Healthy Eating Includes Cultural Foods

Healthy eating is sometimes regarded as a necessary evil; on the one hand. It is essential to good health. But on the other hand, it implies European-centric restraint and self-denial.

Even in the Caribbean. Where I come from, there are plenty of nutrients. These plans are based on the American food pyramid and then involve healthy eating in local communities.

However, nutrition and healthy eating are not a panacea. Cultural food and food culture also deserve a place on the table. In this article, I will explain why cultural food is an indispensable part of a healthy diet.

What are cultural foods?

Cultural food, also known as traditional cuisine, represents traditions. Beliefs The customs of a geographic area, ethnic group, religious group, or cross-cultural community.

Cultural food may involve beliefs about how to prepare or use certain foods. They can also symbolize the general culture of a group.

 Cultural food can represent a region, such as pizza, pasta. Tomato sauce from Italy or kimchi, seaweed, and snacks from Asia.

Or, they may represent colonial history. Such as the fusion of West African and East Indian culinary traditions throughout the Caribbean.

Cultural food can play a role in religious celebrations . It is usually at the core of our identity and family connection.

Cultural foods must be fully integrated

Healthy food includes cultural food, but the information is not prominent and usually does not apply.

 The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans is one of the gold standards of Western nutrition guidelines.

It is recommended to understand where people are. Including their cultural diet. The Canadian Food Guide also emphasizes the importance of food culture and traditions to healthy eating.

However, there is still much work to be done in the field of nutrition to ensure. The cultural ability to treat people effectively and appropriately without prejudice, prejudice, or stereotypes.

 During my training as a dietitian. My cultural needs and eating habits were recognized. But my interest or practical application was limited. In some cases, health professionals have few institutional resources.

What does healthy eating really look like?

A healthy diet is roughly defined as the intake of various nutrients from dairy products. Protein, grains, fruits, and vegetables. It is called the five food groups in the United States.

 The main message is that each food group provides essential vitamins and minerals for good health.

The US Department of Agriculture’s My Plate replaces the food pyramid. Indicating that healthy dishes are half starch-free vegetables, one-fourth protein, and one-fourth grains.

 However, the Caribbean is a melting pot of six types of food: staple food (starch, carbohydrate). Foods are rich in food), animal foods, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and fats or oils.

Traditional one-pot dishes cannot always divide into separate parts and place on a plate. The food groups combine into one plate.

For example, the traditional one-pot dish called oil below is made with breadfruit (a staple food. A starchy fruit that has a texture similar to bread when cooked) and non-starchy vegetables such as spinach. Carrots and meats such as chicken, fish, or pork.

Healthy eating is much more fluid than what you see online

Your desire to eat certain foods is usually the result of successful and targeted food marketing. This marketing usually comes from a European-centric lens that lacks cultural nuances.

For example, a Google search for “healthy eating” will display a series of lists and pictures of asparagus. Blueberries, and Atlantic salmon, usually on the arm or tables of a white family.

 Illustrations that lack cultural representation or ethnic diversity convey a self-evident message that local and cultural foods may be unhealthy.

However, a truly healthy diet is a fluid concept. There is no specific appearance or race. Nor does it need to include specific foods to calculate.

Foods that you often see on Western health websites, and some traditional food counterparts:

Contrary to traditional health and wellness information, healthy dinner plates are not limit to European-centric foods.

 Traditional foods are neither inferior nor undernourishe. Based on food availability, sustainability, and food culture, healthy eating looks different in communities and locations.

The role of cultural foods in our lives

Cultural food and traditional eating habits have a deep connection with the community and medical care.

They connect us to the past, encourage the socialization of the present, and create memories for the future. In addition, they play an important role in diet compliance and success rate.

 When my mother asked me how to make oil. A plate of breadfruit, taro leaves, pumpkin, coconut milk, and smoked bones in a pot. I also shared family time with ancestral cooking traditions from West Africa.

Similarly, whenever I make vegetarian curry dishes. I associate with East Indian culinary traditions, such as watercress (pea) made with turmeric or saffron.

If you are familiar with them, these dishes may not seem to fit the western image of nutrition or healthy food. But they are rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables.

How does culture affect what you eat?

Cultural food and traditional eating habits have a deep connection with the community and health care.

They connect us to the past, encourage the socialization of the present, and create memories for the future. In addition, they play an important role in diet compliance and success rate.

When my mother says to me how to prepare the oil. A plate of breadfruit, taro leaves, pumpkin, coconut milk, and smoked bones in a pot. I also shared family time with ancestral gastronomic traditions from West Africa.

Similarly, whenever I make a vegetarian curry dish. I associate it with East Indian dietary traditions, such as watercress (pea) made with turmeric or saffron.

If you are familiar with them. These dishes do not seem to fit the Western image of nutrition or healthy food. But they are rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables.

What’s next?

We must remember that cultural foods fit the concept of healthy eating. If they are not gentrify, popular on social media, or consistent with Western paradigms. These cultural foods embody a healthy diet by combining multiple food groups and containing multiple nutrients:

  • Ugali-a staple food in Tanzania, made from cornmeal. Usually paired with traditional meat and vegetable dishes-a spicy stew popular in Bhutan, Served with yak cheese
  • Kalua Pork: a traditional Hawaiian dish that can paire with grille fish, eggplant or taro
  • Schäufele: grilled pork soaked in beer, usually served with potato dumplings and sauerkraut or creamy kale
  • Pelau: a popular dish in the Caribbean Pot dishes. Made from caramelized chicken, parboiled rice, pigeon meat, various green vegetables and seasonings

39 thoughts on “Healthy Eating Includes Cultural Foods”

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