Journey to Health Puts Focus on Good Nutrition

Journey participants Maria Escalera and Shelley Long

What do you get when you put together a team of doctors, therapists, a psychologist and dietitians?

The Journey to Health, a seven-week NorthBay Healthcare course that brings mind, body and spirit together in a one-size-fits-all training for teens, adults and couples.

Offered several times a year, Journey to Health begins with a flurry of health assessments, chatting with all the physicians and presenters, and setting goals.

The group meets once a week for seven weeks, and two nights are spent focusing on nutrition, says Kathleen Shafer, registered dietitian and nutrition services director for NorthBay Healthcare.

“Our first session covers how to eat healthy, how to shop, what to look for and where to go,” says Kathleen, who created the presentations with the help of Clinical Dietitian Sharon Martin, “We talk about looking at labels and understanding what the numbers mean. We talk about planning meals and balancing foods.”

The second nutrition class is perhaps a little more fun for the group. Kathleen and Sharon set up a demonstration kitchen and prepare a meal that the class gets to sample. Favorite recipes that Kathleen likes to share include Lemon Chicken and fresh salads with local produce.

“We try to introduce our classes to new foods, and a new way of thinking about foods,” says Kathleen. “Some of them are trying whole grains for the first time. Many have never heard of or tried quinoa. They’re amazed at what a difference fresh ingredients and herbs can make to the taste of the dish.”

Kathleen acknowledges that it takes an effort to follow her guidelines, but says its time well spent.

“If I can get people to stay away from processed foods—even just a little bit more than they typically do—I consider it a success,” says Kathleen. “Most people have no idea how making just a few changes can result in a healthier lifestyle.”

Cost is $60 per person, or $100 for a couple for the seven-week course. Register by visiting For more information, call (707) 646-5489.

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