VIDA! is cooking up healthy changes in our neighborhood
Food is a key component of your overall health, but that means so much more than counting calories.
For a lot of people in our community, financial constraints, a lack of healthy options at grocery stores and other factors they can’t control create barriers between their families and the kinds of foods that they need to achieve their best health. That’s especially true for our area’s Hispanic community.
Our VIDA! program is trying to change that, one step – and one chef – at a time. Early last year, we partnered with 11 Latina cooks in our neighborhood. The goal? To teach these women, the gatekeepers to their families’ eating, how to put a healthy spin on traditional cultural staples.
VIDA! – Spanish for LIFE! – isn’t a diet or meal replacement plan. Instead, our dietitians and physicians, along with certified chefs, help participants learn affordable, accessible and, most important, culturally relevant ways to cook. Throughout a 10-week training period, the VIDA! team supports the cooks with supplies, health talks and lots of hands-on practice. After that, the cooks are armed with the knowledge they need to improve their health with each home-cooked meal.
The best thing about VIDA! is the ripple effect it’s creating in the community. Last fall, we helped the 11 original participants recruit more than 30 trainees from their families, churches and neighbors, all of whom are now trained and ready to share their knowledge with even more cooks.
After last year’s successful launch, we’re not stopping. VIDA!’s 2018’s cohort starts soon.
Who’s hungry for change?