A Taste of African Heritage Cooking Series Graduation

Hello Sistahs! Guess what . . .  I found it! The blog! I thought i had lost it like in the Vagina Monologues when she lost her ….well, nevermind. Thanks to somebody who ‘liked’ my last post, the blog surfaced and here we are! Many thanks to whoever ‘liked’ it.

This Thursday, March 7th at Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center, (unless otherwise noted), sixteen Sistahs will receive their graduation certificates for completing the cooking series.  The series celebrates the healthy food traditions of the African Diaspora. Diabetes is not part of your heritage. Neither is heart disease. What is in our heritage is a healthy heart, strong body, extraordinary energy, vibrant and delicious foods, and a long, healthy life.
Oldways’ innovative cooking class program, A Taste of African Heritage, brought the African Heritage Diet Pyramid to life, showing Sistahs how to eat and cook healthfully, traditionally, and enjoyably through hands-on experiences. With lesson plans that simultaneously teach history, nutrition, and cooking techniques, the program introduced participants to the rich cultural history of African heritage foods while providing us the tools we need to adopt this traditional way of eating for better health in modern day life.

Join us as we also celebrate the birthdays of Mama Jamilah, Annie Robertson and Brenda Waller, Thursday, March 7th at 6 PM. Sistahs will bring a dish using one of the ingredients from the Taste of African Heritage menu. Come try our dishes!

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My Top 10 Stress-Reducing Foods

Hello Sistahs,

I ‘shared’ this article that came in my email from Chad Tackett at Fitera.com. Since we’ve talked about stress and we like eating (LOL), I thought this would be the perfect combination to explore. Check out these really good foods that will help us reduce our stress and maintain our gorgeous figures. Most of them can be purchased with our prescriptions!


1. Oatmeal                oatmeal.jpg

Oatmeal helps get serotonin flowing, a calm-inducing hormone. Go with steel cut or old fashioned oats (instead of instant oatmeal) because they¹re higher in fiber and take longer to digest. Therefore, their calming effect actually lasts longer.

 2. Oranges              oranges.jpg

Oranges make the list because they¹re rich in vitamin C. Reliable studies show that it helps lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, while strengthening the immune system.

3. Spinach   spinach

Too little magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue, compounding the effects of stress. Spinach is packed with magnesium, which also regulates cortisol levels and promotes feelings of well-being. 

A cup of spinach contains 40% of your daily requirement, so add some in with your morning eggs, include in your sandwich, have a salad, or stir a handful in your soup.

 4. Salmon                                  Salmon Fillets

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you’re feeling tense. For a steady supply of omega-3’s, try to eat at least 3 ounces (about the size of your palm) of salmon 2-3 times a week.

 5. Black Tea  black tea

Drinking black tea may help you recover from stressful events more quickly. One study compared people who drank 4 cups of tea daily for 6 weeks with people who drank juice or coffee. 

 The tea-drinkers reported feeling calmer and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after stressful situations.

 6. Pistachios            pistachio

Pistachios are a good sources of healthy fats. Eating a small handful of pistachios, walnuts, or almonds every day may help lower your cholesterol, ease inflammation in your arteries, decrease your risk for diabetes, and protect against the effects of stress.

 7. Avocados                                              Avocado

One of the best ways to reduce high blood pressure is to get enough potassium, and half an avocado has more potassium than a banana. Avocados are also rich in stress-relieving B vitamins, which help promote healthy nerves and brain cells. 

Guacamole is a good choice when stress has you craving a high-fat treat. Avocados are high in calories though, so mix a bunch of onions and tomatoes into your guacamole and be careful not to overeat.

 8. Almonds                                                       almonds.jpg

Almonds are chock-full of helpful vitamins: vitamin E to boost the immune system, plus B vitamins, which may make you more resilient during bouts of stress and help boost your immune system. To get the benefits, enjoy a small handful daily.

9. Asparagus                       asparagus

Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, and asparagus is an excellent source. A single cup of asparagus provides 2/3 of your daily value, and it¹s easy to fit into almost any meal. 

 Try marinating them in olive oil and wrapping them in foil on the BBQ. They¹re also great steamed or sautéed in an omelet.

10. Blueberries                                Fresh Blueberries

Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, making them excellent stress-busters. When we¹re stressed, our bodies need vitamin C and antioxidants to help repair and protect healthy cells. 

Combine blueberries with Greek yogurt for a well-balanced, stress-reducing snack.

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Sistahs Making A Change @ The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine

Sistahs! What a time we had last night as we discovered new ways to make easy and delicious breakfast items at the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine.

