Every Tuesday evening, members of the community gather at 7th Day Adventist Church in Jamestown to attend a free healthy cooking class with live demonstrations and samples for the audience to try.
The class, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. within the gymnasium of the 7th Day Adventist Church.
According to Martha Olson, founding member of the program and demonstrator, the cooking classes are designed to inform and demonstrate to the community about how to effectively reverse various diseases and disorders through the food one ingests.
Pictured are demonstrators Martha Olson and Susan Caster. The two women are members of the 7th Day Adventist Church, where they host a free naturally healthy cooking class every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.
P-J photos by Dusten Rader
Demonstrator Susan Caster plays with her daughter in one of the rooms utilized for free child care during the cooking class.
Volunteer demonstrator Sylvie Taylor as she prepares a red lentil and quinoa soup and explains how to eat in a healthy manner to acquire complete proteins through combinations of grains, legumes, seeds and nuts.
"We feel a burden to share with the community this health message that we have been led to work on," said Olson. "We feel it is important, and that it can benefit people. That's why we do this on a volunteer basis. And, we hope that it is a blessing to the community."
The class offers information about how to convert recipes from fattening and harmful to healthy and tasty, said Olson.
"We wish to demonstrate how to lose weight by cutting certain ingredients and replacing them with beneficial ones," said Olson. "The intention is to offer the means to lower cholesterol, reverse diabetes and lower blood pressure naturally."
The class was originally started by Bible workers who were called elsewhere, so Martha Olson and Susan Caster decided to continue the program.
"We decided to continue the class because there was an interest from the community," said Olson. "So, we organized a group of five women who have a passion for encouraging people who are interested in maintaining a health lifestyle. Our desire is to demonstrate how to prepare healthy dishes and also to explain why the food has beneficial nutritional value. We hope that our community can become more knowledgeable about what they are putting in their mouth, how it is physiologically affecting them and the long-term effects it will have on their body."
The five cooking-class demonstrators, all of whom are members of the church, include Olson, Caster, Sylvie Taylor, Lynn Nixon and Kathy Haller.
"The five of us work well together because we each have our own strengths that we can offer to the cooking classes," said Caster. "Martha has a real passion for the people and where they are in their lives as far as their health and their total well-being."
According to Olson, Taylor brings to the group background knowledge of natural remedies and herbs. And, eventually she would like to host an herb walk to teach people what in nature can be used for medicinal purposes. Haller keeps them all on track with her organizational skills. And, Nixon is very encouraging, helpful and willing to step in wherever she is needed. Caster is the star demonstrator. Olson said that she is a natural presenter, to whom it seems to come easily and comfortably.
Each week one or more of the demonstrators take the stage to prepare a dish in front of a live audience. During the presentation, the demonstrators explain the beneficial aspects of the food they are preparing, answer questions, provide recipes and samples for the audience to try. Many of the recipes utilized in the class are sourced from a cookbook entitled "Naturally Gourmet," which is written by Karen Houghton, RN, BSN.
The demonstrators also show videos to reinforce their statements by providing a secondary source for their information. One of the videos that the group shows is a documentary entitled, "The Last Heart Attack." The CNN documentary, released in 2011, focuses on an investigation done by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on whether diet and diagnostic tests can prevent heart attacks. In the film, Gupta interviews former president Bill Clinton, who allows his heart to be put to the test.
Another source the group uses is a book released in 2010 entitled, "Natural Remedies Encyclopedia." The book features more than 11,000 inexpensive home remedies for more than 730 diseases and disorders. Olson and the demonstrators base a major aspect of their class on eight healthy principles described in the book.
In an effort to make the class accessible to parents, the group formed a free child-care service located within the church. A local 17-year-old girl and her mother have volunteered their time to help with that aspect of the program. The children will be supervised in a secure room with plenty of toys to play with, books to be read to them and possibly even help with their homework.
"It's for grownups who have little ones that still wish to come and learn about the healthy concepts that they can apply to their families," said Caster.
The class is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted at the door, but not required. Funding for the program comes from volunteers and donations.
"We encourage people to come because we are eager and anxious to reach out to the community by providing the information we have found," said Olson.
The 7th Day Adventist Church is located at130 McDaniel Ave. in Jamestown. For more information, or to reserve a seat, call Olson at 397-6361 or Caster at 499-3801.
Pottage Du Fromage - Cheesy Broccoli Soup
3 cups water
1 cup raw cashew pieces
2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. yeast flakes
2 tsp. onion powder
tsp. garlic powder
tsp. dill weed or tsp. dill seed
3-4 cups fresh broccoli
Blend on high half of the water with all of the ingredients excluding the broccoli. Pour into sauce pan and add rest of water and broccoli. If using fresh broccoli it should be steamed before adding to soup. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring
constantly until slightly thickened and broccoli is tender. Delicious served with garlic bread.
Varitions include: cauliflower or asparagus in place of broccoli.
Submitted by Kathy Haller
1 large onion chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots chopped fine
4 tbsp. oil
1 cup quick pearled barley
3 quarts of water
6 tbsp. vegetarian chicken seasoning
1 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. marjoram
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
2 19-ounce cans of cannelli or white kidney beans
In a large kettle, cook onions, celery, and carrots in oil for 5 minutes. Then add the remainder of the ingredients excluding the beans. Cook until the barley is done, then add the beans.
Submitted by Sylvie Taylor
Red Lentil and Quinoa Soup
1 cup diced celery
1 medium zucchini diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. vegetarian chicken seasoning
cup red lentils
4-5 cups warm water
In a large kettle, saute celery, onions, zucchini and mushrooms in the oil for a few minutes. Add warm water and the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the red lentils are done or approximately 20 minutes.
Submitted by Sylvie Taylor