Kitchen Therapy: Meet the nutritionist helping expats in Czechia eat better

Scott Cohen quit a corporate job to embark on a journey to wellness. Now he's on a mission to help expats overcome similar health challenges.

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 13.09.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 16.10.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

Navigating healthy eating in a country defined by its love for pork and potatoes can be a daunting task, especially for foreigners living in the Czech Republic. Coupled with the prevailing medical approach that leans toward medication for lifestyle diseases, individuals seeking a healthier path often find themselves at a loss.

Enter Scott Cohen, the driving force behind Kitchen Therapy, a Prague-based nutritional consultancy dedicated to assisting individuals grappling with weight-related issues in attaining optimal health and preventing diseases through a more mindful approach to food preparation and consumption.

Scott's Personal Journey

Scott Cohen is a staunch advocate for sustained weight loss and the reversal of obesity and type 2 diabetes. A certified nutritional consultant, he draws inspiration from his personal experience, where he witnessed firsthand the transformative power of reevaluating dietary choices.

In 2018, Cohen, a former creative director, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Discontent with his doctor's recommended medication, he embarked on an alternative path, focusing on self-healing through dietary adjustments and exercise.

At that point, I didn't fully grasp the implications of my health condition. The diagnosis marked a progressive disease, and no immediate solution was apparent. My doctor prescribed medication to regulate my blood sugar levels, but I was determined to explore diet and lifestyle interventions before resorting to medication," Cohen recalls.

His journey led him to eliminate sugar and simple carbs from his diet, eschew inflammatory hydrogenated vegetable oils in cooking, and, most significantly, embrace preparing his meals at home. By doing so, Cohen regained control over the ingredients he consumed, introducing a daily leafy green salad, increasing vegetable intake, and adopting a low-carb, healthy fat, and quality protein approach.

Fueling his passion for healthier eating, Cohen pursued naturotherapy studies. The more he delved into the intricacies of nutrition, the more convinced he became that the power of nutrition could significantly transform lives.

This conviction motivated him to transition from the corporate world to become a certified naturopathic advisor and nutritional health coach.

"I've come to realize that many people aren't fully aware that the foods they've been consuming throughout their lives could be contributing to their health conditions. It's not just about the foods themselves but also about their quantities and consumption patterns," Cohen emphasizes.

Addressing Czechia's Nutrition Challenges

Cohen's experience as an expat in the Czech Republic highlighted the challenges of pursuing a healthier lifestyle in a country steeped in not-so-healthy culinary habits. In addition to navigating personal health issues, he recognized the need for a solution that went beyond traditional medical approaches.

His approach resonates particularly with those who have struggled with weight issues over extended periods. Individuals who have faced emotional battles and numerous failed attempts at weight loss, falling prey to costly supplements, fad diets, and a sense of disillusionment. Driven by the desire to attain a healthy and vibrant life, they seek solutions that offer lasting benefits, transcending the transient allure of quick fixes.

"A key concern for this group is the perception that individuals with slender figures lead charmed lives. Many worry that their weight struggles might lead to serious health complications in the future. Bombarded by an array of advice, tips, and miracle products, they often find themselves caught in a cycle of disappointment."

To counteract this complexity, the Kitchen Therapy service champions the potency of whole, nutrition-rich foods with inherent healing properties, emphasizing their superiority over the myriad of supplements, pills, fad diets, and medical treatments that saturate the market.

“In my hands-on research to treat my own health issues, I discovered that the same healthy food items kept showing up on various Top 10 lists of Foods To Eat When Treating This or That Disease. The same things I was doing to treat my diabetes seemed to be improving my health across the board. Since then I’ve been dedicating my life to dreaming up crave-worthy, foodie-approved, truly delicious recipes that also happen to conceal powerful healing properties.”    

Cohen was able to lower blood sugar levels without medical intervention and in doing so quickly reversed his symptoms and, for the first time in his life, saw his waistline shrink.

“Although it wasn’t my primary aim, I even started to lose weight for the first time in my life. As I went deeper and deeper into nutrition I became more fascinated with food and how powerful a role it was suddenly playing in my health, weight, skin quality, sleeping patterns, energy levels, and everything else And I was doing it without feeling like I had to compromise on my joy for food.” 

