Rani Polak, M.D., is the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Cooking at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. Dr. Polak found that many of his patients’ health improved with simple adjustments to their diet and nutrition. He began working with the nutrition department at the hospital after he became a chef at the French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu. Together they developed workshops in lifestyle medicine designed to help patients and health care providers take steps toward the prevention of and treatment for medical conditions, including diabetes, IBD, celiac disease, obesity, geriatric rehabilitation, and others. While many doctors still prefer medicines over nutrition, Dr. Polak has found that a whole-body approach to wellness and lifestyle, including necessary medicines, is more beneficial to patients and provides them with hands-on participation in their own health care.
“Many people think that good food and healthy food are like parallel lines. They will never come together. It is so interesting,” he says, “because people appreciate Mediterranean food, Indian food, Japanese food and love going to those restaurants. The cooking principles in those kitchens are quite healthy, but people still think that healthy food cannot be good.”
Rani has always loved cooking, ever since he and a friend prepared a dinner for their families when they were about eight years old. His skills have advanced significantly since then, but Rani still enjoys experimenting with ingredients and dishes for healthy eating. Vegetables are his favorite ingredients. “They are tasty and colorful and they make the food just great,” says Dr. Polak. “One of my challenges is to bring this to the general population.” Delicious Diabetic Recipes is Rani’s first book and his goal is to help people understand how cooking can be easy and that healthy food can be delicious.
Delicious Diabetic Recipes is the recipient of the Israeli Publisher Association’s Golden Book Award. Filled with mouth-watering recipes from pizza to soup to decadent desserts (that are good for you!), Rani’s book also points out alternatives to our favorite flavors like salt and sugar, as well as tips and tricks to add flavor and nutritional value that even kids will love.
Rani Polak lives in Jerusalem, Israel, with his family. He continues to do research and develop workshops and lifestyle interventions at the Healthy Cooking and Lifestyle Center at Hadassah University Medical Center. He also continues to experiment with healthy recipes and is working on his next book.