Healthier Soul Food Cookbook takes fresh approach for “Go Red” Heart Health Month


— The Healthier Traditions Cookbook: Soul Food, a healthy twist on traditional Southern dishes, features 17 classic recipes and is available for complimentary download.

The cookbook, a collaboration of Transamerica Center for Health Studies® (TCHS) with the Association of Black Women Physicians (ABWP), helps maintain the integrity of these soul food dishes, while identifying easy steps people can take to enjoy healthier versions. Each recipe was adapted and tested by two nutritionists to ensure an increase in nutritional value and decrease in caloric value.

According to the American Heart Association, “heart disease is the No. 1 killer for all Americans, and stroke is also a leading cause of death. As frightening as those statistics are, the risks of getting those diseases are even higher for African-Americans. High blood pressure, obesity and diabetes are the most common conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.”

The American Heart Association highlights more startling statistics:

•Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African-American women annually.

•Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart diseases.

•Only one in five African-American women believes she is personally at risk.

•Only 52 percent of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

•Only 36 percent of African-American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.

Recipes in the cookbook include Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, Pan-fried Catfish, Smothered Pork Chops, and Peach Cobbler, and have a breakdown of the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber and protein content of the dish. In addition, how-to videos that highlight the preparation of some of the dishes are available on TCHS’s website and YouTube channel.

“Transamerica Center for Health Studies is proud to partner with the Association of Black Women Physicians to create a soul food cookbook that increases the nutritional value of these recipes while keeping the heartiness of Southern favorites,” said Hector De La Torre, executive director of TCHS. “This is the third cookbook we have prepared and, consistent with our values, these recipes help to improve health and wellness. Soul food and Southern cuisine have a history as rich as their flavors, and this cookbook includes interesting facts about soul food history, in addition to helpful nutrition facts.”

With the impact of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes on the African-American community, the recipes are both nutritious and flavorful, and can help to empower healthier choices around the dinner table. For example, nutritionists make simple substitutions like swapping out regular flour for whole-wheat flour in cornbread, and replacing bacon while keeping the smoky flavor with paprika in collard greens.

“The Association of Black Women Physicians empowers Black Women to lead in health and wellness for ourselves and the community through premiere educational programs, resources, and partnerships like this one with Transamerica Center for Health Studies that help to spur healthier eating choices,” said Sherril Rieux, M.D., from the Association of Black Women Physicians. “Our patients are always asking for ways to eat healthier, and this cookbook was a great way to highlight the health benefits of dishes that have brought happy memories to families for generations.”

TCHS and ABWP remain committed to empowering consumers to achieve the best outcomes in their personal health and wellness. To download the cookbook for free and browse our previous cookbooks, American Classic and Traditional Mexican, visit: