By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Co-founders Jonathan Stranger, Brent Wilson and Dr. Steven Sands, have embarked on a new health and wellness venture working with hospitals and their patients in the metro area.
Located at 7908 N. Western Avenue, i2U Culinary Solutions combines the professional talents of a local chef, a dietitian/personal trainer and a medical doctor to take Oklahoma City healthcare to a new level.
Recently, I2U Culinary Solutions announced its three on-contract hospital partners who will utilize this dietitian-designed and chef-inspired comprehensive wellness concept as the day-to-day food resource for their inpatient meal services.
According to Stranger, I2U Culinary Solutions was created to bridge the gap between food and medicine. This new venture intends to change the way the health care industry looks at prescriptions, nutrition and holistic outcomes.
i2U Culinary Solutions uses custom programs geared towards treating patients during a vulnerable, yet transformative, time in their lives, Stranger says.
“The hospital food system has been broken for quite some time,” Stranger asserted “It’s a place where people are going to get healthy, to feel better, and they’re being served food that frankly is the antithesis of what a hospital is supposed to provide. Food is something that can be used as medicine.”
I2U offers inpatient meal services and direct outpatient care, diet-specific menus, meal planning, nutrition counseling, and personal training. These lifestyle changes are meant to empower individuals to take charge of their health beyond the diagnosis of acute or chronic illness.
The three local hospitals now under food service contract with i2U Culinary Solutions are Lakeside Women’s Hospital, HPI Community Hospital and HPI Northwest Surgical Hospital. Through i2U, each hospital will now provide nutrient-dense, restriction-friendly menus to their patients for each meal time throughout their inpatient stay.
Working with chefs and partners, Wilson, a registered dietician, certified personal trainer and certified diabetes educator, leads the dietary program. Chef Stranger, the Chef/Owner at En Croute, St. Mark’s Chop Room and Osteria restaurants in Oklahoma City, provides culinary input for meal preparation and presentation.
Wilson has created menus for six profiles of dietary needs – diabetic, heart healthy, renal, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free – and one non-restricted menu for patients without any specific nutritional concerns.
All meals are sourced from local ingredients and made from scratch at i2U.
“My hope with i2U is that we can slowly get away from medication as an answer for everything and begin to relieve that co-dependence from the health care model,” Wilson said.
“Beginning with hospital food, let’s reimagine the system. We want to take patients on a full wellness journey, from addressing their diagnosis, establishing a plan for intervention and monitoring, and then working together to install lifestyle changes with intermittent check-ins for accountability.”
i2U’s facility features a full corporate kitchen, where breakfast, lunch and dinner meals are prepared. The venue includes exercise equipment for assessments and personal training, and a consultation space.
For the hospitals and inpatient meals, i2U sends its first meals out of the door beginning at 7 a.m. i2U’s custom meal delivery van is complete with electrical connections to ensure that food safety standards are maintained during transportation.
Through their hospital partnerships, i2U currently serves 80 patient beds with three meals per day, seven days a week.
“i2U is different in the fact that it’s more than just a meal plan, it’s a lifestyle change,” Wilcox said. “When you come to i2U you’re going to meet with a dietician who’s going to do a physical assessment and create a meal plan perfect to meet your needs. It has us look at food as the medicine to help solve these chronic problems.”
The i2U Culinary Solutions provides outpatient services for those looking to begin a total weight loss and nutritional wellness plan. Services include guided grocery shopping excursions and instructional cooking demonstrations.
For more information, or to sign up for an appointment, visit i2Uculinary.com.