Juliette Tahar, also known as Chef Juliette and founder of Healthy Living Inc., is a long-time friend of SOME. She has been working with Mary Claire House and Isaiah House to cook up some delicious meals.
The mission of Healthy Living Inc. is to educate people of all ages and backgrounds on basic nutrition principles and teach them how to plan and prepare simple, delicious, and nutritious healthy meals in a supportive and safe environment that fosters community spirit.
Chef Juliette is working with our clients on the following goals:
- Gain basic nutrition understanding relative to their physical conditions and needs
- Build their health literacy knowledge
- Acquire basic cooking skills
- Improve stress levels and well-being
- Identify and overcome perceived barriers to healthy nutrition
- Increase awareness of their relationships to food, from mindless to mindful
- Demonstrate behavioral changes, however small, from unhealthy to food that supports their health
- Help those who rely on the shelter system for meals identify the food choices that would maximize their health impact vs. those that would not, and empower them with the courage to speak up for themselves to ensure their requests are honored
Juliette explained that she was particularly interested in working at Isaiah House, given that her late sister had a mental illness and could have been homeless had her sister not had the support of her family. She said that she also could tell how much better her sister felt when she ate some fresh-home cooking.
In 2013, Juliette began a monthly nutrition information session at Isaiah House that also included a simple healthy cooking demo. She said that she started off doing the demo, but the volunteers wanted to be the ones doing the demo so they took over, many commenting that they had been chefs or just knew how to cook.
“The participants’ enthusiasm for wanting to share their culinary talent, coupled with the interest from those who were vegetarian or did not eat pork or strongly cared for their health, led us to initiate a monthly communal vegetarian meal that continued to engage participatory ‘volunteer chefs’ to cook a healthy meal for the rest of the Isaiah House clients. Sometimes, we’d have up 6-8 people helping with the prep.”
On top of this, Juliette said they also added yoga/stress relief to their monthly meetings. She finished, “All of this would not be possible without the support of the Isaiah House staff who helped facilitate the program and were open to suggestions to provide healthier options to the clients.”
With the pandemic striking, she now works with Mary Claire House as Isaiah House has temporarily closed its doors.
Thank you, Chef Juliette and Healthy Living Inc!