Partnership promotes healthy lifestyle changes in the kitchen

Published: Apr. 17, 2018 at 10:05 PM MDT
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A partnership between Community Hospital and Western Colorado Community College is trying to help people live a better lifestyle.

It's a lifestyle medicine program, designed to replace the unhealthy eating habits with healthier options. The program has everything from a nutrition assessment and hands-on cooking demonstrations.

A class met Tuesday night, where Cheryl Brown was busy in the WCCC kitchen.

"Many people want to do diets and diets don't really work,” said Brown.

Through hands-on teaching, learning and cooking, Brown said she is already seeing new habits form.

She said, "Now I want to go to the gym and exercise, and if I don't go I'm like 'oh I didn't get to go today'."

Wayne Smith is an expert in all things food and teaches the class. On the menu for this lesson is Mediterranean style.

"Mainly plant-based, fruits vegetables and grains and nuts and seeds,” said Smith.

The students pair up with WCCC culinary students and learn about preparing recipes, like roasting peppers, dicing jalapenos and finishing the final product. Throughout the program, the students hold each other accountable using journals.

"You have to turn that in at the end of the week and if you do bad it's embarrassing,” said Brown.

This can lead to positive changes which Brown said she has already seen happening.

"I find my joints don't hurt as much and I've found I've lost weight and body fat,” said Brown.

A psychologist also comes in and talks to the students about how to stay on track once the program ends when they're the only ones holding themselves accountable.

The class right now is being offered to employees with School District 51, Mesa County and Strive. Those employees and their spouses can sign up to take this class.

If you're interested in signing up, you can call or email Gussie Boyd, the health and wellness advocate for District 51. Her office number is (970) 263-2642. Her email is

This program is ending in a couple weeks, but organizers say the next one will be offered at the end of next month.