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FAM Faculty Features: Aviva & Stefanie

I love my FAMily! Food As Medicine faculty features

Join the country’s leading lifestyle medicine clinicians and researchers as well as some of our most gifted holistic nutritionists, mind-body practitioners, patient advocates, and chefs, for the Food As Medicine Professional Training Program


Aviva RommAviva Romm, MD – Dr. Romm is a family physician, midwife, herbalist, and internationally respected expert in botanical and integrative medicine for women and children. She has spent nearly 30 years as a health care practitioner and advocate for the health and environmental concerns of women and kids.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.12.12 amAviva is an award-winning author and creator/owner of online courses on the vitality and optimal health of women and children: WomanWise and Healthiest Kids University. Aviva also has ebooks for download (such as this ebook on herbal medicine for kids), an informative and interactive Facebook, several videos, and is the author of 7 books on natural medicine for women and children including Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, The Natural Pregnancy Book, Naturally Healthy Babies and Children, Natural Health After Birth,Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide, ADHD Alternatives (with her husband Tracy Romm Ed.D.), and The Pocket Guide to Midwifery Care.

Aviva will be discussing Women’s Health & Prenatal Care, and Phytomedicines at Food As Medicine.


Stefanie Sacks

Stefanie Sacks, MS, CNS, CDN Stefanie is a Culinary Nutritionist who has been studying food and healing for 25 years, and has a Masters of Science in nutrition from Columbia University. She helps individuals and groups transition to healthier eating by working with them hands-on.

What+the+Fork+Are+You+Eating-+An+Action+Plan+for+Your+Pantry+and+Plate+-+Stefanie+SacksCheck out her book What the Fork Are You Eating? An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Platewhich contains an overview of the truth about what’s hidden in your food plus an action plan with 50 time-tested, delicious recipes.

On her radio show and podcast Stirring the Pot Stefanie brings together the best minds in food, cooking, nutrition and health to discuss some of the hottest topics from food and agriculture policy to edible sourcing, dietary needs and cooking. Each week Stefanie offers answers to burning questions, shares a good brand, a weekly yum recipe and a rock solid guest to inform and inspire listeners.

At FAM, she will be teaching cooking classes during lunch and will be available to answer cooking/nutrition questions.


7 Steps to Whole Body Wellness at Food As Medicine

Food As Medicine is coming up soon! Join us this September 18-22 at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Healing in Stockbridge, MA.

Marti Wolfson.
Chef Marti Wolfson brings us her “food forward approach to optimum health”. http://martiwolfson.com/

Click here to register. Faculty members James S. Gordon, Kathie Madonna Swift, John Bagnulo, Cynthia Geyer, Aviva Romm, Stefanie Sacks, and Marti Wolfson will be sharing their expertise on a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Core imbalances: the root of disease and the opportunity to heal
  • Nutrition in practice: case studies and clinical pearls
  • Macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients
  • A holistic approach to digestive healing
  • Cutting-edge laboratory assessment
  • Detoxification of mind, body, and spirit
  • Evolution of the human diet
  • Women’s health and prenatal care
  • Dietary supplements
  • Mindful eating and the art of self-care
  • Lively cooking classes.
FAM Faculty member Dr. John Bagnulo answers one-on-one questions with FAM trainees at Kripalu.
FAM Faculty member Dr. John Bagnulo answers one-on-one questions with FAM trainees at Kripalu.

Earn CE credits and learn hands-on ways to bring nutrition‬ and‪ ‎integrative medicine‬ together in your personal life, professional practice, and broader community. 

Return home knowledgeable about recent research and prepared to confidently and compassionately guide your patients toward sound, practical nutrition.


Wondering what it will be like at Kripalu? We’re sharing 7 steps to whole body wellness that you can take advantage of while at Food As Medicine. Reinvigorate your mind with new integrative nutrition knowledge, relax your body in the welcoming natural environment, and refresh your spirit by forming lasting connections with other health professionals. 


