Black culture was built on eating some of the most-unhealthiest foods from fried foods, cheesy casseroles, breading meats and cooked greens which all stem from the slavery days. It was noted through my research that slaves were fed scraps and leftovers that were left by slave masters which originated into soul food and majority of the nutritional foods were left for slave owners and their families so, slaves took what was left for them and cooked out of survival and these dishes were created and passed down from generation to generation without realizing this type of cooking and eating is the start of destruction of the body.
These food traditions have created unhealthy and suffering livelihoods for many African Americans because they are the majority to develop diabetes, nerve damage, heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, renal failure, hypertension and obesity and that’s just to name a few but this stems from the unhealthy diets that African Americans have inquired for many decades.
It can be difficult to encourage African Americans to eat healthier and to cut out a lot of the foods that their use to eating because in the African American culture, food has been a huge interaction & connect for black families for decades where families gather on special occasions or on Sundays, surrounded by food and most of these dishes includes large amounts of meats, fats and sugars from fried chicken, pork ribs, baked macaroni and cheese, Kool-Aid, sweet pies and collard greens with ham hocks or with bacon or with fat back.
We as a culture need to understand that Soul Food is no longer a way to eat especially with all the health disparities that come along with it but we don’t have to just stop the culture of food that we have been taught, we can just find better approaches with our food culture that will be beneficial to our bodies and in the same token, we can still respect & honor our culture and ancestors for how they had to eat out of utility but it’s a new day in age and that type of eating, has been proven to be detrimental to our bodies.
Here are some tips on how to take charge of your health:
• Schedule a yearly checkup
• Eat healthier
• Control your cholesterol
• Cut down on Salt
• Learn how to work wonders with tofu
• Make your own dairy substitutes
• Do your homework
• Think creatively about adaption
• Staying positive through this process
We can learn how to make the foods that we love in a healthier form and be comfortable with that and still honor and respect the values and the culture that we as African Americans have been taught collectively, in order to learn, a new way to eat for the better.