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A Quarterly Newsletter                                                                                    Fall 2014
Happy Fall, All!  

With the holidays ahead and autumn in the air, it's time to warm up our ovens and stoves for roasting, baking, and soup & stew making. Indulge in the season's hearty root vegetables, like fragrant parsnips and earthy turnips. And don't forget about their greens!  Bold beets and ruddy radishes provide delicate green tops, perfect for wilting over a plate of pasta, potatoes, or quinoa. 

Make tall pots of yummy stews and beans, to keep your family fed all week.  And enjoy this time of year with brisk walks and lots of loving, health-supporting gatherings with family and friends. 
Wherever you are, we wish you and yours a happy and healthy rest of fall!


Oldways A Taste of African Heritage 
Awareness-Raising Video Is Here! 



We are extremely excited to share Oldways new A Taste of African Heritage program video, just released on our website! 


Be one of the first to see it here on Oldways' YouTube Page: 


With the help of A Taste of African Heritage instructors, students, and local community organizations, we were able to film and create this program visual in Austin, TX this summer. The video is designed to raise awareness about the program, as well as to walk future teachers and students through the innovative information, cultural celebration, community fellowship, and powerful takeaways that A Taste of African Heritage is spreading across the country.


To become an A Taste of African Heritage teacher, you can sign up here on our Teacher Sign-Up Form.  To inquire about classes planned near you, please email Sade Anderson at  We hope to connect with you soon! 


Oldways thanks The Walmart Foundation for making 

A Taste of African Heritage nationally possible. 




Meet Our New Team Member! 

Please join us in welcoming our new member to the Oldways Team: African Heritage & Health Program Assistant Sade Anderson! 

Sade considers herself a member of the global community but claims the DMV (The Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area) as home.  As a result of growing up in the military and abroad, Sade has fostered a loving relationship with Mother Earth and an appreciation for the origins of foods and cultures from around the world.  During her undergraduate and graduate studies in History, Africana Studies and currently African Diaspora Studies, Sade continues to explore the depths of African Heritage through the peoples, cultures, and foodways of the African Diaspora. Outside of academia Sade has continued to engage in social justice work around issues of race, class, youth and political incarceration, birth injustice, and most recently food injustice in Washington, D.C.

If Sade had to give one piece of advice on staying healthy into the New Year, it would be to focus on creating a healthy lifestyle.  

"A lifestyle is how you live, while a diet is something you only try for a period of time.  People who lead a healthy lifestyle maintain their health more consistently than not. Leading a healthy lifestyle goes beyond what you eat (your diet), and includes:

  • How you relate to yourself--your psychological, mental, and emotional well being, as well as how you relate to others around you
  • Some form of movement daily, whether walking, dancing, gardening, stretching, drumming, or working out 
  • Some form of spiritual practice, which is different for all 

A diet solely looks at your food intake, which only potentially addresses one part of a whole person. Therefore, it is extremely important to think about making lifestyle shifts rather than experimenting with a new diet.  The oldest living humans on Earth will tell you that all these elements together (psychological, emotional, mental, spiritual, relationships, movement, and food choices) are what keep them living and are what can help us all lead a healthier life! Live fully!"   

Through a thirteen-year journey to a plant-based lifestyle, Sade has come to appreciate food and its source. She is a health coach, food educator, personal chef, garden educator, fitness instructor and now the Program Assistant for the African Heritage & Health Program. Sade believes that food and culture are powerful tools to reconnect with our ancestral past in order to heal us from the inside out! Sade enjoys dancing, reading, cooking, yoga, and sharing vegan meals with her 5-year-old son. 

You can connect with Sade about A Taste of African Heritage classes and more at



Thanksgiving Planning: 
Creating A Healthy Heritage Table 


Healthy Heritage Tables burst with colors, textures, history, and seasonal flavors.  With the holidays for most right around the corner, here are some fresh ideas to make your table unforgettable this year.


Tantalize your families' taste buds with some fun appetizers and savory soups. Think sweet potato or baked yuca fries with a zesty dipping sauce. Have your family dip fresh whole grain bread or Ethiopian injera into steaming bowls of West African peanut stew or Callaloo soup while they catch up with long-time-no-see relatives.

Before their tummies get to rumbling have them move to your table spread of various African heritage proteins, vegetables and grains that they can eat as a plant-based meal (for all your newfound vegetarian family members) or enjoy combined with the meat trimmings you are offering. Encourage them to try some slow-cooked beans or peas over seasoned brown rice or quinoa, pairing their protein with a combination of roasted vegetables and roots, like carrots and parsnips, turnips and turnip greens, and braised cabbage all dressed in onions, garlic and peppers. 

