The aromas that drifted up the stairs of the Seventh Day Adventist Church from the downstairs kitchen were delicious, as, no doubt, was the taste of the freshly prepared soups, breads and casseroles.
Learning to make healthy food choices, the benefits of exercise and water, how to experience forgiveness and simply natural remedies were the subjects of a healthy choices wellness workshop held at the SDA Church March 22 to 24.
The workshop, taught by Darlene Blaney PhD, NCP, gave the men and women in attendance an opportunity to learn more about taking a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle.
Blaney stressed good food choices, exercise and water are the key components to healthy living.
“Avoid refined type of food such as cookies, cakes, white breads, pastas and rice. We take away the color, we take away the nutrients. Try and follow a plant based diet. Make breakfast your largest meal and eat a light fibre supper. After 4 p.m. our metabolism starts to slow down. I’m not telling everyone to be a vegetarian, just make your diet mostly whole grains and vegetables.”
During the workshop, Blaney made a Mexican tortilla casserole with a non-dairy cheese sauce, a quinoa salad, pumpkin cheesecake, orange cranberry pecan bread, cream of broccoli soup and a lentil roast.
Water should be the drink of choice, she said.
People often don’t drink enough water, she said, noting that 75 per cent of muscles are made up of water, 80 per cent of the body and 90 per cent of the brain.
“When we become dehydrated, we don’t have clear minds,” she said.
Blaney recommends drinking eight to 10 glasses of water daily. She said herb teas can count for water intact.
“If you don’t want to drink regular water trying using a flavored Stevia instead of the commercial flavored water,” she said. “It helps balance blood sugar and is safe for diabetics.”
Blaney, whose smile and cheerful outgoing disposition, is as delightful as her recipes, also talked about the benefits of exercise during her weekend retreat.
“Three to five 30-minute workouts are minimal requirements when it comes to staying healthy, she said.
To embark on a fitness plan that involves weight loss, she suggests using a pedometer and walking up to 10,000 steps daily.
As much as eating right, drinking enough water and exercising regularly are excellent choices; harbouring feelings of resentment or ill will hinder individuals who strive to maintain a healthy life style.
“I don’t claim to be a psychologist, but research has shown that forgiveness is important for total health.”
She said researchers such as Dr. Dick Tibbits have done many case studies and have confirmed through anger management and forgiveness, one can reverse their risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure specifically by as much as 20 to 30 per cent over an eight-week time period.
Blaney said her long-term goal is to open a lifestyle centre where she could promote living a healthy lifestyle. She is especially interested in helping seniors achieve an optimal healthy lifestyle best they can be through eating healthy foods and exercising.
“When you see people’s lives change, you just want to keep going and help them. It’s wonderful to be part of that.”
As well as offering cooking classes and workshops throughout central Alberta, Blaney is the educational director and president of Total Health School of Nutrition.
She became a nutritional consulting practitioner in 1999 and now runs her own nutritional consulting practice.
She obtained her masters of science degree in nutrition in 2005 and completed her PhD in nutrition in 2010. She is the author of four vegan vegetarian cookbooks.
She and husband Ron, have four children and live near Condor.