We’ve all read the reports. A plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts can help to keep us fit and trim. But, what’s next? Many of us have little or no experience preparing affordable meals that feature these healthy ingredients.
Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) has an answer through its new cooking program titled Your Healthy Kitchen. The program can be accessed online by visiting www.yrmchealthconnect.org and following the Your Healthy Kitchen link to watch brief, entertaining videos hosted by Rita Carey Rubin, registered dietician and certified diabetes educator. Rubin shares her passion for plant-based foods, demonstrates easy ways to prepare them, and shares her recipes for you to try at home.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Rubin said. “It’s hard for a person to change their diet and I understand the value of having someone right there, explaining and demonstrating how it’s done.”
Each show is eight to 15 minutes long and features a different ingredient or aspect of a healthy diet. To date, Rubin has demonstrated how to prepare dishes as varied as Middle Eastern Chopped Salad, Grilled Salsa Verde and Pasta with Salsa Cruda. Links are also provided for downloadable, printable versions of each recipe.
Featured guests have included Pierre Tibi, M.D., chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The James Family Heart Center, and Stephen and Cindy Scott from Underwood Gardens/Terrior Seeds in Chino Valley. Rubin also hosted a show at Whipstone Farm in Paulden as owners Shanti and Cory Rade harvested fresh vegetables and prepared their goods for the Prescott Farmer’s Market.
Rubin has 25 years of experience as a professional chef, restaurant owner, personal chef and caterer, but these days you’ll find her at the Pendleton Center at YRMC West, helping her patients to live healthier lifestyles. “I encourage my patients to shake it up and try something new,” she explained. “It’s easier than you think to make it a habit of discovering new foods and how to prepare them. Best of all, it’s a lot of fun.”
Robbie Nicol, executive director of community outreach and philanthropy at YRMC, sees a number of benefits to Your Healthy Kitchen. “Eating well and making good decisions about what to eat has a tremendous impact on our overall health – especially for people who manage chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease,” said Nichol. “We understand that it’s not always easy to know what is good for us and what isn’t. That’s why we are so happy to make a program like Your Healthy Kitchen available to people in our community.”
Nichol is pleased with the success of the program and sees great opportunity for growth. As for future topics, Rubin sees no end to the list. “Food is the core of our health and it’s so rewarding to help people realize that healthy, affordable, fresh food can really have an impact on how fully we live our lives.” QCBN
By Bridget O’Gara
For more information about Your Healthy Kitchen, contact YRMC Community Outreach at 928-771-5738 or via email at CommunityOutreach@yrmc.org.