WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Food for Life: African American Culinary Heritage plant-based nutrition and cooking class series is officially launching across the United States this June in celebration of Juneteenth, with classes in Delaware, New York, Mississippi, and Washington State.
The six-week course is designed to explore the history of African American culinary traditions. The course will also help participants seeking to prevent or overcome high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other health conditions that disproportionately affect African Americans.
Juneteenth recognizes the day—June 19, 1865—that enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned that they were free—two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Many African American families celebrate and reflect on Juneteenth by having a cookout. The Food for Life: African American Culinary Heritage course features cookout recipes, as well as recipes for breakfast, lunch, Sunday supper, and holidays.
“Black Americans are increasingly adopting a plant-based diet for reasons including health, food justice, and the environment,” says Jennifer Paul, MPH, RDN, a nutrition expert with the Physicians Committee for Responsible who helped develop the course curriculum. “The Food for Life: African American Culinary Heritage nutrition and cooking class series is intended to inspire and empower healthful eating with delicious and culturally appropriate plant-based recipes.”
The series will honor the ancestral ties of West African foodways that were brought to the United States through the Middle Passage and the culinary traditions, such as soul food, developed by African Americans throughout their history in the United States.
Research shows the health benefits of adopting a plant-based diet for high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers, all chronic diseases that, due to multiple socioeconomic factors, disproportionately affect African Americans.
According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, the number of African Americans who identify as vegan or vegetarian is more than double the overall number of Americans who identify as vegan or vegetarian.
Designed by physicians, dietitians, and other health experts, Food for Life classes promote healthful plant-based eating based on the latest scientific research. Each class includes information about how certain foods and nutrients work to promote or discourage disease, cooking demonstrations of delicious and healthful plant-based recipes, and practical cooking skills and tips for incorporating healthful eating habits into daily life.
The Food for Life: African American Culinary Heritage plant-based nutrition and cooking class series includes the following classes:
- Class 1: The Power of Your Plate
- Class 2: Foods for a Healthy Heart
- Class 3: Introduction to How Foods Fight Diabetes
- Class 4: Introduction to How Foods Fight Cancer
- Class 5: Designing a Diet for Maximum Weight Control
- Class 6: Making It Work for You
Food for Life is a collaborative effort of physicians, researchers, and nutritionists who have joined together to educate the public about the benefits of a healthful diet for weight management and disease prevention. Based in Washington, D.C., Food for Life is a program of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.