Fat Albert in Retrospect…
by Osage Dior
I AM INSUBORDINATE TO PASSIVITY…
Extreme change works for me! In order for me to really transform a habit, a small jump will only have me going back to the diving board. African Americans are the most at risk to obesity. Data collected in 2007 from The Center for the Elimination of Disproportionationality and Disparity, stated that 75.3% of African American adults were overweight or obese. Another study done in 2008 researched the cause of life lost before the age of 65. African Americans had the highest death rate when it came to diabetes, heart disease, cerobrovascular disease (stroke), and malignant neoplasms (Cancer). All these maladies can be prevented or eased if we as a people can watch what we eat, right? Or is it deeper than that- is America killing us?
FAT ALBERT IN RETROSPECT…
“Hey!…Hey!…Hey!” According to the Root article titled, “On Blacks and Fats: Darryl Roberts” by Jenne Desmond Harris, black people are 1.5 times as likely to be obese compared to Hispanics and Caucasians. Darryl Roberts is a writer, producer, and director who created “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments”. He contributed this tremendous weight gain to the stress caused by the inner city which invites diseases and emotional eating. This stress has also been coined, “The Worry” by blogger for the Root Lawrence D. Boo. “The Worry” is the anxiety of Black Americans experience today. Mr. Roberts also mentioned the lack of good food in the community as a cause of obesity.
In my neighborhood where I grew up in St. Louis,Missouri, I remember seeing liquor stores, candy shops, and Chinese food-never a stand with fresh produce. And yes, I was staying downtown #innercityexample. Roberts argues that it is simply untrue that black people live off of fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, KFC, and Popeyes and that we just don’t like to exercise cause #all-blacks-are-lazy. Lastly, he mentioned the lack of knowledge given to the black communities-without proper information to lead a healthy life how can one really change? You will stay stagnant in Stage 1 of The Change Cycle titled Loss. When you are Loss you are fearful, cautious, and paralyzed-#hot-sauce-and-chitterlings.
Exercise 30 minutes a day and watch what you eat (you can eat gobble food sometimes #never!) was Robert’s standardized answer to alleviate this catastrophe. On the other hand that does not solve the unemployment rates, racism, and disparity of green food in the black communities that causes these tragic numbers when it comes to obesity. We still are left with, “The Worry”…
DICK GREGORY HAD IT RIGHT!
While teaching abroad in Cameroon, I was introduced to Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin‘ With Mother Nature. Dick Gregory is a political artist activist and self proclaimed fruitarian. A fruitarian is a type of vegan diet that only includes fruits, nuts, and seeds. His book is a huge promoter of eating raw foods that contribute to living a healthier and holistic life. He begins his chapter by stating,
This is a book for folks who are willing to take the time to stop and think. I’ve often said that one of the biggest problems in America today is that we Americans just don’t think, not just about food, about anything.
Here, he already offers a solution to the lack of knowledge, that if we as a people can just think more…we can change…Yes, we can! #Revolution-and-Obama…Our body speaks to us every day. If that McDonald’s strawberry milkshake makes my stomach gaseous…give me a moment to think…I DO NOT NEED TO PUT IT IN MY STOMACH! He continues on this pre-historic concept called #thinking!
There would be a whole lot of changes in America if we Americans decided one day to start thinking. And one of the biggest and most important changes would be in the “traditional American diet. The old saying is true: You are what you eat.”
And I declare today my brothers and sisters, I am not fried chicken, a double cheese burger, or meat lovers pizza with extra cheese!
Folks getting old twenty, thirty, forty or even fifty years before their time. Swollen ankles, varicose veins, pot bellies, bald heads, arthritis, rheumatism, ulcers, sinus trouble, hemorrhoids, heart trouble, liver trouble, kidney trouble, overweight, underweight, anemia, bad feet, headaches, short breath, can’t sleep or can’t wake up, no energy, “tired” blood, sitting in front of the television set all evening and falling asleep watching it-the list is endless and very, very familiar.
I would like to remind you that this book was first published in 1973 which was about 40 years ago, and sadly, things are still the same.
I had gone the whole school route-grade school, high school and college-and never once did I take a course in “Nature.” I was never taught that the most important thing in life was learning to live in harmony with Nature. My formal education was so designed to teach me how to make a living, it never got around to teaching me how to live!
In his book he describes all the benefits of eating natural foods that includes a quicker digestive system, more energy, less disease, weight control, spiritual and political enlightenment.
My first forty-day fast was more of a protest against the Vietnam war than most people realized… What began as an act of social protest-a political act-became in the process of living it a “purifying act”-in mind, body and spirit. As my body was cleansed of years of accumulated impurities, my mind and spiritual awareness were lifted to a new level. I felt closer to Mother Nature and all her children. I was now aware of the meaning of the words I used to hear in church: “The body is the temple of the spirit.”
One of the things that happen during a long, cleansing fast is that you lose the six basic fears which plague humankind:
Fear of poverty
Fear of death
Fear of sickness
Fear of getting old
Fear of being criticized
Fear of losing your love
MY 30 DAY COMMITMENT…
April 16 I will turn 28 years old. I am upset with the state of obesity within the Black community. I refuse to let the stresses of being black in America #KillMe. I am a stressful eater, I like sweets, though I have stopped eating most meats. However, I need a radical routine to change…This is a spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and political water fast. I am not only doing it for me, but for my future generation…Afterwards, I will make a decision on being one of the four: vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or #progressive-fruitarian. Every Friday I will do a blog on my fasting experience until it ends.
After witnessing the death of a 400-500lbs young black man in front of the S.H.A.P.E (Self-Help For African People Through Education) Center this week due to a stroke…I was reminded of the drastic measures we as a people have to do to fight the inner city consumptions that are constantly destroying us…
Also, I lost 30lbs eating more natural foods and incorporating daily activity while I was in Douala, Cameroon…and “The Worry” will not be an excuse for me letting obesity back in my life. That is why the fast includes a spiritual, mental, emotional, and political component.
Sidenote…every third Saturday at the Shape Center 3815 Live Oak, Houston, Texas…you can come and get fresh foods…#foods-for-our-African-Kings-and-Queens~ ©NEEMA
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