Diabetics and their family members learned how to enjoy healthy holidays during the Right Bite Diabetes Cooking School held last month. The class was a collaborative effort of Dr. Susan Land, the McDuffie County Health Department and the McDuffie County Cooperative Extension.
Approximately 48 people attended the class, which was held at the Thomson McDuffie County Library. County Extension Agent Caroline Richardson provided nutrition education and diet cooking tips.
"I feel guilty now," said James Wilson. "I found out everything I like, they say is not good for you. I can't eat nothing anymore."
Mr. Wilson said he was surprised to learn that potatoes were high in carbohydrates, and he eats a lot of potatoes. The Warrenton resident said he is not a diabetic but was attending the class with his wife, Pauline, who is a diabetic.
"But if I don't stop eating like I have been, I will be one," he said.
In addition to carbohydrates, those who attended also learned how to cut back on fat and salt in their holiday diets. Ms. Richardson said cutting fat, sugar and sodium from foods lowers the risks of diabetes and other chronic diseases.
McDuffie County Health Department Director Virginia Bradshaw, Nurse Kathy Linebarger, Dr. Land and Ms. Richardson prepared an entire meal for the group using recipes that were low in sugar, fat and sodium.
Everyone in attendance sampled the meal and took home a copy of the recipes and nutrition tips.
The menu featured Quick Glazed Pork Loin, Orange Almond Salad, North African Couscous and iced tea. The desert segment introduced the use of artificial sweeteners and featured Golden Pumpkin Loaf and Lemon Raspberry Bars.
"Everything was very good," said Karen Stephens, a Thomson resident who was diagnosed with diabetes in September. "I'm glad to learn that I can eat good food even though I'm a diabetic."
After sampling the meal, Mr. Wilson also was pleased to find foods he liked.
Dr. Land said she leads a monthly support group for diabetics and their family members on the fourth Thursday of each month at the McDuffie Regional Medical Center.
For more information on the support group and future cooking classes, call 706-595-1815.