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Virginia Cooperative Extension, Walmart Bring Healthy Living Education to Youth – WVNS

Virginia Cooperative Extension, Walmart Bring Healthy Living Education to Youth





Blacksburg, VA – Virginia Cooperative Extension, including Virginia 4-H and the Virginia Family Nutrition Program, is partnering with the Walmart Foundation to provide healthy living programs to underserved youth across the state.   Since 2012, the Nutrition Education Grant, through the Walmart Foundation, has reached thousands of girls and boys.  the $81,000 grant, running from September 2017 to July 2018, will allow for existing nutrition programs to grow and new programs in physical fitness to be launched, giving a greater number of kids access to healthy living education.

As many Virginia schools face budget cuts and struggle to support healthy living programs.   Virginia Cooperative Extension is working to bridge the gap in nutrition education.   The Nutrition Education Grant, provided by the National 4-H Council and funded by the Walmart Foundation, provides healthy living training, equipment, workbooks, and other resources across the state.

“Virginia 4-H and the Family Nutrition Program are grateful for the support of the National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation for providing funding to support these healthy living initiatives.   Working together, we can educate today’s youth in making healthy lifestyle decisions that carry them in adulthood,” said Tonya Price, 4-H extension specialist.

The grant supports several VCE programs, including Teen Cuisine, which reached over 10,000 students last year in public schools, after-school programs, and 4-H camps and clubs.   Teen Cuisine is a cooking program that encourages healthy eating habits.   The six-lesson curriculum for middle school and high school students instructs leaders in teaching girls and boys how to prepare healthy snacks, meals, and beverages while also helping the teens increase their knowledge of nutrition and health.  Of the kids who have completed the Teen Cuisine program, 91 percent reported that they learned how to make healthy food choices, and 73 percent said they cook more at home.

The grant also supports the 4-H Food Challenge competition.   Similar to the popular Food Network show “Chopped,” teams of three to five youth are given 40 minutes, a baskets of mystery ingredients, and access to a pantry of food.   The team must then prepare a dish, compute the cost per serving, and develop a presentation on the dish and its nutritional content.   Competitors learn independence in the kitchen, teamwork, and hands-on nutrition.

This year, funds will also support a statewide training to implement a new program called Yoga for Kids.   Yoga for Kids allows participants to increase fitness, decrease stress, and improve mental focus in a noncompetitive, fun environment.

These programs are carried out through the combined efforts of 4-H professionals and Family Nutrition Program assistants across the state.   Through their efforts, and with funding provided by the Walmart Foundation, the grant is able to reach a greater number of students every year.   This year, Virginia 4-H received $81,000 for its healthy living programming.   In the past, the grant has been between $33,000 and $55,000.   This year’s jump in funding is credited to Virginia’s huge success in past years.

4-H cultivates confident youth people who are empowered for life today and prepared for the world of tomorrow.   Young people who have benefited from 4-H programming are four times more likely to contribute to their communities, two times more likely to be civically active, and two times more likely to make healthier choices according to follow-up research.   4-H reaches nearly 6 million people across the country.

The Virginia Family Nutrition Program is a statewide obesity prevention program within Virginia Cooperative Extension.   The program offers nutrition and physical activity education to youth and adults in low-income areas, as well as initiatives to support affordable access to food.   Research shows that for every $1 spent on quality nutrition education, $9.58 is saved in healthcare-related costs over time.

The Walmart Foundation works to create opportunities for people to live better in the communities they serve.   They meet the needs of the underserved by directing their giving to three core areas of focus:  opportunity, sustainability, and community.   Last year alone, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation donated more than $1.4 billion toward their mission of helping people live better.

