Seraphina’s Kitchen: Linking Healthy Dietary Practices With Ethnic Foods Can Improve Health
Cookery courses are teaching black Americans about their African heritage and at the same time helping them to lead healthier lives.
Oldways set up nearly 25 years ago and promotes plant-based diets familiar to the Mediterranean region, Asia and Latin America, over processed items often seen in homes and restaurants in the US. After a successful pilot program, Oldways used a $250,000 Walmart grant to offer six-session classes in African cooking across the country.
Classes have now been held in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., as well as in smaller cities such as Fayetteville, North Carolina; Jasper, Georgia; and Danville, Virginia.
For those taking part in the scheme, the idea is to avoid fast-food burgers and processed meals and enjoy cooking fresh food in the kitchen. Participants are encouraged to use the beans, rice, vegetables, greens, grains and spices that are a feature of traditional African dishes. Ginger, allspice and curry are used for seasoning, instead of salt or lard, and to make the food healthier the ingredients are steamed, sautéed or boiled quickly in pots with just a little oil.
"Initiatives that teach people about food and home-cooking will enable them to make good choices", says Monica Kaiser, Founder of Seraphina's Kitchen. "And that is why we have developed our silicone baking mat which makes home-cooking much more enjoyable by saving you precious time and effort".
The cookery classes are aimed mainly at black people, who suffer most from ailments linked to poor diet, including heart disease, strokes, diabetes and obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black people have the highest rate of obesity at 48 per cent. This compares to the national figure of 35 per cent.
Oldways president Sara Baer-Sinnott described the results of the classes as promising. Of 240 people who had taken a course and later been evaluated, 66 per cent had lost weight, 38 per cent had lower blood pressure and 55 per cent had lost inches from their waist.
She added that linking healthy eating with ethnic foods seemed to be working, as heritage proved to be a strong motivator among the participants. The success of the scheme means that classes will continue into next year.
"The results speak for themselves and provide hope for people who are struggling with health issues related to poor diet and nutrition", says Kaiser. "By using a baking mat home cooks no longer need to add oil to food to stop it from sticking to baking pans and sheets".
About Seraphina's Kitchen
Seraphina's Kitchen designs and creates premium, FDA food-grade, baking mats for the home cook and professional chef. In 2014, following extensive collaboration with its customers, it launched its '5-Star Rated' Silicone Baking Mats on Amazon.com.
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