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River Park offers up tips for healthy cooking
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In observance of National Diabetes Month, the Diabetes Education Center of River Park Hospital recently held a holiday cooking and entertaining event with over 65 guests attending. The event included cooking demonstrations, taste testing, recipe ideas, door prizes, and tips for folks who are diabetic or simply health conscious. Along with a buffet of healthy foods, Farm Country Cheese House offered samples of its cheese products.
November may be designated as Diabetes Awareness Month, but most people already know a friend or family member, or several, afflicted with the disease.
According to River Park Hospital, diabetes not only plays havoc with many of the body’s organs, it significantly increases the chances of heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes are twice as likely as someone who does not have the disease to have a heart attack or stroke. Some studies suggest the chance of a diabetic having a heart attack is as high as someone without diabetes who has already had one heart attack.
The most recent data from the Center for Disease Control estimates 25.8 million people in the U.S. are affected by diabetes. Of those, approximately 7 million are undiagnosed. In Warren County along, 11 percent of the adult population has diabetes. 
“Simply put, diabetes is a disorder of the way the human body uses digested food for energy. Most food eaten is broken down into glucose,” said River Park Hospital Diabetes Education Center director Brandy Cox. “People who have diabetes do so because the pancreas, a large gland located behind the stomach, does not make enough of the hormone insulin to allow the glucose to enter the body’s cells, or the cells in the muscles, liver and fat do not use insulin properly, or both. If that happens, the amount of glucose in the blood increases while cells are starved of energy.”
The important thing is get regular checkups from your doctor and manage the insulin levels in the body to help reduce the damage diabetes causes. Risk factors to look for include a family history of diabetes or heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and smoking.
Holiday cooking attendee Wilma Davenport said, “My son-in-law is a diabetic, and I’m hoping to get some ideas for cooking for him. Everything they’ve prepared is delicious.” 
The Diabetes Education Center at River Park Hospital offers classes, resources and counseling for patients and caregivers dealing with a diabetes diagnosis. For more information, to schedule an appointment,  or find out more about their educational programs, call registered clinical dietian Brandy Cox at 931-815-4553.
Some delicious dishes provided to guests for their enjoyment follow:
Green Apple Slaw
1/2 cup light mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
4 Granny Smith apples, quartered and thinly sliced (4 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
2/4 cup halved green seedless grapes
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

For dressing:
In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, honey and poppy seeds. Set aside.
In a large salad bowl, combine apples and lemon juice, toss to combine. Stir in cabbage, grapes and celery. Pour dressing over mixture toss gently to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 24 hours before serving. Makes 12 servings. (about 3/4 cup each)
Nutrition information: Calories, 67; Fat, 3 gm; cholesterol mg; carbohydrate, 10 gm; fiber, 1 gm, sugar, 7 gm

Southwestern Chicken Chowder
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in cubes (may substitute turkey)
1 can (14 1/2 ounce) tomato wedges, drained, reserve juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 summer squash, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped sweet green pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tomatillos, cut in wedges
1 cup sliced jicama (may obit if desired)
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups fresh corn, cut from cob

In large Dutch oven, place oil and heat over medium temperature. Add chicken and garlic, turning chicken to brown on all sides. Add onion and green pepper; cook about 5 minutes, stirring. Add tomatillos and chicken broth; bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes. Add corn and liquid from can of tomato wedges. Cover and cook on low heat about 10 minutes. Add squash, cumin, salt, pepper and tomato wedges. Cover and cook on low about 5 minutes. Add jicama and cilantro and cook 5 minutes more.
Serve with tortilla chips, if desired. Yields six 1-cup servings.
Nutritional information: calories, 356; protein, 50 g; sodium, 43- mg; cholesterol, 129 mg; fat, 9 gm; carbohydrates, 18 g