Integrative Health and Wellness Program, will demonstrate exactly how that can be done through a series of cooking classes in the academic health system’s teaching kitchens. 

Held at University Commons in Mobile and the Mapp Family Campus in Fairhope, these classes offer participants hands-on experience making and tasting simple, healthy dishes.  

Israel recently appeared on WKRG’s The 4 on 5 newscast preparing one of the most popular dishes he includes in his classes: Sweet Potatoes With Black Beans. In his iteration of the recipe, he also adds onion and harissa, a North African spice that “makes the dish.” Top the finished product with cheese, avocado or fried egg to turn it into a meal.  

Learning to make your food healthier can help decrease the risk of many health conditions and diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and many cancers. 

Israel has a simple rule to get started on pursuing a healthier diet: “Don’t feed yourself where you feed your car, and don’t take food through the window of your car because those foods are usually ultra-processed, have a lot of sugar in them, and don’t have much in the way of nutrient value,” he said. “If you stick to these rules, you’re eating real food and healthy food.” 

The classes are open to the public, and registration is $30. Sign up online. For more information, email or call 251-660-6441.

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