Members of a national food education organization are debuting a cooking class in Mississippi based on African diets. They hope it will help the state address health disparities common among African Americans. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.
A group of a Mississippians in Natchez is participating in a cooking class called A Taste of African Heritage. The class is a program by Oldways, a national nonprofit health education organization. Participants are learning how to cook plant-based foods using cultural traditions from the African Diaspora. The free six-week cooking series is designed to change the way participants think about food and how they consume it.
First a student, Danessa Bolling became a volunteer teacher in Houston, Texas. She says this program saved her life.
"When I hit my 40's I became very conscious of the fact that I had to really monitor my heart. I was overweight. I knew I was at risk of diabetes. I was pre-diabetic at the time. I am now out of range. I had all three, kind of like surrounding me and I felt like I was running from death," said Bolling
Johnisha Levi is the program director. She hopes Mississippians in the class will see the same results others have experienced.
About 35% are consuming more vegetables and leafy greens. thirty percent reduced their blood pressure by one stage. Sixty-two percent of our students have lost weight over the course of six weeks, an average of four pounds," said Levi.
Levi says Oldways is looking for more places in Mississippi to offer the class. You can find more information about collaborations and classes on Oldways website.