Linda Shiue, MD
Author, Spicebox Kitchen
Specialty: Internal Medicine, Culinary Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine
How long have you been an AMWA member?
On and off since medical school in 1995. I was New England Student Coordinator and Brown University Branch President
How do you use lifestyle medicine to improve patient care?
As a primary care doctor, I try to integrate lifestyle medicine into every clinic visit. For new patient appointments and physicals, I take a bit more time to ask about the 6 pillars in my social history, and I include all of that in the chart. My after visit summary includes any recommendations I have based upon what the patient thinks could be improved and wants to work on, with a plan for a follow up by video visit in 4 weeks. Patients really appreciate this approach.
I also help run a few programs as Director of Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine at my medical center. Culinary medicine is offered through monthly virtual cooking classes on a diverse variety of cuisines. I also wrote a cookbook using the same approach called Spicebox Kitchen (bit.ly/SpiceboxKitchen), which was published in 2021 and was honored with a few awards. We also have a Lifestyle Medicine program at our medical center, called the Plant Strong Program, which is a 12-week group program facilitated by a health educator aimed at educating on lifestyle medicine and promoting behavior change around all 6 pillars, but focusing on nutrition.
How do you use lifestyle medicine to enhance clinical wellbeing?
Our team recently presented a 6 part lunch talk series on the 6 pillars of lifestyle medicine, which was aimed at clinician wellness. It was very well received. We also offer culinary medicine workshops/cooking classes through physician and employee wellness. Prior to the pandemic we held a few 21-day plantbased challenges (most recently rebranded as the plant powered opportunity), which was a fun way to get people to try out eating more or fully plantbased. I also try to hold walking meetings whenever possible!
What is a tip to jumpstart lifestyle medicine changes?
I always advise starting with a small change. For example, for people trying to improve their nutrition, most people benefit from eating more fiber, and I like to promote that in the form of dark leafy greens because of all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in addition to fiber. My best tip to make that easy is to keep the refrigerator stocked with prewashed baby greens such as spinach, kale or arugula. And then to eat greens three times a day- these prewashed baby greens don’t even need to be washed or cut, and can be either eaten raw or added to whatever you’re cooking, where they’ll wilt in seconds. For exercise goals, again, starting small with an activity they enjoy. I really think it’s important to aim for something people can stick with– even if it’s quite moderate, like a 30 minutes walk at lunchtime everyday– is better than more difficult to attain and maintain goals like going to the gym for an hour everyday, unless of course that is something someone has been able to commit to in the past and enjoys. For sleep, suggesting going to sleep just 15 minutes earlier might be a good first step.