Thursday, February 5, 2009

VSDC Eat Smart Program

The information below was written for the Fall 2009 Eat Smart Program. This page will be updated with information for the next class as it is made available. For more information on the Eat Smart Program and to get on the mailing list for the next round of classes, send an email to or call (202) 362-8349, option #7.

Heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure causes more than 60% of all deaths in Washington, DC! Fortunately, these illnesses can often be prevented or eliminated through proper eating.

The Eat Smart Program will empower you with information and tips to provide a more healthful diet for you and your family. Classes are held at 3 convenient DC locations. Attend one 2-hour class every week for 9 weeks. Cost: Only $20 for the entire course, and you can get $5 off when you bring a friend. Also, the total cost can be waived.

Nutrition classes provide you with a basic understanding of the fundamentals of good nutrition and the connection between diet & health.

Cooking classes show you how to prepare familiar foods in healthier ways, how to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, and how to reduce your intake of unhealthy meats, dairy products, processed foods, fat, and salt.

Shopping classes offer practical tips on how to read food labels, shop for more nutritious foods in grocery stores and health food stores, and stretch every dollar.

“Eating Out Healthfully” classes help you make smarter menu choices at fast food and take-out restaurants, and give you healthier and more affordable alternatives.

Other activities include a fitness class, field trip to a food co-op grocery store, and a restaurant visit.

Classes for the Fall 2009 Eat Smart Program were held at the following 3 locations and ran from Tuesday, September 8, through Saturday, November 7:

1. Josephine Butler Parks Center – 2437 15th St., NW, DC
[Tuesdays, 6:30pm - 8:30pm]
2. Trinity Center for Women and Girls – 125 Michigan Ave., NE, DC
[Thursdays, 10:00am - 12:00pm]
3. Marvin Gaye Riverside Center – 5200 Foote St., NE, DC
[Saturdays, 10:30am - 12:30pm]

Classes for the Fall 2009 Eat Smart Program:

1. Nutrition: Building Blocks of Good Health
2. Food Prep I: Familiar Foods with a Healthful Twist
3. Exercise and Heart Health
4. Food Prep II: Quick and Easy Meals in the Kitchen
5. Eating Out Healthfully: Wise Choices for Dining Out & On-the-Go
6. Food Prep III: Going Green by Eating Your Greens
7. Shopping Tips: Reading Labels & Buying Healthy Foods
8. Food Prep IV: Soul Food – Healthy Foods to Feed Your Soul
9. Potluck, Discussion, and Cancer-Prevention Video

GRADUATION PARTY!! A graduation party was held for the 48 Fall 2009 Eat Smart Program graduates on Saturday, November 14, from 2-4pm at the Josephine Butler Parks Center.

For more information on the Eat Smart Program and to get on the mailing list for the next round of classes, send an email to or call (202) 362-8349, option #7.

Hope to see you in class soon!

Tracye McQuirter, MPH
Director, Eat Smart Program

Fall 2009 Eat Smart Program Staff:

Tracye McQuirter, MPH (Program Director, Program Instructor) is a public health nutritionist, speaker, writer, and 20-year vegan. She has a Master’s degree in public health nutrition from New York University, where she was awarded an academic fellowship and studied under renowned nutritionist Marion Nestle. Tracye received her undergraduate degree in African American Studies from Amherst, the nation’s top liberal arts college. She was inspired to become a vegetarian there during a lecture given by human rights activist and humorist Dick Gregory.

Tracye has led more than 100 seminars on vegan nutrition for such organizations as Whole Foods, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the Vegetarian Society of DC, where she helped launch the first Eat Smart Program in 2004. Through her work, Tracye has reached thousands seeking the knowledge and skills to achieve extraordinary health through better food choices. Her upcoming book for spring 2010 is titled By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Get Healthy, Lose Weight, Eat Great, and Look Phat. Her web site is

Merlene Alicia Vassall, JD (Program Assistant – Josephine Butler Parks Center location [Tuesdays])
Merlene is the founder of Technical Assistance & Support Consultants, a firm that provides development assistance to progressive nonprofit organizations. Merlene received her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. She has served as Vice President of the Vegetarian Society of DC and was responsible for securing initial funding that established the VSDC Eat Smart Program.

Mary D. McQuirter (Program Assistant – Trinity Center for Women and Girls location [Thursdays])
Mary is a 20-year vegan who previously served as an Eat Smart program assistant for her daughter, Tracye, at the Trinity Center in 2004. As a physically fit and active senior who is in her 70s, Mary is the only one of her surviving 13 siblings who does not have any health problems. She attributes her good health to a vegan diet, regular exercise, and a calm attitude. Mary is also a master quilter who teaches classes at the Kennedy Senior Wellness Center and Petworth Library.

LaVern Frazier (Program Assistant – Marvin Gaye Riverside Center location [Saturdays])
LaVern is an author and owner of Laxmi and Associates, an inspirational financial services company. She provides counseling to groups and individuals to encourage people to face their financial fears. She also volunteers in her community as a college counselor. LaVern has been a vegetarian for more than 35 years and vegan for more than 10 years.

David Herring, MS (Program Assistant – Overall Assistance) Dave actively promotes a vegan lifestyle by directing people onto or along the plant-based path through his work as a full-time nutritionist. David has been involved with the Vegetarian Society of DC (VSDC) for the last several years – as the Editor of VSDC News since May 2004, as a VSDC Board Member since May 2005 (including VSDC Vice President since 2006), and as the Director and Instructor of the VSDC Eat Smart Program in 2007.

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