FOOD SAFETY @ HOME!

Don’t wash meat, just cook it to the appropriate internal temperatures!

  • Ground meats: 160-165F
  • Beef/Veal/Lamb: 145F
  • Poultry: 165F
  • Pork/Ham:145F

Wash your fruits/veg thoroughly w/a brush or a 1:3 vinegar+water solution.

HAPPY COOKING/EATING! =)

"Hey, you wanna win? You gotta fuel like a winner." - Dwight K. Schrute | #BATANGAS, #PHILIPPINES knows what’s up. #barako #coffee #icollectmugs #tinyrecyclingbin #frenchpress #pasalubong #filipinocoffee

"Hey, you wanna win? You gotta fuel like a winner." - Dwight K. Schrute | #BATANGAS, #PHILIPPINES knows what’s up. #barako #coffee #icollectmugs #tinyrecyclingbin #frenchpress #pasalubong #filipinocoffee

(Source: fifty-sicks)

Friday Night Fried Chicken Family Meal

(Source: fifty-sicks)

[Para]chutes & Ladders at dawn! #jeditraining #toughmudder #parachute #running @chef_lou (at Skyline College Track and Field)

(Source: fifty-sicks)

Coffee!

Research Project from my undergrad: Coffee Culture

February 27, 2012

Coffee is a beverage created by brewing the roasted and ground seeds of a coffee plant with water. Its taste is dependent upon a variety of factors, including length of time exposed to heat during roasting, type of bean used, freshness of the coffee bean, and origin of the bean among others. There are two types of beans, Arabica and Robusta. “Most specialty coffee utilizes the finer Arabica, while mass-produced brands favor the slightly bitter Robusta, which is less selective about its habitat and can be harvested large-scale” (Janecka, 2010). Robusta comprises a large portion of the coffee that is mass-produced in the U.S., while specialty coffees are comprised of Arabica beans, according to Janecka (2010). Robusta also contains more caffeine.

The longer the time the coffee beans are exposed to heat, the bolder the flavor of the coffee is. The roasts range from light to medium to dark. “Light roasted Cherry coffee contained the highest overall content of caffeine in all coffees, which exhibited a decrease with intensified roasting” (Hecˇimovic ́, Belšcˇak-Cvitanovic ́, Horzˇic ́, & Komes, 2011). Because the beans have had less time exposed to heat, less caffeine molecules are broken. Heat is what releases the flavor compounds from the oils of the bean so darker roasts exhibit a more intense flavor, especially at higher temperatures.

The history of coffee has been traced to origins in the former Kaffa province of the Ethiopian Highlands where the accidental discovery of the coffee tree was made by a sheepherder. The Arabs soon discovered the product and though they had been protective of their valuable crop monopoly, Dutch people were able to smuggle seeds and sprouts of coffee trees out of Arabia and transplanted them in other parts of the world. The Dutch soon became the main suppliers of coffee in Europe in the late 1500s – early 1600s. Subsequently, coffee houses opened in Venice, Italy and other European countries and eventually made its way to America, by way of the British, through the docks in Virginia, Boston, and South Street Seaport in New York. “The rash of ‘tea parties’ in 1773 after the Tea Act threatened Colonial rights and created an East India Company monopoly on the tea industry had an impact on coffee sales: Coffee eventually took tea’s place as the primary hot beverage in America” (Hemler, 2009).

The first coffee house in the U.S. was opened in Boston, MA named London Coffee House after the providing country. From then on, coffee houses were established in immigrant communities such as New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. Nowadays local cafes, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and many other coffee retailers can be found virtually anywhere, and are a viable part of the economy. “Coffee is the single most important tropical commodity traded worldwide, accounting for nearly half of total exports of tropical products” (Hecˇimovic ́, Belšcˇak-Cvitanovic ́, Horzˇic ́, & Komes, 2011). The U.S. is still one of the largest importers of coffee in the world.

