PHEc – the missing link between medical food producers, dietitians and patients with metabolic disorders.
In spring 2016 Maria Depenweiller led a series of culinary master classes across Canada for a unique audience. Two companies that manufacture specialty medical foods organized low protein cooking demonstrations in order to help families with individuals who have inherited metabolic disorders to learn how to cook gourmet and simple dishes at home. Maria used low protein baking mixes and pastas to create full menu of low protein dishes and showcased her work in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa.
As part of activity of her consulting business The Wooden Spoon (www.thewoodenspoon.ca) Maria focused on lack of communication between companies who manufacture the specialty foods, dietitians and the patients. Dietitians gave prescriptions and dietary advise, manufacturers provided the specialty foods but no one was available to demonstrate how these foods were supposed to be prepared. As most patients with inherited metabolic disorders were diagnosed in early childhood, cooking up a low protein meal was a puzzling task for mothers.
A Professional Home Economist turned out to be the perfect fit to fill the gap between patients, food manufacturers and dietitians who closely follow their patients and adjust their dietary needs throughout their lifespan. Maria’s culinary demonstrations helped the patients to learn essential cooking skills, required to cook healthy home meals that fit their highly restrictive diets and provided useful tips on various uses of the specialty foods.
According to the feedback the culinary events were a great success and were much appreciated by all – the organizers, the patients as well as the dietitians. Another round of similar events is expected for next year.
Maria Depenweiller, P.H.Ec.
The Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulating body of professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.