The Good Life Refuge has cooked up a way to raise awareness of its existence and its mission — free, livestreamed cooking classes.
The Compassionate Cooking series aims to help people discover a plant-based diet while also discovering the Longmont nonprofit farm animal sanctuary.
The goal of the 20-minute sessions, which kick off at noon Friday, is to make vegan eating accessible and attainable, said Nicole Brecht, founder and president of the Good Life.
Taught by Sarah Eastin, a health coach and plant-based chef with a “big fondness for animals,” the series will start with a dietary overview. In ensuing sessions, Eastin will cover what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as healthy snacks and desserts, offering recipe ideas and cooking demonstrations. The series will wrap up with a question-and-answer session with plant-based nutritionist Ariane Williams.
Eastin, who has a degree in biology and vegan health coaching and plant-based cooking certificates, said her goal is to show people “easy and delicious ways to have success with a plant-based diet.”
She said she plans to talk about nutrition and things to watch for, such as getting enough protein and calcium, and to keep the sessions short to accommodate busy schedules.
“We really want people to be successful and we know everyone is really busy. We know everyone can’t take a lot of time to prepare elaborate meals,” said Eastin, who also writes a blog at saraheastinhealth.com. “The focus is on easy, delicious recipes so people can stick with it.”
Eastin, who connected with Brecht via a friend at VegFest Colorado, a nonprofit celebration of the vegan/plant-based lifestyle, said her involvement with the Good Life Refuge is all about community.
“We all need to stay healthy, and especially now, mentally healthy, and whatever we can do to create a healthy community, be kind to animals and lead an eco-friendly lifestyle is great in my book,” she said.
Williams, who has volunteered with her husband and stepson at the Good Life since shortly after it opened, has kept up her relationship with the refuge even after a move took her to San Antonio, Texas.
A vegan for seven years and a culinary arts and nutrition graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Williams said her Q&A will cover some common vegan questions and misconceptions, such as animal protein being the only source of the nutrient.
Brecht, who said she chose vegan eating five or six years ago, said she sometimes feels anxiety about what to eat, and what has helped her along the way has been recipes, book recommendations and cooking advice from others. Now she hopes to offer that same help to others via the series, and by doing so, she hopes to raise awareness of the Good Life and what it does.
The refuge recently took part in a study conducted by a University of Colorado Boulder Ph.D. candidate and her students, which, through 100 surveys, found participants didn’t know what a farm animal sanctuary was, let alone that one was to be found in Longmont.
That triggered Brecht and the nonprofit board to explore what they could do to make the Good Life more known.
The GoodLife, founded in 2018 and granted nonprofit status in 2019, was just starting to gain fans, supporters and volunteers before the coronavirus pandemic closed the sanctuary in March, Brecht said.
Virtual tours have provided a way for the community to get to know the sanctuary for abused and at-risk farm animals and help the nonprofit feed and care for its 50-plus residents. Those tours have been scaled back of late, but still available are 45-minute virtual tours for up to 25 people, as well as Kindness Tours for families or members of the same household.
There is no charge or suggested donation for the livestreamed cooking classes, though.
“I feel like education should be free,” Brecht said. “I really want people to experience it. I don’t want to make it harder by putting a dollar amount on it.”
Compassionate Cooking series details
Friday at noon — What to eat in a Day and Review of Plant Plate
Aug. 14 at 10 a.m. — Breakfast Yummies
Aug. 21 at noon — Lunch Bunch
Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. — Easy Dinner Ideas
Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. — Healthy Snacks & DessertSept. 12 at 1 p.m. — Q&A with Ariane Williams