In our culture, the consumption of coffee is not only physiological as it is consumed for its caffeine content and flavor, but also for psychological and social benefit. Caffeine stimulates the body’s nervous system, increasing alertness, reaction time, energy, heart rate, blood pressure, and the ability to concentrate. When our bodies perceive the stimulus presented by the caffeine as an emergency, this “fight or flight” response is what we feel as a result. It is beneficial during times of fatigue and helps us to concentrate on tasks at hand, especially when sleep had been insufficient the night before. Long term, it has been found to have a protective or delaying effect on the body against Dementia and Parkinson’s disease (Eskelinen, 2010), and according to Janecka, (2010), “coffee is the number on source of cell-protecting antioxidants in the U.S. diet.” A study was conducted to observe the psychological effects of caffeinated coffee on people playing cooperative mixed-motive games. What Tse, Chan , Shiu, Chung, & Cheng (2009) found was that “that caffeinated coffee might have social behavioral effects that resemble that of antidepressants,” and that consuming it “increases co-operative game behavior and sadness communication. These social behavioral effects of caffeinated coffee may help one gain social support and may even prove protective against depression” (Tse, Chan , Shiu, Chung, & Cheng, 2009).

The social benefits of coffee consumption are ingrained across many cultures. Coffee is the medium over which people conduct meetings, social gatherings, and business discussions, which are trends that date back to the 1500s, when the first coffeehouses were opened in Mecca (Cook, 2001). The setting in which most interactions on the 1990s sitcom “Friends” take place is a coffee house called Central Perk. People tend to meet “over coffee,” conduct study sessions at the local café, and fuel themselves in the morning with a good old cup of joe.

Cafes are also the site of many art shows and live bands. Many coffee houses host “open mic nights” where musicians and artists can display their talents in front of a small audience. The walls of these establishments are usually adorned with various works of art, as well. The coffee houses of the post World War II era served as venues for the Beats, a sub-culture of young poets and writers of that time, in urban areas such as Greenwich Village in New York City and the North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco (Lyons, 2005). At first, however, they were targeted toward a specific type of people:

“During the 1970s the burgeoning number of specialty coffee roasters and coffeehouses in the US remained concerned primarily with servicing an array of urban neighborhoods typically close to college campuses, museums and galleries, particularly those experiencing the first waves of gentrification (e.g. Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side in New York; Berkeley in the Bay Area; Harvard Square, Boston), and which generated young, educated and relatively affluent consumers for delicatessens, boutiques and other sorts of specialist retailers offering high quality non-standard goods and services” (Lyons, 2005).

Coffee was becoming a common household staple, but the preparation of coffee wasn’t convenient for those who didn’t have access to electricity or who traveled frequently on foot, such as soldiers. In order to abate the dilemma, instant coffee was born. Instant coffee had its humble beginnings during times of war in the 1950s when providing soldiers with the benefits of caffeine was cumbersome using traditional brewing methods in transit. Many experiments were conducted, crediting a European immigrant named George Washington with the first semi-successful commercial production of instant coffee in the beginning of the 1900s. It wasn’t until Nestle coffee manufacturers began freeze drying their coffee surplus in the same manner as they did powdered milk that instant coffee began to take a more perfected form, and consumption increased remarkably during World War II. “The United States represented the largest consuming market for instant coffee in the 1950s, but world consumption was also expanding rapidly…” (Talbot, 1997) Instant coffee consumption was rampant in Switzerland where the Nestle Corporation is based, as well as in Europe, Australia, Canada, and Japan during the postwar occupation in the early 1960s (Talbot, 1997).

Instant coffee seemed to threaten the capacity of brewed coffee to thrive. “Small-scale independent coffee roasters and retailers did survive in the 1950s, most specifically in San Francisco and New York. New York, home to many immigrants of Italian extraction, had long maintained a tradition of selling fresh coffee though its restaurants and cafes, and now began to import the new, more user-friendly, commercial espresso machines from Europe” (Lyons, 2005).