  1. Take a yoga class – Get your mind and body in sync by attending one of Kripalu’s yoga classes. Taught by some of Kripalu’s best and most seasoned teachers, these classes cater to all different skill levels and needs. Find a class that fits you, and feel the tension melt away.

  2. FAM mindful eating exercise with Dr. Gordon – An integral part of all our programs, Dr. James S. Gordon teaches what “eating mindfully” means and how to do it. He’ll walk you through an exercise, where you learn firsthand how to truly experience food by using all of your senses.

  3. Go for a walk by the lake – Nestled in the Berkshires, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful location to inspire revitalization. Connect with nature on one of Kripalu’s many hiking trails, or spend some time at the lakefront beach area. Take time to get lost in nature amid wildflowers, ferns, forested pathways, and rolling hills.

  4. FAM food demos & cooking classes – Ever feel overwhelmed by the concept of eating healthy at home? Our top-notch chefs will be on hand to answer any questions you may have, as well as share helpful tips and tricks for cooking easy and delicious meals at home. Evening cooking classes ensure that you see the how-tos from start to finish.

  5. Enjoy the sauna – To help with the detoxification process, pack your swimsuit and visit the sauna. If you’d prefer something different but equally relaxing, Kripalu offers a range of healing arts services, including several types of massage, energy work, and ayurvedic services.

  6. Eat delicious meals – One of the most popular aspects of our trainings is the incredible meals. Our delicious gourmet lunches are whole-foods based with an emphasis on fresh flavors to stimulate the palate while nourishing the body.

  7. Shaking & Dancing – Experience this stress-relief technique we teach all over the world, including in areas traumatized by war, terrorism, and natural disaster. Release endorphins and get the body moving in this easy and fun activity — a great tool to use in your everyday life.


Benefits of fasting

Guest blogger Nosheen Hayat, an MPH graduate student at University of Michigan and former Research Associate at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, explains the benefits of fasting during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
Guest blogger Nosheen Hayat, an MPH graduate student at University of Michigan and former Research Associate at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, explains the benefits of fasting during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

Author: Nosheen Hayat, former Research Associate for CMBM, has a B.S. in dietetics and is currently a graduate student at University of Michigan working on her MPH in nutritional sciences.

The Benefits of Fasting

Although Ramadan is mainly thought to be a month for spiritual rejuvenation, there are many ways we can benefit from it if we just take the right steps. One of these steps is to focus on our dietary habits, and how they can, in conjunction with worship, energize our mind, body, and soul.

Some benefits of fasting include:

Rest. Although by the time iftaar (breaking of the fast at sunset) comes around, we’re all pretty much exhausted, fasting actually allows your body to rest. When we eliminate food and drink, our body can direct that energy it uses to digest and process our food towards other bodily functions.

Detofixication. While the body gets rest from digesting all the food we eat, it can focus on cleansing itself of toxins, and repairing itself.

Reduces risk for chronic diseases. Recent research has shown that fasting intermittently during the week (much like the Islamic tradition of fasting Mondays and Thursdays) can decrease your risk for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Protects your brain. Some research has shown that when you fast, you protect your brain. In one study, fasting promoted “neuronal autophagy,” which is scientific for cells detoxifying themselves by destroying damaged organelles and old proteins. In another study, fasting increases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which plays a role in memory, learning, and thought process. Low levels of BDNF have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. There’s way more research out there, but I’m just highlighting some.

Normalizes main hormones linked to eating. Fasting helps normalize your insulin, leptin, and ghrelin levels. Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels, and leptin is the hormone that tells you when you’re full. Ghrelin is your “hunger” hormone–it tells you when you need to eat. Normalizing these levels means that your body will be more sensitive to them, and you won’t need more of each hormone to get the job done. Having an insensitivity to insulin can manifest itself as diabetes, and an insensitivity to leptin and ghrelin can lead to obesity because your body can no longer regulate your eating habits.