An MD’s passion for nutrition, recipes for the “Four Ss,” and other fortifying news

By Jessica Jones-Gorman

Fare play

Physiologic NYC’s FRESH program not only prescribes food, it teaches how to grow and cook it, too. A few Super Food recommendations and other tips from its advice guide:


“Eat mostly plants organic if you can. People who eat more plants live longer and happier lives. Seasonal and local choices are best. Beans and legumes are easy to find, inexpensive, and a simple and delicious vegan protein source. Try dry and/or canned.”


“Make half of your plate vegetables. When you crowd in the good stuff, it leaves less room for the indulgences. Get creative and try a new vegetable…or two! Try a salad, soup, and or stir fry. Chop, chop!”

Caddy Spread


“People who cook more live happier and healthier lives. Cooking is a lesson in commitment, focus, creativity, mindfulness, and it’s an offering of your e orts, attention and love. Belly up to the stove!


For as long as Dr. Robert Graham, MD can remember, he has been fascinated by nutrition.


“I grew up in Jackson Heights, surrounded by a multitude of cultures, languages, religions, and health beliefs,” he noted. “And the one commonality among all of those cultures was food: The Western idea of offering a pill for the ill was not in the immigrant mindset. Instead, food was medicine, and completely congruent with their health beliefs the idea that good, natural ingredients fed body and soul. ”

So, Graham studied medical anthropology at Queens College, absorbing the history of primitive and tribal communities and the value they place on nutrition, then got his medical degree from the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center. Board certified in both internal and integrative medicine and with over 15 years of clinical experience, he gradually shifted focus from herbs and dietary supplements to the importance of nutrition and culinary arts overall.
In the summer of 2016, Graham launched FRESH, an integrative health and wellness program at Physiologic NYC, where he currently sees patients.

“Healthcare needs a fresh approach,” Graham said. “FRESH is an integrative practice that represents a paradigm shift from the conventional approach of pharmaceuticals to one that addresses the roots of disease.”

The FRESH model of healthcare combines conventional techniques like diagnostic testing and other technologies with clinical nutrition, functional medicine, health coaching (grounded in positive psychology), complementary therapies, and extensive and innovative testing like gut micro biome analysis. Graham believes healing should be a collaborative partnership between doctor and patient, and that wellness is just as important as treatment. By putting food first, Graham believes he can help transform the world of healthcare.


“The benefits that real food provide are truly amazing,” he offered with a smile.

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Rx recipes
The FRESH approach suggests five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. But how to work those into a diet? One way is by embracing the “Four Ss:” Salads, Soups, Smoothies, and Stir Fries. Some of our faves:

Graham’s Greens Smoothie Rx
1 apple, chopped
1 baby cucumber (or ¼ large)
1 dozen frozen green grapes (or ice)
1 cup kale (or spinach)
1 Tbsp. fresh mint
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced Dash of cayenne and/or turmeric
Mix ingredients in blender. Enjoy!

Graham’s FRESH Dressing
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. powdered)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey (unless vegan)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
(I prefer white for color reasons)
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
The ratio of oil to vinegar is 3:1; but adjust to taste. Throw in a dash of fresh herbs or use dried Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence. Mix ingredients and slowly whisk in olive oil. Pour over salad.

Mom’s Mean Beans
1 bag of small red or black beans
(soak overnight in cold water)
Rinse beans in cold water and put in medium pot of cold water (3 to 4 cups), enough to cover the beans. Then add:
1/2 bunch of cilantro 1 medium onion small, diced 3 green onions, thinly chopped 5 cloves of garlic, minced 1 green pepper small, diced ¼ tsp. of salt at the beginning of cooking
Boil beans over medium/high heat and then simmer until they are soft (a few hours, but cooking times may differ). Add more water if needed to keep beans covered.
They are ready when soft.

Place them in a food processor or blender if you want to make them smooth. You can then refry in a little olive oil in a pan. Otherwise, enjoy them as a soup! Season as you cook and taste with salt and pepper.