Healthy eating starts with healthy cooking. That’s the takeaway message from Culinary Medicine courses provided to members of the Mobile community by USA Mitchell Cancer Institute in collaboration with Bishop State Community College.

Eleven participants completed the first six-week course Tuesday evening as they prepared healthy meals ranging from fish and potatoes to roasted chicken as they focused on reducing sodium intake. “This class has taught me how to make better food choices, how to choose healthier fruits and vegetables,” said participant Vivian Powe of Mobile. “It has allowed me to control my high blood pressure with the food choices I make.”

Classes are conducted at the Bishop State Carver Campus on Stanton Road under the direction of Chef Gabrielle Wilson, program coordinator and instructor for Culinary Arts at Bishop State, and Nancy Brumfield, Certified Dietician Nutritionist at Mitchell Cancer Institute. A second six-week series is expected to begin in mid-May.

Bishop State leaders praised the collaboration. “Here we have two institutions of higher learning demonstrating how beneficial healthy cooking is for people,” said Karl W. Henry, dean of Career Technical Education. “We’re pleased with the collaboration and are excited to see where it can go.”

Class participants were selected by Franklin Primary Health Clinic and the Mobile County Health Department. The initiative is funded through the Alabama Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WISEWOMAN program, which targets underserved women who suffer from diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases, such as cancer.

“Our hope is to offer these culinary medicine courses to cancer survivors, those suffering from other chronic diseases, and community members interested in improving their nutrition through the healthy cooking of delicious and affordable meals,” said Margaret Sullivan, USA vice president for Development and Alumni Relations. Sullivan led the launch of MCI’s Culinary Medicine pilot program in 2016 as MCI associate director for Cancer Control and Prevention.

Under the program, participants practice cooking techniques each week as they prepare a variety of healthy meals. Participants also join instructor-led discussions on the nutritional value of the recipes. The six-week curriculum, based on the popular Mediterranean diet, is licensed by MCI from the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University.

For more information or to participate in MCI Culinary Medicine courses, contact Vanessa McMillian at 251-410-4902.

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