Beans and Rice Lesson

Beans and Rice Lesson

Today’s A Taste Of African Heritage plant based cooking class was on beans and rice. Students learned about the various types of rice—brown, wild, red, pink, black, etc.—and their origins from various parts of Africa. They also learned about how the rice that grew in America was originally brought to America by Africans who brought the rice and their knowledge of growing rice when they were enslaved. The Gulluh people of South Carolina were particularly known for growing rice.

We also talked about various types of beans. Do you know how many different varieties of beans there are in the world?…….13,000 (yes, thirteen thousand)! We were all surprised to learn this.

Finally we made two recipes using rice and beans including my easy rice pudding (using brown rice and coconut milk) from page 35 of my book. The students were pleasantly surprised that the pudding was only sweetened with fruit and that it was so tasty.

Looking forward to Lesson 6 next week—Tubers and Mashes!

Out in The Yard Solo Running

It was MUCH less humid this morning so I left the little air conditioned gym indoors with my treadmill and went to run in the yard. I’ll be honest, half way through I missed the gym 😂 but I was still happy to be back in the yard, in fresh air moving. I don’t run fast at all. Some people can walk as fast as I run. But it doesn’t matter. I run prayerfully and meditatively and it keeps my body feeling pain free and my mind more relaxed (that and whole plant foods of course).

P.S. My running partner Nini was at her summer program already. She was my walking partner Saturday with our neighborhood walking group.



Whole Grains Lesson

Whole Grains Lesson

Today’s lesson using the A Taste of African Heritage curriculum with the youth at The Boston Project Ministries was on whole grains! We learned about the three parts of a whole grain—the bran which is the outer part with a lot of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; the endosperm which is the starchy inside part that after refining is what is left consisting of protein and vegetables; and the germ which is the grain’s seed and high in essential fats, antioxidants, and B vitamins. We discussed and looked at several types of grains including millet, sorghum, teff, fonio, brown and wild rice, quinoa, and couscous made from millet or wheat.

We learned how the full fiber in the grains help to prevent diseases and that “A scientist named Dr. Dennis Burkett found that people in Africa who eat more whole grains and fiber are less likely to get certain diseases that Americans typically get, like heart disease and diabetes.” We talked about people we know who had some of these diseases. We discussed how the rice grown in the US was brought through the middle passage when Africans were brought to the US and enslaved and how a lot of African peoples who knew how to grow rice were brought specifically to the Carolinas. We did not get to watch the video linked here but discussed briefly how a lot of the foods that are popular in the South originally came from Africa ( it is a video of a Senegalese chef cooking fonio and discussing this).

Finally we did a Millet Porridge

Sweetened with bananas, dates, and raisins. We had two versions—the porridge and then the pudding which we blended in the Vitamix. Millet is an ancient grain that comes from both the continents of Africa and Asia. Millet is so old that some have been found in tombs in Egypt. It has a nutty aroma when toasting and a fluffy but chewy texture.

We finished off the day with a fun dance challenge.

Next week lesson is on Beans and Rice! We are going to learn about various types of beans and pulses and also make a dish with brown or red rice.

Running Girl is Back

Felt good to be back in the home gym with my running partner Nini who also did my squats with me afterwards. She took the initiative this morning to say she needed a run. I was impressed. I thought if a teen with autism and intellectual impairment can cover up the oatmeal she already made and spontaneously announce she’d rather run 🏃🏽‍♀️ now then eat later, the rest of us don’t have a lot of good excuses.




Eating from our TRUE Heritage

This is not Nalida’s or Michael’s diet.

You don’t have to believe us even though we’ve had great health benefits (weigh loss and maintenance, elimination of the following: high blood pressure without meds, prediabetes without meds, GERD/Acid Reflux without meds, chronic pain without meds, etc.). This goes back to Eden. And if that doesn’t sway you, see the tons of peer reviewed research over at and

Being a vegetarian or pescatarian wasn’t enough because we were junk food vegetarians (and Michael a junk food pescatarian eating seafood) eating processed foods and the empty calories of oil (120 calories of pure fat with negligible nutrients per tablespoon versus whole fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. with rich nutrients!).

