Cooking with Heart teaches healthy eating options

Cooking with Heart teaches healthy eating options


Heart health hits home in my household.

After my husband’s heart attack, triple bypass surgery and diabetes diagnosis, I have tried to keep my family on track with healthy eating.

Our doctor often has reminded us that healthy eating coupled with daily exercise is the key to longevity.

I’ve learned, though, that dedication to healthy eating is a daily effort even if you're doing some vigorous moving.

It’s easier said than done.

To give people some help with that effort, UnityPoint Health-Trinity Rock Island will offer a community nutrition course, Cooking With Heart. The interactive six-part cooking class will teach participants easy recipes and cooking skills to improve their overall health.

The course will be taught by a UnityPoint Health-Trinity dietitian. Those who attend will learn how to stay on track, fill a kitchen with healthier foods, keep meals affordable, boost nutrition, and eat clean foods.

“Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide, and it is often avoidable,” said Teresa Pangan, UnityPoint Health-Trinity dietitian. “Just making small changes can have huge effects in improving your health and preventing a cardiac event.”

Pangan said participants will learn ways to prepare easy, delicious and healthy recipes, as well as tips and tricks that promote a plant-focused, heart-healthy diet that doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare.

She said participants will be encouraged to make small changes throughout the six weeks to follow a healthy eating plan that will likely lead to weight loss; lower blood pressure; improved cholesterol levels; and prevention of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

Sometimes healthy eating may not always seem accessible, but the goal of this course is to show participants how to do it. Being in an environment that includes the support of others working toward the same goal will help.

“We were inspired to offer this new program after seeing so much interest from members of the community,” said Kathy Pulley, director of cardiology services at UnityPoint Health-Trinity. “The nutrition education classes are designed to be an entertaining way to engage with others on the journey to better living.”

Cooking with Heart will be taught inside the state-of-the-art Cardiac Nutrition Center, which opened in 2018 in the Heart Center at Trinity Rock Island. It includes a full kitchen with a camera and large digital screen that allows the audience to see the food preparation. The course is the cardiovascular division's innovative way to inspire patients to live healthy lives through healthy eating.

The class will begin Aug. 27, with weekly sessions meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Seating is limited. Registration for the six-part course costs $150 and is payable online at

Learn how to eat better, exercise and make a healthy change in your lifestyle for a chance at greater longevity. You will be surprised when you start feeling better, see a change in your bloodwork with better cholesterol and blood sugar numbers, and see a change on the scale.

Martha Garcia is a writer, communications instructor and bilingual marketing professional who lives in Bettendorf. She can be contacted at


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