A presentation on how to be confident in working with folks from different countries and cultures as a dietitian (I did this presentation to regional association meetings about 8 years ago, but still very relevant).
The World is getting smaller
America has always been a land of immigrants and
has attracted folks from all over the world.
It has regional cuisines and year by year more ethic
grocery stores and restaurants are opening.
Food and culture go hand in hand and make us who
A little about me..
I am a Brit, married to an Indian living here with 2
I have traveled extensively and have a passion for
learning about other cultures and cuisines.
I have a food blog chow and chatter.
Gloria Tsang @HealthCastleGlo frying/stir frying are known in Chinese dishes in
N. America. Steaming indeed is the most common way of Chinese cooking
Janice Pattie @serialcrafter yes they think Scots eat Haggis and deep fried Mars
Jacqueline Roll @how2beagourmand deep fried mars bars..need I say more
Andy Bellati @andybellatti That Latin food is the same throughout all of Central
America. So much Variety from country to country
Ilke Turkish food is Greek or Arab Food http://www.ilkeskitchen.com/
Christy Wilson RD @Christyschomp when studying for the RD exam, typical
Mexican food was generalized as “liberal in fat.” I’ll never forget that.
Beth Anne -"The English have 200 religions and only one sauce." – Voltaire This
perception of English cooking as bland and unimaginative seems pervasive.
Velva Mosher Knapp “That Americans only eat hamburgers.”
Elizabeth Besa Quirino Filipino food is often misunderstood. Those who haven't
tried it think recipes are difficult to do & ingredients are hard to find. NOT true.
See my blog to find out the real easy story ! www.asianinamericamag.com
Mely Mtz That Every dish we cook is spicy. That taco bell and Chipotle is
Mexican food. And the list can go on http://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/
Claudia Ingliss Haas That Olive Garden is Italian
@FridaHernandezB a dietitian in Raleigh NC from Mexico That everything is
spicy or drowning in cheese
Michael Tan @kookabar When people say that all Filipino dishes are greasy and
unhealthy. Our food is as diverse as its people.
Many childhood memories are about food.
We celebrate occasions with food
Its key to embrace your clients culture and cuisine be
willing to learn and let them guide you as you
counsel on diet.
Did you know?
The Navajo are the largest Indian tribe in the United States. They live on the largest
reservation in the U.S. which covers over three states on 17 million acres in the Four
Corners area of the southwest.
NYC’s China town with a population of 90,000 to 100,000 is one of the oldest
enclaves of Chinese outside of Asia
In the 2010 Census there are 50.5 million Hispanics and 14.5 million Asians.
The highest Indian population is in silicon valley
In 1990, an estimated 90,000 Hmong refugees moved to the United States most in
Twin Cities area of Minnesota, California, and areas of Wisconsin
Hmong food is usually home grown. Meats are usually fresh, home butchered, and
shared among clan members to keep storage time short.
India has at least 6 religions and each shapes food customs
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the America
and Canada celebrating African Heritage from Dec 26th to
The King cake is a New Orleans tradition eaten on January
6th it even has a baby trinket in it, thought to represent
For more than 200 years, homemade apple pie has been a
popular dessert in the United States - so much so that the
expression “as American as apple pie” is used to describe
anything considered typically American.
Charleston’s The Post and Courier opined in 1952 that “Given
enough [grits], the inhabitants of planet Earth would have
nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.
Religious Food Practices
Hindu – mostly from India, can be strict vegetarian with no eggs. Or Just no beef (the
cow is Holy in India), no pork either. Often no alcohol.
Jain- no meat, vegetarian, no eggs and no onion and garlic
Muslim – no pork and Halal meat although it varies between individuals, no alcohol,
fasting is observed during Ramadan.
Jewish – observe special holidays and often fast, can be fully kosher need to ask
Mormon – no alcohol no caffeine
Buddhist / Chinese often believe in ying and yang and hot and cold foods
Tips to embrace culture and
Don’t just read do….
Go to food festivals in your town
Visit local ethnic stores and don’t be afraid to ask for help
Get recipe books from library
Read food blogs
Travel as able
Visit local ethnic restaurants ask your clients where they eat
Let Client guide you…
Use motivational interviewing to guide discussion,
then as you learn their cuisine work into meal plan
ideas in collaboration with them.
OARS – open ended questions, Affirmation,
Consider a home visit, I once visited a Pakistani’s girl’s
home with diabetes and celiac condition with the nurse.
Take a cooking class
Plan a grocery store tour with your client
If there is a support group have a pot luck for each person
to bring their own cuisine
Tweet and connect with food bloggers for recipe idea’s
and help adapting recipes if a healthier version is needed.
Seek stores that sell ethnic food familiar to client and learn the
nutritional value of the foods
Consider making photo cards of familiar food to use along with my
Tweet with dietitians around the world for tips and resources
Ask about family dynamics, when I worked with a Pakistani
community the wife’s would frequently tell me that a lot of oil in the
curry made it taste good and that their husband’s liked it that way.
Global RD list on twitter
Food and culture pinterest board
Professional dietetic associations
You tube cooking videos
American Overseas Dietetic Association - http://eatrightoverseas.org/
But remember your client is your greatest resource
By embracing global cuisine, I feel you will better
serve your clients and increase the chances of them
adopting a healthier lifestyle.
It will also broaden your personal horizons, jazzing
up the food you cook at home, who knows you may
get the travel bug and take trips and cooking lessons