Virginia 4-H, the Virginia Family Nutrition program, and the Walmart Foundation are providing youth with a better start by teaching them how to lead healthy lives.   The programs made possible by this grant will give students the knowledge and tools they need to make smart, healthy choices – choices that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Article source: http://www.wvnstv.com/news/education/virginia-cooperative-extension-walmart-bring-healthy-living-education-to-youth/911878904

Healthy Living Heroes help La Crosse County residents live better

Whenever Mike Tighe posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

Article source: http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/healthy-living-heroes-help-la-crosse-county-residents-live-better/article_63d5356f-d5b5-5ce2-a730-e164a51d5444.html

Meet the 2017 Healthy Living Heroes

La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Those working to make the La Crosse community healthier are being recognized as heroes.

A breakfast ceremony Friday morning at Myrick Park Center honors the 2017 Healthy Living Heroes as announced by the Healthy Living Collaboration. The group said it’s an effort to acknowledge and show gratitude to the many organizations and individuals who are making healthy options more readily available.

“The easier it is to make healthy choices, be physically active and be tobacco free, the easier it is to follow through with that,” said coordinator Paula Silha.

The 2017 Healthy Living Heroes are…

    Youth Award: 7 Rivers Students
    Individual Award: Linda Riddle, People’s Food Co-op
     - Hon. Mention: Tyler Heinz, Grand Bluff Running
    Organization Award: Pioneering Healthier Communities.
     - Hon. Mention: WisCorps

Article source: http://www.wxow.com/story/37253476/2018/01/Friday/meet-the-2017-healthy-living-heroes

Virginia Cooperative Extension, Walmart Bring Healthy Living – WVNS – WVNS

Virginia Cooperative Extension, Walmart Bring Healthy Living Education to Youth





Blacksburg, VA – Virginia Cooperative Extension, including Virginia 4-H and the Virginia Family Nutrition Program, is partnering with the Walmart Foundation to provide healthy living programs to underserved youth across the state.   Since 2012, the Nutrition Education Grant, through the Walmart Foundation, has reached thousands of girls and boys.  the $81,000 grant, running from September 2017 to July 2018, will allow for existing nutrition programs to grow and new programs in physical fitness to be launched, giving a greater number of kids access to healthy living education.

As many Virginia schools face budget cuts and struggle to support healthy living programs.   Virginia Cooperative Extension is working to bridge the gap in nutrition education.   The Nutrition Education Grant, provided by the National 4-H Council and funded by the Walmart Foundation, provides healthy living training, equipment, workbooks, and other resources across the state.

“Virginia 4-H and the Family Nutrition Program are grateful for the support of the National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation for providing funding to support these healthy living initiatives.   Working together, we can educate today’s youth in making healthy lifestyle decisions that carry them in adulthood,” said Tonya Price, 4-H extension specialist.

The grant supports several VCE programs, including Teen Cuisine, which reached over 10,000 students last year in public schools, after-school programs, and 4-H camps and clubs.   Teen Cuisine is a cooking program that encourages healthy eating habits.   The six-lesson curriculum for middle school and high school students instructs leaders in teaching girls and boys how to prepare healthy snacks, meals, and beverages while also helping the teens increase their knowledge of nutrition and health.  Of the kids who have completed the Teen Cuisine program, 91 percent reported that they learned how to make healthy food choices, and 73 percent said they cook more at home.

The grant also supports the 4-H Food Challenge competition.   Similar to the popular Food Network show “Chopped,” teams of three to five youth are given 40 minutes, a baskets of mystery ingredients, and access to a pantry of food.   The team must then prepare a dish, compute the cost per serving, and develop a presentation on the dish and its nutritional content.   Competitors learn independence in the kitchen, teamwork, and hands-on nutrition.

This year, funds will also support a statewide training to implement a new program called Yoga for Kids.   Yoga for Kids allows participants to increase fitness, decrease stress, and improve mental focus in a noncompetitive, fun environment.

These programs are carried out through the combined efforts of 4-H professionals and Family Nutrition Program assistants across the state.   Through their efforts, and with funding provided by the Walmart Foundation, the grant is able to reach a greater number of students every year.   This year, Virginia 4-H received $81,000 for its healthy living programming.   In the past, the grant has been between $33,000 and $55,000.   This year’s jump in funding is credited to Virginia’s huge success in past years.

