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Cooking With a Doc Program Promotes Healthy Eating

The Difference Your Donations Make

“If we can really help change behaviors for patients, we can really help change health outcomes," Cooking With a Doc creator Therese Ray, MD said.

But, that's something that Dr. Ray realizes can be a tough thing for people to learn given the eating habits they've had their entire lives.

“For a lot of patients, eating more fruits and vegetables and really changing their diet, it’s a big change, it’s something that a lot of our patients are not familiar with, how to actually logistically do that."

While working to come up with a way to promote better eating habits within the community, Dr. Ray learned about a cooking program involving doctors at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Really, the goal is to just have this program that can provide a fun way for families to learn about healthy eating and at the same time, the whole process is very interactive," Dr. Ray offered. "We have a whole lot of fun, and families are spending time together to be doing this, so it kind of builds community around healthy behaviors.”

Heather Lacey decided to sign up for the program along with her daughter, hoping they could learn something together.

“I actually signed up so I could introduce my daughter to different foods. She has a lot of food sensitivities. Texture issues, looks of foods. She’s an extremely picky eater, so I thought it would be good for her to learn."

“So watching my daughter actually even touch the food, because that’s a big thing," Lacey continued. "If it doesn’t look normal, she’s not gonna touch it, so seeing her actually get in there and help peel the carrots and cut them up and cut the lettuce and touch an onion was huge."

Dr. Ray was excited to see the children taking part in the program be so willing to try new things.

“We have children who have come into the program who have never eaten a vegetable in their life. We have this 7-year-old who had never eaten a vegetable. But she prepared the salad, so she ate it, and she was so proud to eat that salad, and that was a big win for mom to see that success.”

Lacey admitted there were a number of benefits that she enjoyed through the program.

“It was really fun. I didn’t have to cook dinner. I never had lentils before, so learning how to cook them and the consistency, it was really informative.”

“It’s so fun to see these light bulbs go off for people, and they’re like, ‘Oh I never even knew that.’ And some of the ingredients people are unfamiliar with some of the vegetables that we’ve used. It’s exciting to see those moments of discovery for people," Dr. Ray commented.

She also explained how crucial the support of The Foundation of CVPH has been in helping the program get off the ground.

“We really appreciate the support from The Foundation in helping allow this program to be possible. Right now are tough financial times for everyone, but finding ways to support endeavors like this are important and worthwhile, even if we don’t see the immediate benefit of it in terms of health dollars and health savings. These are the programs that have the potential to make significant long term changes and really help the community and provide a means for fun community engagement at the same time."

So far, program participants have learned to cook six recipes over the course of two sessions. The hope is to have another four to eight sessions.

The Foundation purchases equipment and helps fund programs that otherwise would not be possible at the hospital. An online silent auction runs August 24-28 that is aimed at raising money to continue making crucial investments like this in CVPH's patients and employees. To learn more about the auction and the many great items you can bid on, click here.