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Bennington hospital holds cancer-survivor cooking party

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 3:13 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A Vermont hospital is educating some of its current and former patients to be more creative in the kitchen. As Scott Fleishman shows us, the annual demonstration went virtual this year, but the participants are still happy with the results of their new, healthy options.

Cooking and keeping a healthy diet comes naturally to Sandy Foster. It’s been that way ever since her breast cancer diagnosis. She has now been cancer-free now for almost nine years. “I am aware that I need to exercise every day and I am aware of what I put into my body, what I feed myself,” Foster said.

She had her cancer treatment at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. So, when the hospital held a virtual cancer-survivor cooking party Wednesday afternoon, she was front-and-center.

It’s an opportunity for those who are cancer-free or undergoing treatment to increase the enjoyment of healthy meals. And because it was virtual, registered participants received an ingredients list ahead of time, so they could cook right along with Laura LaCroix, the hospital’s executive chef. “Things are very simplistic,” LaCroix explained. “This is to spark some new ideas and get people on track if they’re off track.”

Kristin Irace, the hospital’s dietitian joined LaCroix Wednesday to demonstrate what snacks or meals should be on the menu. Irace explained to participants the benefits of the ingredients LaCroix was using in a particular dish. “We just highlight maybe things people haven’t used before and we’ll put them in recipes. And sometimes you don’t even know that they’re there, or they’ll have a different taste to them. People end up trying them and they’ll be like, ‘Oh wow, I never thought I’d like kale,’” she said.

Foster let her husband be the taste test judge. “He liked them. He really thought they were interesting tastes.They weren’t something that we typically have, so it was a nice change of pace,” Foster said. “I am so thankful that they are there for me as a support and they are always there for guidance. It’s just a fabulous hospital.”

Organic emotions about a place and program with meaning to many.

Foster, an elementary school principal in a New York town outside of Bennington, said she can’t wait to let her students try some of the recipes.

Five dishes were made Wednesday and you can check out the recipes by signing up for the newsletter here.

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