Only a small percentage of Americans (any groupings by age, sex or skin color) actually consume the recommended minimum of five daily servings of fruit and vegetables to maintain health. The National Cancer Institute now suggests nine servings of fresh plant foods per day to reduce health risks, a goal which is not likely to be achieved by a significant percentage of the population, let alone among minority groups in society. Blacks with low intake of folic acid (green leafy vegetables) have higher homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an undesirable protein in the blood circulation, which is linked with cardiovascular disease and brain dementia.
It is amazing when they estimate the impact of poor nutrition upon Blacks. It is encouraging to realize that nutritional strategies could be employed to eradicate or reduce common health risks in Black American families at very little cost.
There is a connection to skin color, nutrition and disease as exemplified by the role of vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” among Blacks. Dark melanin skin pigment slows the natural production of vitamin D upon exposure to the sun. Blacks may require as much as ten times more sun exposure to produce the same vitamin D as Caucasians. Shortages of vitamin D are causally linked to high blood pressure, stroke, cancer (colon, breast, prostate, ovarian, lymphoma), Crohn’s disease, immune problems and osteoporosis, all health problems that are common in the black community.
Hypertension, stroke, colon cancer and obesity, and claims that “a low intake of dairy food nutrients”, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, may contribute to the high risk of hypertension seen in African Americans. Milk is a very poor source of magnesium and potassium. Blacks notoriously exhibit intolerance to milk products. In one study, abnormal lactose tolerance was found among 81% of Blacks and only 12% of Whites. This explains our avoidance of dairy.
It is obvious Blacks are genetically different (not inferior) and due to their melanin skin pigmentation exhibit special health and nutritional needs that are not being adequately addressed by the medical community nor the food industry.
Let’s touch on the topic of fast food. This used to be a treat, now for many it has become a way of life. How did we get so lazy that we would rather go through a drive thru than cook our kids a real meal? I have yet to patron a fast food restaurant that serves a side of broccoli with the kid’s meal. Children need to eat a well-balanced meal since they are growing. It is our job as parents to make sure we keep them as healthy as we can. Do you know food also works with the immune system? If your child gets a cold every time they go outside, maybe you need to change their diet.
When our kids eat refined sugars, such as cookies, sweets, white bread and pop, the food is broken down into glucose. Due to the lack of fiber in these food items, they enter the bloodstream in the form of sugar at a rush speed. Research shows that only 7% of children consume the recommended three to five servings of vegetables and two or more servings of fruit daily. Unfortunately, due to poor nutrition and inactivity, the rate of childhood illnesses such as allergies, obesity, attention-deficit disorder and ear infections are rising dramatically.
Okay, women, I have to ask, “What are you feeding your families?” You are what you eat!!!!! Do you remember that old saying? Look at the food you are putting into your child’s mouth. French fries and chicken nuggets are saturated in grease. Grease and water do not mix right? Think of your blood like water. When grease is put into your system it doesn’t dissolve, it gets stuck on the walls of your arteries. That can lead to your heart causing your arteries to build up film and eventually clog, just like a pipe in the sink with too much grease in it. This causes heart attacks. You won’t put grease down your sink, why? It will clog the pipes right, but yet, you will put it in your body. As if there are no pipes to clog inside of you. What about your arteries? You need to think of them as pipes. The pipes down the sink you can replace, the ones in your chest you are stuck with for life.
I can’t front, I was raised on the same food as you but now I’m an adult. I looked around at my forefather’s and analyzed why they passed away: cancer, heart attack, high blood pressure, sugar diabetes. It’s in my bloodline, so I have to be smarter. I have to take their mistakes as a learning experience and not pass those poor eating habits on to my child. Not saying I’m going to cut soul food out of my life but learn how to cook it a different way and have a variety of different foods.