Though consumption of instant coffee began to decline in industrialized countries a decade later, it increased worldwide. Third world countries, most notably in Asia, began to include coffee in the culture as a result. In the Philippines, for example, due to the ease of preparation and the resulting futility of electricity, coffee can be served anywhere. I went snorkeling in the middle of the ocean during my most recent trip. There was a small hut about 6 miles from land that had all the diving gear, which served as sort of a home base for the snorkelers as well as a mini makeshift 7-11. It was accessible only by boat, and even with no electricity they were still able to sell coffee [as well as cigarettes and snacks]. Thanks to hot water containers and instant coffee packets of the coffee + cream + sugar 3-in-1 variety, I was able to enjoy a decent cup of my drug of choice before diving in.

Coffee is a very important part of my personal culture. As mentioned earlier, I too engage in meetings at coffee houses, as well as use them as a place to study. I have a cup of coffee every morning, and to my possible health detriment, several more cups throughout the day. I have always enjoyed the taste of coffee and coffee-based products and have become some sort of a connoisseur of different roasts, blends from other regions, and coffee-based beverage varieties. One of my favorites is Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, which has a rich flavor without much bitterness. Another varietal is called Barako, which is grown in the Philippines. It is a little bitter, but the flavor is quite bold. I have volleyed back and forth between my preferences for dark and medium roasted coffees. I am in a transition phase at the moment from French roast to Verona, both Starbucks brand beans. I find that Verona is very good for a relaxing coffee session, whereas French roast is all business.

Oddly enough, there are specific types of coffee whose preparation methods I favor due largely in part by the feeling the particular variety may evoke. For example, there is a bakery in the heart of Chinatown in New York City called Mei Lai Wah that my dad always took me to. They sold a variety of products, but none drew me in closer than their coffee. All you have to order is a small regular. I don’t know what they put in there, what blend they use, or even how old the coffee is but for some reason it’s just absolutely amazing. It comes in the classic blue and white Greek style “We Are Happy to Serve You” cup with the plastic lid that you have to rip open.

This assignment fed my appetite for wanting to know the “why” and “how” of the way things are. It had not occurred to me the exact reason as to why lighter roasts had more caffeine, but further exploration taught me the science behind it. I wouldn’t change much about the assignment except maybe to have been able to have better supply resources in order to provide the class with a larger variety of samples. I also could have been able to teach more information about coffee and its history if I had more time. All in all, this project was an excellent opportunity to learn more and share almost everything about the drink I love most.

References:

Cook, R. (2001). CoSIC – the Coffee Science Information Centre: who we are and what we provide . Nutrition Bulletin , 26, 313-315.

Eskelinen, M. H. (2010). Caffeine as a Protective Factor in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease , 20, 167-174.

Hecˇimovic ́, I., Belšcˇak-Cvitanovic ́, A., Horzˇic ́, D., & Komes, D. (2011). Comparative study of polyphenols and caffeine in different coffee varieties affected by the degree of roasting. Food Chemistry , 129, 991-1000.

Hemler, A. (2009, November 24). Serious Eats. Retrieved February 19, 2012, from Coffee Chronicles: Coffee’s History In America, A Short Primer: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/11/coffee-chronicles-coffee-in-america-new-amsterdam-market-starbucks.html

Janecka, L. (2010, July/August). The Roast with the Most. Psychology Today , 44-45.

Lyons, J. (2005). Think Seattle, Act Globally. Cultural Studies , 19 (1), 14-34.

Talbot, J. M. (1997). The Struggle for Control of a Commodity Chain: Instant Coffee from Latin America. Latin American Research Review , 32 (2), 117-135.

Tse, W. S., Chan , C. S., Shiu, S. K., Chung, P. A., & Cheng, S. H. (2009). Caffeinated coffee enhances co-operative behavior in the Mixed Motive Game in healthy volunteers. Nutritional Neuroscience , 12 (1), 21-27.

©Rosavida Michaela Cruz, DTR

Back-A-Yard Grill - East Palo Alto, CA

A restaurant review project from my undergrad studies:

Restaurant Experience Paper

February 6, 2012

One brisk Friday night, after perusing through the stylish, sleek, throwaway, mass-produced industrial goods of Scandinavia at the Ikea in East Palo Alto, California, I worked up quite an appetite. The friend that I was with suggested that we dine at a place not too far from here – a place of magical deliciousness and food coma-inducing wonder. What is this place, you ask? Back-A-Yard Caribbean American Grill, located on 1189 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. [It’s located on a small side street that is easy to miss, and the parking is terrible the neighborhood is a bit sketchy – but so worth it.]

