April 22, 2002
Jackson hospital to offer free cooking class for diabetics and their families
By Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.–Chefs at Methodist Rehabilitation Center know how difficult learning to cope with dietary restrictions can be for diabetics.
That’s why they are offering a cooking class May 15 from 6-8 p.m. especially for diabetics and their families.
“I’ve worked in hospitals for years and I’ve seen how hard diabetes is on folks,” said John Pelton, director of nutrition services at Methodist Rehab.
The classes are open to the public and to patients at the Jackson hospital. Pelton and chef Scott Essex will speak and offer recipes for diabetic-friendly meals. The two chefs will also prepare dishes and answer questions from the audience.
Afterwards, there will be a buffet for participants to sample the food.
Pelton has been offering diabetic cooking classes for about 10 years, he said. “I think it’s important to do this for the public and people enjoy the classes. It’s informative and a hands-on way for them to pick up new ways to make things they can eat.”
Hopefully diabetics and their families will discover that a regimented diet doesn’t have to be something to fear, said Linda Peddicord, a registered and licensed dietician at Methodist Rehab. “A lot of people think it’s going to be bland and tasteless and it doesn’t have to be that way and it shouldn’t be that way.”
All foods can fit into a healthy diet – even a diabetic diet, if precautions are observed, Peddicord added. “It’s not a matter of giving up things completely,” she said. “You just have to be careful and more responsible about what you eat. A diabetic’s body has changed and you have to learn how to change your habits to take care of yourself.”
Morris Sasser has been type II diabetic for less than a year. He’s single and lives alone so the cooking class is perfect for him, he said.
“It’s just the sort of thing a person like me can use,” said Sasser, 33, of Jackson. “I’m excited about the idea of seeing the meals they’ll be making and getting some ideas for myself.”
After being diagnosed, Sasser said he had to adjust to an entirely new diet. “I drank too much sweet tea and ate way too much sugary stuff. It’s been hard to adjust to not having those things. That’s why I’m always interested in new foods and flavorings that I can eat.”
John Pelton is a Brandon resident. He graduated from Paul Smith College in New York and has been cooking professionally for more than 10 years. Scott Essex is certified through the American Culinary Federation. He lives in Jackson.
To sign up for the class, call John Pelton at 601-364-3492 or to find out more about diabetes and nutrition, log on to www.methodistonline.org.
Methodist Rehabilitation Center chef Scott Essex and John Pelton, director of nutrition services at the Jackson hospital will offer a cooking class for diabetics.