I’m really excited to announce my collaboration with IFANCA to bring the local Chicago community a series of hour-long workshops in 2012 on eating halal and healthy. We’re teaming up to take some important information on the road: sourcing halal ingredients, what foods are most nutritious, how to read product labels and a quick and healthy recipe demonstrated live. Find out more by scrolling down.
I’ll be working with Asma Ahad, Food Scientist with IFANCA, during the series. Maria Omar, coordinator of the series, will be tweeting during each event using the hashtag #halalnutrition. Follow IFANCA on Twitter as well as My Halal Kitchen.
Below is an informative article that IFANCA and I collaborated on to explain who they are, what they do, and the importance of such a community program.
IFANCA‘s food technology team helps food and beverage companies meet halal standards around the world. Their education team informs different aspects of the food industry (from culinary chefs to food scientists) on how to get their products ready for halal consumers.
Being at the forefront of so many food trends, as a non-profit organization, IFANCA was extremely delighted when the world of food, health and wellness got pushed into the public arena, specifically from First Lady, Michelle Obama, who made the movement towards healthful eating a major priority on her agenda by introducing the Let’s Move program.
From unhealthy eating habits, to busy lifestyles and too much processed food, our nation suffers some of the most dreadful obesity statistics and obesity-related health epidemics (i.e. diabetes, heart disease, etc.). IFANCA’s Asma Ahad points out, “How is our American-Muslim community immune to these trends?”
And we aren’t.
Asma’s 13 years of Food Science and Research and Development at Kraft Foods and a background in food science forms this component of our Halal Nutrition Workshop series. As a working mother of three young girls, a hectic schedule and an active community life, Asma not only knows first-hand how difficult it can be to keep eating habits healthy, she’s also knows you have to first find out what makes a food healthy. “Most of us will look at calorie count but ignore high fat and sodium level,” says Asma, “Or, we’ll ask if our meals are halal but won’t care about adding vegetables to our diet.”
That’s why when IFANCA approached me about setting up a Halal and Nutrition Workshop Series with Asma for our Islamic Schools and Community Centers, I wanted to do it.
I’ve worked with IFANCA on this type of thing before. Some of the ways we’ve promoted a halal and healthy lifestyle is by including my recipes in their Halal Consumer magazine, an informative resource for understanding the real science and chemistry behind certain foods (fats, oils, vinegars, salt), as well as the factors that impact their halal status. We’ve also visited school children to talk about the issues that affect them most with regards to diet and to answer their questions regarding ingredients that are always confusing people in terms of whether or not they’re actually halal.
Our Halal and Nutrition Workshop Series addresses a similar goal: to teach American Muslim families to take a step back and evaluate what’s really healthy. For example, how many of us truly stick to a product’s serving size? How many of us check serving sizes or understand what’s really in those difficult-to-pronounce ingredients?
During the workshop Asma will tackles little-known subjects like calculating your own unique Body Mass Index (BMI) to evaluate if you’re eating too much, too little, or just the right amount of food. We’ll also cover mystery ingredients and talk about how different food processing methods impact the halal status of the foods we buy. And, of course, I’ll demonstrate how easy it can be to eat healthy with a fun recipe even kids can make!
We are so happy to bring this wonderful workshop series to our local community and hope that regardless of where you are, you’ll spread the word and join us during our live Twitter chat during the event With your questions, suggestions and feedback (hashtag #halalnutrition).
If you are in Chicago area, you can easily request a workshop by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling IFANCA at 847-993-0034.
Who knows, maybe someday we’ll take this show on the road?