Ever wonder what you can do with salmon or hummus? How about a new way to cook with bell peppers or beets? This week’s website Wednesday features perhaps my favorite nutrition resource on the web. Oldways, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the flavors and nutrition of traditional diets (Mediterranean, African Heritage, Latin American, Asian, and Vegetarian). The organization was founded by the late K.Dun Gifford in 1990 and has been active in educating chefs, retailers, health professionals, and scientists about the benefits of these foods.
Why eat in a traditional way? Oldways explains it best.
“Traditional diets are a delicious roadmap to healthy eating. Rather than relying on highly processed foods that are stripped of their nutrients, flavor, and even calories, traditional diets celebrate the abundance of earth’s offerings, highlighting seasonal and regional produce, hearty recipes, and the pleasures of the table.
Our ancestors have a lot to teach us about not letting fresh food go to waste, and how to eat seasonally. After all, they didn’t have a choice. Today, people are more disconnected with how food is grown and cooked than ever before. While many modern advances have saved lives and saved time, our distance from the kitchen has come at a cost. Excess salt, sugar, and solid fats added to foods have been linked with rising public health problems, and steadily increasing portion sizes and the changing social norms of snacking have distanced us from our bodies’ natural hunger and fullness cues.
Most people have a pretty good idea that fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good for them. But figuring out what to do with these foods or how to eat them is where a lot of people get stuck. Luckily, the recipes, food pairings, and cultural traditions of these historic cuisines act as an enticing guide for how to work a variety of nutritious ingredients into one cohesive healthy lifestyle. By embracing traditional diets we can rediscover the joy in eating, without succumbing to deprivation or guilt that is associated with dieting today.
When we see the word “diet,” we usually think of unpleasant rules that force us to give up all our favorite foods for a limited time, usually for weight loss. However, traditional diets – the “old ways” of eating – aren’t diets in that sense. Traditional diets are a delicious and pleasant way of enjoying healthy food for the rest of our lives.” (1)
In future website Wednesdays, we’ll take a look at specific look at some of my favorite resources on the Oldways website. From health studies to shopping lists, recipes, and everything in between, Oldways is my go-to resource for healthy living and delicious eating.