This month we are celebrating the achievements and history of Black Americans as part of Black History Month. Food and nutrition are a part of our business and profession so I want to highlight foods from our Southern culture and African ancestors.
You may have been told soul food is unhealthy. In fact, some think it’s the worst food you can eat. Not true. Soul food is a traditional African American cuisine with roots in the Deep South, Caribbean, and South America. Soul food is just one small piece of the African heritage diet, an incredibly healthy, mostly plant-based way of eating. Traditional soul food can be high in saturated fat, salt, and added sugar and too much of these things can impact you and your family’s health in a negative way. But you can embrace those special family recipes by creating healthier soul food, your way.
Rethink your plate
- Teach your kids to fill up on veggies first.
- Serve your family small portions of high-calorie dishes such as macaroni and cheese.
- Cherish your most decadent dishes. Save them for special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays.
How to Incorporate African Heritage Food Ingredients into Your Diet
Over the years, Black Americans have shifted away from the traditional African heritage diet and adopted modern American eating habits – consuming more meat, sugary drinks and reﬁned foods – our rates of diabetes, obesity, and other chronic illnesses have risen. Unfortunately, Black Americans are twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be both diagnosed with diabetes and to die from the disease. If you are Black you are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure and 30% more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic white Americans.
But there are a few things that can be done to lower these statistics. You can start by incorporating these African Heritage Food Swaps into your daily diet from OldwaysPT.org.