Vera Wroblewski is trying to get heart healthy.
"I had heart attack many, many years ago," she said. "Husband has had five stents between November and January and that's why we're here."
Wroblewski is taking a cooking class at Northern Westchester Hospital where professional chefs teach cardiac patients how to reduce the risk of heart disease.
"Eliminate the sodium, eliminate the processed foods, eliminate the sugar and really try to get them on a high fiber, plant based diet," explained Mary Gocke, a registered dietician.
Learning how to cook healthy is just part of the curriculum. After they finish in the kitchen, the heart patients sit down for their meal, where they learn more important lessons. Patients are urged to change the way they eat. For example, to relax before dining.
"For digestive enzymes, for digestion," Gocke said. "There's no standing and eating. There's no sitting at your desk and eating. We really try to bring people to the table."
There are also lessons explaining how food works in the body, as well as stocking the pantry and grocery shopping. Wroblewski says the classes have changed her life.
"We read labels like crazy now," Wroblewski said.
Now she looks for fiber content and fat content.
And the hospital is keeping tabs, checking patients every three months to measure how much they've improved.
The Teaching Kitchen is open all year. The Northern Westchester Hospital funds it, so right now there is no cost to the patients.
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