4-H cultivates confident youth people who are empowered for life today and prepared for the world of tomorrow.   Young people who have benefited from 4-H programming are four times more likely to contribute to their communities, two times more likely to be civically active, and two times more likely to make healthier choices according to follow-up research.   4-H reaches nearly 6 million people across the country.

The Virginia Family Nutrition Program is a statewide obesity prevention program within Virginia Cooperative Extension.   The program offers nutrition and physical activity education to youth and adults in low-income areas, as well as initiatives to support affordable access to food.   Research shows that for every $1 spent on quality nutrition education, $9.58 is saved in healthcare-related costs over time.

The Walmart Foundation works to create opportunities for people to live better in the communities they serve.   They meet the needs of the underserved by directing their giving to three core areas of focus:  opportunity, sustainability, and community.   Last year alone, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation donated more than $1.4 billion toward their mission of helping people live better.

Virginia 4-H, the Virginia Family Nutrition program, and the Walmart Foundation are providing youth with a better start by teaching them how to lead healthy lives.   The programs made possible by this grant will give students the knowledge and tools they need to make smart, healthy choices – choices that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Article source: http://www.wvnstv.com/news/education/virginia-cooperative-extension-walmart-bring-healthy-living-education-to-youth/911878904

Y-Fit Kids Bootcamp teaches exercise, healthy living

Suzy Wamsley has three main rules for the kids that attend her fitness class twice a week at the Cass County Family YMCA.

No whining, don’t sit down and stop eating sugar.

“And they really embrace it,” she said smiling.

Wamsley thought up the idea for the Y-Fit Kids Bootcamp about four years ago, and she’s been the instructor ever since.

“Kids are not fit, and kids are not learning to be fit,” she said, “and they don’t really have any access to learn how to be healthy. So I just decided I wanted to start something, and the Y was gracious enough to let me use them as my umbrella.”

The boot camp is divided up into two different age brackets and meets twice a week until the first week in February, Wamsley said.

So for six weeks, the boot camp participants dive into physical fitness. Every session is complete with a mile-long run as well as core, strength and interval training. Whether it’s jumping jacks, squats, push-ups or lifting weights, the goal is to just keep moving, Wamsley said.

“It’s just a great way to get people to exercise,” she said. “Even people who want to exercise don’t know how, so that’s my goal. My mission is to help kids become fit.”

And she knows that being fit and healthy doesn’t just come from exercise. That’s why at the end of every class session, Wamsley gives the kids a healthy snack of fruits and vegetables.

“If you’re going to teach kids how to be fit, you also have to teach them how to eat healthy because they go hand in hand,” she said.

That means no sugary foods like candy and soda and no salty foods like french fries for the entire time boot camp is in session, Wamsley said.

“They all make a commitment that that’s what they’re going to do, and they really do try,” she said. “I don’t expect them to follow it to a T, but I promise you these kids really love doing it.”

Wamsley said she understands that not every child continues the boot camp regimen after the last session has ended, but she hopes she can at least provide some of the tools needed for healthy living because she said she’s well aware of the numbers.

According to the newest statistics from the State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, a project of non-profit organizations Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 33.9 percent of Hoosier children ages 10 to 17 were overweight or obese in 2016. That places Indiana sixth in the nation in that category.

Those numbers, though potentially scary, just push Wamsley even harder to connect with the children she works with throughout the boot camp.

And she’s not just providing encouragement to the participants. She wants parents and other family members to hear her message too.

“If parents aren’t exercising, kids aren’t exercising,” she said. “It’s just how it goes. So if you encourage your kids to exercise, they’ll do it. And the greatest gift that you can give a child in life that will last them a lifetime is to be fit. So if you’re not going to do it, then let someone else do it for you.”

Reach Kim Dunlap at kim.dunlap@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150.

Article source: http://www.pharostribune.com/news/local_news/article_b8b6c717-609b-5bb0-b810-4ac2b546884a.html

Healthy living via social media in Derry

By CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent


January 10. 2018 11:42PM


LONDONDERRY — Greater Derry Community Health Services has established a new social media presence designed to promote healthy living.

