Also, coinciding with Black History Month is African Heritage & Health Week, February 1 – 7, which commemorates the foods, flavors and healthy cooking techniques that were core to the wellbeing of our African ancestors from Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the American South.
Scientific studies show that many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, now prevalent in our communities, appear in populations as traditional diets are left behind. Studies have also shown that as younger Africans shift from traditional to nontraditional lifestyles weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels – signs of metabolic syndrome – rise.
So, if Africans who eat traditional foods from Africa are healthier than those who adopt a typical Western diet, it stands to reason that a healthy African-American diet should go back to its roots.
To help you do just that, Oldways – a Boston based nonprofit, developed the African Heritage Diet Pyramid, a cultural model for healthful eating based on the traditional diets of Africa. In fact as part of African Heritage Health Week, Oldways challenges everyone, everywhere to enjoy at least one delicious dish at home or at a restaurant inspired by the cuisine of African-American ancestors.
Before you head out to eat, check out the “African Heritage Dine Around” section of the Oldways website. It was designed to help you discover destinations, including pop-up shops and fine dining restaurants, across the nation, from Alabama to Wisconsin, where you can enjoy foods and flavors inspired by the cuisine of your African-American ancestors.
If a meal at home shared with family and friends is more appealing, Oldways suggests its own recipe for Jollof Rice as an option. This is a traditional African rice dish that is delicious and healthy, plus budget friendly. Plenty of other recipes are offered on Oldways’ website and the African Heritage & Health Pinterest recipe-sharing webpage.