The Herald Bulletin

March 12, 2014

Healthy living starts in 'Beginnings' class

Teachers adults how to choose nutritious food

By Kelly Dickey The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Eating an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but Susan Landess is doing more than focusing on her own wellness — she’s teaching others how to live healthier.

Landess and her husband are gearing up for their “Healthy Beginnings” class, a program that teaches adults how to cook healthy food.

“There’s so much health information people have to weigh through,” Landess said. “We’re presenting what we believe. We back it up with facts and let them make the decision.”

Landess emphasizes the importance of eating greens, exercising and eliminating processed foods in the course.

Healthy Beginnings runs 5:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays for a month starting next week. It costs $130 per person or $215 for a couple, and people can register 7 to 8 tonight at the Community Hospital Education Center or 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Cross Street Christian School.

Each class will start by focusing on a different dinner, Landess said. A short DVD presentation will follow before the pupils turn their attention to their textbooks.

The program’s topics include fats, sugars, what breads to eat and how to read a label. Unlike in a normal cooking lesson, the class goes on a “shopping tour,” where instructors take their students to the grocery and figure out what foods they should buy.

“A lot of people feel like they’re eating healthy and they’re doing the best they can,” Landess said. “But if you don’t know how to read a label then you’re not eating healthy.”

Healthy Beginnings also offers blood work at the beginning and end of the program so members can see how adapting to the new lifestyle helps. Landess boasts that the program helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and normalizes blood sugar.

Former student Janette Holtzleiter said the program helped improve her and her husband’s health. They now both have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and she initially lost between 15 and 20 pounds.

Holtzleiter said the two have maintained Landess’ suggested plant-based diet for the most part since they first took the class five years ago.

She believes the program has helped her avoid certain ailments that some of her family members have gone through.

“I’m a little older now than two of my sisters were when they were diagnosed with diabetes,” Holtzleiter said. “I’ve gained some of the weight back but not much.”

Since taking the class five years ago, Holtzleiter has returned to Healthy Beginnings for refreshers and to volunteer.

Landess said she normally holds the class twice a year, and that up to 40 percent of participants in each series are former students.

Returning students aren’t charged for the class and Landess sees it as a refresher course so they can maintain the lifestyle.

“We encourage them to come back because change is usually slow for most people,” she said. “First, they’re not going to remember everything. And second, they’re not going to incorporate everything they’re taught the first time.”

Like Kelly Dickey on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KellyD_THB, or call 640-4805.

Healthy Beginnings runs 5:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays for a month starting next week. The program costs $130 per person or $215 for a couple. Registration runs 7 to 8 p.m. today at the Community Hospital Education Center, north of hospital, or 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Cross Street Christian School, 2318 W. Cross St.