Dennis R Ortiz, a 46-year-old chef with Puerto Rican and Honduran background is on a mission to transform lives through the art of cooking. (Photo: Cooking with Love Philadelphia)

Philadelphia, PA – Dennis R Ortiz, a 46-year-old chef with Puerto Rican and Honduran background is on a mission to transform lives through the art of cooking. Born and raised in the city, Ortiz has dedicated himself to making cooking fun and interactive, emphasizing balanced meals rich in fiber and protein with a Latin flair inspired by Caribbean, Central American, and South American cuisines. 
Ortiz’s motivation for promoting healthier cooking stems from personal experiences within his own family. Witnessing close family members, including grandparents and uncles, struggle with diabetes and heart disease ignited a passion to make a positive impact on his community’s health. 
Having collaborated with organizations like the American Heart Association, Humana, and Keystone First, Ortiz actively engages with the public through heart-healthy cooking demonstrations. These events showcase the deliciousness of nutritious meals and the importance of incorporating healthier ingredients into traditional dishes. 

Salmon, sweet potatoes, and spinach.  (Photo: Cooking with Love Philadelphia)

Ortiz’s approach involves embracing diverse cultures and creating meals with a healthier twist that remains familiar to people. He often substitutes healthier options in traditional dishes, ensuring that the meals are culturally rich and promote well-being. 
«I recommend always reading labels when purchasing items, paying attention to fat, sugar, and salt content,» suggests Ortiz. Encouraging a holistic approach to health, he advises consulting with a nutritionist and regularly visiting a doctor for check-ups, blood tests, and blood pressure monitoring. 
Believing in the power of cooking demonstrations, Ortiz shares, «By demonstrating recipes, individuals realize that healthier versions of dishes are not only easy to make but also delicious.» He emphasizes the impact of community engagement, inspiring individuals to replicate these recipes at home for their families. 

Salad using fresh vegetables. (Photo: Cooking with Love Philadelphia)

One memorable experience involved preparing avocado chocolate pudding for children at a Police Athletic League center. Skeptical at first, the students were won over by the healthier dessert, prompting Ortiz to share the benefits of using ingredients like avocado oil as a healthier fat. Recipe cards were distributed, encouraging families to embrace nutritious alternatives. 

Ortiz prioritizes using healthier fats and proteins, incorporating spices and herbs for flavor. Mindful of portion control, he educates about the misconception that «fat-free» equals «calorie-free.» Ortiz illustrates this with samples, showcasing the importance of moderation. 
Looking ahead, Ortiz expresses his desire to continue engaging with the community, sharing valuable information, and teaching how adopting healthier habits can lead to a better lifestyle for individuals and their families. Chef Dennis R Ortiz is sowing the seeds of well-being, one flavorful dish at a time through his culinary expertise.  
Heart Month is an opportunity to reflect on all the ways each person could start their healthy lifestyle journey. and follow the recommendations by The American Heart Association.  


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