            What does the name mean? They will gladly tell you. Back-a-yard is a Jamaican rooted term used to basically describe the way in which things are done, or in this case, the way food is prepared, “back home.” Caribbean cooking involves many elements of world cuisine, influences from East India, Africa, Europe, and Asia to name a few. Sadly, this is due to the European’s transport of enslaved Africans to the islands, as well as further colonization by the Chinese and East Indian indentured laborers. The flavors used in Caribbean cuisine are easily detectable by even the most simple of palates, such as cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and all-spice.

            One of the most popular flavor staples in Jamaican cuisine is Jerk spice, which they use to season various proteins, mostly as a dry rub for grilling. Jerk is a spicy mixture of All-spice and Scotch bonnet peppers, which are cousins of the Habanero pepper. It also has cloves, cinnamon, thyme, salt, nutmeg, and green onion, giving it a very distinct flavor and heat.

            When I walked in there for my long-anticipated dinner, I didn’t know where to begin. I had a lot of time to decide because the small restaurant only seats around ten or so people and the line was out the door. After reading and re-reading the menu, I thought that I should try some sort of Jerk style protein first as it is the only thing that looked even remotely familiar as something I’d heard in passing or on television. I decided instead to be adventurous, to go big or go home. After smelling the fragrant aroma floating through the place, I was not going to go home. Jamaican beef patties are the extent to which I had been previously introduced to Jamaican cuisine. Growing up on the East Coast, many of my cohorts were of Guyanese descent. I’d always smelled the things, but never really dared to try them. An empanada-like yellow pocket of smushy meat that resembled something else wasn’t very appealing to me in my younger days, but an expedition such as this one full of dares and obligation to become more culturally adept motivated me to just take a bite.

            I’m glad I did. I ordered the following: Jamaican beef patty, beef oxtails, rice & beans, fried plantains, and sweet potato pudding with a Jamaican Malta to wash it all down.

            Let us begin. The Jamaican beef patty is one of the most amazing amalgamations of flavor I’d ever experienced [that is, up until the entrée]. The seemingly pulverized meat seasoned with jerk spices and curry just melted into every single one of my flavor receptors and slowly but surely I found myself getting lost in an abyss of food bliss. The pastry shell, laced with curry is what tied it all together as further mastication broke down of the starch molecules and released a simple and subtle sweetness with the tiny kick of spice. Amazing.

            Despite my old habits and compulsion to have more more more, I fought the salivation evoked by my appetizer and pressed on. The beef oxtails, though had once been a portion of something flapping around the backside of a cow, was not bad at all. In fact, it was divine. The protein was slow cooked in a stew of thyme, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, onion, and yes, LOVE. It was served with a side of perfectly cooked and seasoned rice, black eyed peas, and butter beans, which despite their name, are actually a variation of lima beans that are low in fat and high in iron and fiber. The plantains they cooked perfectly had been ripened to a dark yellow/blackish exterior color, adding a great sweetness and moisture to the dish. The sweet potato pudding had hints of ginger and nutmeg in it, and texturally resembled a very creamy and decadent Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Jamaican malta is a carbonated malt beverage made from hops, barley, and water. Despite the similarities to alcoholic beer preparation, malta is non-alcoholic because it does not undergo the fermentation process. It tasted like thin, bubbly molasses and was a great complement to the meal.

            These dishes are common foods that would be served on a daily basis, whether at home or a local restaurant in Jamaica. The low temperature and slow cooking method makes the preparation of these dishes reasonably affordable due to the ability to buy lower quality tough cuts of meat. The oxtail stew resembled many dishes in Filipino cuisine, but I am not heavily rooted in the foods of the culture with which I grew up because it is generally high in sugar, fat, and cholesterol. Jamaican food is no exception, though I would be willing to make an occasional exception.