Donna Tighe, executive director of the region’s Community Health Services (CHS), said the new initiative is known as Healthy Londonderry and is an open forum intended to improve the community’s well-being and offer a positive atmosphere. The goal is to share information, education tips and safety suggestions for those in Greater Londonderry.

The new resource is available on Twitter — its handle is @Healthy03053 — and its Facebook page is called Healthy Londonderry. CHS is also available at 425-2545.

“All of this sits in the middle of a frame around addiction support and trying to provide education and resources and information,” Tighe told the Londonderry Town Council on Monday night.

“We didn’t expect Facebook to be as well received in this community, but the level of engagement between residents and the site is very impressible,” she added. “It’s worked on daily, someone is doing research and posting every day.”

This program appears cost-effective and likely will offer a good return on investment long-term, Tighe said.

For more than a decade, CHS has managed general assistance within the town. In 2017 the organization worked to pull in residents struggling with opioid addiction, but the inaugural year did not attract as much attention as they hoped, saying people were reluctant to come and meet with staffers.

Tight said they came back with a new idea to wrap substance misuse, behavior health issues and other topics into healthy living advise on popular social networks, saying their Twitter feed has taken off.

“For the first five-and-a-half weeks, which is how long the accounts have been in business, we did things that were related to recreation, child safety, behavioral issues, helping your children learn to sleep — things like that,” she said. “And we had excellent engagement.”

The organization also plans to host a spring forum to cover a wide range of health-related topics, complete with speakers and experts who will possibly be available for one-on-one sessions. They also hope for a series on the local cable network on substance misuse.

CHS has met with the Londonderry Fire Department and expects to meet with the town police chief, William Hart, soon.

Council Chairman Tom Dolan called Hart a wonderful resource on the topic and praised the new initiative.

“(Hart)’s not interested in putting people in jail who have addiction and substance abuse problems, he’s looking to get them help. And I think that level of energy coming from our police chief and the police force dovetails quite nicely into the efforts you have at CHS,” Dolan said.

“This problem that we’re all embroiled in across the state, across the country, … there’s no magical way out of this problem, it’s all these pieces kind of quilted together that perhaps we can provide some help for each other.”

Health
Technology

Article source: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20180111/NEWS12/180119933/-1/mobile?template=mobileart

Achieve your healthy living goals by being like your cats and dogs say Blue Cross

Life could be improved by following in the footsteps of our cats and dogs the Blue Cross has said.

Pets are the ultimate lifestyle gurus for humans and may be more effective at motivating people to achieve their healthy living goals than celebrity workout videos, wellbeing blogs and social media fitness experts, the charity claims.

A survey has revealed that 86 per cent of the New Year’s changes Britons want to make to improve their lives, mirrors the way that dogs, cats, horses and other furries naturally live their lives. Indeed, pets only drink water, exercise every day, live in the moment, sleep well and – with responsible owners – they usually eat a healthy diet. Therefore, they are beacons of healthy living and the perfect inspiration for humans looking to give their lifestyle an overhaul.

The majority of pet owners need no convincing of this argument, with almost two thirds (63 per cent) of those surveyed by Blue Cross agreeing that their pets would inspire them to achieve their healthy living ambitions, while three quarters (76 per cent) think they would stand a better chance of sticking to their New Year’s resolutions if they followed their pets as their role models.

Live like your pet and go for a run

Live like your pet and go for a run

To showcase the lifestyle-changing power of pets, throughout January Blue Cross will be championing a selection of pets whose healthy and active lifestyles can be an inspiration to the many millions of Britons looking to make New Year’s changes. They are effectively the very first pets to become lifestyle role models for humans.

How the Blue Cross pet lifestyle role models can inspire humans to achieve their New Year goals:

Dogs : 52 per cent of Britons want to be more active as their path to better living. Dogs naturally enjoy exercise and are active and inquisitive, they love to be outside and they certainly make the most out of playtime, making them the ultimate role models for those humans resolved to getting more exercise.

