Road Warriors learn how to treat ‘food as medicine’

River Bank Run

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — While the Amway River Bank Run is this week, runners have been training for the 25K road race through Grand Rapids for months.

Part of getting your body in shape for an endurance race is making sure you’re fueling it right, which can be tough in a world of fast food drive-thrus and jam-packed days.

“If you put a lot of junky food in your body, you’re probably not going to have a great run. But if you can put a lot of healthy things in your body, you’re going to feel great mentally and it’s going to give you the energy on race day to be most successful in your race,” chef Elizabeth Suvedi told the Amway River Bank Run Road Warriors as they visited the Downtown Market’s kitchens.

“A lot of time you eat with your eyes and so when you can have lots of great colorful vegetables, it draws you in and makes you want to eat those things,” she added.

With Suvedi’s supervision and instruction, the Road Warriors prepared a meal full of the nutrients their bodies need.

“A lot of people get caught up in supplements and other ways to fuel their body, but really the best places you can get all these nutrients is from your food,” said Kristi Veltkamp, a dietitian with Spectrum Health.

Spectrum’s Culinary Medicine Department works to change the way people think about food — from an afterthought to fuel for your body.

“We’re doing food as medicine,” Veltkamp said. 

“The more we can get those whole foods in, plant-based foods that have all the nutrients in, the less we’re going to see how our diets affecting us, the less we’re going to see different diseases,” she explained.

The culinary medicine department offers classes for more than athletes. Family classes allow parents and children to cook together and learn habits that will make their household healthier.

“We tell people it’s OK to eat frozen vegetables. If you don’t have a lot of time, buy those frozen vegetables — A lot of time they’re picked at their peak of the season — and put them in your dishes,” said Suvedi.

Spectrum Health Culinary Medicine

Amway River Bank Run Road Warriors


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