Kitchen Therapy: A Case Study

Scott Cohen's Kitchen Therapy doesn't stop at theory—it's a practical, tangible approach to transforming lives. By taking advantage of his personal experience and expertise, Cohen extends his support to those seeking better health through sound nutritional choices.

Through personalized nutritional audits and actionable plans, Cohen guides individuals toward sustainable changes in their lifestyles, targeting not only their dietary preferences but also their specific health issues. His holistic approach encompasses not only food but also exercise, mindfulness, and other vital elements of well-being.

As part of a Czech-American family, I know how difficult it can be to eat healthy when carbs and convenience food rule the day. I came to Scott with a desire to make significant dietary changes not just to improve my overall well-being but to set a better example for my kids.

I sought advice on transitioning from traditional comfort foods to more nutritious options, all while navigating individual preferences and health conditions (at 47, I grapple with arthritis and high cholesterol).

Under Scott’s guidance, I embarked on a personalized nutritional journey. The initial step involved a thorough assessment of dietary habits, health conditions, and preferences through a detailed questionnaire and online meeting. Cohen conducted a "SWOT" analysis to identify my nutritional Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and devised a comprehensive 7-step, 21-day action plan.

The plan included not only dietary advice but also insights into specific health issues such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, visceral fat, and inflammation. I was challenged to reduce insulin production, burn visceral fat, and enhance micronutrient consumption through dietary choices. Cohen's guidance extended beyond food, encompassing shopping strategies, meal preparation, and even a mobile app for tracking glycemic index and calories.

I successfully completed the 21-day challenge, embracing a diet focused on nutrient-rich foods and reducing reliance on high-carb options. By adopting Cohen's advice, I elevated salads to the main meal of the day and began making more mindful decisions about my food choices including skipping takeout in favor of bringing my lunch to work.

I felt better both physically and mentally but more importantly, I acquired valuable tools for maintaining balanced nutrition and combatting emotional eating. The Kitchen Therapy session sparked a renewed sense of mindfulness around nutrition and exercise, setting the stage for continued well-being.

Scott challenged me to make at least one of my daily meals a generous, hearty multi-macronutrient salad made from mixed leafy greens, roasted broccoli, and asparagus, a protein like chicken, moderate amounts of bacon, egg, seeds and/or nuts, healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, and cheese like feta or grated Parmigiano.

I also recognized the potential benefits of Kitchen Therapy's follow-up sessions, especially ongoing in-person sessions that can take place in the client’s kitchen or at the grocery store. But for now, the basic 21-Day Reset offered on the Kitchen Therapy website, including online consultations for guidance and support, was a fitting solution.

Scott's tips for a better shopping basket

  • Cohen suggests the Prague Market at Hall 22 for sourcing greens. I found that storebought hlávkový (Bibb) lettuce was the sturdiest and lasted the longest in the fridge.
  • Steel-cut oats are ”oves bezpluchý” in Czech and are available wherever Country Life products are sold.
  • Multigrain bread with rye, barley, and oats makes a delicious mini-pizza base.
  • Use designated salad boxes to keep greens dry and portion out lettuce throughout the week.

I was pleased to learn that Kitchen Therapy even offers discounts on 5- and 10-session packages when purchased in advance.

You don’t have to be threatened with serious health issues to use Scott Cohen’s Kitchen Therapy service – maybe you just want to cut out sugar or learn more about meal planning, sound eating strategies, and the foods and practices that lead to weight gain and the pitfalls that come with poor lifestyle choices. No matter what, you’ll learn some valuable lessons on how to transform your eating habits and take back control of your own health.

In a nation where culinary tradition often prevails over health considerations, Kitchen Therapy offers a beacon of hope for individuals aiming to prioritize their health and reshape their relationships with food. Scott Cohen's journey from a diabetes diagnosis to a dedicated advocate for transformative health is an inspiring testament to the potential for change that lies within each of us.

This article was written in cooperation with Scott Cohen, Certified Health & Nutrition Coach. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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