The Making of a ‘Foodie Gynecologist’

Chili peppers

As a physician today, I embrace the modern Hippocratic Oath: “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure. We are what we eat. Let food be thy medicine.”

I believe that only by learning the fundamentals of cooking can we craft and build upon a personal plan for lifelong health.

My love of “different” food began in childhood. Growing up, my father worked tirelessly to provide for our family. He worked a number of jobs — so many that I can’t remember all of them — but there is one I’ll never forget: waiter at an upscale Cleveland country club.

Dad’s hard work provided the income to send me to college to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. It also serendipitously ignited my culinary palate. Saturday mornings, I would open the refrigerator simply looking for orange juice and eggs. Instead I would find whole lobsters and crab legs, capers and tapenade, and large wedges of gouda, brie and manchego cheeses.

These flavors and textures were initially “gross” to me, but I learned to savor the foreign foods in our refrigerator. After some experimentation, my comfort foods became lobster macaroni and cheese, and collard greens with chipotle in adobe sauce. Decades before they were iconic items on fine dining menus, they were my favorite recipes to cook.

As an elected member of an international gynecologic society, I have traveled the world lecturing and participating in conferences — cooking along the way. This led my patients to fondly call me their “foodie gynecologist.” My adage was, “attend a meeting, take a cooking class, and buy a regional cookbook.”

My hands-on culinary education was awakened in the spice markets of Istanbul and in the fruit stands of the West Side Market in Cleveland. My fondest memories include culinary classes in Singapore, Alaska, Turkey, Argentina and New Orleans. Shopkeepers shared guarded recipes and cooking techniques with me in one-on-one classes. I brought home treasured spices and bottled sauces instead of souvenirs.

The quickest way to understand another culture, language and customs is through food and drink. I’ve learned much about the culture of India by rolling dough with a housewife making samosas. I’ve tasted Italian culture on my tongue through samples of fine wine suggested by a young sommelier. There is synergy between what we eat and who we are.

My current passion involves increasing nutritional literacy and sharing the cooking tips I’ve learned through worldwide travel. My goal is to help people to use flavor over fat to improve their health — “to prevent disease whenever I can,” as Hippocrates bids us.

Celebrate Sisterhood from Cleveland Clinic

avatar

Linda Bradley, MD

Linda Bradley, MD, Vice Chair of our Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Institute, embraces the modern Hippocratic oath: “Let food be thy medicine.”
  • Endo sufferer

    Women with endometriosis aren’t impressed with more drug treatments. We want a cure. There are plenty of drug treatments that we already know fail, as will this one most likely, as the article said, “may eventually see none at all,” when referring to symptom relief. We don’t want to treat symptoms anymore. When will people stand up for women with endometriosis and find a cure? That’s what we want to see. This article is underwhelming.

    • Another Endo Sufferer

      Agreed. What this treatment doesn’t mention is that since it uses progesterone, those side effects can still happen. Sometimes those side effects can be as bad as the disease and Endo sufferers are simply trading one set of symptoms for another set of side effects.

      • Kori

        I was thinking the same thing. If it starves the endometrial lesions, then what does it do to the uterine lining? I’ve gotten uterine polyps from some of the endometriosis medications I’ve taken so I know there’s a potential that this medication could affect the uterus.

    • I also have endo

      Ah…It says that this treatment may prevent endo growth.That is good news.There are no magic cures for anything but the fact that this actually provents growth is kinda a big deal.

  • kendra

    I’m waiting till December to find out if I have to have surgery the doc is waiting to See if my progesterone bc works :(