JUSTA has developed a health and nutrition course for the artisans we work with and other local indigenous women and mothers around Lake Atitlan. The course, Comida Vida Tradicional, has the mission to promote health education and nutrition for women, children, and families by offering workshops on physical, mental and emotional nourishment, and to provide natural, sustainable, and accessible alternatives to unhealthy and processed foods that have replaced local and traditional foods in the daily diet of indigenous families in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
The course is a five class series, each class focusing on a different topic. Each class provides information, discussion time, and a cooking class of healthy and locally-found economic meals that can be prepared in the home. The first class highlights the nutrition of fruits and vegetables, provides natural alternatives to processed white sugar, and discusses the importance of reading the label when purchasing packaged foods and drinks. The second class focuses on medicinal herbs, nutritious spices, and discusses a holistic approach to medical care. The third class incorporates nuts, seeds, and sprouting, as well as opens a space for discussion on reproductive and women´s health. The fourth class deals with grains, legumes, and the tortilla. The final class discusses meat, animal products, and fermentation. At the end of the course, each woman will have her own Comida Vida Tradicional manuel including all the notes, information, and recipes.
Why have we chosen this initiative as a way to give back to our community? Because Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world, yet the land provides enough vegetables and fruits to nourish its population. From the lack of health education and the inundation of processed, packaged and sugary/greasy junk food from the Western World, local families are filling their bellies with foods that are not fulfilling their nourishment. Over 70% of indigenous children are chronically malnourished, resulting in slowed childhood development, diabetes, and a myriad of other health problems through adulthood. Educating today´s women and mothers on nourishment, healthy eating, and women´s and children´s health will ultimately enhance nutrition for generations to come.
JUSTA would like to thank School Yoga Institute for their generous grant to make this program possible!