The Wellness Effect: Programs Inspire Healthy Living
You don’t have to be an experienced cook to prepare meals that are healthy and easy in the kitchen. At UT Physicians, we don’t just explain why you need to reduce your body weight or lower your cholesterol to improve your health, we show you how.
Within commercial kitchens located at community-based clinics, experts lead cooking and nutrition classes to convey to people the knowledge they need to succeed.
“People can make simple meals that are healthy and stay within their budget,” explains Christina Englehart, community health education specialist. “A lot of people come to our classes and are surprised by how much fat or salt is in the food they are eating. We teach them how to make easy substitutions when cooking at home, which lead to a healthier lifestyle. Many of our participants are diabetics who want to cut carbs from their diets.”
Tanya Cooksey says it is a wonderful opportunity to attend cooking classes at UT Physicians – Victory clinic in north Houston. “I have told several of my friends to come and check it out. I have gone home to make the recipes I have learned here,” says Cooksey. “The substitutes have made a difference in my life. I would never have thought to boil an omelet in a bag or make hash browns out of cauliflower. They have taught us to add spices so the food is still flavorful without all of the fat.”
Those who are willing to stretch their cooking comfort zone reap the benefits of feeding their body the nutrition it needs to function properly. “Working with participants, I’ve learned that people who are willing to try a variety of healthy foods end up enjoying the food and all its benefits,” says Andrea Randolph, UT Physicians nutritionist. “Eating is a habitual and personal experience—an experience some are unwilling to change until they expand their cooking comfort zone. When participating in cooking demonstrations, food turns into an adventure each week as participants see different easy and affordable recipes. Participants then share how the food turns out when they made it at home.”
It’s a unique experience, says Kathy Tatum. “Other places just tell you one thing and it’s up to you to do your own thing, and I was obviously not going to get my weight under control by trying to solve it myself,” says Tatum. “I started attending the nutrition classes and learning to read labels, then I started attending the cooking classes. Eating healthy is not that bad. The food still tastes good. In the nutrition class, they actually taught me to look at the label and that the first ingredient should be the best ingredient.”
“At UT Physicians we want to make a long-lasting impact in the community,” says Latanya Sam, practice manager for UT Physicians – Victory. “We know the people who come into our clinic. We have seen how the cooking class helps people. That’s why we are here.”
The cooking demonstrations are held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 5:30 PM-6:30 PM. (There will not be a class on Dec. 19th. Join us in January.) The clinic is located at 7364 Antoine Dr., Houston, 77088.
— Melissa McDonald, UT Physicians