New 'Teaching Kitchen' at Toppenish clinic helps tackle patient health problems

    New 'Teaching Kitchen' at Toppenish clinic helps tackle patient health problems

    TOPPENISH, Wash. -- A new clinic program is taking to heart the phrase 'You are what you eat.'

    Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) just opened up a "Teaching Kitchen" to help patients be more health conscious. The class shows them cooking steps they can take to improve their diet and overall health.

    "Most of the patients are always mentioning to me, 'Well I want to eat healthy, but how do I start?' said instructor and dietitian Flor Flores.

    That starting point is now an innovative program giving clinic patients a hands-on approach to their own health and well-being. A cooking class shows patients how to target their health problems in the kitchen.

    "In the clinic we see patients all the time," said Flores. "We get referrals from providers; patients who have diabetes; patients who have elevated cholesterol."

    With many chronic diseases, those patients are getting demonstrations for meals they can make at home that reduce their sugar, fat, and salt intake.

    "I got to lose some more weight, cause I was up there, almost 400 pounds," said patient Ricky Trevino.

    Patients were given recipes, including one for scrambled eggs and smoothies, using more vegetables like spinach as well as carrots in muffins.

    "I can live with this - this is okay," said Trevino. "It's something that everybody should take, this class."

    Learning portion control and watching sugar levels were among the key points, making the class already popular with patients after just one lesson.

    "They will tell me I'm really interested in going to the Teaching Kitchen, so I go ahead and sign them up on our waiting list, which now has over 90 people," said assistant dietitian Lissette Llamas.

    The clinic saw about 18,000 patients in 2015, with nearly 48,000 visits. Doctors said those numbers could be cut with simple diet changes.

    Classes continue for the next few weeks. For more information on the Teaching Kitchen call (509) 865-5600.

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