There’s a new “celebrity” chef in town, and he has an “MD” after his name.
Dr. Blake Shusterman, an Upstate nephrologist (kidney doctor), combines his professional expertise with his culinary interest to create monthly shows on healthy cooking that have attracted thousands of YouTube hits.
The 5-15 minute videos also are featured on the website of Carolina Nephrology in Greenville.
People with kidney disease have kidneys that do not filter as well as they’re supposed to, Shusterman says. Shusterman, a partner at Carolina Nephrology, is the head chef of “Cooking with Carolina Nephrology.”
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has nudged physicians and other health care providers toward paying closer attention to preventive care and helping patients who have chronic diseases stay out of the hospital and emergency room. The ACA’s goals of improving population health dovetail nicely with Shusterman’s own interest in keeping his patients as healthy as possible, he says.
“If kidney disease gets so bad and people end up on dialysis, which is a procedure with a machine that filters out toxins and does what the kidneys are supposed to do, then that’s a worst-case scenario,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in trying to catch the disease early, and I saw the cooking show as an opportunity to do what I can to do that.”
One way patients with kidney problems can slow their progression toward dialysis is by improving their eating habits. “A diet that’s higher in fruits and vegetables can be shown to prolong the time before someone ends up on dialysis,” Shusterman said.
The cooking show, which features Shusterman’s own recipes or those he has adapted, has three years of dishes that include: turkey and brown rice albodigas (Mexican meatball soup), kidney-healthy coleslaw, kidney-healthy turkey burgers, and even kidney-healthy and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. The cookies show also stars Shusterman’s daughter Lilly as a guest chef.