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    Beyond the Table

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | March 3rd, 2024

    Beyond the Table

    As most of you know by now, I am obsessed with food. I am so amazed at how human beings have taken something that is to be nourishing for our bodies and created food that can kill us. We do not have to add sugar to everything, but we will do anything for profit even though we know it might hurt us. I am obsessed with food because I know we can do better, but there is no money to be made if everyone ate healthily and exercised regularly.  

    March is not just any month- it is National Nutrition Month®. This annual campaign, spearheaded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is a golden opportunity for everyone to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.

    I am excited about the theme this year – Beyond the Table. It is not just about what is on our plate but our food’s journey to get there. Imagine the fields where our vegetables grow, the trucks that transport our groceries, the safety measures we take in our kitchens. Consider the different ways we eat- at home, on the go, at work, at events. How do we ensure that what we are consuming truly nourishes us?

    I remember when I took my children to Nigeria many years ago. They wanted chicken for dinner but were expecting a pre-packaged version from a supermarket. Instead, we went to a marketplace where chickens were running around freely. We chose one; it was killed in front of us and cut into pieces. I brought it home and prepared dinner. My children were initially taken aback and refused to eat, but I explained that this was probably the healthiest chicken they could eat- no antibiotics, no hormones, just fresh, free-range chicken.

    This month is all about really thinking about our food. What happens to the food before it gets to our plate? I believe that for every food on my plate, I should be able to trace its origins. If chicken is on my plate, I can imagine the chicken running around. I will never put a hot dog on my plate because I cannot trace its origins. There is no animal named hot dog. 

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has ideas for celebrating the month. Below are their weekly ideas:

    Week 1: Stay Nourished on any budget – Use a grocery list and shop for sales when purchasing food. Cooking at home can save you money.

    Week 2: See a Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN) – You ask your health care provider for a referral. Most insurance companies cover RDN, especially if you have a chronic disease. Remember to specify your health goals.

    Week 3: Eat various foods from all food groups – Try new fruits and vegetables. You can always check out my Instagram @ngozi.osuagwu. I tried 100 different fruits.

    Week 4: Eat with the environment in mind – Get creative with leftovers and ways to reduce food waste.

    Check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. There is a lot of nutrition information and more ideas of ways you can celebrate this month.

    4 Responses to “Beyond the Table”

    1. Thanks for the important message.

    2. Linda K. Jackson says:

      Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! I, too, am obsessed with food, and extremely upset about this country moving towards “food-like products “. I strive to “eat to live; not live to eat”, and am very cognizant of what I eat. I’m not perfect; sometimes fall “off the wagon “, but my body quickly gets me back in check because I feel right crappy when I haven’t been eating right! I truly hope that you consider writing a book of your fruit journey!

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        Thank you for your continued support. Yes, we are not perfect and do fall off the wagon. When we listen to our body, we give ourselves grace and get back on the wagon. Thanks for always encouraging me to take the next steps.

    Leave a Reply

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