Two employees at Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC) have launched a ‘healthy cooking’ series on YouTube as a unique way of taking care of their patients. Anne Khol, ND, FNP-C, has been a nurse practitioner for 35 years and is currently working at ERMC. Jeff Ackerman, PharmD, has been a pharmacist for five years and is the director of pharmacy at ERMC. Both share a common passion outside of the medical field — cooking great-tasting and nutritious food. They have recently taken their cooking passion in a new direction by launching Eating Right: Mastering Cooking on YouTube.
“It’s a way to take care of the patient, not the disease,” Ackerman explained.
Khol echoed Ackerman’s focus on helping patients.
“It’s a humble little project we do outside of our work for our patients,” Khol said. “It’s a way to help our patients be successful.”
These are short videos, about three minutes in length, that explain ways to cook and eat low- cost, yet healthy, meals.
“There are a lot of people who don’t know how to cook or have very limited resources or don’t understand cooking terms,” Khol said. “Life skills aren’t taught in school anymore, and some people need guidance in food preparation.”
“We want to encourage good food, rather than fast food, but at less than a dollar per serving; delicious, yet affordable,” he added.
He said that dollar figure is based on what food-stamp recipients receive each month.
Lindsay Peters, ERMC marketing director said this was a great project for the hospital to be involved in. She recruited Chris Copeland, a local photographer/ filmmaker to produce the videos. Copeland is 16 and a sophomore at Eaton Rapids High School. He has started his own business, Copeland Visuals.
“It took a lot of work and time to get something we thought was quality enough for our audience, but it was worth the work,” Copeland said. “I’ve learned a lot from this experience, as I do plan on this as my career.”
Copeland also does the voiceovers for the video.
Neither Ackerman nor Khol have any previous acting experience but feel their having worked together for so long enables them to relate well on the videos. Their original plan was to produce a cookbook for their patients but later decided the video approach would be more effective.
“I was inspired by my parents in learning to cook,” Ackerman said. “I’ve taught myself to cook, pretty much, through experimentation and YouTube videos.”
Khol never learned to cook as a child. Her husband, however, is an “amazing cook,” she said, and she picked up cooking skills from him. When her son developed food allergies and decided to become a vegetarian, they revamped how the family ate. This resulted in learning more ‘scratch’ cooking, avoiding processed food. She discovered she loved baking, sheet-pan meals and soups.
The duo’s first video dealt with healthy lunches for kids. The next one will feature nutritious yet delicious side dishes for Thanksgiving.
Their video can be found on YouTube at https://youtu.be/_SwJStebCSc . It is one of the most viewed videos on the ERMC YouTube channel.