What’s more, over a third (38 per cent) of those surveyed vowed to have a more positive outlook and attitude for 2018 and beyond, 32 per cent vowed to enjoy the little things more and 30 per cent are determined to learn a new skill. All of these are traits dogs have in plentiful supply.

Cats : For the Britons resolved to relaxing (36 per cent) and sleeping more (30 per cent), living in the moment (27 per cent) and getting more ‘me-time’ (16 per cent), cats are the perfect lifestyle role models. No matter how busy a cat’s daily schedule they will always find time to groom themselves, and they are the best at finding plenty of time for sleep. They also love to explore which expands their minds. It sounds like a pretty nice life, so when practicing mindfulness why not take a page out of a cat’s book to find more time for you next year.

All four-legged friends: Whether it’s dogs, cats, rabbits or horses, all pets are world-class at spending quality time with loved ones, showing affection to others and making them laugh and feel happy. These were all traits that Britons resolved to do more in 2018 (20 per cent, 24 per cent and 48 per cent respectively), proving that yet again it’s our fun-loving furries we should be turning to for lifestyle motivation.

When asked whether she draws motivation from her beloved pet, TV Presenter Gail Porter said “Anyone wanting to make a resolution to be a better friend need look no further than a cat for inspiration. My cat is always there for me. Good days, bad days, I am always assured of a cuddle and a wee head nudge. My adorable friend.”

Coronation Street star Georgia Taylor also added “I’m going to aspire to be more like my cat in 2018 by getting more time to myself and squeezing in every opportunity to get more sleep!”

Rudi likes to play

Rudi likes to play

Karly Smith, Blue Cross Animal Behaviorist comments: “We hope that showcasing the amazing effect that animals have on people’s lives, and the role they play as every day motivators will encourage Brits to look to their pets for inspiration when it comes to sticking to their resolutions in the new year. However, for our pets to act as role models, people need to play their role and be responsible pet owners to ensure animals of all shapes and sizes live healthy and happy lives.”

To take inspiration from the Blue Cross pet lifestyle role models for humans, visit the Blue Cross website (www.bluecross.org.uk/livelikeapet) or Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thebluecrossUK) in January. Join in the conversation on social media using #livelikeapet

Responsible owners will ensure pets can live their naturally healthy lifestyles. With this in mind, Blue Cross has provided five top tips on being a responsible pet owner to get the most out of your pet and allow it to be the ultimate lifestyle role model for you:

Blue Cross top tips

• Most dogs naturally enjoy exercise and love to get outdoors so it’s important when the weather is bad and they spend more time indoors to keep them (and you) active and mentally stimulated. – https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/indoor-games-dogs

• All pets live in the moment and get huge enjoyment from a game. Lose yourself in the moment by watching your cat entranced with a toy. – https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/how-play-your-cat

• Dogs love to learn new tricks and skills and you can have fun teaching and learning from them, it can help make the bond between you even closer. – https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/training-your-dog

• As well as pampering yourself, don’t forget grooming your pet is also important, especially for longhaired animals, with some animals even needing their coats trimmed when the hotter weather comes in – https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/grooming-your-dog

Article source: http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/achieve-your-healthy-living-goals-1043905

Healthy Living: Five staples to pack a healthy kitchen pantry

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably got a lot of white food in your pantry. Bread, pasta, crackers, etc. Although filling, easy to prepare and often tasty, these “white” foods carry little to no nutritional value.

With that in mind, nutritionist and wellness coach Deborah Herlax Enos walks us through the aisles at Costco and shares her five favorite healthy pantry staples.  Plus, she gives us some ideas on how to prepare and include them into meals for you and your family.

  1. Enos says her first healthy pantry favorite turns breakfast into dinner with Kodiak Cakes adding ” Who knew you could get fourteen grams of protein and five grams of fiber in a pancake.  You add water, it’s non-GMO.  It’s a fantastic product, add a little bit of fruit on the side and really makes it a good dinner.”

