Heart disease patients are usually told to modify their diet, but it can be hard to change lifelong habits.
Now one New York area hospital is taking patients from the doctor's office to the kitchen to give them skills that could help save their lives.
Vera Wroblewski is trying to get heart healthy.
“I had heart attack many, many years ago, husband has had five stents between Nov. and Jan and that’s why we’re here,” she said.
Wrobleswki is taking a cooking class at northern Westchester Hospital where professional chefs teach cardiac patients how to reduce the risk of heart disease.
“Eliminate the sodium, eliminate the processed foods, eliminate the sugar and really try to get them on a high fiber, plant based diet,” said registered dietician Mary Gocke, Northen Westchester Hospital.
Learning how to cook healthy is just part of the curriculum. After they finish in the kitchen the heart patients sit down for their meal, where they learn more important lessons.
Patients are urged to change the way they eat. For example, to relax before dining.
Why is that important?
“For digestive enzymes, for digestion. There's no standing and eating. There's no sitting at your desk and eating. We really try to bring people to the table,” said Gocke.
There are also lessons explaining how food works in the body as well as stocking the pantry and grocery shopping. Wrobleski says the classes have changed her life.
“We read labels like crazy now. Fiber content and fat content,” she said.
And the hospital is keeping tabs - checking patients every three months, to measure how much they've improved.
The Teaching Kitchen is open all year. the Northern Westchester Hospital funds it - so right now there is no cost to the patients .