Can’t go wrong with nutrient-rich, WHOLE plant foods! People like to joke about vegans but this isn’t about that. It’s about our health and eating close to nature, our traditional heritages which are Plant rich even when they included small amounts of meat, and the bounty of nutrient-rich foods God has put on this earth. There are whole industries profiting from our ignorance and obsession with meat, dairy, and processed foods while we are getting poorer and sicker.

The plantation diets the majority of us are eating now are NOT our heritage. Don’t be afraid to do your own research. Don’t let fear, addiction to foods/food-like substances, and/or spite stop you! You are worth it! Your families’ lives are worth it! Don’t be content to just go with what you’ve known when you see it killing you. I for one am tired of a family legacy of type two diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, obesity, etc. What about you?



Greens Class

Greens Class Update:

Tuesday Afternoon

We had a fabulous class with the fabulous teens of the The Boston Project Ministries Summer Program! As predicted, they loved the green fruit smoothies. I think they surprised themselves with the raw kale though. Instead of doing a savory kale with light culinary coconut milk, I decided to do kale chips and it was a great choice for them.

They learned about de-stemming the kale as well as “massaging” it to get it tender. For one bag of triple-washed kale, we used only 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (in place of oil some typically use for this) to massage in the kale. Then we added onion powder, nutritional yeast, and a few sprays of Braggs Liquid Amino Acid. Before adding anything, they all tasted the kale raw and plain. They were all surprised that it tasted “salty” and asked if there was salt added. I explained that it was just plain kale and reminded them how we talked about salty and hardy greens. Even though kale is a hardy green, it still is naturally “salty.” They were surprised that they actually liked it! One student was very surprised that he preferred the prepared kale as a salad better than the baked kale chips. I told him how I sometimes prepare it that way and we just eat it as a salad instead of baking it.

We learned some interesting facts from the “A Taste Of African Heritage” (ATOAH) curriculum about different kinds of greens that we had not heard about. For instance, kontomire is a green used in stews in Ghana, West Africa and sukuma wiki is a popular green in Kenya, East Africa. We looked at a large map that I have of the African continent to find the two countries.

We also talked about the tradition of enslaved African peoples of using the liquid of boiled greens made for their enslavers as the base of soups and sauces and how that liquid was and is called “pot liquor” or “potlikker.” This African tradition of using the “potlikker” and getting all the nutrients boiled down from the greens continues today with peoples of the African diaspora and others who have adapted it.

Finally, we discussed what community means to us and the benefits of eating with family and as part of a community. We have a lot of work to do in restoring this and I hope I planted some seeds about that today. I told the students that we will have to have a special lesson where we all sit and have a complete meal together even if it is after the program because that is one component that seems to be missing for the most part based on our discussions today.

Next week’s lesson is on whole grains. I’m looking forward to discussion grains, other than just whole grain rice, such as millet, sorghum, teff, fonio, quinoa (technically a seed), and couscous (made from millet or wheat). We will be making a banana millet breakfast porridge! We will work more with grains during lesson 5 when we make rice and beans. We adapted every recipe to be SOS-free (salt, oil, and sugar free) and used whole fat sources or other liquids in place of oil.

As with last week, the students with their leader will make one of the dishes for the younger students of the program on Thursday and they may attempt both the smoothies and the kale chips this week. Last week they made the sunflower sour cream and told me it was a hit with the younger students who ate the dip with the raw carrots and sweet peppers I suggested pairing with it. Many asked for seconds!

We had a great time and I have a great group of students who are learning some plant based cooking skills and expanding their palates while learning about the benefits of eating foods from the traditional African heritage and expanding their palates.


Tuesday Morning.

Did my morning run and now prepping for the A Taste Of African Heritage Cooking class with the teens in my neighborhood. Today’s lesson is on Greens and the various types eaten across the African Diaspora. They already told me last week they’re excited for the green fruit smoothies. We’re going to prep some kale for kale chips too and if there’s time make steamed greens with light culinary coconut milk (if not, we’ll freeze the rest of the greens and cook them up for another lesson). Not seen are the perishable plant-based milks, greens, and frozen blueberries, strawberries, and tropical fruits.