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Class aims to prove diabetic-friendly food can be tasty

May. 07, 2013 @ 12:22 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A cooking school conducted Monday was out to prove that diabetic cooking can be tasty, as well as good for you.

Brenda Porter, an agent with the West Virginia University Extension Service, said many people think of diabetic meal-planning as tasteless, with few options. The Dining with Diabetes Cooking School, held at Enslow Park Presbyterian Church, aims to discredit that, she added.

"This cooking school shows people it can be tasty and healthy as well," Porter said. "We hope the class will help people reduce the complications of diabetes and help them be able to live with their illness and live a long, full, quality life."

Dining With Diabetes is a four-week class, followed by a three-month maintenance program. It is open to individuals with diabetes, their family members and caregivers. Monday's class was full with 24 participants, but the free program is offered at various times and locations locally and around the state, Porter said.

Sabrina Salmons of Salt Rock, W.Va., was recently diagnosed with hypoglycemia, a precursor to diabetes. With a strong family history of the disease, Salmons said she was attending the class to find tips to help her lose weight and halt the progress of the disease that has affected both her parents and her grandmothers.

"I want to find out more information about the thing I need to do to lose weight and meals I can fix that my two kids will also eat," Salmons said. "Any ideas I can get from here will be really helpful."

Margaret Adkins of Barboursville, already living approximately a year-and-a-half with diabetes, said she was using the class opportunity to learn more about healthful eating habits.

"I want to live longer for my granddaughter," Adkins said. "My mother and two aunts both had the disease and I love sugar. So, I'm hoping to learn some tips about cooking and more about exercising."

Porter said Monday's class included taste-testing a variety of fruits, vegetables and dips, as well as A1C testing to check blood glucose control and blood pressure testing. Each class will feature samples from diabetes-friendly and heart-healthy recipes, which are provided to the participants. A diabetes educator also speaks to the group.

"We have an emphasis on cooking, physical activity and self-management skills," she said. "Diabetes is at almost epidemic proportions. We're hoping by the end of this class that we're seeing lower A1C scores and giving people self-management skills they can use at home."

Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.

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