Optimal Health Lifestyle Intervention/Cooking Class

Wednesdays, 6:30 pm-8:30pm

Due to the class canceled on Wednesday, January 30 a class has been added to Wednesday, April 3. View Week 12 Class

a woman talking about cooking

The Optimal Health Cooking Class will resume on January 9, 2019 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Morehouse School of Medicine.

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

  • Class Objectives/Plan/Expectations: Dr. Jennifer Rooke
  • Pre-Test: What do you know about plant-based diets and health
  • Class Introductions:
    • Who are you?
    • What do you expect from this class in 1 minute or less?
  • Self-Assessment:
    • Your 3-month Lifestyle Intervention Plan
      • 1 large goal and small weekly goals
  • Presentation: Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease – Dr. Rooke
  • Food Preparation/Demonstration – Chef Yafah
    • What is a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet?
    • Portion control
  • Homework:
    • Clean out your refrigerator and pantry
    • Watch videos on how to shop for healthy food

Location:

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

Contact:

Parking:

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

Cost:

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

Register Now


12-Week Class Schedule, Winter/Spring 2019

  • 1/9/2019: Week 1
  • 1/16/2019: Week 2
  • 1/23/2019: Week 3
  • 1/30/2019: Canceled
  • 2/6/2019: Week 4
  • 2/13/2019: Week 5
  • 2/20/2019: Week 6
  • 2/27/2019: Week 7
  • 3/6/2019: Week 8
  • 3/13/2019: Week 9
  • 3/20/2019: Week 10
  • 3/27/2019: Week 11
  • 4/3/2019: Week 12

1/9/2019: Week 1: Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers

(Food Allergies/photographs/liability)

  • Class Objectives/Plan/Expectations: Dr. Jennifer Rooke
  • Pre-Test: What do you know about plant-based diets and health
  • Class Introductions: Who are you? What do you expect from this class in 1 minute, or less
  • Self-Assessment - Your 3-month Lifestyle Intervention Plan
    • 1 large goal and small weekly goals
  • 30-Minute Presentation: Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease – Dr. Rooke
  • Food Preparation/Demonstration – Chef Yafah
  • What is a Whole-Food plant-based diet?
    • Fruits – ½ cup – 1-2 Clementines
    • Vegetables – Spicy Collard Greens ½ cup
    • Beans/Legumes – Lentils Stew – ½ cup
    • -Mushrooms - Portobello Mushroom Steaks - ½ cup
    • -Grains - ½ cup Wheat berries ½ cup
    • -Nuts/seeds ¼ cup - Use for dressings and garnishes – Avoid Eating as Snacks
  • Don’t Eat for Single Nutrients and Don’t Eat Single Nutrients/Processed Foods
    • Proteins – No Isolated proteins/protein powders
    • Fats – No Oils – concentrated fats – choose whole fats
    • Carbohydrates - No white sugar – concentrated carbohydrates – choose whole foods
  • Homework: Clean out your Refrigerator and Pantry
    • Watch Videos on how to shop for healthy food

1/16/2019: Week 2: Supplies for your journey

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers 
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • 30-minute presentation: Preventing Cardiovascular disease
  • Supplements: The only supplement you NEED is Vitamin B12
  • Food Preparation: Stocking your Refrigerator & Pantry
    • Kitchen Tools & Equipment
    • Knives
    • Pots
  • Food Demonstration: What’s for breakfast? Fruit (Whole cereals are dried fruit)
    • Watch “How much Fruit is too much”
    • Breakfast Bowls/Banana and Orange – Chef TBD
    • Cereals/Grains – Cereals/Oatmeal/Groats
    • Non-Dairy Milk- Making Almond and Cashew Milk
  • Homework: Try eating fruit for breakfast for next week – At least 3 – 5 servings

1/23/2019: Week 3: Knife Skills/Salads

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • 30-minute presentation: Preventing and Reversing Diabetes - Dr. Rooke
  • Food Preparation Skills: What's for lunch or dinner?
  • Preparation Skills: Knives/knife Skills
  • Food Demonstration: Salads and Dressings - Chef Shobha
    • Raw Foods - Spinach, Kale and Lettuce Salads with Toppings
    • Oil-Free Salad dressings and Marinades
    • Acids: Vinegar, Alcohol & Citrus
    • Fats: Nuts, seeds, avocados
    • Sweeteners: Fruit, maple syrup, fruit paste
    • Herbs and spices
  • Homework: Practice chopping skills and dressings
    • Eat a salad for lunch or dinner at least 3 days next week

1/30/2019: Canceled

The Optimal Health Cooking Class on Wednesday, January 30 is canceled due to the upcoming Super Bowl in Atlanta on February 2. With road closures, security measures being setup, and many events occurring downtown now through Super Bowl Sunday, participants may not be able to come or find it difficult to get to class. Below are links to a few videos for your review until our next class - 1) The best advice on diet and cancer, and 2) How not to die from cancer. Class will resume on Wednesday, February 6 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

2/6/2019: Week 4: Cooking Vegetables and Mushrooms

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • 30-minute presentation: Preventing Cancer with Diet
  • Food preparation Skills: What's for lunch or dinner? - Chef Shobha
  • Food Demonstration: Vegetables and Mushrooms
    • How to Sauté Without Oil
    • Steaming vegetables
  • Homework: Cook at least one no-oil sauté mushroom and vegetable recipe

