The kitchen connection to good health
Improving the well-being of those living with epilepsy starts with tackling poor diets and other health habits that need improvement. Epilepsy Niagara knows healthy food and safe exercise can mean fewer and shorter seizures for people living with the disease. That’s why in 2015 it began hosting cooking demonstrations and lessons in grocery shopping on a budget.
Participants learned about stretching their dollars at the grocery store, and about proper portioning and freezing to stretch their meals at home. They were also given timed appliances, including slow cookers, microwaves and toaster ovens, to use at home in exchange for volunteer hours. Such appliances offer a safe way to cook. Should someone suffer a seizure while making a meal, the appliances would automatically shut off when the set cooking time elapsed.
Cooking classes were spread over five sessions for one to five people at a time, and were held in the kitchen at the organization’s headquarters or in clients’ homes.
It wasn’t long before participants began offering their own recipes and money-saving tips, which have been compiled in a cookbook for others to use.
With the help of a $3,000 grant from the Niagara Community Foundation, Epilepsy Niagara developed an innovative approach to help more Niagarans live healthier, more independent lives. The program has become a fixture in Epilepsy Niagara’s repertoire of support services, so more people can benefit from these important skills.