Healthy Cooking Classes Available to People Affected by Diabetes

Posted: Updated: Apr 01, 2016 07:39 PM

EDINBURG – People with diabetes have the same nutritional needs as anyone else. It shouldn’t keep someone from enjoying a wide variety of foods.

Statistics state one in three people in the Rio Grande Valley have diabetes. According to the Diabetes Initiative, nearly 76,000 people in the Valley have diabetes.

Once a week a group of people attend a nutritional class at the Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association located in Edinburg.

Eating healthy meals is an essential part of managing diabetes. Nutritionists are available at the meetings to help people with diabetes. They show them helpful tips to keep their diabetes in check.

“If you’re at the grocery store, get the rotisserie, take the legs and thighs off, use just the chicken breast,” one nutritionist said.

Gary Due said he loves to eat. Most restaurants don’t cater to people with diabetes.

“Well it restricts you if you’re a person that has enjoyed your life and enjoy eating and going out with people,” Due said. “It really restricts it, because the restaurants that we have don’t look at us at all.”

Fried foods should be avoided. “All the foods are fried, which is not good for you. All the batters are not good for you, not enough good things. Fruits, vegetables, those are minimal items that you see if you go out,” Due said.

Nutritionist Rachel Villarreal said portion control is a must.

“There’s a lot of good foods, but there’s a lot of decadent foods and we tend to go overboard. Two enchiladas is okay, but when we get to four plus the beans, the rice, the chips, it just becomes too much and then the dessert possibly,” she said.

The nutrition class has taught Cathy Palacios how to eat right. She said she was able to regain a sense of normalcy by eating right and reverse her diabetes.

“I have been here for about five months more or less, and I have read a lot of articles and I got very enthused about the fact that I didn’t have to let it go any further,” Palacios said. “That I could take it by the horns and work at it and complete it and it’s what I did.”

Joyce Bromley attends the meeting not for her, but for someone very special to her. “I’m in a new relationship. I have had a partner in the last three years, and he has diabetes and does not take care of himself. The man loves to eat,” she said.

Bromley’s boyfriend doesn’t even know she’s attending the nutritional class.

“He runs out to the store and buys his doughnuts and his candy and his processed meats. I thought, ‘Okay. I’m going to go to a cooking class’,” Bromley said. “I’m going to start sliding things in. He likes salt, like he doesn’t know he’s using sea salt because I haven’t told him.”

She said she hopes to slowly start to get her boyfriend to start eating healthier by secretly swapping out foods.

Diabetes is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer.

Count on CHANNEL 5 NEWS to bring our viewers the very latest in diabetes coverage. For more information, visit our Heart of the Valley page.

Para leer noticias en español, visite nuestra sección Español.