2. Quinoa is Enos’ second pantry pick.  She says the grain is packed with protein and high in fiber.  She recommends preparing it in a rice cooker, or or the stove top.  She adds chicken broth, but you can also make it vegetarian and just use water.

3. Enos’ third pantry favorite is beans and pairs well with the quinoa.  Beans are good source of magnesium and help can also help with weight management.

4. Pantry staple number four… canned meat.  Enos recommends chicken or tuna for a good dose of protein and easy meal option.  She says a third of the can is a typical serving and can be made into lunch or dinner by putting it on top of a salad.  Her advice to spice up canned tuna is to cut an avocado in half, pull out the pit and fill it with tuna.  Add a little salt and pepper and drizzle some light salad dressing or a squeeze of lemon for flavor.

5.  Enos’ fifth pantry pick is protein bars.  She says they’re a great source of protein, easy to pack on the go for work and school and typically high in other vitamins and minerals.  Be careful though, Enos says read the labels because some protein bars can contain a lot of sugar.  She says, “Women can have about six packets of sugar a day.  Men can have 9.  That’s based purely on size.  4 grams equal about one packet of sugar so you’ve really got to watch your numbers.”

Article source: http://q13fox.com/2018/01/10/healthy-living-five-staples-to-pack-a-healthy-kitchen-pantry/

Financial Education Benefits Center Supports a Holistic Approach to Healthy Living

SAN RAMON, Calif., Jan. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – The phrase “healthy living” can bring to mind the chore of avoiding the “bad” stuff, including bad habits or bad food. While exercising and eating nutritious foods are definitely a good idea, creating healthy habits is still mostly framed in terms of denial and sacrifice to replace unhealthy habits. Recently, however, experts have been pointing to a more holistic approach to make it easier to live well. Financial Education Benefits Center, a membership benefits company, will soon be rolling out a new suite of health and wellness benefits for members in order to encourage healthy living with ease.

“There is no one-size-fits-all magic formula for living healthy,” said Jennifer Martinez, Manager at FEBC. “But we’re seeing a more holistic approach becoming more and more popular, and our upcoming benefits will support that.”

For example, is it possible to eat healthy and still have dessert? Unless someone has a specific condition that makes eating certain foods harmful, allowing an indulgence in moderation is actually not a bad idea, some nutrition experts argue. When people deprive themselves of food they love, they begin to obsess and crave it, which can lead to overindulgence. By not throwing all their favorites out the window, while still maintaining a wholesome and healthy diet, people can still listen to their bodies’ signals rather than relying on denial and restriction.

But if someone does want to make a change, constantly fighting through the will to do the “wrong” thing isn’t going to work, either. A battle with oneself to go to the gym every day will not set anyone up for lifelong exercise routines. Instead, behavioral experts say automating the healthy habits so that the habits are well-integrated into a person’s life is better. How? That’s where things get tricky. People interested in automating habits can start by knowing why they tend to do certain things and then find a similar reward for the better habit. By finding an emotional root to the issue, their chances of easily making the change increases.

Healthy living is not complete, however, with just eating right and exercising. People are social creatures and need positive human connections not only to be successful, but to stay physically healthy and live long lives. Without a few strong relationships, a person might live a shorter life or face more health risks, research says. Emotional wellness that fosters good relationships, therefore, is on par with physical wellness.

FEBC’s upcoming health and wellness benefits will aim to help members live a holistically healthy life and better implement these healthy habits. These benefits will include a vitamin and health foods discount benefit, a mental health counseling benefit, a work-life balance benefit, and more. 

“There’s always going to be different ways to live a healthy life, but we will be supporting multiple ways of staying healthy with these benefits,” said Martinez. “And we’re excited about that!”

About Financial Education Benefits Center

Financial Education Benefits Center is located in San Ramon, California. The membership company has already helped thousands of people save money and obtain the necessary education required to live a financially healthy life.

Financial Education Benefits Center has partnered with several name brand third-party companies to expand the financial and educational products and services available to its members and to provide a variety of wellness services as well.

