11/15/2013 02:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Welcome Aboard, Culture!


Week 4 emphasized the cultural side of Slim Peace -- where we displayed our identities in front of the group through interactive activities.

Identity Crisis

We laughed and joked about how we have been identified by others -- whether they are acquaintances, strangers, or governments. One participant traveled to the Middle East where she was identified as Columbian despite proclaiming her residency in the District of Columbia. Another joked about the ignorance that many have regarding the prevalence of Arab-Christians in countries such as Lebanon and Palestine. Others confessed that they are confused on how to identify themselves, is it according to our genetic proportions? Or how we perceive ourselves? Is it based on our skin color? Or how governments categorize us on the census? Ultimately, we agreed that our unique demographics can't be parceled into six bubble options on a job application or tax form.

Food and Fiber

Snack time is always a favorite chapter of the night -- where we indulge in morsels of healthy treats from amaranth parfaits to lebne and whole wheat pita bread. "I've never had that [lebne] before! It's kind of like sour cream but lemony -- it's my new food!" one woman exclaimed. Our Jewish and Muslim dietitians and leaders used props to demonstrate how fiber absorbs water, in an activity that participants called "amazing" in terms of the benefits of whole grains and "gross" in regards to refined grains. Ideally, these perceptual changes will instill a perpetual groove of healthy habits in all of us.