Joining together
Volunteers organized the Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario East Region’s spring conference for nearly 100 delegates at the Chesterville Legion. Hosted by Winchester District Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the day brought delegates together from across eastern Ontario.       Sawyer Helmer photo

WDMH Registered Dietician Deirdre Cooke spoke to delegates at the HAAO East Region spring conference on April 25. Cooke gave the audience a number of principles to live by for healthy eating. Sawyer Helmer photo

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Record Staff
CHESTERVILLE – The Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario (HAAO) East Region held their spring conference on April 25 hosted by the Winchester District Memorial Hospital Auxiliary at the Chesterville Legion.

Nearly 100 delegates attended the event which included two guest speakers and messages from local community members, HAAO President Dorothy Friske and WDMH CEO Cholly Boland.

The first guest speaker captivated the audience with her talk, Eat Today for Tomorrow. Deirdre Cooke, Registered Dietician, CDE, works at WDMH with patients dealing with diabetes. However, her knowledge of nutrition extends far beyond. Cooke outlined not only good and healthy eating habits but the ‘why’ behind them.

Despite a misconception that genetics plays a significant role in health, Cooke referenced statistics that put genetics at only 25 per cent of what makes up the health of a person. The remaining 75 per cent can be determined by lifestyle, which in large part includes nutrition.

“Making healthy choices is work,” said Cooke. To make things easier, Cooke gave a few principles to eat by. Those include, “choose whole grain products, eat largely a plant based diet, eat adequate protein daily, have a serving of nuts daily, use heart healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil and avocado, limit your added sugar intake to under 50 grams per day and choose high fibre food items daily.”

While outlining the why behind each of the principles, the audience engaged and asked Cooke questions about their own diets. After her speech Cooke said helping people make small changes in their lives for the better is one of the great parts of her job. “Most people in the room want to age well,” she said. “What I hope I have given people is some tools and some thoughts to achieve that.”

Cooke’s speech was followed by a healthy lunch and second speaker, Kathy McIlwham on Mental Health in the Workplace. The day wrapped up with some certificates and awards presented by HAAO President Dorothy Friske.