SUFFOLK, Va. – Twin sisters in Suffolk are on a mission to save lives by sharing ways to make heart healthy meals.
“We are really changing lives one recipe at a time,” said Chef Dedra Blount.
Blount and her twin sister, Chef Debra Brabson, are representing the city of Suffolk in the Women of Impact competition. The competition is an effort by the local association to highlight health advocates from each of the seven cities in Hampton Roads who are raising awareness about stroke and heart disease.
Brabson and Blount’s mother survived a heart attack a few years ago, and that’s what inspired the sisters to team up with the American Heart Association to perform cooking demonstrations across Hampton Roads. They focus their efforts on showing ways to cut salt and sugar, but not the flavor.
“[Food] can taste good without the salt,” Brabson said.
The sisters said one of their biggest pieces of advice is to research the ingredients in high sodium seasonings, like Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, and make your own using the spices – while ditching the salt. For example, they often encourage their students to use paprika to give their food some color and flavor, rather than covering it with salty mixtures.
“We grabbed Lawry's because that's what my mom would use,” said Brabson. “But once she realized that Lawry’s has paprika and that's what's making the chicken pretty, then you're like ‘light bulb moment!’ ”