Contact

To learn more about Financial Education Benefits Center, please contact:

Financial Education Benefits Center
2010 Crow Canyon Place Ste. 100
San Ramon, CA 94583
1-800-953-1388
rel=”nofollow”info@febcp.com

Related Links

FEBC homepage

Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/financial-education-benefits-center-supports-a-holistic-approach-to-healthy-living-300580893.html

SOURCE Financial Education Benefits Center

Article source: http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/Financial-Education-Benefits-Center-Supports-a-Holistic-Approach-to-Healthy-Living-1012846977

Winter Healthy Living Fair features flavors of Cameroon – Charleston Gazette

Naweh Amibang was a whirlwind of activity in the kitchen of her Charleston apartment.

One moment, the native of Cameroon was peeling potatoes to add to Njangsa soup, a popular and peppery Cameroonian stew, spiced with the nutty flavor of the Njangsa nut. The next, she was stirring another soup pot on her stove top.

“This is called ‘bitter leaf,’” she said, introducing the soup to a visitor. “It has a bitter taste, a little bit.”

The main ingredient — a bitter leaf indigenous to Africa — is thoroughly washed before cooking, until there is just a tang of bitterness to the tasty soup.

The soup is considered a good dish for diabetics looking to control their blood sugar levels, she said.

Bitter leaf soup also includes pumpkin seeds. While a rare ingredient in American cooking, the seeds are a star in Amibang’s kitchen. She goes to a drawer and pulls out large plastic bags full of not one, not two, but three different varieties of pumpkin seeds.

“It is very, very nutritious,” she said. “It builds up the immune system.”

Amibang will be among the featured presenters at this weekend’s Winter Healthy Living Fair, styled as “How to Stay Healthy in Winter, Naturally.” The fair, presented by the West Virginia Wellness Community, takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 520 Kanawha Blvd W.

The free event, which includes lunch for sale, features a host of natural and holistic services and products, along with nutrition tips, Tai Chi and Qigong, meditation, reiki, natural nutrition, remedies for the cold and flu and more.

At the fair, Amibang will be serving fried plantain, Koki corn, bitter leaf soup, a carrot soup and njangsa soup, each with vegetarian and meat-filled options.

Amibang aims for simple and fresh ingredients in her cooking, and her refrigerator exemplifies that approach. It is filled to the brim with fresh vegetables of all varieties, along with neatly stacked packages of frozen banana leaves for steaming and presenting food.

In the middle of a West Virginia winter, you can find shucks of corn stalks in her refrigerator. She cooks the corn and cuts it from cob to make a vegetarian dish called Koki corn, made with fresh corn, corn meal, spinach and palm oil.

She even goes so far as to make her own peanut butter when she can get peanuts sent to her by family back home.

“I will make peanut butter when they send me peanuts from Cameroon. You taste the peanut butter and you never want to buy peanut butter again. Trust me!”

She learned cooking at her mother’s side in the communal fashion of a young girl growing up in Cameroon.

“In Africa, as a girl child, you have to stay in the kitchen,” she said. “No matter when you go to school, come back, you are tired — you have to stay in the kitchen and watch what they are doing! At a tender age, you have to start cooking your own food.”

She learned well.

She returned to the stove top to stir a fish soup, fish being a common ingredient in main dishes in Cameroon, she said.

“This is Mbongo. This is fish stew. We eat a lot of fish,” she said.

Amibang, who is 38, shares her food as well as her service in the Charleston community.

“I volunteer with Union Mission, Manna Meals. Gabriel’s Project. I love working in the community,” she said.

And cooking in the community, it should be added.

“I cook almost every day. I have to give food somewhere. People always call me for food,” she said. “I love giving out food!”

She is effusive with visitors, encouraging them to sample or leave with some of the bounty bubbling away on her stove top.

“You know, I’m begging you to eat!” she said. “May the god of my ancestors be with you from Africa!”

Article source: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/life/food_and_dining/winter-healthy-living-fair-features-flavors-of-cameroon/article_cb128bc6-bfaf-55d7-85aa-7fd33b94e3f6.html