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Arts & Culture

Oakland Health Coach reimagines traditional Eritrean foods

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Hana Baba
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Oakland resident Tigisti Weldeab was a child when she fled the Eritrean-Ethiopian war with her mom. They lived in refugee camps for years. During that time, her mom made a living by selling injera- their traditional flatbread. A decade later, they were resettled in the US.

Tigisti went to school and landed a solid job in the energy industry. They did well- then her mother got diabetes. Tigisti knew something had to change about the way they, and their community, ate in this new land. People were making traditional stews and breads with American ingredients and something was just not working.

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Credit Hana Baba
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Today, Tigisti is a nutritionist, wellness influencer, health coach. She works with Oakland’s Eritrean community to reimagine recipes from her home with new ingredients, and in a way that keeps them healthy. I visited Tigisti in her kitchen, where she told me her story while making a lentil stew called adas.

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Credit Hana Baba
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Adas, a lentil stew