THE COOKING MATTERS PROJECT The Wabanaki Healing Lodge to offer cooking and nutrition classes MILLINOCKET, ME. 11/22/2021 – Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness’s (WPHW) Healing Lodge in downtown Millinocket is offering cooking and nutrition education classes starting on November 23, 2021, and continuing on each Tuesday. Cooking Matters is a series of interactive cooking and nutrition education classes available for kids, teens, adults, or families. This program teaches strategies to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget. Cooking Matters curriculum uses the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate as the foundation for basic nutrition guidelines, then builds upon these ideas, using interactive lessons to teach cooking, food safety, and food resource management. WPHW partners with Maine Snap-Ed and Good Shepherd Food Bank to offer the classes. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, Native Americans/Indigenous/Alaskan Native adults are three times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes, and in 2018, they were 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease than white/non-Hispanic adults. (https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=43). Health disparities are evident in Native communities all over the country, including in Maine. Many of these communities are located in areas that are considered food deserts, or areas where it is difficult to buy quality and affordable fresh food. WPHW provides the Cooking Matters class to teach eligible low-income tribal community members how to choose and prepare healthy foods on a limited budget, further promoting health and wellness within the community. The class is instructed by Christina Fitzpatrick and Registered Dietician Mark Robinson.