East Bay Clinic offers a healthy new beginning

Dr. Robert Lustig, left, Dr. Naomi Breckon and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier join chef Cindy Gershen at the opening of the new East Bay Health clinic in Lafayette.

LAFAYETTE, CA (Nov. 9, 2023) — I’m so pleased to be included in the launch of East Bay Health, which holds the promise of helping more people eat healthier.

We snipped a big red ribbon to open the Lafayette nonprofit clinic for primary care that includes culinary medicine among its holistic offerings. Across the hall from the doctors’ offices is a new kitchen where I can teach patients about fresh, unpackaged food.

The kitchen space allows for classes for adults and children. I am also scheduling times for open kitchen, when community members can come in and learn some healthy cooking tips. There’s a fee, but as with other services at East Bay Health, there are spots open for low-income community members to drop in for free.

We’ve already had a number of after-school classes for enthusiastic first graders, wearing white chef hats, from Lafayette Elementary School across Moraga Road. I’ll have more about the cooking classes in future columns.

Health equity

East Bay Health provides access to quality primary care while supporting health equity with free care for underserved patients and those without health insurance. Direct primary care is an emerging model of medicine that replaces the fee-for-service model dictated by insurance.

“It allows us to do all the things that most doctors don’t have the time to ask a patient about,” said Dr. Tracy Hu, co-founder of the clinic.

“The goal of the health center is to have time to listen, support and heal patients,” said co-founder Dr. Naomi Breckon. “It’s a new model with the hope of transforming primary care.”

Dr. Maha Hanna, a pediatrician, is available for breastfeeding consultation and classes. You can sign up for direct primary care at eastbayhealthcare.org.

“It was a great day for a beginning,” Lafayette Mayor Carl Anduri said at the ribbon-cutting. “I wish you all success.”
Here’s another idea for holiday treats without sugar:

Banana Nut Muffins

Makes 6 servings
(18 regular-size muffins)

2.25 lbs. ripe bananas, mashed
5 oz. nut butter (I recommend Trader Joe’s almond butter)
6 oz. ricotta cheese or Greek yogurt
3 eggs
7 oz. oats
2 T cinnamon
1½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. white vinegar
1 oz. nuts, chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except nuts. Separate evenly into silicone muffin cups. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake 25 minutes. Muffins can be frozen.

Cindy Gershen is a culinary teacher and the chef-owner for 40 years of Sunrise Bistro and Catering in Walnut Creek. Along with a new venture, Gershen has a new email address. Contact her at chefcindy@eastbayhealthcare.org.

Cindy Gershen
Cindy Gershen

Cindy Gershen is an educator, nutritionist, chef, and co-author of “Fat Chance Cookbook.”