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Group of women learns to cook healthy meals to share with community

Posted: 10:20 PM, Jan 11, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-12 07:50:03Z

For Carmen Pedraza finding time to make a wholesome meal seems close to impossible.

“It's much easier to continue with the lifestyle that you have currently," she said. She's like many in her community, where good healthy foods are hard to come by.

"This community is, as we know, has some serious health challenges," explained Yolanda Ramos, a Chef who teaches and focuses on healthy lifestyle cooking.

Janeen Lone, Pediatric Nutritionist, at MetroHealth System agrees with her, "portion sizes become accessible, a low intake in vegetables, a lot of times, I'll ask in clinic how many vegetables do you eat in a week, and it might be zero or one."

But with her three kids, all grown now and out of the house, Pedraza decided now is the time for a change.

“The truth is we're not just going to impact our nuclear family, we are also impacting the new generation, I don't have grandchildren yet, but I have to think about them," she said.

That's why she decided to be one of 10 women in the new MetroHealth community cooks program.

"The challenge is going to be shifting that mindset and really coaching and support in undergrad and his woman to say, you're you're it,” explained Ramos.

For the next few weeks, Pedraza and nine other Latino women will learn how to prepare and cook healthier meals.

“We take our culture at the staple, you know the rice, the beans, the pollos, the chicken, we take those, and we look at them, and we make them where they're going to actually begin to work in harmony with our physical bodies,” said Ramos.

Then they'll take what they've learned back to their community churches to dish out their skills to other Latino families.

“This should have a snowball effect... it does have the potential to spread fairly quickly," Lone said.

With more than a third of Americans being obese and 42 percent them being Latino... health experts told me there's no better time to make a change.

“The health risks that go along with that are the biggest problems. So the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke... and we're seeing it at a young age too, so it's really important that we try to tackle this," explained Lone.

Pedraza shares the same sentiment.

I see the purposes of God in this...you have to change a lifestyle," she said.