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Friday, 05 June 2020 09:53

Online Plant-Based Cooking Classes Invite Capital Region Residents to Improve Health

Deb Czech cooking in her kitchen/Zoom studio. Photo provided. Deb Czech cooking in her kitchen/Zoom studio. Photo provided.

Food for Life Sessions Provide Education and Recipes to Reduce Chronic Health Conditions

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Local plant-based cooking and nutrition instructor Deb Czech is teaming up with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to bring online classes to Capital Region residents. Food for Life classes help people improve their health through a plant-based diet. 

Czech is the owner of Planted Platter of Saratoga Springs, a business providing plant-based programs to individuals, workplaces, and food service operations.

Due to COVID-19, Food for Life classes are now being offered online for the first time. Czech and her fellow Food for Life instructors across the United States and abroad will teach participants how plant-based diets can help achieve weight loss and prevent and sometimes reverse chronic diseases, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Planted Platter’s summer class schedule will include both day and evening sessions. 

“These Food for Life classes will not only teach people the benefits of plant-based eating, but also show them how to put together simple, affordable meals. We will discuss strategies to shift to eating more plant foods, while respecting everyone’s need to make changes at their own pace,” says Czech. “With the current issues surrounding the country’s meat supply and interest in reducing COVID-19 risks associated with underlying health conditions, people are especially curious right now about plant-based meal options.”

Each class covers important nutrition topics with short videos from the Physicians Committee’s medical team followed by Czech teaching students how they can put this information into practice in delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with underlying health conditions—such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity—make up the majority of COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Plant-based diets are scientifically proven to prevent and even reverse many of those diseases.

“We’re all looking for ways to stay as healthy as we can during this unprecedented time,” says Susan Levin, MS, RD, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee. “Food for Life classes give people the tools they need to stay healthy. From the comfort of their homes, participants will learn about topics including foods that support the immune system, diabetes prevention and reversal, heart health, and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as tips on planning a budget-friendly menu with pantry staples.”

Czech became a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee in 2019 and has been a plant-based eater and cook since 2012.

Designed by physicians, nurses, and registered dietitians, Food for Life is an award-winning nutrition education and cooking class program that provides an innovative approach to diet-related chronic diseases. Since 2001, Food for Life has been a pioneer in delivering hands-on information about the direct role of plant-based nutrition in health and disease prevention to communities around the world.

In June, a one-hour “lunch and learn” series will occur on Tuesdays (June 9, 16, 23) from 12-1 p.m. In both June and July, on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 6-8 p.m., classes will cover topics such as boosting immunity and fighting cancer (July 6-7), healthy heart and blood pressure (June 8-9 or July 13-14), and diabetes and weight control (June 15-16 or July 20-21).

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