Carol Anne White
Carol Anne White is our Healthy Soul Food Contest winner!

Byron Hurt’s wonderful film Soul Food Junkies aired on Monday, and it was a big hit. We’ve heard from viewers around the world about how inspiring it was, and how they’ll be looking at making some changes in their diets.

Byron Hurt with recipes in kitchen
Byron Hurt looked through all the recipes in the contest while visiting our offices. He came up with his top picks, but he said it wasn’t easy because there were so many good ones. (Photo: Maria Goodavage)

Just in time for people wanting to improve their health, we have a bunch of healthy and delicious new recipes to share with you. These recipes were submitted by viewers and readers who wanted to share their own original renditions of healthy soul food. You’ll find them if you scroll down this recipe page. The prize for the top pick is a good one: The winner is getting her recipe featured on its very own recipe card next to healthy food luminaries like Bryant Terry.

Several Independent Lens staffers looked through the recipes and chose their top four. So did Byron Hurt when he visited the office the day after his broadcast. After he looked through them all, he concluded, “I could probably cook something every day from all these recipes! They’re really good,” he said while checking out the mouth-watering printed recipes in our kitchen. (We wish we could have cooked them all, but we don’t even have a proper kitchen here.)

When all the votes were tallied, the winner was Carol Anne White, a construction project manager from Plantation, Florida. Her Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe is delicious (I made it at home last night!), healthy, and simple. It’s a redux of her family recipe for candied sweet potatoes.

“I’m so excited!” she said when she heard her recipe had been chosen. “I love helping people figure out how to eat good food and be healthy.”

spicy roasted sweet potatoes in white bowl
Carol White’s winning dish, spicy roasted sweet potatoes

White, 62, loves food and cooking so much that she has her own food website, CW’s Café Today.
But White faces a challenge that can get in the way of eating the food she loves: She is a Type II diabetic. “I have managed my diabetes for about 21 years. I lost my father, mother, and one sister to disease,” she says.

Carol White's father and mother
Carol White’s mother and father both died from complications of diabetes. White wants to help herself and others live a healthier life.

“I am always looking for recipes and cooking tips to help me step towards a healthier lifestyle. It has not been an easy road for me. I have not always been the ‘Good Diabetic,’ but I will say that I am better informed than my parents because they did not have the information available to properly take care of themselves,” White says.

Wow does this sound like music to Soul Food Junkies filmmaker Byron Hurt’s ears! It’s exactly the kind of awareness he’s trying to create.

“I love cooking with fresh ingredients,” White says. “I like taking family recipes and remaking them for a healthier lifestyle. I consider myself as a ‘Neo-Soul’ cook. This means to me cooking from the soul a fusion/melting pot of flavors and cuisines: Asian (I love Thai favors the best), Italian, Mexican, Jamaican, and down-home soul food dishes.”

In addition, White tries to find time to exercise to keep healthy. Her workout partner is one of her two daughters, who lives nearby. White says she’s glad she’s been able to help influence her children, and others, to live a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s something I like to pass along to others so they can have better, more quality lives,” says White.

Job well done, Carol Anne White! We are very happy to help you along with your mission — one sweet potato at a time.