For those of you who have been following, you may realize that we at Zomppa are hoping to transform the way we relate and *meet* food – anybody know someone willing to donate a bus? I’m not joking….
…in any case, as part of this goal, I have been learning as much as I can to help raise awareness of healthy eating, especially among young children. About two months ago, I spent a couple days in gorgeous, hot Charleston, South Carolina. I was blown away by the grandeur of the majestic homes there and intrigued by all the little hidden gardens behind iron gates.
I was there for a workshop to become a Certified Food Educator through the Food Studies Institute, an innovative organization started in 1999 by the amazing and legendary Dr. Antonia Demas. Dr. Demas is a visionary gentlewoman who is not afraid to challenge, question, and educate. She realized when she was a young mother that her children weren’t always getting real food in schools.
So she decided to bring real – and whole – foods back to schools and homes. She went to get her PhD and worked with T. Colin Campbell of The China Study. She then developed a brilliant curriculum – Food is Elementary – about nutrition, healthy eating, and cultures around the world (sound like Zomppa? It’s like finding family!) It is a vegetarian-based curriculum utilizing tons of grains and whole wheats and fruits and vegetables. I was beyond impressed by some of amazing dishes we learned to make.
This workshop was hosted by Field to Plate, a food education company started by the incredible and committed Amanda Archibald. The workshop was held in an amazing beach house on Folly Beach, 15 minutes from downtown Charleston. There, I met some amazing women from all over the U.S. from all walks of life. What we share is the passion for good, healthy food and for a way to raise awareness in others how and why this issue is critical. For example, one dynamo, Tina Ruggiero, also known as the Gourmet Nutritionist, is coming out with a healthy baby food cookbook later this year (more to come!).
One particular dish Dr. Demas taught us was this amazing flourless fruit tart – so easy! Instead of flour, we used nuts, dates, dried fruit, cinnamon and vanilla as the base. Water binds it. Coconut flakes add flavor. Then you top it off with all the fruit you want. Voila! No flour, no baking, just for good-for-you-goodness.
Of course, the week was not all just us cooking – we had to explore Charleston and all its amazing restaurants, such as Slightly North of Broad with its ridiculous shrimp and grits. These grits were no joke.
Charleston is the perfect food town, perfect for folks like me to chew over how to best raise awareness that food is something we cannot take lightly, especially with our children. Workshops like this and people like Dr. Antonia Demas and Amanda Archibald all help towards this goal.
And contemplating how to do this on the beach is not a bad place to be.
About the Author (Author Profile)With a flair for spontaneity, pizzazz, creative excellence and her own unique sense of aesthetic grace and perspective, we have our very dear friend, Belinda (or B, to some of us). Although an incredibly accomplished professional and career woman, B’s down-to-earth approach and demeanor transcends all scenarios, communities and people. She manifests, in her day-to-day, the essence of the word “Zomppa” as demonstrated by her extraordinary commitment to creating sustainable and positive change for us and future generations to come. She’s asked for a dog every year since she was five. Check out Belinda’s work on global education research and coaching: www.hummingbirdrcc.com or more about her portfolio www.belindachiu.com.
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