In the 90’s Tupac said, “It’s time for us as a people to start making some changes, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we treat each other. You see the old way wasn’t working so its on us, to do what we gotta do to survive.
Tupac was asking us to improve our physical, mental, educational and Financial health. Changing the way we eat and treat each other is clearly physical and mental health. Changing the way we live can be viewed in many different ways. Keeping in mind the educational and prosperity divide, I am choosing to look at this as education and financial health. Today, let’s discuss our physical health.
Are the words of Tupac still relevant as the poverty amongst blacks is 21%, the highest among all ethnicities, however it has been declining since 1966 when it was at 31% and in 2000 it was approximately 25%. The obesity rates amongst blacks is 37% for men and 50% for women. Changing the way we eat, may seem like it is one of the easier steps to take. However, eating healthy can be expensive, and several neighborhoods lack easy access to fruits and vegetables.
Most of us grew up eating fried foods, pork, chitlins etc. If you think about the diet, it is basically slave food. We have been free from slavery for 3-4 generations, so let’s free our appetites to eat foods that will also free us from diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. There are many areas where we have control, and what we consume is one of them
During slavery we ate the scraps, and I am sure after slavery our eating habits did not change much, because that is what we knew, and what we could access. Although, those habits are killing us, many of us have not made a change, and the real question is why? Is is economic, or we feel we don’t have the power to change the situation?
I met a woman many years ago at the DMV. We were conversing while in line. She was a middle aged caucasian woman, and she had that upper middle class look. I was actually at the DMV on the ore affluent side of town. We began discussing eating organic. At the time my children were 8 and 10, I’m single and their father does not contribute. So eating organic did not seem like an option to me. I told her I cannot afford to eat organic, and she said I can not afford not to. I felt some type a way about her statement. She didn’t know my situation, and she was being very insensitive. I was sure she got into her mercedes and stopped by Whole Foods and drove home to her lawyer husband. Because I was so offended, I did not think beyond my offense. But I could have shopped at the farmers market, where I can purchase organic food at the same price as non organic. It would have been a less convenient, but a better health option and a teaching moment for my family. I could have also planted a garden, again a teaching moment. I eventually did both of those things, but I allowed being offended by this woman who did not understand my situation to put me on pause for many years. Her message was accurate, why did I allow the vessel to cause me so much harm. If I had acted then, maybe I could have thwarted high blood pressure, who knows. Are there things you can do differently, to change your future and the future of the next generation.
Blacks are the most resilient people on the plant, and unfortunately have been dealt a raw hand and every other ethnicity benefits from our struggle. We are the only group of people that were enslaved in a different nation, and regardless of what they want us to believe we have made great strides in the three generations since slavery, yes three- four. Let’s use that resilient and become healthier.
Changes can be subtle and easy
- Replace butter with a healthy margarine, like earth balance, sunflower butter, or vegetable oil
- Give up frying/breading and replace with sautéing in the items identified above
- Scrap pork all together
- Give up fast food
- Take a walk rather than watch a TV program
- Exercise benefits the mind and body
- Utilize community gardens, where possible
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, if possible
- Substitute meat for another protein
- Beans(Ensure they are throughly cooked, if canned cook a bit longer)
Note: Community gardens
1-877-ASK-ACGA firstname.lastname@example.org Community gardens
We can change the statistics, if we only make the choice to do.