The Fun & Healthy Cooking Adult Learning Zone Class held at the Madison County Health Department, had its final session April 7 with Foods from Around the World.
The event, sponsored by Madison Medical Center, Fredericktown School District and the Madison County Health Department, had the goal to offer fun and healthy cooking classes for adults.
“You know food is energy, not the enemy,” Madison County Health Department WIC Nutritionist Abigail Weekley said. “We are trying to improve our relationship with food instead of fighting against it.”
Weekley led the group in a mindful eating exercise. First she had the group choose between a York Peppermint Patty and a Cutie Clementine. Next, she had everyone look at the packaging/peel and feel it before jumping right in.
“Right now we are just trying to focus our attention,” Weekley said. “We all have cravings and actually if we hold back on our cravings and we don’t give in on them every once in a while then we are more likely to binge on things that you would consider to be unhealthy.”
Weekley said there is no such thing as unhealthy food, you should just eat everything in moderation. She said food is everything and if you can not have a piece of cake at your grandma’s 90th birthday party, then something is wrong.
Now that the group was focused on what food they had in front of them it was time to open the package/peel and engage the sense of smell. The practice had each person think of the look, feel and smell of the food and then gauge their craving level before taking a bite.
“Now you can take a bite and savor it,” Weekley said. “Pay attention to the serotonin going to your brain. There are so many studies on intuitive eating. Paying attention to all of your senses and staying focused increases the likelihood that you will be satisfied without eating the entire chocolate bar.”
Weekley said it is important to be mindful of the foods you eat when you are eating them and to try not to eat when distracted. She also said you can pretty much eat anything, but of course you want to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can in a day.
“Ultimately when we are born you automatically know your fullness and hunger cues,” Weekley said. “You kind of forget it as life goes on, but this is a good way of bringing it all back together.”
Weekley prepared four different options for the group to try: an Italian pasta with sun dried tomatoes, spinach, chicken and a mixture of whole wheat and regular pasta; Japanese cotton cheesecake cupcakes with a whipped cream topping and fruit; Greek vegan gyros made with jackfruit; and Mexican carnitas.
MMC Marketing Manager Beth Simmons said the MOVE Madison County Health Initiative wants to not only motivate and offer opportunities for healthier living but also education as well. The group wanted these classes to be fun, beneficial and offer new ideas to the community.
“The healthy meals adult learning zone classes were a great success,” Simmons said. “We had good attendance, great food and a lot of fun. Although we were only able to offer two classes, due to weather and sickness, we are looking into the possibility of offering more classes in the fall after receiving multiple requests to continue.
“Thank you to everyone who participated, as well as to, the Madison County Health Department, and the Fredericktown R-I School District for partnering with us to make these classes possible.”
M.O.V.E. Madison County is a health and wellness initiative to motivate our community members, offer opportunities to be more physically active, celebrate victories together and provide education on healthier lifestyles. The initiative is a grant program through Madison Medical Center and Community Joint Partners that is supported by the Delta Regional Authority and the National Rural Health Resource Center.
For more information on future healthy events, as well as recipes, from the “Foods from Around the World” class, visit the M.O.V.E. Madison County Facebook page.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org