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Beyond Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Pie

Dr. Velonda Thompson

Dr. Velonda Thompson

Beyond Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Pie:
A Guide for Cooking Fabulously Healthy and Delicious Foods

By Velonda Thompson, Ph.D.
Published by My Vision Works Publishing 2011

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, ambitious home chefs are searching for the hottest new recipes, families are struggling to host the “best holiday ever,” and people are already dreading their New Year’s diets.

Detroit nutritionist and food advocate Dr. Velonda Thompson has written a new book that will aid all of the above.  “Beyond Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Pie” is a cookbook written to bring attention to the many health benefits of the brightly-colored tuber and free cooks from having to bog their sweet potato dishes down with unhealthy amounts of sugar.

That being said, one of Dr. Thompson’s favorite Thanksgiving dishes was her grandmother’s sweet potato pie.  Dr. Thompson includes some sweet potato dessert recipes that use alternative sweeteners such as agave nectar and maple syrup.

As a child, Dr. Thompson dreamed of being a nurse.  Although, that ambition didn’t mature with her, she was always dedicated to improving people’s health. She became a personal trainer, which led to her earning a doctoral degree in nutrition and health promotion.

Currently, she teaches college nutrition courses and serves as the program manager for the Detroit, Michigan Institute for Population Health’s WIC program and its breastfeeding coordinator.

In addition to the wide variety of recipes in “Beyond Candied Yams…,” Thompson has gathered a wealth of scientific information on sweet potatoes and the history of their cultivation.  For example, Thompson reminds us George Washington Carver wasn’t only a peanut farmer; he developed over 125 products from sweet potatoes .

Passionate about flavor, Thompson believes being fit and enjoying delicious treats are not mutually exclusive. Regarding the health pitfalls usually associated with the holiday season, Thompson advises, “Drink water and make sure your plate looks like a rainbow. When you think of colorful food, fruits and vegetables will most often come to mind. Do not forget movement. The formula for good (health) is simply ‘what you put in your mouth and how much you move your body.’”

“Beyond Candied Yams…” can be purchased at the Midtown Detroit Whole Foods Market, the Wright Museum of African American History Gift Shop or online at

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