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Claim Your Health by Claiming Your History

BOSTON, December 28, 2013 — February 1-7, 2014, African Heritage & Health Week, is the perfect time to discover the next big food trend: African Heritage Cuisine. Oldways, the food and nutrition education nonprofit organizing the celebration, challenges everyone, everywhere to enjoy at least one delicious dish at home or at a restaurant inspired by the cuisine of African-American ancestors and Oldways’ African Heritage Diet Pyramid.

Coinciding with Black History Month, African Heritage & Health Week commemorates the foods, flavors and healthy cooking techniques that were core to the wellbeing of African ancestors from Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the American South.

“We are already seeing a rise in the popularity of African heritage foods—from leafy greens and peanut stews to millet and yuca root,” said Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways. “During African Heritage & Health Week, we want to stir up excitement and expose all Americans to the delicious, easy-to-prepare, nutritious foods and flavors of African heritage – the original soul food – for good health and wellbeing.”

The “African Heritage Dine Around” section of the Oldways websites was designed to help diners discover destinations, including pop-up shops and fine dining restaurants, across the nation, from Alabama to Wisconsin, where they can enjoy foods and flavors inspired by the cuisine of 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.

Oldways also invites local organizations from coast-to-coast, including restaurants, faith-based groups, schools, and hunger initiatives, to join in the week-long African Heritage & Health celebration. Oldways will provide free pamphlets, posters, grocery lists, and other free educational materials to all participating locations to spread the word.

Scientific studies show that many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, now prevalent in African American communities, appear in populations as traditional diets are left behind.  Black History Month is the perfect time to celebrate and explore the healthy culinary side of history.

This year, Oldways supported its new community cooking class series, “A Taste of African Heritage,” in 21 locations throughout the country. Made possible through a grant by the Walmart Foundation, these classes invite participants to put the foods and preparations of the African Heritage Diet into practice in order to reclaim good health.  The program, based around Oldways’ African Heritage Diet Pyramid, will expand in 2014 with more 129 more locations across the nation.

For more information on participating in African Heritage & Health Week, please contact Sarah McMackin, Oldways program manager, 512-330-0111, sarahm@oldwayspt.org

About Oldways
Oldways (www.oldwayspt.org) is a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, with a mission to guide people to good health through heritage, using practical and positive programs grounded in science and tradition. Simply, we advocate for the healthful pleasures of real food. Oldways is the parent organization for The Whole Grains Council and The Mediterranean Foods Alliance, and is well-known for creating the Whole Grain Stamp and the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.