Decolonizing Diets


My research involves understanding traditional, indigenous ways of eating in Mexico, identifying the challenges and consequences of Westernized Mexican and Mexican-American dietary patterns, and understanding the solutions and different responses that have emerged in response to increasing rates of dietary related chronic disease. I have conducted several interviews to gain a better understanding of the growing popularity of plant-based diets in Mexican communities that are reflective of indigenous ways of eating in Mexico, as well as the economic challenges and other barriers that limit access to healthy eating in Latinx communities. I have also initiated literature reviews to help understand the most effective messaging techniques that encourage behavioral shifts in food choices. So far, my research has shown that there are several promising solutions that can increase access to healthy eating and can act as powerful levers for promoting health in Latinx communities, but they must be implemented with specific messaging and marketing techniques, media strategy, and the right policy solutions. I plan to showcase my work through a journalistic expose, and intend to continue researching this topic beyond my time at Berkeley. I hope to apply the learnings from this experience to start my own initiative or organization after graduation that will help make plant based eating more accessible to all communities. 

Samantha Derrick
Publication date: 
December 1, 2020
Publication type: 
Student Research