Culinary medicine is something you will be hearing a lot more of in coming years, but for Paula Martin, the term already goes back a long way in her life. As a young girl, she had a dietitian to help her cope with health issues, and she learned firsthand that food—delicious, real food—could indeed be good medicine. She learned about food by growing it, by cooking it, by canning it, and tightened family bonds along the way, working beside her aunts, her grandfather, and grandmother. Eventually, all that food experience came together in a vision that embraced both career and life.
“I’ve wanted to be a dietitian since I was about 14,” she says. “Also, I enjoy the art and skill of homemaking. Making people feel connected and comfortable are passions of mine. Food is a large part of that homemaking experience.”
That food intuition, training and passion makes Paula the ideal person to dive into Groundwork’s Farms, Food & Health efforts and head up our budding Culinary Medicine program. Groundwork contracted Paula to put together our September 2017 Culinary Medicine conference, and the reviews were so remarkably positive that we invited her to join the staff and grow the program into something even larger.
“We have the opportunity to teach physicians, nurses, medical students, food pantry volunteers and clients, school children, parents, teachers, school food service professionals and other allied health care professionals,” she says. “I can't wait to help increase the cooking confidence and share the satisfying work of making simple, healthful and yummy meals for all to enjoy.”
M.S. Wellness and Human Performance, B.S. Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Certifications: Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), State Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN), Pennsylvania
Paula spends time with family in Empire and back in Pittsburgh when possible. “We are also working on our house in Long Lake, updating and fixing things to make the space our own.”
“I starting coming to Empire in 2007 with my then boyfriend, now husband. We came up every May to go the the Empire Asparagus Festival, so I have to say that the Empire Bluff Trail is my spot.”
“I love Brit-Pop! In my world, cooking with my grandmother's old kitchen gadgets while playing albums helps me keep my dance moves sharp and gets dinner on the table at the same time!”