Chef Katie and her staff helped us put together various dishes using fresh ingredients and very little oil, sugar and salt. We also learned ways to add vegetables into our breakfast items like in the Spinach and Feta Frattatas. (Personally, they didn’t have enough feta cheese in it for me but they were delicious nonetheless). And only had 103 calories for two!

my spinach and feta frattatas

You can find the recipes at https://culinarymedicine.org.

Chef Katie Pedroza shows us how to eat healthy and how to cook in bulk and store or freeze our breakfast items.


Chef KatieGoldring fruit parfaits



Check out these beautiful Fruit Parfaits! They were made of Greek yogurt, granola and fresh fruit. Yes, they were delicious!



Breakfast scrambletThis is a what they call Breakfast Scramblet. It must have been good because I did not get a taste. By the time I finished my frittata, the scramblet had scrammed! LOL!



breakfast tacos


These are Breakfast Tacos. MMMM! I’m not a fan of tortillas, but these bad boys were the TRUTH! LOL!

Join us next Monday as we head back to the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine for another try at cooking healthy. Be there at 6:00 PM or you will get locked out. There’s also a Farmer’s Market there, where you’ll find fresh soups, greens, soaps, oils, seedlings, jams and preserves and FREE SEEDS!





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Tips to Help You Eat Whole Grains

Greetings Sistahs!

I ‘borrowed’ this article from MyPlate.gov. Some of these tips are routine for us. Some of these are new. We’ve learned that whole grains help us to feel full, soothing our satiety and helping us to maintain a healthy weight. Take a look.  –Cynthia

At meals:

  • To eat more whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product – such as eating whole-wheat bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice. It’s important to substitute the whole-grain product for the refined one, rather than adding the whole-grain product.
  • For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Try brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes and whole-wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese.
  • Use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soup or stews and bulgur wheat in a casserole or stir-fry.
  • Create a whole grain pilaf with a mixture of barley, wild rice, brown rice, broth and spices. For a special touch, stir in toasted nuts or chopped dried fruit.
  • Experiment by substituting whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin or other flour-based recipes. They may need a bit more leavening.
  • Use whole-grain bread or cracker crumbs in meatloaf.
  • Try rolled oats or a crushed, unsweetened whole grain cereal as breading for baked chicken, fish, veal cutlets, or eggplant parmesan.
  • Try an unsweetened, whole grain ready-to-eat cereal as croutons in salad or in place of crackers with soup.
  • Freeze leftover cooked brown rice, bulgur, or barley. Heat and serve it later as a quick side dish.

As snacks:popcorn image

  • Snack on ready-to-eat, whole grain cereals such as toasted oat cereal.
  • Add whole-grain flour or oatmeal when making cookies or other baked treats.
  • Try 100% whole-grain snack crackers.
  • Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack if made with little or no added salt and butter.

What to look for on the food label:

  • Choose foods that name one of the following whole-grain ingredients first on the label’s ingredient list:

Whole grain ingredients

  • brown rice
  • buckwheat
  • bulgur
  • millet
  • oatmeal
  • popcorn
  • quinoa
  • rolled oats
  • whole-grain barley
  • whole-grain corn
  • whole-grain sorghum
  • whole-grain triticale
  • whole oats
  • whole rye
  • whole wheat
  • wild rice
  • Foods labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products.
  • Color is not an indication of a whole grain. Bread can be brown because of molasses or other added ingredients. Read the ingredient list to see if it is a whole grain.
  • Use the Nutrition Facts label and choose whole grain products with a higher % Daily Value (% DV) for fiber. Many, but not all, whole grain products are good or excellent sources of fiber.
  • Read the food label’s ingredient list. Look for terms that indicate added sugars (such as sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, or raw sugar) that add extra calories. Choose foods with fewer added sugars.
  • Most sodium in the food supply comes from packaged foods. Similar packaged foods can vary widely in sodium content, including breads. Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose foods with a lower % DV for sodium. Foods with less than 140 mg sodium per serving can be labeled as low sodium foods. Claims such as “low in sodium” or “very low in sodium” on the front of the food label can help you identify foods that contain less salt (or sodium).

Whole grain tips for children

  • Set a good example for children by eating whole grains with meals or as snacks.
  • Let children select and help prepare a whole grain side dish.
  • Teach older children to read the ingredient list on cereals or snack food packages and choose those with whole grains at the top of the list.

That was a mouthful, huh?  🙂

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Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa

Hello Sistahs!

Many of you know how I love me some quinoa. Here’s a recipe that’s easy-peasy! Give it a try. You may be surprised.



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Get Rid of the Plastic!

Small changes make for big dividends – at least that’s what i have experienced. Here’s an article about those plastic water bottles and the havoc they wreak on our bodies and our environment. Found it in Natural Alternatives Magazine.

