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Home News High Demand Cooking Lessons for Diabetics
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

High Demand Cooking Lessons for Diabetics

With age comes change, and there are few changes that mess with our lives like a change of diet.

It’s one thing when we’re doing it to lose weight, quite another when we have to do it to stay healthy and alive.

It’s something thousands of New Mexicans are confronted with when diagnosed with diabetes. I’ll tell you about a class being offered in Las Cruces in a few paragraphs, but first a little background:

Diabetes is the group of diseases caused by high levels of blood sugar. Blood sugar, usually, is regulated in our bodies automatically thanks to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. But when our body doesn’t produce enough of it, the cells in our body resist the insulin, or both – it leads to diabetes.

An estimated 12 percent of New Mexicans are diabetic, and some of them don’t even know it.

Approximately 120,000 adults in New Mexico were diagnosed in 2011-2012 as having prediabetes. That’s when their blood sugar is higher than normal – but not as high it would be with diabetes.

The good news for people diagnosed with prediabetes is they can return their blood sugar to normal levels and delay--even prevent--the progression to diabetes through a change in diet, exercise and a little weight loss. It’s a good thing – because those with pre-diabetes have an increased chance of heart attack and stroke.

Those living with full blown diabetes, meanwhile, need to exercise, manage their weight and change their diet to avoid other serious health complications that not just include heart disease, but also blindness, kidney failure, even amputations of feet or lower legs.

So with all that weighing on you, imagine being diagnosed with this and thinking you’re never going to be able to eat anything good ever again.

“Some people will try to live in denial, pretend it’s not there and just eat whatever they want - but then they just end up with those health consequences,” said New Mexico State University Home Economist Karim Martinez.

That’s why the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service with primary funding from the New Mexico Department of Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program hosts “Kitchen Creations”, a series of cooking classes being offered Saturday, March 29th and April 5th in Las Cruces. It’s four sessions, two per day. It’s a few hours of learning that’s sure to last a life time.

The classes have been offered statewide since 2001, and this latest session will be the only one in Doña Ana County in 2014.

“What we learn is really how to manage diabetes through nutrition,” said Martinez. “Students learn about carbohydrates, about protein, what raises blood sugar and what doesn’t, and how to balance that.”

The class, which will seat up to 25 students, will be a combination of classroom and hands on education.

“Being able to practice cooking really helps,” said Martinez. “The point of the recipes is learning how to make traditional foods in healthier ways and trying out new foods.”

Among the recipes in class are southwestern favorites like enchiladas – which participants are always excited to find they can prepare differently so they’re not so high in fat yet can still taste great.

Martinez says classes always start with many students apprehensive about being able to still enjoy eating, especially if they’re recently diagnosed, but by the time classes are over, many of them don’t want it to end.

“There’s something magical about people cooking together, said Martinez. “They share stories, and develop camaraderie. They share what works for themselves with others.”

For more information about the class, contact the Doña Ana Cooperative Extension Service at (575) 525-6649, and for information about diabetes prevention and more check the Diabetes Prevention and Control section of our website.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.