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Diabetes Wellness and Prevention Cooking Demo

22 Feb

By Leah Berger-Singer, Preventive Health Coordinator

As you walked through the hallways of the YWCA on February 11th, you might have smelled something that reminded you of your family’s cooking – the smell of garlic and onion sizzling in a pan of olive oil. The delicious smell was coming from the Multipurpose Room where twelve participants from the Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program gathered for a Cooking Demonstration led by Cathy Hohenstein, Registered Dietitian for NC Cooperative Extension, and her Intern Clara.

126Before the program began, we chopped and peeled vegetables to prep for the Turkey Chili and White Bean Soup that would be served to the group. As participants arrived to the Cooking Demo, they were given handouts on a variety of topics related to soups and chili ranging from ways to soak and cook dried beans to a list of healthy soup toppings. Next, participants were given a sample of both the Turkey Chili and White Bean Soup and were even able to try some of those healthy soup toppings, such as Greek yogurt, cilantro, jalapeno, and green onion.

Cathy explained the health benefits of using soaked beans for soup recipes rather than canned beans (no sodium or preservatives!) and provided different techniques and prep options. Gene Collington, Diabetes Wellness and Prevention participant, said, “I enjoyed it because it shows you what you can do with beans. You can make beans in different ways other than just dried or cooked beans.” Cathy also gave other helpful kitchen tips. Did you know you can make a broth just by boiling vegetables?

127Throughout the Cooking Demo, Cathy showed participants how to make the White Bean Soup step-by-step. Participants were delighted to watch her make something as healthy, fresh and delicious as this soup was. Walter Robertson, Diabetes Wellness and Prevention participant, said, “The structure of the class was very well put together. It was informative, informal, and a relaxed atmosphere. She didn’t rush through it and she explained everything.”

128This Cooking Demonstration is just one example of the various workshops we have in the Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program. We have workshops such as Grocery Store Tours, Farmers Market Tours, and other Cooking Demos. Participants also have the opportunity to learn something new and health-related in our Weekly Support Group. Don’t just take my word on the program, Walter said, “It’s very beneficial. We get something out of it, and the discussion doesn’t just end after the program”. This is a great example of how Cooking Demos, Support Group, and other workshops provided in the program are learning experiences that start in the YWCA, but they expand outside of our walls and continue into the homes of the participants in the Diabetes Wellness and Prevention Program.

To learn more about joining our Diabetes Wellness & Prevention Program, contact Leah Berger-Singer at or at 828-254-7206 x. 212. 

The YWCA of Asheville’s Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program is supported by an educational grant from Novo Nordisk Inc., the NC Dept. Health & Human Services – Office of Minority Health, Mission Health Community Benefits Program, YWCA donors, and the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County.


Salsa, Sabor y Salud Wraps-up its Final Days with the Sweetness of Honey

14 Aug

By Leah Berger-Singer

This summer flew by quickly as our participants in Salsa, Sabor y Salud (our Latino Health Outreach Program) enjoyed learning simple steps to living a healthier, happier lifestyle. Throughout the program, we had volunteers and guest speakers come to the YWCA  to talk to our participants about various ways to make changes in their livSalsaes. On July 22nd, Dr. Lopez-Stratton, a medical practitioner from Mission Haywood Family Medicine, came to speak with us about bees, pollination and various ways we can eat and use honey. Dr. Lopez-Stratton brought in a live bee hive, along with some local honey, and provided tips and recipes on how to use honey for medicinal purposes. Our participants were able to enjoy a healthy snack of greek yogurt and fresh peaches with a drizzle of honey on top. ¡Que rico! (In English, this means “how delicious”).

The Salsa model includes the whole family in learning – running concurrent sessions for both children and adults. “[In Salsa], we learneSalsa2d how to eat more and more [healthy] every week and to try new things and to get outside more. Now we go to the park and when we are finished playing, we go on walks around the park”, stated Priscilla, age 12. Mariana, age 10, noticed the changes that her mother has made at the grocery store and in the kitchen. “My mom is not buying bread or sweets [anymore]. She also makes some vegetable juices that are good”. Salsa aims to help parents demonstrate healthy habits resulting in children learning healthy routines while maintaining family traditions, customs and meal recipes.

For more information about our Salsa, Sabor y Salud program, contact Leah Berger-Singer, Preventative Health Coordinator, by email at or by calling 828-254-7206 x. 212. For more information about the Preventive Health program, visit

Thank you to Mission Health for your support of the Salsa, Sabor y Salud program.

