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Imagine a delicious, healthy meal that includes comforting carbs such as accara (black-eyed pea fritters), creamy polenta and maple-glazed turnips. This might sound too good to be true, but national food and nutrition nonprofit Oldways, devoted to cultural culinary traditions, has made the impossible possible.

Few cities supply its denizens with international cuisine quite like Houston. But Oldways has taken these dishes from around the world a step further by teaching people to make meals that are as nutritious as they are culturally diverse. Designed to reconnect individuals with exciting new ways to eat and live based on old ways, the company is next focusing on the food that promoted the health of African American ancestors. “A Taste of African Heritage” (ATOAH) offers Houstonians a new kind of wellness program.

Beginning February 22, Oldways' culturally inspired cooking program will offer classes in the Missouri City. Perspective students are encouraged to sign up in advance to ensure a seat in their chosen class, some of which are in high demand.

"A Taste of African Heritage" is a volunteer-driven nutritional cooking class and is open to anyone who wants to learn how to prepare delicious, healthy recipes at home. Inspired by African, Caribbean, Afro-Latin and American Southern cuisine, students learn how to prepare delicious meals while simultaneously learning more about African heritage.

“Oldways’ cooking class program, 'A Taste of African Heritage,' brings the African Heritage Diet Pyramid to life, showing people how to eat and cook healthfully, traditionally, and enjoyably through hands-on experience,” said Ashley Owen, PR and media manager for Oldways. “With lesson plans that simultaneously teach history, nutrition, and cooking techniques, the program introduces participants to the rich cultural history of African heritage foods while providing them the tools they need to adopt this traditional way of eating for better health in modern day life.”

The testimonials from those who have participated in ATOAH have been incredible. Some people have been able to shed excess weight and inches while others have lowered blood pressure. The goal of the class is for the students to become knowledgeable about the food they put in their body. Food is what fuels us, providing our bodies with good nutrition will keep us running a lot more efficiently.

As far as the future, Oldways has plans to develop “A Taste of Latin Heritage” into the next series of classes. Our taste buds cannot wait for the global cuisine that Oldways will continue to offer.

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