There is nothing quite like food to bring people together. This is especially true for local seniors who meet every two weeks to learn a new recipe and enjoy delicious food together.
Cooking up Connections is a program of the Seniors Wellness Centre that brings in a Registered Holistic Nutritionist to talk about nutrition while she prepares lunch for the seniors to enjoy.
In 2016, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen provided a grant to the Seniors Wellness Society to pilot the program. Cooking Up Connections Coordinator, Nicole Peters said the program has been a big success.
Mae Smith is one of the programs regulars and says that what she likes most about the program is being introduced to new flavours and meeting new people. “It’s miserable cooking for one,” said Smith. “I love trying new food and it’s given me a new outlook on cooking,” added Smith.
Anita Bains, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, sets out a meal plan that includes many different dishes from around the world that are both nutritious and easy to prepare.
Bains said she got involved with the program not only to give nutrition and cooking advice but it was the focus on creating friendships and connections that really attracted Bains.
“People have told me that they have been more inspired and creative in the kitchen as a result of watching my food demonstrations,” said Bains
The program sees many regulars and many of them have formed friendships outside of the program.
Bains said that along with the feel good aspect of the program she has seen positive health impacts with the seniors, “One participant said that because of the nutritional advice I gave in class, the rashes on her legs disappeared and haven’t come back. For me that felt really good, to impact someone’s life and health in such a way,” said Bains.