End your feast with some delicious desserts of layered parfaits consisting of chopped fresh aromatic fruits, like banana, mango or berries, mixed with coconut milk then topped with raw nuts (this is very similar to the West African dessert called After-Chop!).  Serve with a mug of spiced brown rice pudding or a warm slice of sweet potato pie.

Lastly make sure you turn up the "family reunion" music and get everyone moving after dinner to work off that hearty meal!  Have fun, laugh a lot, and enjoy!  


Healthy Heritage Thanksgiving Menu Ideas



Sweet Potato or Baked Yuca Fries  w/ homemade dipping sauce 

Callaloo Soup w/ Cornbread

Peanut Stew


Beans & Legumes ("Protein" foods)

Spicy Chickpeas 

Black-eyed Pea Salad 

Red beans, Black beans, Butter beans, Navy beans, etc.


Whole Grains

Brown rice




Vegetables & Leafy Greens

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts & Collard Greens

Braised cabbage 

Roasted parsnips and turnips with turnip and mustard greens

Flash-Cooked Dandelion Greens 



Baked sweet potatoes, topped with leeks and pecans

Boiled yam or taro root 

Kenyan Irio-style Mashed Potatoes



An After-Chop of fresh fruit - banana, mango, cherries, etc. - topped with canned coconut milk and raw nuts (chopped walnuts, shredded almonds, etc)

Brown Rice Pudding 

Sweet potato pie



Q&A: A Conversation With A True Nutrition Hero


Tambra Raye Stevenson is an
Oldways African Heritage Diet Advisory Member, a food justice advocate, nutrition educator, and founder of NativSol Kitchen, designed to help people embrace healthy, traditional cooking at home. Named "Nutrition Hero of 2014" by Food and Nutrition Magazine, Tambra is fully living up to her name, helping to save lives and endangered food traditions around the globe.

Tambra has most recently returned from Africa where she was invited to lecture on nutrition at Ghana's University of Cape Coast Medical School. We got the chance to catch up with her about her trip.  Read this very meaningful Q&A with Tambra on our Oldways Table Blog

"The role of Western lifestyle (more stress, less traditional foods, less community focused, and less spiritual) has an impact on our health." -Tambra Raye Stevenson



AHH Health Study: Are You Getting Enough Fiber?  

In each newsletter issue, we share one scientific study that reinforces the importance of the African Heritage Diet and eating more like the old ways. 


While most people know that fiber is important for digestive health, many don't know fiber's powerful roll in lowering cholesterol, decreasing risk of heart disease and diabetes, and helping to maintain a healthy weight. A study conducted in Soweto, South Africa demonstrated that the lack of fiber in native South Africans' modern diets is a major contributing factor to their increase in high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and subsequent heart failure. This lack of fiber stems from a shift from a rural traditional African heritage diet to a Western urban diet.


The Harvard School of Public Health informs us that fiber helps us regulate the body's use of sugars, which help to curb our appetite and keep our blood sugar at normal levels. For good health, most women need at least 25 grams of fiber per day and men need 38 grams per day.  


Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't

digest; instead, it passes through to the colon where it ferments, providing all sorts of health benefits. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.  Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can help lower glucose levels as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries. Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation. Foods with insoluble fibers include wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, winter squash, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The Mayo Clinic affirms that most plant-based foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Thankfully, a traditional African heritage diet is predominantly plant-based therefore giving us not only lots of fiber but lots of different types of fiber.

WG Stamp


Oldways' own Whole Grains Council specifically suggests whole grains as a good source of fiber.  However, they want people to be aware that different whole grains vary widely in their fiber content. A full serving of whole grains -- 16 grams of whole grains -- will contain from just over a half gram of fiber to around 3 grams of fiber.  To be sure your grains are whole grains, look for the words "Whole Grain" or the Whole Grain Stamp on their packaging when you purchase them. 


African Heritage Dine-Around-Town
Oldways knows that one of the easiest ways to dine out healthfully is to choose cultural restaurants that serve traditional world cuisines. Whether African, Caribbean, Indian, or Japanese, cultural restaurants offer the widest variety of vegetables, beans, whole grains, meats, and spices prepared in dramatically new ways.

