Nana Kwaku Opare MD, MPH, CA and Ama Opare MA are, published authors, educators and public speakers and co-owners of the Opare Institute and the wide-ranging website Food for the Soul — the online home for Black vegetarians, which is dedicated to helping end the epidemic of “food borne illnesses” that are plaguing our community. They have dedicated their life’s work to help people heal and prevent chronic diseases with a vegan and raw food lifestyle.
When Ama and Nana Kwaku met as youth in the Hyde Park area of Chicago 70s, among many similarities, they shared upbringings were they were encouraged to question convention and fight for justice.
Inspired by his adolescent desire to actually help people be healthy and not just manage their disease, Nana Kwaku moved to Berkeley and completed his professional training in food/nutrition/dietetics, public health, and medicine. He saw the dehumanizing hypocrisy and iatrogenic nature of standard allopathic medicine with its heavy reliance on drugs and surgery. Fed up, he sought out non-harmful and natural treatment alternatives going on to complete professional training in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine and later osteopathic manual medicine.
During early 80’s, motivated by the ubiquitous food borne (caused) illness in his family, determined not to succumb himself and, informed by his education, Opare began a slow transition towards a plant-based/vegan diet. He has been a strict dietary vegan, and for years at a time raw vegan, for 20 years. He credits primarily his pattern of food consumption for his excellent health.
Over the past three decades Nana Kwaku has had dual and eventually integrated practices in allopathic and alternative medicine. He terms his philosophy of medicine as Afrikan Natural hygiene. He believes the only rational way to approach a health challenge is to first and foremost clearly identify the cause of the problem and permanently remove it. He asserts that following what he entitled his book ones “Rule Book And User Guide For Healthy Living” will then create the environment where healing occurs.
Meanwhile, Ama had moved to Michigan and undertook studying education. However, she came to think that she wasn’t very smart. She always had problems focusing on the work she was supposed to do.
That all changed when Ama had her first child. Suddenly those very same texts she hated were interesting because they were important to her life. Ama’s self directed learning led her to devour a wide range of texts, subjects and experiences. And, she discovered that she was indeed highly intelligent and a deep thinker.
This discovery shaped Ama’s philosophy of education. She began to focus on putting the learner at the center of the process. What would happen if the student was the one to decide what was most important to focus on? How could the teacher guide and facilitate this process?
Ama watched her own children and her students flourish the same way she did. The learning was deep and real and made a difference in their lives.
In 2006, Ama was 49 years old, divorced, overweight, worried about her health, and eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). She had spent years as a vegetarian-wanna-be.
She felt out of control, unable to stop eating sugar, fast food and processed food. She couldn’t keep her weight under control. She was afraid she was headed for the same fate as her family; diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer.
She knew she should be eating better but didn’t know how to make it work. She tried to figure it out by herself, but ended up more confused than ever. Her diet got worse over the years and so did her health.
In 2007 Ama and Nana Kwaku reconnected. With Nana Kwaku’s help, Ama was finally able to make the diet and lifestyle changes she’d been longing to make. She became skilled at creating delicious vegan and raw dishes, and published a recipe book called “Food For The Soul From Ama’s Kitchen”. They were affirmed by each other’s intact sense of righteousness and fairness and soon married. They went on to found the Opare Institute in 2009.
Opare Institute was formed to teach people how to permanently end their struggles with their diet and their health. It combines Nana Kwaku’s decades of experience as a dietitian and physician and his perspectives on health and healing with Ama’s philosophy of education and 30 years of experience as an educator and curriculum developer.
Choosing a plant-based or vegan lifestyle is a revolutionary decision. They recognized that in order to address the reason why people fail, they needed to help people make a paradigm shift. Revolution requires new skills, and new tools.
All Opare programs are based on the Four Pillars of Success.
Pillar #1 Deep Self Understanding- Explore your inner emotional and psychological framework for your behaviors. Without this awareness you won’t understand why you do what you do, or how to change that framework to one that works.
Pillar #2 Common Sense Nutrition Education
Understand what your body really needs and cut through the confusing, conflicting information you hear and see all around you allows you to relax and stop worrying.
Pillar #3 Kitchen Mastery
Eating healthy doesn’t mean boring, tasteless food. It does mean you’ll need to upgrade your kitchen skills to learn the skills, tricks and recipes of the vegan kitchen and become a healthy gourmet in your own kitchen.
Pillar #4 Real World Navigation Skills
Few of us don’t have to navigate in non-vegan spaces. You need an effective plan for how to stay committed in these situations that addresses your needs based on the awareness you gained in Pillar #1.
With these tools you have the power and the freedom to create a sustainable healthy lifestyle that fits your schedule, your budget, and your goals.
You can find Nana Kwaku Opare, MD and Ama Opare at www.opare.net
.For recipes and inspiration go to www.foodforthesoul.opare.net
For online courses go to www.opare.net/training
For their publications visit www.opare.net/store
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OpareHealthCare/