Come one, come all. The Orange County AgriLIFE Extension office is offering diabetes classes. These classes have been designed to help those diagnosed with diabetes learn how to do well and be well. Open to the public, family members or caregivers of diabetic patients or those just wanting to learn proper nutrition are invited to join.

Classes include: how to talk to your doctor, how to take your medications, checking your blood sugar, what the numbers should be, what to do if they are too high or too low, exercise, how to read nutrition labels, how to count carbohydrates and what they do to your body.

A schedule of classes (which are offered for free) are listed at the end of the article. “A lot of times, people come because they either don’t have insurance or their insurance has already paid for a class and won’t pay for any more,” said Paula Tacker, county extension agent with the AgriLIFE Extension office. “It’s a lot to learn, you can’t get it in a two-day situation.”

Certified dieticians and nurses have volunteered their time to teach a few sessions but, the extension office is in need of more volunteers, especially for the grocery store tours and cooking classes that are planned.

The grocery store tour is a new program but those interested will be divided up into smaller groups on the day of the tour. Once at the store, Tacker and other volunteers will take everyone and teach them how to read nutrition labels, discuss which bread to choose, compare items and learn why one product maybe better than another.

“Most people don’t even look at a label,” Tacker said. “They just buy what they’ve always bought because that’s what they’ve always done. They really don’t have an idea of what their eating. They just know that they like it. Or they won’t try anything new because it’s not something they are familiar with.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the same routine and to buy things simple to make. The hang-up is that not everything that is simple to make is good for you.
“No matter who you are, it’s important for you, your family and your kids to eat healthy,” Tacker said. “Sometimes people don’t pay attention to everything that’s available.”
Tacker and the volunteers will also teach those interested how to shop so it’s easy on the pocket book.
“People don’t realize that the lower priced items are lower or higher [on the shelf],” she said. “We’re going to talk about that and how to recognize how things are displayed.”
The extension office is also offering a cooking class that will be focused around low sodium and low fat meals. Demonstrations will be provided so those attending the classes can sample the recipe. Many people refuse to try new things because it may look questionable or doesn’t sound appetizing.
“I’m guilty of it too,” she said. “If I haven’t tasted it, I’m probably not going to make a recipe unless the picture looks really, really good.”
A cookbook will be provided to each person in the cooking class.
Proper nutrition is essential to living a long and healthy life, though it’s not an easy route to take. It requires work, dedication and support.
“I struggle like everybody else,” she said. “I’m lazy. I don’t want to go exercise. I don’t want to get up early. I think it takes hearing it over and over and being encouraged to do it. We’re all human.”
When eating and exercising right, one can begin to see changes physically, mentally and emotionally.
“It can help with depression, it can help you have more energy, it can help not be as sick, it can help prevent chronic disease,” she said. “Chronic disease is something that doesn’t go away, like diabetes or high blood pressure.”
Those interested in the classes should call 409-882-7010 to preregister.
Schedule of classes:
Diabetes Classes:
Feb. 7-11, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Neighborhood Facilities in Orange.
*Must register by Feb. 3.
March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the LSC-O Wilson Building in Orange.
May 23-27, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Neighborhood Facilities in Orange.
July 18-22, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Vidor Community Center.
Sept. 19-23, from 10 a.m. to noon at Scholars Medicine Chest in Orange.
Grocery Store Tours:
March 17, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Market Basket in Bridge City.
Sept. 15, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Market Basket in Orange.
Mini Cooking Classes:
May 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bridge City Senior Citizen Hall.
Aug. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Vidor Community Center

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers