Mission Moment: Nutrition as a foundation

This story comes from a Community Kitchen Class participant and Local Matters friend, Leslie. These are her words, for which we are so appreciative.

An Unexpected Blessing


In December 2017, just a few days after Christmas, I stood up to walk to my kitchen when I was blindsided by a sharp and crippling pain in my right leg.  I found myself literally crawling on the floor.  Suddenly, walking became very painful and difficult.  Whatever this was, I assumed, would pass.  After several days of struggling, I finally went to see my doctor.   This marked the beginning of numerous tests and medical appointments to pinpoint the problem.  I finally received a diagnosis of moderate to severe arthritis in my right hip and low back. 

While I have always had a passion for health and wellness, I did not always observe smart eating habits. Yet, I considered myself a healthy person.  As such, this pronouncement was surprising to both my family and me.  Following my diagnosis, I was fortunate to meet a wonderful doctor at Ohio State’s Division of Integrative Medicine, who takes a holistic approach to wellness.  Among other recommendations, she advised me to adopt a plant-based diet.  While I had casually heard of such an eating plan, I was not very familiar. 

In late February, my good friend Antoinette Johnson invited me to take a cooking class with her at Local Matters.  She had very positive comments about her experience with the organization.  I instinctively knew this was no coincidence.  I attended my first cooking class in early April and have been an enthusiastic fan ever since. 

Local Matters has been an absolute blessing and has immensely improved the quality of my life.  This wonderful organization introduced me to health food education and deliciously nutritious meals.  I noticed an almost immediate improvement in my overall health and physical condition.  Additionally, the cooking classes have boosted my culinary skills and confidence in the kitchen.  The instructors are warm and caring individuals that provide enlightening health information and set the tone for a great learning experience. 

I often speak about Local Matters with my family and friends.  My husband enjoys the delicious meals I prepare and the subsequent health benefits.  I have also prepared these plant-based dishes for my family and friends and the reviews have all been positive.  I figure if I can plant a small seed to inspire healthier eating choices, perhaps the knowledge will take hold.   

For those who say they do not have time to prepare healthy meals, I say the key is preparation, preparation, and preparation. This is one of the best tips I learned in cooking classes.  I make a concerted effort to chop produce on weekends or whenever I have free time, which makes preparing healthy meals much easier.  My health is certainly worth the time and effort.

The physical pain and frustration I experienced throughout my health crisis has truly been humbling, and has afforded me a newfound compassion for those who suffer from various illnesses and physical conditions.  I am profoundly grateful for the food education, nutritional knowledge, and wonderful people I have met through Local Matters.  I just love the way healthy eating feels and the continuing progress in my overall health.  I am absolutely committed to leading a more meaningful and fulfilling life with health and nutrition as my foundation.  Hats off to Local Matters!