MBM Instructor Creates Curriculum for Food as Medicine Conference: Kathie Swift, MS, RD, LDN
Kathie Swift is the curriculum designer for the Food as Medicine conference sponsored by the Center for Mind Body Medicine. Follow this link, http://www.cmbm.org/professional-trainings/food-as-medicine/ to learn more about the conference. Be sure to watch the video and listen to Kathie describe, “What’s special about Food as Medicine.” Listening to Kathie’s enthusiasm about the conference will surely peak your curiosity and get you excited to attend the conference at your first opportunity.
Kathie began her career as a Registered Dietitian working in a teaching kitchen at Alexandria, _Louisiana. Having access to a teaching kitchen is a dream for most dietitians, and in the 1980’s this was a progressive manner of teaching about nutrition. This experience helped to shape Kathie’s enthusiasm around teaching nutrition through cooking, and was Kathie’s first introduction to integrative medicine. Talking about the nutrition in a kitchen gets to the heart of creating sustained behavior change, through cooking, preparing, and enjoying food.
Her personal experience with a chronic illness led her more deeply into the power of integrative medicine. As a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Nutrition, Kathie began to look for clues about what she needed physically, emotionally, and spiritually in her life to help her condition. Because of her education and training in nutrition she approached her illness with a sense curiosity about the human body. She started to look for clues and asked herself what she was missing that might lead her to understand her illness more fully. Her goal was to find a deeper understanding of what was happening in her body, and then to learn how to apply integrative methods for healing. Kathie began experimenting with aromatherapy and healing touch, and as she experimented she started to consider food allergies and sensitivities and wondered if that could be playing a role in her illness. Through a process of self-observation and journaling, she was able to identify food triggers (including gluten and yeast) that caused many of the adverse reactions she was experiencing. Through an elimination diet supported by other healing modalities, over time, she slowly reclaimed her health. Managing her own illness was a pivotal point in her career, and her life, as it led her deeper into the power of integrative medicine and self-care.
Diving deeper into integrative medicine led Kathie to become part of an integrated health care team at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts. The team consisted of integrative physicians, acupuncturists, exercise physiologists, massage therapists, energy medicine workers, and herself, a Registered Dietitian. Working as part of a team she began to see the wonder and transformation in peoples lives when they committed to practicing self-care and mind body modalities. Techniques as simple as soft belly breathing, and as complex as neurofeedback, transformed the lives of many, and this inspired Kathie.
Her time at Canyon Ranch led Kathie to the Center for Mind Body Medicine, and specifically to the Food As Medicine Conference. This year will mark the 13th year for this conference, which has become well known by nutrition and health care professionals for providing practical nutrition tools to share with their patients. As a life long learner, Kathie is always expanding her knowledge of healing modalities. She recently started to practice the gentle and energizing movements of qi gong, and has enjoyed introducing her clients to this powerful ancient spiritual and movement technique.
When asked about the favorite part of her job, she was quick to respond that she loves interacting and being in relationship with people. Kathie’s love of teaching is sure to be an asset to Saybrook University students.