A plant-based diet came recommended in a book, and Jennifer Kirby of Sioux Falls gave it a whirl.
“I was surprised at how good I felt, I saw some other health improvements, and how delicious the food was,” Kirby said. “And I started to think, I’m not sure there’s an awareness in Sioux Falls that this way of eating can really really help your health in a bunch of different ways.”
Eventually, a committee of sorts would sprout.
“I got together with somebody else in town who was interested in promoting awareness about plant-based diet, and then we just started growing a small ad hoc committee of people that wanted to do this, and so we’re having our first speakers event this Thursday 6:30 p.m.,” Kirby said.
It’s a plant-based program featuring speakers and cooking classes. Plant-based chef Denise Houchin of Sioux Falls will do cooking classes.
“I know what plant-based eating has done for my life, and I have found that with plant-based eating, most people think it’s just salad or carrot sticks, and that’s absolutely not the case,” Houchin said. “And so I want to help it be a sustainable lifestyle for people, and one way to do that is by showing them how to prepare the food, and letting them taste how delicious it is.”
Also involved is physician assistant Alison Gerrish of Watertown, whom Kirby describes as “a great resource.”
“I started a group on Facebook called Plant Based Nutrition of South Dakota, where we just have recipes and other local members of the community who offer different tips and tricks of how you can eat more healthfully in our community,” Gerrish said.
“Allison’s been helping us use her accumulated knowledge as we moved forward here,” Kirby said.
“I came across the whole food plant-based diet, and then that opened my eyes to a whole new world of science that I wasn’t aware of as a physician assistant, and that’s something that I become really passionate about to share with people,” Gerrish said.
This program isn’t just about information- it’s about how you can use it.
“We’ll have a series of speakers then are interspersed with cooking classes, so you can kind of come and hear why you may want to consider eating more vegetables, fruits, plants, and then we’ll, you can learn how to do it at our cooking classes,” Kirby said.
“If I can get somebody to change their diet and lifestyle, it’s going to make them truly better as a whole, that’s going to affect them for the rest of their life,” Gerrish said. “So it’s just something that I’m really passionate about because I feel like I can really truly help people.”
The first speaker will be at the Avera Prairie Center on Thursday.
“I like to help get the word out about good things, and it just seemed like this is something that so many people could really change their lives and benefit from, and so I just wanted to help spread the word that this is something people might want to consider or learn more about,” Kirby said.
“I love, like I said, sharing the wealth of health and helping people learn how to eat healthy and enjoy what they do,” Houchin said.