National Nutrition Month 2024: Beyond the Table

Many things come to mind when thinking about nutrition “beyond the table.” Perhaps your mind wanders to dreams of a romantic homestead full of rich produce and a laughing family. It might be that your heart is pulled toward the injustices and inequities faced by migrant farmers. Or maybe the memory of your grandmother cooking a traditional meal from your heritage plays in your mind.
All those aspects of our food culture are important impact how we nourish ourselves. We live in a world where healthcare culture tends to mechanize food, stripping it of its love, labeling food good or bad, assigning rules and blaming individuals for their lack of accessibility or education around healthful foods, rather than the system that that holds them where they are.

Food isn’t just calories, vitamins and minerals, good or bad. Food nourishes more than just our physical bodies. Food is culture, comfort and an expression of love, nourishing to our hearts and souls, memories and emotions—which we are often guilted for.

This year’s National Nutrition Month’s theme, Beyond the Table, asks us not only how food is nourishing to our physical health, but how it impacts our home, our family dynamics, our mental and emotional health, food production, the treatment of the people involved, the impact on the environment or the economy. Every aspect of our lives is touched by food in some way, and making choices that are nourishing to our bodies, our hearts, culture and environment will bring about a healthier experience for us all.

Carroll Hospital will be celebrating National Nutrition Month by hosting a food drive for the community. All month there will be drop boxes by the Overlook Cafe in the main lobby and the East Pavilion entrance if you would like to donate.

Dana Mealing, RDN, LDN, is the community nutrition educator in the Tevis Center for Wellness.

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