James and Christina Fraim needed help. Struggling with health challenges and limited mobility, James turned to the Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield website to find a dietitian who would point them in the right direction. Little did he know his journey to wellness would take him just down the street to the Perry County Extension Office in Tell City.
James, his wife, Christina, and their daughters participated in NEP Advisor Danica Z. Williams’ class during the waning days of the COVID-19 quarantine in 2021. To social distance, they met in the extension office’s garage with the bay open. There, they took turns cooking over Danica’s electric skillet and, as Christina puts it, “have a good time.”
“We enjoyed it,” James said. “I am always looking online for free help. I went to my insurance provider’s website and they have a section for free health classes. It was right there.”
Danica, the NEPA who serves Perry and Spencer County, said she received the reference after James completed the form at https://eatgathergo.org//free-programs/. Even though Danica explained that she was not a dietitian, the family was ready for a change.
“James and I are kind of chunkier people, and we thought this would be something that would help us eat better and have more proper nutrition,” Christina explained. “We did learn quite a bit. We learned how to read the labels and what numbers to look for. We learned how to use the things we actually have. I didn’t know how to use black beans and now I do. What to look for. What to stay away from. It was really very informative.
“It taught us a lot about portion sizes,” she added. “She explained it in a way we could understand.”
When the classes first started, Danica said it was just James and Christina. Initially, they met in the extension office’s meeting room, Danica said. But as Covid-19 cases began to rise across the country, classes were moved outdoors “just to keep things safer. It worked really well. The weather was really nice this fall.”
Then when temperatures began to drop, the group moved inside the garage.
“They had a good attitude and just wanted to learn,” Danica said. “After several lessons, they started bringing one daughter and then another daughter – which I loved. The more family involved the better.”
The 11-year-old daughter loved the physical activity. The 29-year-old daughter enjoyed the cooking portion. For all, it was a time of learning and laughter.
Since starting the classes, James has been walking and exercising, Christina said. They found ways to help Christina add more movement.
“We have been looking at the booklet (Danica) gave us and we have been talking about how I can do more. It is helpful because I can’t get out and do all of the things that other people do. But this gives me some ideas.”
Other changes include replacing white bread and pasta with whole wheat and multigrain varieties, Christina said.
“We started watching the portion sizes,” Christina said. James started eating vegetables which was a really big thing because he does not like vegetables. He still doesn’t like them, but he will eat now.”