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Find Your Food Traditions

June 2, 2008

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When you think of Americans, what type of food do you imagine?   Most of us are not eating locally grown foods, we are eating foods that we can easily grab at a fast food restaurant or convenient store. We are more likely to gravitate towards a flashy carton of cookies that promises weight loss than foods that your grandmother fed you.

The new book, Renewing America’s Food Traditions, (RAFT) sheds light on the history of food traditions in America. Instead of buying prepackaged foods, the RAFT project suggests we look at the climate, soil, geography and traditional foods from where we live for our nourishment. Have you ever seen a Big Mac growing in your backyard?

Founding partners of RAFT divided North America into “food nations”, made up by the foods that naturally thrive in each region. Here are a few examples:

  • "Acorn Nation" - Fish and plants are native to the mountains, valleys and coastal plains of the Pacific coast.  
  • "Chile Pepper Nation" - Wild, edible cacti and legumes thrive in the southern Colorado Plateau and Mohave deserts.
  • "Clambake Nation" - Shellfish, fish, fruits, berries and root vegetables thrive on the Atlantic coast and north of the Chesapeake Bay.

Look beyond your grocery store and nourish your body and soul with locally grown foods.

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.