Eat-Move-Repeat is a Timmins success story

Kristin Murray, Misiway Milopemahtesewin Community Health Centre

Encouraging people to eat well and stay active

By LEN GILLIS

Traditional moose meat and bannock served up with a fresh pico de gallo side dish is just one of the ways health promoters in Timmins are getting people to accept a healthier lifestyle.

It’s all part of the Eat – Move – Repeat program that is offered by the Misiway Milopemahtesewin  Community Health Centre in partnership with the Timmins Family Health Team and the East End Family Health Team, which operates out of Northern College in that city.

Misiway health promoter Kristin Murray said the program began just a year ago, in the spring of 2018, and has been a success in terms of community participation.

“I met with some of the other health promoters in Timmins. We thought, hey why don’t we do something together.  It seemed like so long ago. This is our third cycle of the program. It has been really successful,” said Murray.

She added that while Misiway is an Indigenous name, people of all cultures are welcome to join any of the programs. She said each cycle of the Eat Move Repeat initiative has seen 17 to 20 persons taking part. She added that many of those in the program are older and Indigenous.

Registered Dietician Hillary Deyne-Bergounhon is with the East End Family Health Team. Her job is to help the participants to learn basic kitchen techniques as well as preparing natural foods.

“So part of it we have been really lucky to work with Misiway and part of their mandate is to include traditional teaching methods, traditional stories and traditional cooking techniques and traditional foods, whenever they’re running any program.”

As a health care professional, she said it is important to gain more knowledge about traditional foods. She said it also helps that she is a self-described foodie who gets excited about new recipes.

“I think our favourite recipe, as a group of health care professionals, was a moose meat tostada, that’s what I called it. I got fancy with it. Kristin just said it was an Indian Taco,” Deyne-Bergounhon laughed.

“So we did a small piece of whole wheat bannock. And then we cooked up the moose meat with onions and some spices — cumin, chilies, smoked paprika. We made a cole slaw to go with that, with a honey lime dressing. We made an avocado crema with some avocado and plain Greek yoghurt , some spices and fresh lime,” she said.

“And then we made a pico de gallo as well. And so it was kind of four recipes in one.  It was incredible. We were kind of joking that we should just do this in real life, just cook these and sell them to people. They were so amazing.  It was a delicious recipe,” she said.

Deyne-Bergounhon said the important thing was to introduce healthier food choices. She said this also included using more vegetables and more plant based proteins.

“So that includes things like nuts and seeds. Any beans, not just green beans, but legume beans like chick peas, kidney beans, lentils and soy is in there as well so soy and soy products with things like tempeh and tofu,” she explained.

She said people are often reluctant to try something new, even if it is good for them. But in the program setting, it can be easier to try something if everyone else is trying. She said when people learn how to prepare and cook new ingredients it can help take away the fear of trying something new.

Trying something new is also what Jason Porritt contributes to the program. He is a kinesiologist with the Timmins Family Health Team. As important as good food is, Porritt is stressing the importance to a good active lifestyle to the program participants.

“We just want to incorporate daily activity as a healthy lifestyle change versus a chore,” he explained.

“I am trying to make it where they set realistic goals,” said Porritt.  “Usually we end up setting unrealistic goals and we end up failing because of that.”

Porritt said a person might decide to pursue a new activity five days a week, but would later discover they just can’t keep up.

“They will do that for a few weeks then all of sudden they’re doing only two sessions a week instead of five and now they feel like they’ve failed,” he said.

“I am trying to get people to set their goal to do it two to three times a week. Any type of activity, be it a class, or going to the pool, or joining our group or going snowshoeing,” Porritt added.

He said he tells clients that the best way to stay active is for them to find something they enjoy doing. He said it doesn’t have to be anything special or organized.

“Before you do your shopping, walk the inside perimeter of the store once or twice and then do your shopping. You’ve killed two birds with one stone,” said Porritt.

“Or if you’re taking the bus, get off at the stop before your normal stop. And you can break it up during the day, 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there,” he added.

Porritt said there is no formal metric for calculating success, but he said the clients like the program.

“This is probably the most positive program we’ve done. And the people keep coming back. Everyone really likes it. We always have people return and they bring their friends. I’d say that is pretty good measure of success.”

Filed in: First Nations, News

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