PITTSBURGH, Oct. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wounded veterans face many challenges when they return to civilian life. Among those obstacles is maintaining a healthy diet. Years of regimented physical training and dieting during military service can be a far cry from civilian experiences. That is why Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently helped a group of injured veterans explore healthy lifestyles through nutrition and cooking techniques.
"I didn't realize that cooking grains and using a healthy recipe could be so fun and enjoyable," said Wendy Samaroo, wife of Army veteran Timothy. "I even had so much left over that I was able to share some food with my sons and husband, who was happy to see me enjoying the program gathering."
All WWP programs are personalized to encourage warriors, caregivers, and family members to reach goals for physical, mental, and emotional recovery. It is especially important for warriors – and family members – to get connected with others in their area who understand what military families go through. In a WWP survey of the wounded veterans it serves, nearly 47 percent say talking with other warriors boosts their ability to manage their mental health.
"My family and I first got connected to WWP because we were new to Pittsburgh from Florida," Wendy explained. "It was hard being away from our family, but WWP has been so welcoming. WWP staff treat us like family and make us feel right at home."
After getting to know other wounded warriors and family members in attendance, it was time to start cooking. Mounds of vegetables, grains, and nutrient-dense foods were presented to the attendees.
"It didn't resemble what you might normally see on a dinner plate," Wendy noted. "It all looked good, but it was different than anything I had cooked before."
It was a feeling shared by many, and the staff encouraged the attendees to keep an open mind. Kelsey Paul, a family member of Marine Corps veteran George Powell, admitted that was a bit challenging at first.
"It's not always easy to be brave enough to try new foods," she said. The surprise that came as she continued her food prep was worth it. "It tasted incredible, and I'm glad I gave it a shot. It was very rewarding knowing this food was not only enjoyable, but healthy too."
Through WWP's health and wellness programs, warriors not only get trained in nutrition and healthy cooking techniques, but they can also participate in weight training, yoga, cycling, and outdoor activities. Wendy hopes she can attend another event like this one, and not just so she can learn another round of recipes to try at home.
"I have seen how hard it can be taking the first step when you're in a new city or around people you don't know, especially if you're feeling alone," Wendy said. "My family saw that stepping out is well worth the reward. Other warriors need to know they are worth the time it takes to do something that will get their minds off any worries, and most of all, meet a group of people who will love on them and treat them like family. WWP has helped me and my whole family so much with the healing process."
To see more photos and learn more about how WWP's programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP's purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
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SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project