Teach your children that salads can be a meal. I am amazed at the number of black people who honestly don’t eat salad. In fact, there are a lot out there that have never even had one. Also, why are we so quick to take a laxative instead of eating foods that are high in fiber that would keep us regular? We all know the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away. They say that because the skin from the apple scrapes the intestinal lining as it goes down in our system, pulling away any build-up and helping the colon to remove it from our system.
Have you ever wondered what is the difference between organic vs. non-organic foods?
Organic foods have no hormones, added antibiotics or synthetic additives. Organic foods typically contain the same amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals as non-organic foods. The foods that are organic contain fewer pesticides, fewer multi-drug resistant bacteria and no genetically modified organisms or foods. The producer has to have the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) verify their growing practices and approve all of their production methods. The only upside of eating non-organic is it’s cheaper. Everyone doesn’t understand whether you’re eating non-organic or organic, it is still majorly important to wash your fruits and veggies.
When I come home from the grocery store, I typically whip up a quick vinegar soak with 90% water and 10% white vinegar, then I soak my fruits and veggies in it. I stir them around and rub the skin gently. Then, I rinse them thoroughly. When I am washing strawberries and blueberries, I tend to let them soak longer and rub less, so I don’t damage the skin.
*I even wash the outside of a banana because you hold it with your bare hands.
What food related questions do you have? The answers may be featured in an upcoming blog post.
Once I got my daughter to start eating hummus, I was the happiest MOM on earth. I love hummus. We dip our veggies in it and we spread it on crackers and pita bread. My daughter loves veggies wraps with hummus spread. When a 4-year-old approves, you know it’s good.
I have never made it from scratch, but you can and tell me how it turns out. LOL, for me it’s baby steps. I can cook, but don’t love it. I only go in the kitchen because I have a beautiful daughter who deserves a mommy to cook for her. Here is a recipe that gets me in and out of the kitchen quickly.
PREP TIME: 5 MINS
1 medium can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup lemon juice (from 1 ½ to 2 lemons), more to taste
1 medium-to-large clove garlic roughly chopped
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt, to taste
½ cup tahini
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water more as needed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
drizzle of olive oil
Place the chickpeas in a medium saucepan and add the baking soda. Cover the chickpeas with several inches of water, then bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling, reducing heat if necessary to prevent overflow, for about 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas look bloated with their skins falling off, and they’re quite soft. In a fine-mesh colander, drain the chickpeas and run cool water over them for about 30 seconds. Set aside (no need to peel the chickpeas for this recipe!).
Meanwhile, in a food processor or high-powered blender, combine the lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process until the garlic is very finely chopped, then let the mixture rest so the garlic flavor can mellow, ideally 10 minutes or longer.
Add the tahini to the food processor and blend until the mixture is thick and creamy, stopping to scrape down any tahini stuck to the sides and bottom of the processor, as necessary.
While running the food processor (I use my Baby Brezza. Yes, the baby food maker.) drizzle in 2 tablespoons ice water. Scrape down the food processor, and blend until the mixture is ultra-smooth, pale and creamy. (If your tahini was extra-thick to begin with, you might need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons more ice water.)
Add the cumin and the drained, over-cooked chickpeas to the food processor. While blending, drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until the mixture is super smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as necessary, about 2 minutes. Add more ice water by the tablespoon, if necessary, to achieve a super creamy texture.
Taste, and adjust as necessary—I almost always add another ¼ teaspoon of salt for more overall flavor and another tablespoon of lemon juice for extra zing.
Scrape the hummus into a serving bowl or platter and use a spoon to create nice swooshes on top. Top with garnishes of your choice and serve. Leftover hummus keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week.
Don’t forget you don’t have to eat it plain. You can add variations. In my house, we have:
Sun Dried Tomatoes Hummus
Kalamata Olive Hummus
All are always big crowd pleasers. Garnish options we play with are, red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of ground sumac or paprika and chopped fresh parsley.
Once you’ve made your hummus, try this recipe, and let me know how it turns out.