Tahlia is a single mother of a three-year old daughter. She lives with her mom, her stepdad, and her daughter and is finishing a degree in criminal justice
Like many of us, Tahlia’s weakness is Dunkin’ Donuts and chocolate, and, also like many of us, she regularly eats on the go and doesn’t always make the healthiest choices. She signed up for Cooking Matters eager to learn. As a result of taking Cooking Matters she is far more conscious of her food choices.
Tahlia had never eaten a mango before taking Cooking Matters and she claims to be “addicted” to mangos now, along with her daughter who is also now eating kiwi and star fruit. Tahlia says she was in a rut with cooking and never wanted to try new fruits but now is trying new things all the time. “I was taken outside of the cooking box,” she says.
The ability to participate in the cooking, and not just watch a demonstration, made a big difference in her willingness to try new foods. She said “…presentation is important. You eat with your eyes first. Even if I never liked the food, the way it was presented made me want to try it. I like the way it looked.” For example, we made a crisp with blueberries and peaches—two fruits Tahlia claimed not to like. “I loved the crisp we made in class…it was heavenly bliss!”
Perhaps the biggest impact on Tahlia was learning how to shop more strategically. “After the presentation on whole grains, I really paid attention to food labels.” Tahlia said she had never before understood what “enriched” meant on a food label but now she does, and as a result is making better choices at the store and for her family. Tahlia also claims that she sticks to the perimeter of the grocery store as much as she can. “I used to go down every aisle and then wonder: why do I have so much junk in my cart? Just going around the outside of the store keeps me from falling into the habits of eating junk every day.”
“I am making small changes and building good habits. I am teaching my daughter to snack on healthier foods. Maybe now she can eat healthy for the rest of her life and not have to struggle with the weight and health issues as I have.” Tahlia explained that her whole family was impacted by her participation in the course. In her words, “The class will be with me for the rest of my life.”