Food Health, History and Safety

Food Health

Family reunion focuses on health

The Nash Family Reunion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, theme was Celebrating the Past, Enriching the Present, Inspiring the Future in 2005. On Friday, they feasted on old-fashioned, calorie-laden cooking on a trip to the family’s ancestral home in St. Landry Parish. Nash descendants (including physicians) pigged out. They took a bus tour of significant family history sites in Palmetto, where they heard stories of their late matriarch, Constance Johnson Nash, an herbologist who died at nearly 100 years old.

Laura Nash Clifton, reunion co-chair with Hazel F. Buggs, said they ate “the fat of the land,” things her great grandparents would have eaten – barbecued ribs, boudin, hog cracklings, boiled shrimp and fried fish.

Besides indulging in dishes deemed unhealthy (though darn good), there’s a health-conscious point. “We cannot eat the way our ancestors ate,” Clifton said, “obviously because there were many factors that helped them avoid health problems and obesity. They were more active because they were all farmers and farm laborers. We are so sedentary.”

Clifton gave a cooking demonstration of healthy dishes. The objective was to motivate family members to adopt healthy lifestyles and take charge of their own health, especially since African Americans have long been at higher risk for chronic health problems.

“We decided to have the health and wellness clinic because we have many health professionals in the family,” Clifton said. There were presentations about the obesity epidemic, stroke and its warning signs, the importance of health and of tissue/organ donations.

A friend of Clifton’s talked about donating a kidney to her sister. Another presentation addressed dental health and gum disease. One family member who is a low-vision specialist talked about aging eyes, and Clifton, a registered dietitian, discussed nutrition, in addition to her heart-healthy cooking demonstration. Registered nurses in the family coordinated blood-pressure screening.

From a story by Donald Lee in The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Eating healthy on the road

There are small switches in meal choices that can save calories and pack your body full of nutrients while you’re traveling. The single most important step in eating well when traveling is to take control of your food choices.

According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, many vacationers not only over-eat, but eat less healthy foods. Sixty-seven percent of us finish our entrees (American Institute of Cancer Research), which translates into bad news since many restaurant portions are more food than most people actually need.

Consider the following tips to help Americans-on-the-go travel light:

  • If traveling by car, pack sandwiches and fresh fruit in a cooler or picnic basket to control what you eat and save time and money.
  • Keep dried fruit or trail mix handy instead of candy.
  • Pack pre-cut baby carrots, celery or bell peppers in resealable bags for snacking.
  • Pack dips (ranch dressing, peanut butter or hummus) in resealable containers.
  • Freeze grapes and small cubes of low-fat cheese so they are cool for the trip.
  • For convenience, include pre-packaged fruit slices or vegetables and buy peanut butter in a squeezable tube (great on apple slices or granola bars).
  • Drink low-fat milk or water rather than soda.
  • Watch portion sizes. Share an appetizer or entrée. Choose two appetizers instead of an entrée.
  • For more healthy eating advice, visit