Albany nutrition group promotes plant-based eating

Albany nutrition group promotes plant-based eating
Published: Aug. 21, 2022 at 10:00 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2022 at 12:11 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Healthy Life Albany is wrapping up a three week series of classes that teaches how to make plant based meals.

Last week was about mushroom tacos and this week it was ribs with jackfruit .

Chef Michael Daniels had a highly visual approach to his lessons
Chef Michael Daniels had a highly visual approach to his lessons(WALB)

Dr. Samara Sterling, a nutrition scientist, says eating plant based foods is healthier than the southern diet we all like. In the long run, she said it will lower hospital bills. She also shared what to look for in the grocery store to make it inexpensive.

“Focus on whole plant-based foods. For example, you can buy a pound of red beans and that’s going to be less than two dollars. You can buy a pack of oatmeal. That’s going to be about $1.90 and that feeds about 13 people. You buy your produce in season,” Samara said.

Samara added that disease adversely impacts black people and people who live in the south who live by a meat based diet. She wants a plant based future in southwest Georgia.

“Especially in a place like Albany where you have so many community gardens and farmers market. You can figure to put your energy there,” Samara said.

Samara said the best way to stick to plant based is to ease into it. It is also smart to get a support group whether it’s family or friends.

Jacinta Sterling, an event attendee, said switching to a plant-based diet helped save her health, and ultimately her life. She had two heart attacks. Both when eating a plant based diet. She lived in Central Florida where the vegan options made it easy to make the switch.

She said she lost 80 pounds through a combination of exercise and diet, a process for her, even when she was working, that wasn’t difficult.

“You have beans for example. You can cook a lot of beans if you want. Put them in a container in the freezer. Take them out and fix it the way you want,” Jacinta said.

Sunday's class had vegan ribs
Sunday's class had vegan ribs(WALB)

Jacinta said Albany has options, but not as many as Florida. Still, she thinks Albany has the potential to change that.

Morris Barnes, Pastor of Seventh Day Adventist Church, held the three classes at his church because he believes the church is a perfect platform to keep his community safe and healthy.

“This year has exceeded our expectations. This is a great need here for Albany. So the goal is to keep on moving this forward,” Barnes said.

Barnes said plant-based food will have the greatest impact on African Americans, who are at higher risks for COVID-19, hypertension and diabetes.

“I realized, there’s not a lot of options here compared to where I’m from Los Angeles. More people and more health-conscious,” Barnes said.

Charlene Porcha, another event attendee, first tried going plant-based through the classes. She said having a support system within her family has made it easier for her to transition. The class has made it easier for her to put it into practice.

“I think it’s going to help me in the long run. This gave me an opportunity to see how it was actually prepared right and actually to even taste it,” Porcha said.

Anyone interested in transitioning to a plant based diet can click here.