Plastic water bottles have adverse effects on both your body and the environment. Making an easy behavioral change in your home and office can decrease your exposure to toxins found in plastic materials, reduce the amount of plastic funneled into landfills and our oceans (which ultimately gets ingested by sea life and thus impacts our seafood because plastic does not biodegrade), and save you money!


You, Sistah, could save thousands of gallons of water annually used in creating plastic bottles. You, Sistah, can prevent over 40 pounds of plastic from entering nearby landfills. You, Sistah, can reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating truck delivery of water! You, Sistah, can save almost $500 a year!

This isn’t just good for the environment, but also the bottom line! As you stay fit this month, forget those plastic water bottles and rehydrate with a metal water bottle or canteen! Think about it.

Don’t worry, Ashe’. I’ll keep my eyes open for funding for a water filtration system for you.




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Keeping Emotional Eating in Check by HEATHER HARPER ELLETT, LPC

Hello Sistahs!

I ran across this article in an email and just had to share. It spoke to me. Glean from it what you may. Enjoy! It’s long yet well worth the read.


Making good food choices is one of the most important things we can do for the health of our hearts. We know we should be eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while limiting sodium, salt, saturated fat and avoiding trans fats. Even so, many of us find ourselves looking for comfort from food. After a bad day at work, we drown our stress in ice cream or squash our frustration with pizza, only to remain stressed and even feel a little guilty afterward. Some call it “stress eating” or “emotional eating.” But what is emotional eating, and how can it be managed to avoid harmful heart health consequences?

According to Mark Gorman, a staff psychologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center, emotional eating happens “when someone doesn’t like the emotions they’re feeling — they feel really stressed, for example — and in order to cope with that stress, they eat because eating makes them feel better.”

Simply put, emotional eating is a coping mechanism. With emotional eating, people often tell Gorman that there is relief in the moment — whether they feel better or numb — from whatever negative emotion they are experiencing, such as guilt or distress.

Emotional eating is not considered a true eating disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. Anorexia (food restriction) and bulimia (binging and purging) are well-known eating disorders; binge eating has also been added to the DSM-5. These eating disorders, however, are behavioral patterns that have distinct criteria, including a level of distress, impairment in functioning and frequency of repeating a behavior. At this time, emotional eating does not have a set criteria or set of symptoms to distinguish it as a diagnosable eating disorder.

To receive a binge eating diagnosis, for example, the American Psychiatric Association website states:

Binge eating disorder involves frequent overeating during a discreet period of time (at least once a week for three months), combined with lack of control and associated with three or more of the following:

  • Eating more rapidly than normal
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
  • Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or very guilty afterward

Binge Eating Disorder also causes significant distress.

Dr. Mark Gorman

A person who is eating in response to emotions, however, may very well have a sense of control but chooses to use food as a way to numb, cope or pacify a feeling. “An emotional eater might say, ‘Yes, I ate a whole cheese pizza by myself, but that was a choice I made and at no point did I feel like I couldn’t stop myself. I was in control the whole time.’ That’s different than a clinical diagnosis of binge eating,” Gorman said.

Despite some similarities, emotional eating is not necessarily a symptom of an eating disorder. It might more accurately be thought of as a behavioral response to negative emotions, just as a person might scream in response to anger or go on a run in response to frustration.

It may also be a response to a positive stimulus as well, eating too much cake at a wedding or ordering a large steak dinner as a way to celebrate a promotion. Enjoying food is part of how our culture celebrates, grieves and processes things. “If someone comes in to my office and says ‘My mom died and I’ve been eating casseroles for two weeks,’ nobody is going to pathologize that and say that’s a problem,” Gorman said. “But if someone comes in and says their mom died two years ago and they’ve been eating casseroles nonstop ever since, that’s a different situation.”

Given that emotional eating can sometimes sabotage diets and create a lot of guilt, what is a stress eater to do? Gorman weighed in: “I always say ‘the opposite of stress is not eating. The opposite of stress is relaxation.’ So really what we need to do is to teach the coping strategy of relaxation.” Another example, if a person is lonely, eating does not satisfy the emotion of loneliness. However, some kind of interpersonal enjoyment, such as bonding with friends or family, would pacify loneliness and fulfill the emotional need.

So how do we know if we’re eating emotionally and how can we keep it in check? If you are not eating out of physical hunger, but you are feeling an emotion and eating, Gorman suggests you are likely eating emotionally.

Paying attention to what you are eating and why — or eating mindfully — is an important step for keeping emotional eating in check. Gorman suggests that when you have a craving, ask yourself some questions:

  • Why am I reaching for this?
  • Is it because I am physically hungry?
  • When is the last time I ate?
  • Do I have a headache or is my stomach rumbling?

