If you’ve ever wondered why cooking matters, look no further than Jerry, a student in The Idaho Foodbank’s Cooking Matters class. From helping with cholesterol levels to losing almost 80 pounds, Jerry has learned a lot about the benefits of cooking.
Jerry is a retired drug counselor for the women’s prison in Pocatello and he currently lives in Ontario, Oregon. Just five months ago, Jerry was 303 pounds and his doctor said she would have to double his cholesterol and blood pressure medication and put him on a sleep apnea machine. “I was one point away from being diabetic,” he said. “I was doing this on my own.”
Jerry’s doctor was working with Alexa, The Idaho Foodbank’s registered dietician. Alexa invited Jerry to attend a Cooking Matters class and he is glad he went. “Throughout the program, I’ve been losing two pounds a week, which I’ve needed to do,” he said. “Now I’m eating much healthier.”
There was never one ah-ha moment for Jerry in his healthy eating transformation. Instead, it was many small moments like starting to read labels or learning about unsaturated fats and protein. The Cooking Matters class also helped him discover an interest in vegetables. “I found out I loved food I never thought I would,” he said. “I’m eating really healthy vegetables like nopales and jicama. They’re good for blood sugar and cholesterol.”
On September 28, Jerry will go back to his doctor and he’s hopeful that she can take him off the fat-related medications. The benefits of cooking have been obvious to Jerry, and he’s grateful for everything he’s learned in his Cooking Matters class. “I thought health nuts were coo coo,” he said. “But I kind of see myself turning into one. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of the program.”