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New class series offer holistic view of nutrition, healthy living at Downtown Market

The Downtown Market is making education a major theme for the coming year and will be offering documentary screenings, gardening classes, meal preparation classes and yoga.

/Courtesy of Downtown Market

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The Downtown Market is located at 435 Ionia Avenue SW

/Courtesy of Downtown Market

/Courtesy of Downtown Market

January is the traditional time of year to start fresh, and when many people vow to make changes in their health and lifestyle choices, related to New Year resolutions or post-holiday weight gain.

But how does someone move from a short-lived diet to a lifestyle transformation? How can someone who has all the best intentions escape the fads and sustain long-term health? How can a person incorporate an adequate amount of exercise, cooking with healthy ingredients and even get one’s kids, friends or spouse to take part and enjoy this transformation too?

The first step to holistic health is education, which is an important part of the Downtown Market’s educational goals in 2015. The Downtown Market’s Education Foundation is working to provide residents with the knowledge and ingredients to live healthier lifestyles through classes and programs in the demonstration kitchen, teaching kitchen and greenhouse, and go from fad to rad.

Documentary Screenings

Starting community discussion around healthy food is one of the first steps to awareness about what goes into our bodies. In a new four-month “Foodie Film Series starting January 29, documentaries focusing on the food industry, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sugar, local vs. international food chains and the local food movement aim to spur discussion about what we put into our bodies and where it originates.

Public messaging has changed in recent years to encourage physical activity and reduce obesity, with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” program being one of the most well-recognized programs. But will exercise alone fix the problem? The films in this series all argue that we should pay more attention to what we're eating and where it comes from, but each has a different focus. Are sugars the main cause of obesity? Who picked our food, and do we know whether they are being treated fairly and paid a living wage?

Each screening includes a panel discussion featuring local experts, a cash bar and tasting following the film.

Grow Your Own

For many West Michiganders, gardening is a way of life, and a reason to look forward to spring. But for those with no experience or limited space, it can be frustrating. Two new series of gardening classes (for individuals and families) will help participants learn to plan out their planting space, choose seeds, plant window herb gardens and learn how to boost the soil and reuse waste, through methods such as composting and worm bins. 

People who grow their own food are more likely to eat a diverse diet packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so gardening is a great way to get the freshest ingredients for holistic health. Since fresh produce has the highest amount of nutrients, and food grown from seed is the most cost-effective, gardening is the cheapest and most effective way to get that produce into your kitchen.

Physical Health

Yoga has been shown to improve back pain, depression, asthma, diabetes and even heart disease and cancer. Many are overwhelmed by the different types of classes or feel intimidated by lack of experience, but yoga is the perfect low-impact exercise for beginners. The Market now offers three types of yoga classes, for all skill and fitness levels. Vinyasa Flow focuses on breathing and smoothly-moving poses and is appropriate for all levels; Slow Flow provides slower transitions and deeper stretches; and Restorative is a good lunchtime break, gentle enough even for expectant moms or seniors.

Preparing Meals at Home

While making healthy food choices is infinitely easier at home than in a restaurant or with take-out food, few of us are trained chefs. So how do we learn how to create healthy meals that taste good and don’t take all day to prepare?

Several new classes will focus on an overall healthy lifestyle, including a series called, “Healthy Cooking with Voeden Life.” Wellness experts make cooking stress free with weekly menu plans and shopping lists, and interactive workshops explore the intricate connection of yoga, food, and the art of mindful eating.

If you’re cooking for a family, the new Baby Food (0-18 months) and New Foods (18 months to preschool) series will help with ideas to get little ones to eat grains, fruits and veggies, and how to make the preparation process easy and fun. The more kids are involved in cooking and learning about their food, the more likely they are to try new things, so bring them along to these classes so they can help and taste right along with you.

For more information about registration please visit the Downtown Market calandar of events

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