Mass General Brigham offers free online cooking classes on how to live healthy lifestyle – Boston 25 News

BOSTON — Eating healthy in the new year is a goal so many of us try to do—but too often, we trail off and go back to our old habits.

A team at Mass General Brigham is trying to change that by offering free cooking classes while showing a food-is-medicine approach. The class teaches you how to cook and provides nutritional education that has helped patients with chronic diseases improve their lifestyles.

At the Mass General teaching kitchen in Revere, a pilot program called NuCook is teaching cooking classes—virtually. The goal is to teach patients and anyone who logs on how to prepare and cook foods that lead to a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

“We learn algebra, we learn how to read, we learn some science, but we don’t learn how to cook,” said Dr. Jacob Mirsky, the Medical Director for Mass General Revere Food Pantry and Teaching Kitchen. “We don’t learn how to eat foods in a way that really nourishes our minds, our brains and our bodies and that’s a shame because eating itself is one of the most fundamental but one of the most important things that we do for our mental and physical health,” Mirsky added.

Dr. Jacob Mirsky partnered with Dr. Susan Hellerstein with her NuCook virtual program to be able to spread the knowledge beyond his patients.

“Food is medicine,” said Dr. Susan Hellerstein, who specializes in obstetrics/gynecology and women’s health. “And it should be part of any treatment plan,” Hellerstein said.

Dr. Hellerstein says over 60 percent of Americans have some form of chronic disease—many of which are diet-related.

“So changing someone’s diet and approach to eating and cooking can change, the incidence of the disease,” said Dr. Hellerstein. “It can help prevent the disease. It can be part of the treatment and it can really change the long-term outcomes.”

Chef and culinary coach Laura Klein not only teaches how to cook but also the skills people need to be more efficient.

“The biggest hurdle is time,” said Klein. “You know, people, they don’t have time. They’re busy. They’re working. They have kids. They you know, they just can’t fit it in. So what we like to do is give them the tools.”

The plant-based recipes create enough food to be repurposed into two to three other meals for the week, making it affordable and easy for families.

Since going to the food pantry and utilizing the cooking classes, Lissi Guerrero has been able to lose weight and share her healthy eating lifestyle with others.

“They love it,” said Guerrero. “Especially my little one. She’s six years old and she loves it. And you’re learning, eating something good for you.”

“Learning to cook healthy food at home has this wonderful effect of multiplying because food is such a communal part of our life patients spread their education to friends and family,” said Dr. Mirsky.

The hope is the NuCook pilot program will spread to so many others—and impact the meals they prepare in their kitchen.

“We want to make it so that they’re not feeling that they have to sacrifice what they like to eat, but they might be able to find ways to cook it in a fashion that’s healthier,” said Dr. Hellerstein.

As a result, they could shed a few pounds while gaining time with family and friends.

“As a wellness coach, it warms my heart to hear that people have, like, dropped weight, lowered their A1C levels, really changed their whole lifestyle,” said Klein. “I mean, in the course of even just the, five weeks that they take the class, they see changes in their lifestyle. And then a year later, I’m still talking to these people and they maintain those changes. So it’s really amazing to see that you can, you know, take control of your health just by changing your diet,” Klein added.

The NuCook program is philanthropically funded. The classes are online and free to anyone who logs in. You can find the recipes here.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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