All the soul, none of the bad fats and carbs
Think soul food, and you might think greasy fried chicken, or collard greens cooked in bacon fat. What you don’t think is “health food.” Now, mother and daughter pair Joyce Perrin and Angelique Perrin, authors of the blog spot New Age Soul Food (NewAgeSoulFood.com), have reinvented traditional soul food dishes like these, with the flavor and comfort of home-cooked favorites but without the guilt. “We decided to turn our traditional favorites into healthier choices,” says daughter Angelique. “Food has soothed the soul for many generations. Also a tradition is mothers and daughters in the kitchen cooking together. That’s how New Age Soul Food came about.”
Angelique recalls the typical foods of her early childhood. “Traditionally, our meals were loaded with fats, sugars, and salt,” she says. “We had fried pork chops every week. Saturday mornings Dad took me for hotcakes and sausage. Though we were all a healthy weight, when I turned 9, it became clear we were not eating healthfully as a family. My doctor told mom I wasn’t getting enough fiber. That is when our first drastic dietary changes took place.”
Over the next two decades, their diets evolved as they made what they believed were better choices. Angelique eventually cut out carbs entirely and her diet consisted of mostly salads and dry, flavorless chicken. Mother Joyce became a vegetarian, but wasn’t incorporating the right mix of alternative proteins into her food plan. Their diets were lacking a healthy balance.
That’s when they began experimenting in the kitchen. “We went back to the basics, but this time with a more informed and health conscious mind,” says Joyce. “We traded the butter and Crisco for healthier oils like olive and grapeseed. The smoked ham hocks and turkey wings were replaced with herbs and spices. White rice, potatoes, and bread were upgraded to whole grains and legumes. We’re blending flavors and cuisines to create delicious dishes with a brand new healthy flair. As we’ve grown, studied, and experimented, we’ve found a totally satisfying alternative to deprivation. It is a melding of traditional foods with vegetarian, vegan, and international foods, and it’s making dinnertime fun again.”
Angelique laughs, “Mom and I argue over which cooking technique is best, or how much garlic to add. She’s forever getting me to try some new dish she’s concocted.”
Here is the New Age Soul Food alternative menu to fried fish, greens, and mashed potatoes: