Optimal Health Lifestyle Intervention/Cooking Class

Wednesdays, 6:30 pm-8:30pm

a woman talking about cooking

More than a Cooking class! This program will empower you with the skills and knowledge to make healthy sustainable lifestyle changes

  • Delicious oil-free plant-based food
  • Fitness assessments
  • Stress management techniques
  • And much more.....


Morehouse School of Medicine
720 Westview Drive
Atlanta, GA 30310 (Building F, Room G-14)



Free! Please sign in at the Public Safety Office near the Lee Street parking lot when you arrive.


  • $12/class for non-students
  • $10/class for students 

Register Now

12-Week Class Schedule, Fall 2018

9/5/18:  Week 1:  Introductions

  • Class Introductions: Tell us who you are
  • Class Objectives/Plan/Expectations: Dr. Jennifer Rooke
  • 30-Minute Presentation: What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet? Why is this the healthiest way to eat?
  • Food Preparation Skills: Food Safety – Kay Umeakunne, RD
  • Food Demonstration:  Instant Pot - Chef Yafah,  Chickpea Mushroom Herb Stew, Spinach, Kale and Lettuce - Green Salad, Orange Banana Salad                                 
  • Homework: Watch: Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows.      

9/12/18: Week 2:  Will I get Enough Protein?

  • 30-minute presentation:  Protein and Plant-based Diets Kay Umeakunne, RD
  • Preparation Skills: Using Knives Safely/Chopping skills– Blake Daniels
  • Food Demonstration: Cooking Mushrooms - Chef Yafah, Instant Pot Lentil Mushrooms StewMashed Potatoes with Cashew Butter Green Salad and Fruit Salad
  • Homework: Watch: Nutritionfacts.org - Protein requirements

9/19/18: Week 3: Fish is NOT a health food

  • 30-minute presentation: Protein and omega-3s - Dr. Rooke
  • Food Preparation Skills: Measuring food and portion control – Wanda Monsho
  • Food demonstration:  Thai Oyster Mushroom Curry - Chef Yafah Cooking Brown RiceGreens and Fruit salad                                 
  • Homework: Watch Nutritionfacts.org videos on omega 3      

9/26/18: Week 4: B12 Needs/African Americans are misdiagnosed as Vitamin D deficient.

  • 30-minute presentation:  Vitamins on Plant-based Diet - Kay Umeakunne and Dr. Rooke
  • Food preparation Skills: Choosing pots and pans – Wanda Montsho
  • Food demonstration: Instant Pot Black Bean ChiliEasy cornbreadSteaming vegetables   
  • Home work: Watch Nutritionfacts.org videos on vitamins

10/3/18: Week 5: Getting minerals without meat, milk or supplements  

  • 30-minute Presentation:  Minerals on a Plant-based diet - Kay Umeakunne, RD
  • Food Preparation Skills:  Making Plant-based cheese and non-dairy nut milks
  • Food demonstrations: Plant-based Lasagna and Green salad
  • Homework: Watch Nutritionfacts.org videos on calcium and iron supplements

10/10/18: Week 6:  Fruits and Vegetables

  • 30-minute presentation: Importance of Antioxidants - Kay Umeakunne, RD
  • Food Preparation Skills:  Making cooking easier – “Mise en Place” – Wanda Montsho
  • Food demonstration:  Making Salads – fruits, vegetables/hot or coldSalad preparation and tasting
  • Homework: Eat out at a restaurant and ask for plant-based, oil-free mealPrepare to discuss your experiences with the class

10/17/18: Week 7: Eating Out and entertaining on a Plant-based diet

  • 30-minute presentation: Eating Out - Dietitian Kay Umeakunne
  • Food Preparation Skills:  Using herbs and spices, making food taste good – Wanda Monsho
  • Food Demonstration:  Cooking whole grainsQuinoa or other whole grain Buddha Bowls
  • Home work: Prepare a plant-based, no-oil dish to share next Wednesday evening

10/24/18: Week 8: - “Midterm” Pot Luck Dinner – Bring a whole-food plant-based oil-free dish to class along with the recipe.     

  • Your turn to tell us about your plant-based diet experiences
  • Fitness: Exercise physiologist, Dr. Jammie Hopkins (wear comfortable clothes)
  • Homework: Start/step-up physical activity – it could be just stretching

10/31/18: Week 9:   Sleep Management

  • 30-minute presentation: Sleep Specialist, Dr. Kyra Clark
  • Food Preparation Skills:  Planning for a Plant-Based Thanksgiving and Holiday Meals  
  • Food demonstration: Thanksgiving Main Dish Ideas
  • Homework:  Plan a plant-based Thanksgiving meal. Does this make you feel uncomfortable?  

11/7/18: Week 10:  Stress Management Techniques to get you through Winter holidays.

  • 30-minute presentation: Stress Management - Psychologist, Dr. Brian McGregor  
  • Food Preparation Skills:  Healthy Thanksgiving Meal Planning
  • Food demonstration:  Roasted vegetables, grains and salad
  • Homework: Discuss having a plant-based Thanksgiving/Holiday meal with family and friends

11/14/18 Week 11:  Negotiating the Holiday Season on a Plant-Based Diet

  • 30-minute presentation: Psychologist, Dr. Kisha Holden
  • Food Preparation Skills:  Preparing and tasting a Veggie Bird
  • Food demonstration:  Transition foods
  • Homework: Prepare a plant-based oil-free dish for our last class in 2 weeks next week

11/21/18 – Thanksgiving Holiday - No class BUT keep your arteries healthy

11/29/18 Week 12:  Pot Luck Holiday Dinner Party

  • Your turn to tell us about your plant-based journey and experiences
  • Homework:  Enjoy Your Winter Break


Next class starts on Wednesday 1/9/19