Every newsletter edition, we put the spotlight on three African heritage restaurants, describing the traditional features of their menus and what you can might for your own tables at home. This season we are featuring North African cuisine! 

Aziza Flatbread & Spread Plate by Zagat
Flatbread & Spread Plate 
Photo by Zagat
San Francisco, CA, Moroccan: 

Aziza truly speaks to African heritage in keeping things traditional. Aziza supports local sustainable agriculture by purchasing their materials directly from local farms, ranches and orchards that are committed to sound and wholesome habits.  Chef-owner Lahlou started off as an economics student when, after suffering from homesickness for his native Morocco, he decided to try his hands in the culinary world. Lahlou won Food Network's Iron Chef America and in 2010 Aziza became the first Moroccan restaurant to receive a Michelin star.  Offering an extensive wine list, as well as fruit- and veggie- based cocktails complete with herbs and spices, Aziza combines fine dining and traditional Moroccan flavors. The food menu boasts vegan, vegetarian and meat appetizers such as chickpea spread with flatbread or chicken smothered in a sunchoke, currant, garlic and celery sauce. Entrees include such traditional ingredients as couscous with shelling beans, squash, fig, and urfa biber (a Turkish chili pepper described as tasting like raisin) or lamb shank with barley, prunes and saffron. The dessert menu features two different North African flavored ice creams, apricot sorbet and fig leaf ice cream, a lemon verbena or chocolate mousse, or black sesame cake.  


Photo courtesy of Flickr
Elkader, IA, Algerian: 

In the heart of historic Elkader, Scheras combines Algerian and Mediterranean cuisine to bring unique flavors to the Midwest. Founded by two men, one of French-Algerian descent and one American, Scheras was born in the city of Elkader, which was named after the Algerian hero Emir Adb El Kader. The restaurant has become a culinary and cultural destination for travelers. This fine dining restaurant has an extensive beer and wine list and two food menus, one for lunch and one for dinner, offering vegetarian fare. During lunch you can start off with a variety of baked Algerian favorites such as cade, an Algerian potpie filled with chickpea flour mixed with spices, eggs and water then baked and served with Tunisian hot sauce. Or try za'atar, a blend of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. Scheras blends their za'atar with olive oil and bakes it on pita bread, topped with feta cheese. For your main course you can explore one of the sandwiches, such as a gyro or falafel sandwich, with soup or salad. You'll find couscous, tagines and Algerian spiced seafood throughout the menu. End your meal with baklava, a traditional sweet pastry, or Algeria halva, a sesame seed fudge. 

Photo courtesy of Groupon
Photo courtesy of Groupon
Atlanta, GA, Moroccan:
If you are ever in Atlanta you will want to check out Imperial Fez. When you walk in you will feel as though you have just stepped foot into a beautiful Moroccan palace. From floor to ceiling the restaurant is covered in stunning décor; traditional belly dancers set a true Moroccan atmosphere while you dine. Imperial Fez offers family style dinners featuring various courses you share as a table. Some standout dishes include: Harrira, a Moroccan lentil soup, served with homemade Moroccan bread and Moroccan crackers; assorted Moroccan salads and filo dough appetizers stuffed with crushed roasted almonds, cinnamon and spiced eggs; entrees of tagines, vegetables, meats and couscous; and, finally, dessert of fresh seasonal fruit mixed with fresh mint, nutmeg and ginger, served with Moroccan mint tea.


Oldways African Heritage Recipes
The most powerful call to action to improve the health of African American families and communities is: to get cooking! To help families put the African Heritage Diet Pyramid on their plate, here are four delicious, healthy recipes that take their cues from African roots. 

Click on the title below to go to the Oldways recipe.


Herbed Sweet Potato Fries 

Baking sweet potatoes brings out their natural sweetness, so they barely need anything added to taste great.  Sprinkling fresh or dried rosemary on these sweet potato fries not only adds tons of extra nutrition, it also makes them look, smell and taste extra festive too! 

Tunisia is located in North Africa, just along the Mediterranean Sea. This traditional Tunisian stew blends the potent flavors of harissa (an African spice blend) and preserved lemons, with milder olive oil and chickpeas, for a perfect balance. 

This recipe braises the lesser-used purple cabbage with ginger, onions and pepper, making for a flavorful, eye-catching side dish. 

Quinoa with Wilted Beet Greens and Avocado Slices 
Inspired by Deborah Madison's cookbook Vegetable Literacy, this recipe blends the creamy coolness of ripe avocado with nutty, textured quinoa in perfect harmony.