On Thursday, February 16, the Culinary Medicine teaching kitchen was filled with all the aromas of a delicious heart-healthy meal. February was Heart Health month, so we made it a point to celebrate with some New Orleans Red Beans and Rice. We partnered with the Arkansas Minority Health Commission’s Southern Ain’t Fried Sundays (SAFS) program to present our first Facebook Live collaborative event. Our mission was to combine the nutritional education portion of culinary medicine with the ideology of SAFS.
“Southern Ain’t Fried Sundays has a unique approach to helping Arkansans eat healthier by educating people about how to make healthy swaps and prepare traditional, familiar meals in healthier ways. By starting with what is familiar, participants may feel more comfortable incorporating alternatives rather than feeling like they have to start something brand new,” said Alyssa Frisby, RD, and co-instructor of the Facebook Live series. “The partnership between Culinary Medicine and Southern Ain’t Fried Sundays allows us to present easy-to-understand nutrition information and practical culinary skills for the home kitchen to participants, while showing them how to revamp traditional meals into tasty variations that will contribute to better health.”
So why did we cook beans? Because they are familiar. Red Beans and Rice is a classic southern dish. That is what SAFS does. They take a traditional recipe and put a healthy spin on it. For example, cooking with beans and leaving out the meat can be a fantastic way to be kind to your heart. Beans are not only tasty, but they are also a nutritious source of protein and fiber.
While everything turned out delicious, that was not even the best part. One of the most rewarding aspects of the partnership was being able to hand out free meal kits to participating families. The first 20 families to sign up automatically received supplies. The kits consisted of all the necessary ingredients to cook along with us. Co-instructor Ronda Gilbert-Hines said “SAFS is a great program to help jump-start your healthy lifestyle change. Plus, it’s free!”
Don’t worry if you missed out. This was the first in a series of Southern Ain’t Fried Sundays and UAMS Culinary Medicine Facebook Live events. We look forward to doing it again on May 18, August 24, and November 16 (6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.). Mark your calendars and be sure to get in on this opportunity to kick-start your health goals.