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Inter-Tribal Cooking Class teaches participants about healthy food preparation

Cooking Class Participants--Day Two
The cooks gather for a group picture with Chef Richard Hetzler

In honor of Native American Heritage in November, and to highlight Diabetes Awareness, AARP Kansas partnered for the 2 nd year with the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) to sponsor the second annual Intertribal Cooking Class at the Prairie Band Potawatomi Casino and Resort in Mayetta, Kansas . Forty members from all four federally recognized indigenous tribes in Kansas (e.g., Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Kickapoo Nation of Kansas, Sac and Fox Nation, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) attended one of two 45 minute interactive diabetes education classes taught over the course of two days. Each participant then spent several hours learning how to eat a healthy diet from Richard Hetzler, renowned and award winning executive chef from the Mitsitam Cafe at the Smithsonian Institute. Unlike typical cooking demonstration workshops, participants actually cooked a full course meal before having it served to 80 friends and family. The menu of traditional indigenous foods included walnut salad with grilled corn, chili and chocolate dusted salmon filet, anasazi bean puree, wilted brussel sprout leaves, and cinnamon apple tatin made with a whole wheat crust. The food was delicious and family members and friends wanted the recipes! After the first class in 2011, vending machines were loaded with only sugar free drinks, two tribes built walking paths, cooks started using low-glycemic substitutes instead of high calorie ingredients, and several people lost weight.  More evidence that the classes are making an impact on healthy living behaviors will be collected in the coming year.


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