If you just had dinner an hour ago and you are not feeling any physiological need, say to yourself, “This does not seem like hunger, this is more of a head hunger or craving.” At that point, ask yourself:

  • What else is going on?
  • Am I bored?
  • Am I stressed?
  • Am I upset?
  • Am I trying to make something unpleasant more pleasant?

Gorman suggests that when trying to curb emotional eating, look for alternatives to soothe the emotion or take your mind off it. If you are stressed, go for a walk, put on some music you like or change the lighting. If you are lonely, call, visit or email a friend, or reach out on social media. Evaluate all the alternatives.

When a craving or the need to eat emotionally strikes, the feeling may seem to last forever, but cravings really may only last around 30 seconds. To get over the craving hump, some people use tricks such as:

  • brushing teeth right after dinner (if you don’t want to brush again, you’re likely not to eat again)
  • reach out to a friend or talk to a partner or spouse
  • snap a wristband or headband to distract yourself until the moment passes

Gorman also suggests writing down emotions and exploring “Where am I right now? How am I feeling? What are my options?” Looking at the answers on paper can help you be clear that the emotional eating is not worth the potential health consequences such as weight gain, high blood pressure or diabetes that may be associated with consistently making bad food and portion size choices. In other words, weigh the pros and cons and then make a conscious choice. No doubt, sometimes you will still choose to eat emotionally, and that is fine occasionally, particularly if you choose healthy food when you do. “I’d rather someone be proactive in choosing to eat than being reactive in choosing to eat,” Gorman said.

If you deem that emotional eating is a true problem for you, because it is sabotaging your weight or your health, it is reasonable to think about going to see a therapist, such as a counselor, social worker, or psychologist. Having a care team with a dietitian covering the nutritional element and a psychologist covering the behavioral element can be especially helpful in addressing negative eating patterns and making healthier food choices overall.

Even if you are an occasional stress eater and you inhale a few cupcakes after being stuck in traffic, you can still live a healthy life. Gorman recommends the 80-20 rule, meaning you commit to making healthy choices at least 80 percent of the time and loosening the reins no more than 20 percent of the time. “You don’t have to be 100 percent healthy 100 percent of the time. If you make healthy choices 80 percent of the time, that’s pretty darn good and you should feel good about that,” he said.

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Get your Prescriptions Filled Here!

Greetings Sistahs!

Yes, get your prescriptions filled at Ashe’. No not the metformin or the Prozac. LOL! I’m referring to the prescript for fresh fruits and vegetables available at all Crescent City Farmers Markets. By actively participating in Sistahs Making A Change, you are eligible for a $48 dollar food prescription which will be changed into vouchers at any of the CCFM in our area. That’s fresh free food ladies!  You can’t beat that with a stick! I found fresh fennel and heirloom tomatoes, fresh rutabagas and sweet potatoes (fresh and seasonal) and i STILL have vouchers to use this weekend. This weekend I will be on the lookout for cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Ok, onions, celery and garlic too. I’m gonna hit the farmers’ market at 750 Carondelet at Julia first thing Saturday morning. I’m told that parking meters will be in effect, but my plan is to ‘hit and run’ before the metermaids can ticket me. LOL! There are discounted parking codes available for $2 for 1 hour at https://www.premiumparking.com/P156 and https://www.premiumparking.com/P158 between the hours of 8 AM and 12 Noon. Better to pay $2 than $40, especially if you plan to spend time bartering, smelling, tasting and comparing.

Check out www.crescentcityfarmersmarket.org for more locations, days and hours of operation and directions.

See you there!


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Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables

Looking for some inexpensive, fresh, local and great tasting winter fruit and veggies? Here’s a list:



Brussel Sprouts




Winter Squash





Turnips and Rutabagas


Sweet Potatoes


Citrus Fruit


Dark Leafy Greens



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This Woman’s Work

So I sit in this chair beside her hospital bed, waiting on Momma. For once in her life, everything revolves around her. She’ll be coming home soon. I can hardly wait. I have time to sing with her and talk with her and reminisce. This time is going by so fast. I’m torn between wanting her to stay here with us and wanting her to be free of the pain. On the one hand, i’d like for her to be with me always. What a novel idea. But while the mind can live on in infamy, the body needs rest.  So i sit and watch and attempt to comfort her. I rub her back, her butt, her legs, her tummy…not necessarily in that order.

She came home a few days ago and we went about the tasks of cleaning and cooking. I washed linen and lucy. i cut apples and administered meds. We did every thing we could do to make her comfortable. She left this space in peace and serenity. I said the prayer of protection over her twice. She is now at peace.  She takes our love with her and we keep her love with us. Take your rest, Mom. You deserve it. Save a seat for me.



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