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Culinary Arts For Troubled Young Adults

Culinary arts for troubled young adults helps to foster an appreciation and understanding of food. Let’s face it; food is important–we can’t live without it! Pacific Quest is using the culinary arts for troubled young adults with addiction and all associated issues. Preparing and sharing food with others is therapeutic because it’s central to who we are as human beings. Eating or “breaking bread” with someone has healing capacities beyond anything that we can really quantify.

Food brings people together whether it is baking, cooking a meal, shopping for the food and certainly sitting down together and socializing. There are many roads to mental health and well being and the culinary arts is one of them.

In studies all over the world researchers are finding culinary arts and a focus on food is increasing areas of the brain’s capacity such as concentration, self esteem and is providing a sense of achievement for adults treated in inpatient mental-health clinics. It is because if these findings that cooking skills and culinary arts programs are effective and necessary interventions which not only provide the opportunity for practical application of life skills, but also the opportunity for social connectedness among peers and role modeling.

culinary arts for troubled young adults

Pacific Quest is a wilderness therapy program which includes culinary arts for troubled young adults.

At Pacific Quest, we create life-changing experiences for struggling people from adolescents to adults. Our outdoor wilderness therapy program helps everyone make better choices and live healthier, more productive lives. Pacific Quest offers internationally recognized intermediate treatment options to families from around the world.

Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Pacific Quest goes beyond traditional wilderness therapy programs, cultivating change by teaching sustainable life skills in a clinically innovative and nurturing environment.

Culinary arts for troubled young adults and food related to healing

Although cooking may seem like a common day-to-day activity, it has been a proven therapeutic device for a diverse group of people. “Culinary Arts” therapy can be part of treatment for troubled young adults who suffer from many issues such as:

·      Eating Disorders

·      Learning Disabilities and ADHD

·      Autism

·      Depression

·      Anxiety

·      Stress relief

Culinary Arts Therapy Can Improve:

·      Social skills

·      Balance and coordination

·      Sensory awareness

·      Physical health

·      Ability to plan and organize

·      Time management skills

·      Relief from boredom

·      Memory, attention and focus

·      Self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment

Throughout this process at Pacific Quest the young adults we work with discover the wisdom and simplicity of planting seeds and caring for trees that bear fruit for generations. The principles that Pacific Quest is founded on are very different than other traditional “wilderness therapy programs.”

Rather than climbing mountains or mastering skills in a remote wilderness, Pacific Quest participants generate insight and practical skills by actually growing food for their community and creating beauty within the natural environment.

Sensory integration and somatic experiencing are some of the many interventions that are woven into the fabric of the safety and predictability of working in PQ’s therapeutic garden. Our clinicians and program guides are trained in a neurodevelopment approach that stimulates the human capacity to self-regulate and problem solve, beginning with a physiological attunement with the sensory experiences in the body and the immediate environment.

At Pacific Quest, Horticultural Therapy is not only an intervention, it also an overarching philosophy, addressing the state of hyper arousal and deregulation within the nervous system while nurturing a reciprocal relationship with the natural world.

Cooking Classes For Young Adults Popular Now

Cookbooks in recent years have addressed the therapeutic pull of the kitchen. There have been books published that talk about the history of depression, and how eating, cooking and baking can be tools for “comfort.” In  2012, Irish novelist Marian Keyes published Saved by Cake which describes how baking helped her cope with a bad bout of depression.

From cruise ships to resort hotels, cooking classes and the culinary arts are joining spa treatments and zip line adventures as popular vacation activities.  Having fun, meeting new people and simply enjoying a new experience are all great reasons to enroll in a cooking class. Cooking classes allow you to try new foods and follow the path of self discovery.

Who knows, you may have a hidden flair for rolling sushi or be able to cook Thai dishes worthy of royalty, but how will you know unless you take a class? Often, cooking dishes outside of your own culture come with scads of new — and sometimes expensive — ingredients that you don’t already have in your kitchen.

Culinary Arts for Troubled Young Adults: Occupational Therapy Benefits

Therapeutic cooking from an occupational therapy viewpoint means that cooking has therapeutic value physically, cognitively, socially and interpersonally. Just in terms of physically, cooking requires good movement in shoulders, fingers, wrists, elbow, neck, as well as good overall balance. Adequate muscle strength is needed in our adults of their upper limbs- for lifting, mixing, cutting and chopping.

Sensory awareness is important in considering safety while dealing with hot and sharp objects. Therefore culinary therapy encompasses cooking and cooking-related activities, such as cultivating a garden, planning and preparing meals. Under the supervision of a professional chef and/or therapist, patients learn about diet and nutrition and develop a healthy relationship with food.

The proof is in the pudding as they say; culinary arts program classes soothe stress, build self-esteem and curb negative thinking by focusing the mind on following a recipe. The courses are part of a larger treatment plan of course that can also including talk therapy.

When a group of individuals get together for culinary arts, age does not matter and diagnosis does not matter. The focus is on socializing, learning to cook together, learning about food, the health benefits of food, how to shop for food, how to cook, how food affects your mood and the results; eating together as a group and the satisfaction of having cooked a healthy meal.

Culinary Arts for Troubled Young Adults at Pacific Quest

At Pacific Quest, students learn that what you put in your body directly affects how you feel! Most people aren’t aware of this!

The Pacific Quest diet has been developed to provide balanced and vital nutrition. We take advantage of locally grown foods in Hawaii so that food is always fresh and healthy. We teach the basics of nutrition and how your body uses food as fuel. Purified water and herbal teas are the only liquids provided and students are taught how high sugar diets contribute to fluctuating blood sugar levels, which can cause mood changes and energy crashes. Students learn how to cook and prepare food using the freshest and most natural ingredients. Staff for safety and hygiene closely monitors all kitchen work.

At Pacific Quest, the stages of change within the individual and process of growth in the garden are ALL interconnected. We believe the art of gardening has much to teach us about the art of cooking and thereby living. The garden is one of many areas in the program where students can learn to practice the skills to live a more independent and productive life.

If they are organizing a nursery, prioritizing crop rotations, planning a planting schedule, designing garden beds, charting compost temperatures or experimenting with new and creative ways of increasing efficiency and sustainability, adults at PQ test new skills and insights in a uniquely experiential way on a daily basis.

As students develop the courage and skills to care for our garden, they experience greater confidence in the ability to internalize “self care.”

The culinary arts for troubled young adults combine the art and science of growing flowers, vegetables, fruits and trees with the most current theories in human behavior, neuroscience and counseling psychology. By placing students in these active roles, we are able to create an experiential environment that is both growth-focused and life affirming.

The gardens at Pacific Quest offer a living example of what growth looks like, creating a culture where words and actions are matched, leaving students with empowering life skills that are transferable beyond the garden.

Feel free to contact us with any of your questions and to set up a consultation on our office line, 808-937-5806, or email us.

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