Learning About Emotional Eating

18 Mar

Approximately 40 participants in the YWCA Diabetes Wellness and Prevention (DWP) program and their families were in attendance at March’s monthly dinner lecture. Jen Vaughn, a registered dietitian from Mission Health Systems, was the evening’s guest speaker. The topic was “Emotional Eating: What is it, Why We Do It, and How to Overcome It.” Everyone enjoyed the presentation and left with a few ideas for what to do if they found themselves mindlessly eating. For example: take a walk or drink a glass of water or enjoy a nice cup of tea.

DWP helps people lower their blood sugar levels, lose weight, improve flexibility, increase energy, and boost self-confidence. By working out together and supporting each other, participants create an environment of acceptance and friendship – and make big changes in their lives. For more information about DWP, contact Director of Preventive Health Susan Kettren and 254-7206 x 212 or email

ywca preventive health

November Diabetes Awareness Events

24 Oct

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

Mark Your Calendars: during November, the YWCA Diabetes Wellness & Prevention Program will be hosting the following Lunch & Learn events.

Wednesday, November 7, noon
“How to Choose Wisely When Dining Out”
Cathy Hohenstein, NC Cooperative Extension Services
Information and discussion on how to dine out right by learning how to make the right healthy choices.

Wednesday, November 14, noon
“Healthy Holiday Eating Tips”
Candace Krebs, RD & CDE Mission Hospital
Stay healthy during the holidays with holiday party survival tips. Other topics touched on are mindful eating, weight management, portions sizes, beverages, holiday cooking, being physically activity, and handling the stress that seems to come with the holidays.

Wednesday, November 28, noon
“Tai Chi for Diabetes”
Bob Feeser
Tai Chi is a gentle exercise proven to strengthen muscles, improve stamina, blood circulation, balance and relaxation. This designed program focuses on the health benefits for people with diabetes.

These events will be held at the YWCA of Asheville, 185 S. French Broad Ave. There is no cost to attend. Bring a bag lunch. Drinks will be provided.

RSVP Today!
Susan Kettren, Director of Preventive Health
254-7206 x 212,

Movin’ On Up! Celebration for Holly Jones January 26

12 Jan

The YWCA of Asheville invites the public to a Movin’ on Up! Celebration for former Executive Director Holly Jones on Thursday, January 26, the at the Renaissance Hotel. The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30 pm, followed by a presentation at 6:30, then dancing to the music of Westsound. Light hors d’oeurvres and desserts will be provided by Old Europe. Children are welcome to attend.

After nearly sixteen years of service as Executive Director of the YWCA of Asheville, Holly Jones left the organization in December. She has assumed the role of Regional Manager for the YWCA Southeast Region. In this new role, she will be working with 23 local YWCAs, in seven southeastern states, to strengthen their organizational capacities and enhance the YWCA’s collective voice.

As the longest serving Executive Director in YWCA of Asheville history, the impact Jones has had on the agency is profound. She has shown extraordinary dedication to the organization’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. She will be honored in a variety of ways at this celebration.

Free Health Screenings in October

27 Sep

The YWCA will be offering free balance, adult health and memory screenings during October. More information below.

Building Better Balance Screenings
Tuesday, October 4th, 9:00 am – noon

Building Better Balance Screenings are free and open to the public. The service will be provided by trained screeners at the YWCA, 185 S. French Broad Ave. The screening will take 15 minutes and include a few questions and completion of one balance activity. The screener will use a screening process outlined by the NC Fall Prevention Coalition to determine the level of fall risk. Participants will then receive information on resources to continue to build better balance and reduce the likelihood of a fall. Please call 254-7206 x 213 to schedule an appointment or just drop in for a first available appointment.

Adult Health and Memory Screenings
Friday, October 14, 10:00 am – noon

Adult Health and Memory Screenings by MemoryCare include Memory Testing, Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar. Why? To identify health problems that may impact healthy aging and improve chances of getting appropriate medical care. Educational Materials will be available at the screening. Find out about your own health and learn about community resources for aging adults in the Asheville area.  For more information, contact MemoryCare at 828-771-2219 or visit our website at To register call 254-7206 x 213.

Opportunities to Improve your Health and Fitness at the YW

4 Aug

Wellness Open House
: Monday, August 15 from 4 pm – 7 pm. Alternative health practicioners, free screenings, chair massage, and door prizes. In addition, we will waive the joining fee for Club W for everyone who joins on the 15th.

Club W Boot Camp: August 15 – 24. Improve cardio fitness and build lean muscle mass. Pre- and post-assessments including BMI and weight. Cost: $100 Club W members, $175 non-members. Click here for a message from the instructor.

Saturday Workshops: Fitness Studio, 10 am. Kettle Bell Workshop August 20, Functional Training Workshop September 24. Cost: $10 Club W members, $17.50 non-members.

For more information, go to our website, or call 254-7206 x 213.