©Rosavida Michaela Cruz, DTR

Made with #MakersMark #Whiskey #Bourbon, #ginger, #cayennepepper, #honey, #lemons, #oranges, and #love. (To the best of my recollection) #nomnomnom (at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

Made with #MakersMark #Whiskey #Bourbon, #ginger, #cayennepepper, #honey, #lemons, #oranges, and #love. (To the best of my recollection) #nomnomnom (at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

(Source: fifty-sicks)

My #OCD be like… #chopchop #knifeskills #foodsafety #precision, yo. (prep for French #onion #soup #nomnomnom) (at San Francisco, California)

My #OCD be like… #chopchop #knifeskills #foodsafety #precision, yo. (prep for French #onion #soup #nomnomnom) (at San Francisco, California)

(Source: fifty-sicks)

#WILSON!!! #castaway #toothache #gonemad #celeryroot #kitchen

#WILSON!!! #castaway #toothache #gonemad #celeryroot #kitchen

(Source: fifty-sicks)

Extra #spicy soft #tofu stew & one handed egg droppin’ #likeabawss. #nomnomnom @vejini #thunderthighthursday (at Todam Tofu House)

(Source: fifty-sicks)

Yelp! review of Trader Joe’s @ Stonestown

7/28/2014

Time and again this Trader Joe’s tries to sell poorly refrigerated foods under the rationale that it is before the expiration date. Obviously spoilage has been accelerated due to inadequate refrigerated storage temps. :( (See photos.) Last week the fresh cabbage couscous salad thing looked like sauerkraut and it was still being sold. I’ve also observed that ready-to-eat grab-n-go foods take a pretty long time to get from the storage crate to the refrigerated shelves. Just make sure you check the contents of any cold items your purchase and bring it to the management’s attention if you find anything amiss. At least the customer service is good.

“Keeping Up with the Garcias, the Chans, and the Joneses: The Importance of Cultural Competence and the Diversification of the Dietetics Profession”

By: Rosavida Michaela Cruz aka @foodnarc

The United States has been aptly referred to as the “melting pot” of the world, marked by multiculturalism resulting from the immigration of people from foreign nations throughout the years. The US Census Bureau estimates that by the year 2050, the US population will increase to 420 million people. (Haughton & Stang, 2012) Of that number, it is posited that “50% of the population will be white non-Hispanic, 14% black, 24% Hispanic, 8% Asian, and 4% other” (p. S35). This is a stark contrast to current dietetics workforce demographics which show that the Registered Dietitian (RD) population in the US is “predominantly female, white/non-Hispanic or Latino, and in their mid-40s,” a large portion of whom are “considering retirement by 2019.” (p. S35) To be specific, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012 Needs Satisfaction Survey cited membership demographics as 55,462 RDs, with 85% self-reporting as white non-Hispanic/Latino, 4% Asian, 3% Hispanic/Latino, 3% black or African American, and 1% “other” (White & Beto, 2013).

The diversity of the general population versus current RD demographics is a cause for concern because long-term illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes affect a growing number of minority populations in the US. “Approximately 13% of African Americans, 10% of Hispanics, and 16.3% of American Indians and Alaska Natives have diabetes, compared to the 8.7% of non-Hispanic whites” (Goody & Drago, 2009). The prevalence of diabetes among minority populations calls for a significant change in the way dietetic professionals treat and educate their patients. “The shift in the racial and ethnic background of the US population will require that dietetics practitioners be knowledgeable of the health care needs and food-related customs of people from a variety of backgrounds, including those from other parts of the world” (Haughton & Stang, 2012). According to Lambert, Kim, Molaison, & Tidwell (2012), the increasing multicultural population makes it essential for RDs to have “greater awareness, language skills, counseling sensitivity, and knowledge of the nutritional values of ethnic foods.” The purpose of this approach is to create and environment of comfort and understanding in hopes to facilitate a stronger and more lasting professional connection with the patient. Therefore, it is important to have well-researched, patient-centered care that takes into consideration the vast differences in cultural practices, beliefs, and perspectives of each individual.

