Cooking show gives health tips

Beth Ciampa, of Hammond, has been dealing with diabetes for more than four years.

When her blood sugar repeatedly spiked out of control recently, Ciampa took her health into her own hands, and looked for ways to get her diabetes under control through diet.

“My diabetes is not under control and I had to up the medicine,” Ciampa said. “So, I’m trying to get some ideas on how I can better prepare meals. I’d rather control it by eating better food and without medicine.”

To learn how to cook more healthful and diabetic-friendly meals, Ciampa and more than four dozen others — most of whom have the disease — attended North Oaks Health System’s free cooking demonstration Friday.

Debbie Jones, the Diabetes Education Clinic coordinator talked to the group about the what diabetes is, who is at risk, the warning signs and treatment options.

“We want to manage it,” Jones told those gathered. “We do not want to let it get out of control.

“You can do it. It’s just a choice. The more education you have, the more you can make the right choice.”

Representatives of the North Oaks Diabetes Education and Dietetic Internship programs demonstrated cooking techniques and prepared a variety of healthy foods for those gathered to taste, including bow tie cabbage salad, brussels sprouts with lemon-dill glaze, cherry-almond-snack mix, pumpkin snacker cakes, spiced cranberry apple relish, two tomato kalamata crostini and turkey cutlets with sage and lemon.

They also answered questions and distributed recipe cards for the dishes they prepared.

Cecilia Giannobile brought her mother, Cecilia Giannobile, to Friday’s cooking demonstration because she thought it would be a good way to learn about some healthy meals.

“They gave us a lot of information on how healthy (some) spices are,” Giannobile said.

“I would recommend this to anyone because they talk about nutrition and it’s important to know about nutrition and it’s importance to a healthy body.”

Virginia Pelegrin, who heads the program, said it’s important for diabetics to eat the right foods to prevent complications associated with the disease.

“If you have diabetes, you have a high risk of developing cardiac disease,” Pelegrin said.

The program, hosted in observance of American Diabetes Month, was held at Alack Culinary Equipment & Supplies, 17420 U.S. 190, in Hammond.

North Oaks will also host a cooking demonstration in March in observance of National Nutrition Month, Pelegrin said.

The American Diabetes Association recognizes the North Oaks Diabetes Education program as meeting the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education, organizers said.