Category Archives: Food Fighter

Raw Food Chef Shares His Path to Healing His Community

by Tambra Stevenson

WASHINGTON, DC (March 18, 2012)—While most people celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with green drinks and friends, a small group dined on raw greens from cabbage to kale prepared by Chef Heru, a trained electrical engineer by day and a raw food chef by night.

In honor of the House of N’Golo’s founder, Amensa Sheps Teker, Nkechi Taifa, Esq. and Dakarai James Kearney opened their northwest home with a special libation and featured a pan-African- inspired raw food menu of African herbal broccoli, spicy kale salad and African pepper cabbage.

Additional special guests included Dr. Baruch Ben Yehudah, owner of Everlasting Life Cafe, Rev. Ivy Hylton, owner of Serenity Healing Arts and author of Journey into Inner Peace, W. Bruce Willis, author of the Adinkra Dictionary, and Yirser Ra Hotep, founder of the YogaSkills Method focused on Kemetic yoga.

The menu creator, Chef Heru, teaches raw food classes for the House of N’Golo to the continue tradition of showing raw foods using traditional African spices to heal the community. In his herbal broccoli recipe he uses spirulina (a sea plant protein) along with moringa, an African spice. The moringa comes as crushed leaves containing all essential amino acids and rich in proteinvitamin Avitamin Bvitamin C, and minerals.

For his kale salad, he adds fresh ginger (which is used as an astringent in the Caribbean), lemon to create alkalinity in the body,                                                                                            and garlic to boost immunity. His Amensa savory pie is walnut pate layered with plantains, avocado, caraway seeds, and sundried tomatoes.

Influenced by his mentor and the cultural shift in the city, he began his journey into raw foods: “After the 1970s there was a wave of people reconnecting with their history, and a spiritual and cultural movement to bring traditional African systems to the forefront in bridging the gap between people of African descent in America and on the continent.”

For Chef Heru, food comes from a spiritual source. “We are spiritual beings having human experiences. The body uses the different colors of food for a nutritional and spiritual connection; so when you eat junk food, your body and spirit doesn’t function at an optimal level.”

He goes on to say: “Ancient African systems such as the Yoruba, Akan, and Khemetic share about the direct connection of the divine self, and food is part of the spiritual development of people.”

Ancient systems like Yoruba, Akan,  Khemetic talk about the direct connection the divine self and food is one component of the spiritual development of people.

After studying electrical engineering at the University of Delaware, he moved to the District after landing a job with the U.S. Navy and later took graduate studies in engineering and telecommunications at the George Washington University. He later received his training from Dr. Llaila Afrika in naturopathic/wellness and African herbal science from Dr. Kofi Asare of Ghana and iridology of Dr. Paul Goss.

“In the 1980s, I attended the ‘Know Thyself’ lecture series by Anthony Browder, a renowned Egyptologist, who brought speakers into the District as part of the wave,” shard Chef Heru, “Also WR Radio1450 AM (which is now Radio One) had a lot of cultural, spiritual, and political discussions.”

Inviting people on this pan-African raw food adventure, Chef Heru is completing a cookbook with 108 raw food recipes with information on the electromagnetic properties of the food and the spiritual essence of nutrition.

Hosted by O’Natural, Chef Heru will be one of seven raw food chefs preparing culinary dishes of southern, African and Caribbean origin  for the Raw Food Feast and Fundraiser at the Ideal Academy located at 101 T Street Northeast Washington, D.C. on May 5th from 1:00 – 6:00pm.

Tambra Stevenson is the student representative for the D.C. Metropolitan Area Dietetic Association is hosting its annual meeting at the George Washington University. Learn more at www.eatrightdc.org. Stay connected  with Tambra by following her on Twitter @tambra.

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FEATURED FOOD FIGHTER ON THE FRONTLINE: Dr. Evelyn Ford Crayton

As a special feature of DC Food Justice for Women’s History Month and National Nutrition Month, community leaders in the food justice movement will be showcased. This month’s focus is on the role of women in advocating for their communities to improve quality of life through food and nutrition.

 


by Tambra Stevenson

 

WASHINGTON, DCIn saluting women making a difference in the food justice movement, this week’s food fighter is Evelyn Crayton, EdD, RD, LD, a pioneer in opening doors for women in the field of nutrition. I met her during the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program National Conference  hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC in February.

Standing in the middle of the room, Dr. Crayton made an announcement that Auburn University in conjunction with Dominican University were offering Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways, a new program through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her goal is to increase the number of Extension Agents and people of color in becoming Registered Dietitians given the changing landscape in nutrition to have the credentials.

With only 3 percent of African-American Registered Dietitians in the United States, creating more opportunities like the ISSP are critically important to combat the diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension in the most impacted communities, mostly of color.

One door was opened for Charmaine Jones, a student at the University of the District of Columbia, working for the public policy office of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  After not being selected  for a dietetic internship through the DICAS system, Charmaine applied and was accepted into the ISPP because of Dr. Crayton. As an alternate route to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam, ISSPs are more affordable, flexible, and still provide the preceptor-led experiences giving students up to three years to complete.

Presently there are more students pursuing the field of dietetics than there are slots available for dietetic internships. For instance in 2009, 4799 applicants applied for 2503 openings leaving a 50% match rate, which is the lowest in computer matching history for dietetics and not getting lower each year. That contrasts the 73% match rate in 2003. Once accepted many programs want tuition paid up front and don’t accept federal loans, or offer financial assistance leaving students, particularly of color, in a pinch.

Sharing her impact by our food fighter, Charmaine states: “Dr. Evelyn Crayton is not only a mentor, but an angel from heaven who whispered, “Never to give up on your dreams no matter how tough the road seems ahead.”

A Louisiana native, Dr. Crayton serves as the assistant director for family and community programs for Alabama Cooperative Extension Services based at Auburn University. In bringing her on to the new post, Dr. Sam Fowler, Extension associate director, rural and traditional programs stated: “She is internationally recognized for her work in both nutrition and health. We feel that Dr. Crayton will be able to provide very effective leadership for both family and community programs and that both of these important areas will continue to be part of our core programs in Extension.”

Graduating in the 1960s at Grambling State University, the proud mom of three and wife of 40-plus years received her dietetics license and later earned her master’s degree in dietetics in 1972 from St. Louis University. Afterwards she gained 5 years of clinical nutrition experience working St. Louis-based hospitals.  In the ‘90s, she earned her doctorate in vocational and adult education from Auburn University in 1991.

 

Tambra Stevenson is the President of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia where she was selected a recent Verizon Scholar.  She can be reached via Twitter @tambra.

 

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