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Maria Lattouff Anderson, Born/raised in South Jersey. College Boston College (1986-1990), Med school Tufts University in Boston (1990-1994), 7 yrs active duty Air Force as Internal Medicine resident then staff physician and flight surgeon (doctor for pilots) (1994-2001), then Cardiology/Electrophysiology (aka EP =heart rhythm specialist, like an electrician for the heart) fellowship at Brown University in RI (2001-2004).
Moved to CO for mtns and sun after that (2004). Grew up around fresh vegetables and fruit in the Garden State but also surrounded by twinkies. Very very gradually became interested in food and wellness. While in CA in AF, gained love for local, fresh, seasonal food.
As an internist and cardiologist, saw many people with obesity-related illness, generally treated with medications and procedures but without addressing the underlying cause. Decided to start a solo practice dedicated to permanent lifestyle change with the aim of treating and reversing obesity-related illness.
As physicians, we constantly say healthy eating and exercise are the way to go but no time, reimbursement, or tools to help people make these changes. This wasn't about dieting, but about life. The businesswas called Medical Mentors and involved spending a lot of time in people's homes, seeing their kitchens, their pantries, how they ate, assessing their overall health, then to go shopping with them, redo the pantry, teach nutrition, overcome lifelong assumptions about food, eliminate what was leading to illness and introduce foods and practices to create lifelong wellness. Because insurance does not reimburse this kind of treatment, it was a fee-based practice (cash). I worked with friends and family to get started with some fantastic, rewarding results. THEN, the economy ground to a halt and ability to pay out of pocket for such a service waned.
Then I got a wonderful EP job and had to abandon Medical Mentors. Through the amazing Dafna Michaelson's Women as Social Entrepreneurs group, I learned about Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters program, which provides nutrition and cooking education to underprivileged individuals and families. It's an amazing program that works toward the precise goals I had with Medical Mentors.
As a kid, I helped in the kitchen but had to follow some pretty strict rules of my mom's. There wasn't a lot of creativity. Mind you she was a great cook and especially baker, but I never learned to just go for it in the kitchen or to value a fresh peach differently than a popsicle. I later had exposure to wonderful, inspiring home cooks and some amazing CA chefs
I wanted to pass on what I'd learned about seasonal, fresh food to my daughter. I have passed on my basic cooking skills and let her cook with any instruction she wants plus safety but without much correction. If she wants to do things her own way, she goes for it.
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