Haughton & Stang (2012) found that:

“Health disparities disproportionately affect particular population groups, such as minority populations, those less educated, and those living in poverty. Individuals within these groups might know what a healthful diet is, but what they consume is influenced by social, governmental, and legal systems that negatively affect their ability to consume a healthful diet and be physically active – for example, fresh fruits and vegetables might not be available or affordable, and neighborhoods might be unsafe for physical activity.” (p. S38)

Cultural competency is defined by the National Association of School Psychologists (2003) as a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.” Understanding a patient’s culture and the way it affects their family dynamics, perceptions of food, and sense of self is a key proficiency for ensuring patient satisfaction with treatment plans. Considering the patient’s ethnic background and integrating cultural constructs creates a sense of respect and understanding for the client, which can subsequently lead to greater compliance and successful outcomes. Healthcare providers should be sociologically adept and continue to develop these skills throughout their careers.

Satia-Abouta, Patterson, Neuhouser, & Elder (2002) have suggested that the patient assessment that the dietitian can perform should include:

-       Knowing what questions to ask about determinants of, barriers to, and changes in eating patterns. For example, household composition (i.e. whether parents or children live in the home) may be critical to understanding the dietary patterns of some Asian Americans.

-       Making sure that advice given does not directly contradict deeply held beliefs of the client, resulting in loss of credibility for the dietetics professional.

-       Determining the degree to which dietary counseling should be focused on maintaining traditional eating habits and/or adopting the healthful aspects of Western eating. (p. 1117)

However, cultural competence is not the only solution. Studies have shown that the diversity of the profession promotes the use of healthcare services by underrepresented groups who “are more likely to seek services from professionals whom they see as similar to themselves.” (Haughton & Stang, 2012) The disproportionality between dietetics professionals and the growing minority population is an issue that has been under scrutiny by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for years. White & Beto (2013) have stated that “multiple publications have voiced that the ethnic profile of RDs should reflect national demographics, calling for a mandate to change the ethnic profile of the dietetics profession,” and that “it is important for the organization and food and nutrition practitioners, including educators, to better understand the challenges that minorities face that prevent them from entering the profession.”

Many barriers to diversity have been identified, particularly those involving students at the undergraduate level. Hindrances include the competitive internship application process, inadequate financial resources, high cost of education, socioeconomic status of students, the shortage of preceptors, and the scarcity of strong mentorship to name a few (White & Beto, 2013). It is important for people within the profession to understand the obstacles that exist for less privileged students and make efforts to alleviate them.

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education) has taken steps toward a solution. The accreditation standards were revised to include the requirement that “students [should be] able to apply knowledge of the role of environment, food, and lifestyle choices to develop interventions to affect change and enhance wellness in diverse individuals and groups” (White & Beto, 2013).

ACEND also updated their mission statement to include:

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics mission and vision are most effectively realized through a diverse membership. As in all health professions, diversity is necessary for access to and the quality of services for the public. The Academy values and respects the diverse viewpoints and individual differences of all people. (White & Beto, 2013).

“In 2000, there were 9,798 students enrolled in Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPDs). By 2008 there were 15,624, representing a 160% increase. This swelling in enrollment in undergraduate DPD programs without a corresponding increase in internship slots resulted in 50% of students receiving appointments in the April 2008 match” (White & Beto, 2013). According to White & Beto (2013), a study conducted by Dominican University in River Forest, IL suggests that a scarcity of preceptors also contributes to the lack of workforce diversity due to the resulting shortage of internship slots, which increases competitiveness. The primary cause for the inadequate number of preceptors is the voluntary basis on which they participate in the internship process. Therefore, a group clinical preceptor trial was conducted wherein the preceptors were paid for their time. “Providing our own clinical preceptors provides the ability to hire RD and support staff from ethnically diverse back- grounds. The preceptors also serve as mentors, which expands the cultural exposure of interns” (p.773). Though costly, this solution seems to be the most effective in addressing the diversity issue on the internship application level. Suggestions for changing the dietetic undergraduate curricuclum include the mandate of culturally explorative classes, the incorporation of preparing ethnic dishes into foodservice courses, and taking class trips to ethnic grocery stores and food festivals in an effort to increase exposure to different cultural practices. A stronger minority presence is also suggested for dietetics conferences and local dietetic association meetings.

