Eating well is one of the most fundamental and accessible ways of promoting good health and living well through cancer treatment and beyond. Our classes offer live instruction, simple and delicious whole foods recipes, and research-based nutrition information from trained nutritional counselors and chefs.
In planning our classes, we keep eight basic food principles in mind: Whole, Fresh, Natural, Local, Seasonal, Balanced, In Harmony with Tradition, and Delicious.
From these principles, we explore an array of cooking options from simple, one-pot meals to vegetarian menus, ayurvedic foods, and beyond. Classes are open to anyone interested in learning about whole foods cooking.
Cancer & Nutrition
The science of what we know about food and cancer is still evolving, yet there are areas where the data is consistent. We know that some cancers are related to nutrition and some diets create conditions that increase our risk of getting cancer. In addition, some foods we eat make it harder for us to withstand cancer treatment and its side effects while some diets can help us recover from cancer.
People have many questions about nutrition and cancer, like “I have breast cancer—can I eat soy?” People want to know about the kinds of oils they should use in cooking. Some want to know about ideas for simple and easy meals or choosing healthy already-prepared foods. Some people want to know about how to prepare whole grains and beans.
Eating well is important, yet people are often confused about what they should eat and how to prepare healthful foods. Classes are designed to address the questions and needs of people living with cancer while providing exceptionally delicious and healthful recipes based on the eight basic food principles.
Note: Source Laura Pole/A Taste of Smith Farm
Culinary Translation in Action
Students at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana, are donning their new, crisp white uniforms and learning how to treat hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease using nontraditional tools of the trade: spatulas, knives, and saucepans.
Read more: Physicians and Chefs Cook Up Healthy Med School Curriculum. Medscape. Jul 17, 2014.
About Our Director of Nourishment Programs
Laura Pole, RN, MSN, and Chef, has served as Smith Center’s head chef and nurse consultant since 1997. She is an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist and Cancer Guide with 25 years experience in caring for people with serious illness. She is also a Certified Health-Supportive Chef, professional musician and Nia body-mind fitness instructor. Her popular cooking class, Eating for a Lifetime: Cooking for People with Cancer, introduces participants to the Eight Principles of Food Selection, along with truly tasty and healthy recipes. Laura is the founder of “Eating for a Lifetime,” a consulting business dedicated to teaching individuals and professionals about health-supportive eating and food preparation.
Recipes from our nutrition teachers
Cooking & Nutrition Facilitators
About Chef Laura Pole, RN, MSN
Laura, Director of Smith Center’s Nourishment Education Programs, has served as the head retreat chef and nurse consultant since 1997. She is an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist and Integrative Oncology Navigator with over 40 years experience in caring for people with serious illness. She is also a Certified Health Supportive Chef, professional musician and Nia body-mind fitness instructor. Her popular cooking classes are centered on culinary translation: that is, helping participants translate a diet prescription to a plate of nourishing delicious food. Laura is the founder of “Eating for a Lifetime,” a consulting business dedicated to teaching individuals and professionals about health supportive eating and food preparation. In addition to Laura’s work with nourishment, she is the co-coordinator of Smith Center’s Patient Navigation Training in Integrative Cancer Care. Laura also serves as coordinator of the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv.
About Chef Cathryn Pethick
Cathryn Pethick, AA, AYS, C-IAYT is a certified yoga therapist and teacher, Ayurveda specialist, and professional chef- whole foods cooking and nutrition instructor. She shares those skills with private clients through her own Well-Being, founded in 2012, and is on staff with Maryland University of Integrative Health’s Masters in Nutrition degree program. At Smith Center, Cathryn teaches cooking and nutrition classes, gentle yoga, and contributes to Smith Center’s wonderful integrative cancer support retreats as chef and yoga therapist. She has decades of experience in diverse culinary settings, practicing/teaching yoga from a therapeutic perspective, meditation, and the study of Ayurveda, diverse spiritual and philosophical traditions, and Oriental healing/martial arts. Cathryn shares the intention of nourishing well-being for us individually and as a collective with yoga, meditation and food-as-medicine, by cultivating the healing power of balance, optimal nutrition that supports our vitality, and compassionate presence that nurtures us all.
Cathryn’s Favorite Recipe
About Chef Kara Garrett
Kara Garrett is a health-supportive chef based in Washington, DC. Following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2013, she embraced the challenge of finding a balance between her foodie lifestyle and eating well with cancer. She has adopted a flexible diet plan that focuses on plant-based, sustainable whole foods, but does not restrict indulgences of things she loves. She is passionate about working with others to encourage healthier food choices that energize the body and the soul. Kara graduated in August 2017 from the Chef Training Program at Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC and spent one month as the sous chef at The Ananda Ashram Yoga Society of New York in Monroe, NY. She is currently enrolled in the Developing Healthy Communities: Nutrition, Behavior, and Physical Activity graduate program at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Kara’s Favorite Recipe
About Lauren Powell
Lauren Powell (RDN, LDN) is a registered dietitian working in the DC area. She has served in many settings including food services, long-term care, rehab facilities, post-surgical, and intensive care units. While working at George Washington University Hospital she found her passion for Oncology Nutrition. She now works as the Dietitian for the GW Cancer Center helping to support the nutrition needs of those undergoing treatment and survivors.