Cessna learns more about food as medicine

Jo Cessna
Jo Cessna

DeKALB – Jo Cessna, healthy culinary instructor for the KishHealth System Community Wellness Department, attended The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s “Food As Medicine” conference in Indianapolis in June. As a part of Cooks on Call, a group of cook-educators from across the country, Cessna assisted at a booth performing food demonstrations and answering questions during break-out sessions at the four-day event. Doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, professionals and non-professionals and instructors like Cessna attended the seminar to gain and share knowledge about the emerging science of food and nutrition. The seminar highlighted the latest in scientific research in food-based approaches to improving health.

“The expert research presented at the conference was fascinating,” Cessna said. “Individuals need to make real, simple food focusing on plants for best health prevention. A truly healthy lifestyle includes variety in the diet, good hydration and mindful eating. Stress release through peaceful experiences and exercise is also a key factor in creating a healthy lifestyle. As a healthy culinary instructor, it confirmed the importance of my mission to get people interested in making their own food and educating them on good choices.”

Cessna facilitates classes as part of the hospitals’ Ingredients for Healthy Living Series, teaching participants how to improve kitchen skills and tools, choose basic ingredients, build a natural shopping list, and how to prepare seasonal recipes. 

The Ingredients for Healthy Living program is a key component of the health system’s ongoing preventative health initiative. This initiative was developed by KishHealth System based on a community health needs assessment to address obesity. Cessna teaches cooking classes, develops recipes, works with community gardens and provides education for the local food pantry and health food stores.

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