Free Dining with Diabetes Classes this October
A new year of Dining with Diabetes classes is about to begin. The classes will be held on Mondays in October at the Marlinton Presbyterian Church from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Terry Wagner has been working with WVU Extension to coordinate Dining with Diabetes classes in Pocahontas County for several years.
“I am a certified diabetes educator and a registered nurse, and just have a passion to educate and increase awareness for diabetes,” Wagner said.
According to Wagner, the Dining with Diabetes program has been available in Pocahontas County for about fifteen years. “The program originated in West Virginia through WVU Extension Service, and now it’s actually used in many states across the country and has been very positive and beneficial in those areas as well,” she said.
The program has evolved over the years, providing people with free cooking and diabetes education classes. “On the first session, we do point of care A1C testing, which gives people an average of what their blood glucose levels have been over about a 2-3 month period, and that number is a number then they can use to monitor their control, and know how well they’re doing,” she said.
“We do the classes for four weeks, and then we do a three-month follow up,” Wagner said. “On the three-month follow up, we do another A1C test, so that they can see if the changes they’ve made in their cooking and eating has actually had an impact on their blood glucose control. The results have been very good. We have seen that people really do make changes. They have had improvement in their results.”
This series will start the first Monday in October, and classes will take place every Monday for four weeks. “On the first session, it’s about the numbers,” Wagner said. “That’s where we do the A1C and the blood pressure testing, but we also have an educational session that talks about all the testing you should have done when you have diabetes. Not just the A1C and the blood pressure but your lipids, the eye testing, the foot exams, the dental exams. It just makes people aware of all those things they need to do to be healthier.”
“On the second session, we discuss carbohydrates and their role in diabetes control,” she said. “We do Carbohydrate Counting 101 and teach people the basics of that. On the third session, we cover fats and sodium in the diet, and then the last session, we cover vitamins and minerals and fiber and some of those types of things.”
While each meeting has a different theme, classes always include information about healthy eating and exercise. Each class includes five recipes, where two meals are already prepared in the kitchen, and three meals are actually prepared during the class.
“It’s like the Galloping Gourmet or the Rachel Ray session, we tease,” Wagner said. “And they get all the recipes to take home. So each evening, we will not only have the educational session but we’ll have the five recipes.”
To learn more about Dining with Diabetes, call the WVU Extension Office at 304-799-4852.
“One of the things I like to tell everyone when I first meet with them about diabetes is: there’s no food you can never have again,” Wagner said. “Lots of people come to me and they’re like, ‘Oh, I had my last big meal last night because I know I won’t get to eat these things again.’ And with diabetes, there’s no food you can never eat again. There are some things in a healthy meal plan that you will choose not to eat every day, but the nice thing about the carbohydrate counting and the meal planning that we help people with is that is that there’s no special foods to buy. It’s just a nice healthy way for the entire family to eat.”