2/13/2019: Week 5: Stocks, Soups & Bean Stews

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • 30-minute Presentation: Preventing Chronic Inflammatory and Auto-Immune Disorders
  • Food Preparation Skills: What’s for Lunch and Dinner - Chef TBD
    • Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot - Cooking beans
    • Batch Cooking For the week
  • Food demonstration: Plant-Based Stocks - Vegetable Stock
    • Chickpea Mushroom Stew – Divide into 10 servings
    • Cooking with a Pressure Cooker/ Instant Pot
  • Home work: Start the 3-Week Plant-Based Jump Start Plan on Sunday or convenient day.
    • Eat out at least one meal – ask for a plant-based meal with no oil. Be prepared to discuss your experience with the class.

2/20/2019: Week 6: Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers

  • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • 30-minute presentation: Eating Out/entertaining/Travelling on a Plant-based diet
  • Food Preparation Skills: - What’s for Dessert? - Chef Yafah
    • Healthy Sweeteners
  • Food demonstration: Baking an oxidized cholesterol-free cakes and cookies
    • Making healthy chocolate mousse
  • Homework: Continue on Week 1 of the meal plan -start week 2 on Sunday
  • 2/14/2019 – Valentine’s Day

2/27/2019: Week 7: Fitness

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • Food: Plant-Based Pizza and Salad – Guest Chef Catherine
  • Presentation: Exercise physiologist, Dr. Jammie Hopkins
    • (wear comfortable clothes)
    • Incorporating Physical activity in your daily routines
  • Homework: Start/step-up physical activity – it could be just stretching
    • Continue week 2 of the meal plans – Start Week 3 on Sunday

3/6/2019: Week 8: Stress Management Techniques.

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • Presentation: Stress Management - Psychologist, Dr. Brian McGregor
  • Food Preparation Skills: 30-minute healthy meals – Chef TBD
  • Food demonstration: Black bean chili with greens
    • Easy Cornbread
  • Homework: Spend at least 5 minutes/day meditating, deep breathing or other stress management
    • Continue Week 3 of the meal plans
  • 3/10/2019 – Daylight Savings time Change

3/13/2019: Week 9: -Sleep Management

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • Presentation: Sleep Specialist, Dr. Kyra Clark
  • Food Preparation Skills Blanching to preserving vegetable pigments – Chef TBD
    • Parboiling vegetables
  • Food Demonstration: No oil stir “fry” Thai Vegetable Curry on Jasmine Rice
  • Homework: Plan to improve sleep management if sleep is a problem for you

3/20/2019: Week 10: Relationship Skills

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • Presentation: Sustaining a Plant-Based Diet - Psychologist, Dr. Kisha Holden
  • Food Preparation Skills: Video on why we should not eat dairy – Dr. Mills
    • Making Plant-based Cheeses - Chef Shobha
  • Food demonstration: Mac and “Cheese”
    • Cashew Cheese
    • Non-dairy products
  • Homework: Repeat Week 1 on the meal plan but use different fruits and vegetables
  • 3/17/2019 – St. Patrick’s Day

3/27/2019: Week 11: Herbs and Spices

  • Introductions - New attendees – Sign consents and Waivers
    • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • Presentation: Planting a Vegetable/herb garden
    • Dr. Ruby Thomas
    • Urban Farmer Sister Deborah
  • Food Preparation Skills: Seasoning foods for flavor and Health - Chef Shobha
    • The Five Tastes:
      1. Bitterness
      2. Sourness
      3. Sweetness
      4. Saltiness
      5. Umami
  • Food demonstration: Grinding & Toasting Your Own Spices
  • Homework: Use a spice that you have never used before

4/3/2019: Week 12: Post Test/Evaluation and Party

  • (Food Allergies/photographs/liability)
  • Food: Plant-based Party Food - Chef Shobha
  • Class Feedback: Tell us about your plant-based journey and experiences in 2 minutes or less. Did the class meet your expectations? What did you like? What did you not like?
  • Homework: Stay on track – Next series of classes starts on 5/1/2019
    • Stay on the meal plan with your substitutions
  • 4/19/19 Good Friday
  • 4/21/19 Easter Sunday
  • 4/22/19 Earth Day 2019

General Rules

There are many ways to get started on a plant-based diet. You can do it gradually, meal by meal or just jump in and eat only plant-based foods. Either way you will need some new rules.

  1. Start eating meals– this means that you must stop eating whenever and whatever you see feel like eating. Decide on an eating plan that fits your lifestyle and get into a routine. Think of snacks as a small meal and either stop eating them or plan for them.
    You can eat :
    • 3 meals/day - Breakfast/lunch/dinner - No snacks
    • 4 meals/day - Breakfast/lunch /dinner - 1 snack of fruit
    • 5 meals/day – Breakfast/lunch/dinner – 2 snacks – mid-morning/mid afternoon
  1. Stop eating 3 hours before you plan to go to sleep
  2. Do not eat for at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast
  3. If possible, have your heaviest meal at lunch time and eat a light dinner

Shopping for a whole-food plant-based diet—This is a great video – only one issue, oats are OK, but the best breakfast is fresh fruit in season.

Resources