Anyone looking to spice up their Valentine’s Day will have the chance to learn how food can play a role in their love life during an upcoming Lunch & Learn Workshop hosted by The LGBT Health Resource Center.

The workshop is scheduled for Valentine’s Day (Thursday, February 14th) from noon to 1:30 pm in the community room at Chase Brexton’s Mount Vernon Center (1111 North Charles Street, Baltimore). Anyone interested in attending or receiving more information on this upcoming Lunch and Learn workshop should RSVP to lgbt@chasebrexton.org or call 410-837-2050 x1049.

We asked the workshop’s presenter, Chase Brexton Health Care nutritionist Tiana Matthews-Martinez, to dish up a few details about mixing food and love.

What about a food makes it an aphrodisiac?

A food can be considered an aphrodisiac if it is thought to increase libido. Different foods, in various cultures around the world, have been associated with either stimulating sexual desire or improving sex organ function. Foods thought to do this may simply resemble sex organs or may have various nutrients that improve functioning. You’ll have to come to the presentation to learn more.

Lots of people love food, but how can food be a part of love?

Preparing food, or the act of feeding someone, is a display of affection and love in many cultures. It is often a sign of disrespect to turn away food when someone offers it—especially in situations where food in the home may be scarce. Also, the act of someone changing their diet is sometimes interpreted as being offensive to family members who have raised them and shown them “love” with certain types or amounts of food. Despite this, it is important to practice self-love by eating foods and living a lifestyle that nourishes the body and promotes overall well-being.

What do you tell people who might not be sure if they’re up for preparing a meal?

There are many ways that one can have a meal that is both convenient and healthy! Anticipating that your schedule may get busy during the week, or that you may want some extra time to relax, you may want to create a meal plan for the week. By using days off to prepare a few different meal options, you will have good quality food that only need to be portioned and/or reheated. When eating out at restaurants, utilize strategies to watch portion sizes such as pre-packing half of the meal in a to-go box before starting to eat, or sharing half of a large meal with someone. This will save you half the cost of the meal and the additional calories you may not need at the time. Lastly, when eating out, utilizing international cuisines at “mom-and-pop” restaurants often means greater access to foods “prepared with love” from fresh, whole, plant-based foods.

Valentine’s Day usually means chocolate—what are some healthier treats?

You can’t go wrong with treats that are made from fruit. Try dipping fresh fruit in flavored yogurt, peanut butter, or dark chocolate. My favorites are grilled pineapples or warm apples with cinnamon and granola streusel on top.

What do you hope attendees learn from this session?

Attendees will learn a little about why certain foods are considered aphrodisiacs, the role of aphrodisiacs in cardiovascular health, and taste some new foods to hopefully incorporate into their Valentine’s Day dinner.

For more about Chase Brexton’s nutrition program, visit Chasebrexton.org/nutrition.

Tiana Matthews-Martinez, nutritionist of love

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