The imminent trend of polyethnic population growth poses an interesting and exciting challenge for healthcare professionals, particularly within the realm of nutrition and dietetics. “To be effective in encouraging clients to make healthier food choices and improving health outcomes, healthcare professionals must possess specific knowledge about food habits, preferences, and practices (e.g. holidays, celebrations, and fasting practices) for ethnic and racial groups they see in their practice.” (Goody & Drago, 2009).  Dietetics professionals also “need to have awareness, knowledge, and skills that enable effective cross-cultural interactions that positively affect interventions and professional exchanges” (Haughton & Stang, 2012). It is therefore imperative to be able to draw from a broad foundation of cultural understanding to ensure successful patient/client outcomes.

Food is both alimentary and elementary. As a basic necessity according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Martin & Joomis, 2007), food plays an integral part of life, not just for nourishment of the body, but also for the sustenance of the spirit and the mind. The role that food plays in people’s lives varies with each culture. It is a symbol of cultural identity, a reason for social interaction, and an energy source on which to survive. It is up to dietetics practitioners and nutrition counselors to educate clients and show them the strong connection between food and health. The most efficient method of providing such optimized care involves not only a solid foundation of medical nutrition therapy, but also adeptness in incorporating cultural competence into the nutrition care process for sustained positive outcomes.

References:

Goody, C., & Drago, L. (2009). Using Cultural Competence Constructs to Understand Food Practices and Provide Diabetes Care and Education. 22 (1), pp. 43-47.

Haughton, B., & Stang, J. (2012). Population Risk Factors and Trends in Health Care and Public Policy. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , 112 (Supplement 1), S35-S46.

Lambert, L., Kim, Y. H., Molaison, E. F., & Tidwell, D. K. (2012). Dietetics Students’ Cultural Food Knowledge and Experience with Various Cultures. Journal of Foodservice Management & Education , 6 (2), 6-9.

Martin, D., & Joomis, K. (2007). Text material adapted from D. Martin and K. Joomis, Building Teachers: A Constructivist Approach to Introducing Education. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from Wadsworth Cengage Learning - Resource Uploads: http://www.cengage.com/resource_uploads/downloads/0495570540_162121.pdf 

National Association of School Psychologists. (2003). Defining Cultural Competence . Bethesda, MD, USA.

Satia-Abouta, J., Patterson, R., Neuhouser, M., & Elder, J. (2002). Dietary Acculturation: Applications to Nutrition Research and Dietetics. Journal of the American Dietetic Association , 102 (8), 1105-1118. 

Tiedje, K., Wieland, M., Meiers, S., Mohammed, A., Formea, C., Ridgeway, J., et al. (2014). A focus group study of healthy eating, knowledge, practices, and barriers among adult and adolescent immigrants and refugees in the United States. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity , 11 (63), 1-16.

US Census Bureau. (2010). Minority Populations. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from Rural Assistance Center: http://www.raconline.org/racmaps/mapfiles/minority.jpg

US Census Bureau. (2012). US Census Bureau Projections Show a Slower Growing, Older, More Diverse Nation Half a Century from Now. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from US Census Bureau Newsroom: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/img/racehispanic_graph.jpg

White, J. (2013). “Hearing the Voices”: African American Nutrition Educators Speak About Racism in Dietetics. Journal of Critical Dietetics , 1 (3), 26-35.

White, J., & Beto, J. (2013). Strategies for Addressing the Internship Shortage and Lack of Ethnic Diversity in Dietetics. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , 113 (6), 771-775.

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.

George Bernard Shaw

Nerd Humor.

My friend told me that my nutrition wordplay is pretty #pun-ny. Now #kale me crazy, but I #zinc #iron-ed it.

You are what what you eat eats.

Michael Pollan