Cooking Matters Colorado
In A Nutshell:
Cooking Matters empowers families at risk of hunger with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make healthy and affordable meals. With the help of volunteer culinary and nutrition experts, course participants learn how to select nutritious and low-cost ingredients and prepare them in ways that provide the best nourishment possible to their families.
Why They Rock (results from 2009):
- 87% of Adults report improving their cooking skills after graduating from a Cooking Matters course, which means they’re better equipped to make healthy meals for their families at home.
- 96% of kids who take Cooking Matters’ Side By Side course enjoyed cooking alongside their parents during class, an important element in continuing to prepare and eat healthy meals together as a family.
- After participating in Cooking Matters, at least 69% of adults said they were eating more fruit and vegetables than before the course.
Cooking Matters kicked off a healthy weekend which started with vegetarian lasagna followed by a live Zumba performance! If you know me well, I am the food police and it was great to be among healthy food enforcers who point fingers at enriched flour…get out of la cocina!
My gracious Cooking Matters host Mayra Ramirez dropped me off to participate in a cooking class for low-income adults who were graduating from their six-week course (cooking lessons, recipes, grocery store visit). They made cheesy lasagna and the instructors provided an informative sugar demo of what is really in your beverages…if you drink Coke you are inhaling 2 fat hamsters of sugar (aggressive visual). I loved their alternative for soda: carbonated water and 100% fruit juice, or water for you bubble haters.
The head chef, translator, and volunteer cook awarded graduation presents and it was very obvious the class had respect and gratitude for the staff/program…and the finale of graduation included Zumba! I requested fun dancing for a video montage and presto…a boom box appears, rows of ladies assembled, and five minutes of cerographic bumping Zumba!
Zuuum back to the office and I sorted water bottles, compiled folders, and got to hang at a surprise birthday party for two employees. The staff made me feel at home although I struggled discussing current television programs, expect I think I scored points for knowing about the Bachelor ‘fang’ girl.
Cooking Matters is creating positive shifts that ARE waking up the food industry. I thought it was very cool that a student cooked healthy homemade dishes (whole-wheat pasta) for the graduation dinner. I was also informed by a staff member that Wal-Mart will be making big changes for better nutrition. WE can make a positive shift in the food industry by demanding healthy options from your local stores…farmers will follow the demand which is denoted in the great documentary Food Inc. Go tackle your local produce guy or gal, pin them down and say organic and local please!
My Denver housing contact Heather and two kittens provided southern hospitality (originally from Abingdon, VA)…took me to the famous RIO (marga-om-my-strong-mommy), played some bowling (152 – never again), and set-up a comfy couch where the cats played pogo-stick on my head at night (there were too cute to tackle, but you better pummel your local grocer!).
I also met a yogi/writer/chill cat named Erica who treated me to yoga at Spiral Wellness and jazz at a very hip spot called meadlowlark. I really needed the yoga session to reset my soul and Erica gave an inspiring speech about her fear of flying and how a stranger told her to imagine the plane gliding through Jell-O, which provided her safety and to have confidence in the universe. I had a very similar take – let go of worry in the sense that we have zero control over many things (so over worrying about worrying), although we do have control of what food is good for our body…some of us.
Cooking Matters is a functional name and the ‘some of us’ are fortunate to understand quinoa is the new black, blackberries dominate with antioxidants, and Cheez Whiz is not a food group. This organization is empowering all of us: creating a positive army of healthy eaters, under-cover foodie activists based on their buying decisions, and most likely will bring back home cooking which will lead to increased family time…viva Cooking Matters!
Between volunteering and my reverse warrior…I met with Larabar (50Give sponsor ), who make the most nutritious/natural bar on the planet…the ingredients are usually three things and don’t include the word high-fructose. I was lucky enough to try their yummy new flavor Blueberry Muffin, and they uploaded a video about 50Give on their Facebook Fan Page which aided with donations and attracted offers for accommodations (some interesting requests like clean my cats for free comfy bed…I am a sucker for cleaning cats).
I could write all day about these all-stars but Starbucks wants me to leave…losing a staring contest with the head barista. Denver was about healthy everything (okay, the margarita was for the Redskins when they were good) but Cooking Matters and Larabar are healthy pioneers that feed the soul and ARE creating positive change!
“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” -Thomas Edison