The Lynchburg Seventh-day Adventist Church (Va.) recently hosted its second healthy cooking class. This free class taught attendees how to cook easy, tasty vegan meals, and educated them with various nutrition facts and tips for having an overall better quality of life starting with their diet. In addition to cooking demonstrations, attendees had the opportunity to get a free blood pressure check and had access to both health and Adventist literature.
Over 40 men, women and children attended the event for various reasons: “I need to lose weight,” said attendee, Jim Harmon. Luiza Martinez shared, “I am hoping to learn about quantity and also things that I can use on my daily basis.” Ten-year-old Miko attended because she “doesn’t really know how to cook” and wanted to “learn to cook healthier.”
Dr. Patricia Richardson opened the event by asking the audience, “Why do we eat what we eat?” The predominant audience response was “convenience.” With such easy access to inexpensive–and unhealthy—fast food, busy individuals find it much easier to buy pre-made food rather than take the time to cook healthfully. Dr. Richardson continued by explaining that the human body is the temple of God and how it is important to treat it as such. The audience was encouraged to eat food the way God made it for us: unprocessed and unmodified.
Following Dr. Richardson’s devotional, Liz McLennan, a member of the Lynchburg church, and Nicole Toledo took the floor with their cooking demonstrations. Two breakfast ideas were presented first: a kind of pudding topped with nuts, seeds, and fruit, followed by seasoned scrambled tofu. Next, lunch ideas were demonstrated, including small pizzas made on English muffins and how to pack a convenient salad “kit” in a mason jar. The audience learned how to make a vegan sauce for the pizza, and two types of salad dressings. The final segment of the class featured snacks. Vegan fruit rollups, roasted almonds and candied nuts were created while the audience enjoyed samples.
Children eagerly volunteered when the demonstrators called for audience participation. The young people helped prepare the meals alongside the presenters, who shared nutritional information while cooking, such as portioning foods, good sources of Omega-3 other than fish oil, how nutritional yeast provides a cheesy flavor in a healthy way, and natural laxatives for those who struggle with uncomfortable gut issues like constipation.
In closing, lunch was served, a nutritious spread of all the demonstrated meals for guests to enjoy. While people were eating, Dr. Richardson and Mrs. McLennan facilitated prize drawings for gifts like vegan cooking products and food storage containers. Upon leaving, guests felt that they had received everything they had come for, and more. “There are so many ideas of ‘healthy cooking,’” participant Martinez said, “but it’s better to hear it from people that actually eat what they share… since they eat it, means it will be good!”
written by Shannon Kelly