Tag Archives: food

Sustaining the Black Community with Holistic Health

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“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process, heal our own.” -Wangari Maathai

The Black body has endured more than the growth-halting grip of former enslavement. We have suffered trauma to the African trinity of health (mental, physical, and spiritual), which greatly affects how we interact in the world, “post enslavement.” With media messages telling us to eat this sugary saturated fat to feel good, and drink that 80-proof poison to be as cool as our favorite rappers, the abuse to our bodies and overall well beings live on. Faced with limited access to life-sustaining foods due to socioeconomic status, the burden of low self-esteem from living in a racist society, and a general lack of knowledge about “living well,” a comprehensive timeline comes to mind about exactly how we have landed in the reality we are in today. Best believe this exclusion is systematic and purposely enacted. Though unfair, it is no one’s responsibility but ours to undo the mass confusion around health in the Black community and begin the journey towards healing from post-traumatic slave syndrome.

pirkle_jones_black_panther_free_breakfast At the best moments of the Black freedom struggle we recognized that we did not just need to change laws, we also needed to change our living patterns. Organizations like the Black Panthers not only told us to change our diets, they also imposed breakfast programs and other sort of community-oriented food programs so that people would have healthy living options and they understood the relationship between healthy living and a community, they understood the relation to building a Black nation and having healthy diets. – Marc Lamont Hill

Taking control of our lifestyles is not a new concept in the Black community. As Marc Lamont Hill suggested in the above quote from 2012 documentary “Soul Food Junkies,” we have always stressed the importance of proper nutrition and lifestyle in our movements in the past and can do so once again. The same fervor Black Panthers displayed in picking up guns to protect themselves from the quick bullet of the racist can also be used to pick up plant foods, herbs, and spices to aid in the body’s defense against diseases.

black-man-and-child-hospital-bed1With the rise of genetically modified foods, mineral-depleted soils, and processed foods being more affordable and available, many of the traditional foods we are eating today in our soul food dishes look like what our ancestors ate growing up, but chemically are not the same. Altered genetic makeup of foods and the addition of sugars, salts, and harmful preservatives aid in the development of chronic diseases Blacks are dying from in droves today. Food-related diseases which plague the community like heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes hold us back from being the fully functional beings were born to be. These many health issues act as blockades to our struggles towards freedom. Instead of actively working to defeat white supremacist oppression and earn back our rights as human beings, we’re fighting against our sickly bodies, and worrying heavily for our lives. This will change. It has to.

By embracing an attitude of  “self-care as healthcare” (Queen Afua), we can operate on an optimal level. Centering the importance of clean eating with whole foods, healing herbs, and antioxidant-rich spices, we can refocus our energies to where they need to be. By feeding ourselves well, we can expect a boost in self-esteem and a fulfilling sense of purpose, two things we, as a whole, lack for various reasons. Hope is not yet lost when we trust in our own capabilities and utilize the resources here on this planet to fuel us on our unique journey.

slide-03I propose purifying oneself through proper nutrition and a lifestyle that caters specifically to the Black body, promoting sound mental health, and welcoming a more freeing approach to spiritualism that pays homage to ancestors. As acts of self care as means of liberation and fortification to be pushed to the forefront of the many movements towards Black freedom.

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Sacrifice Until Infinity to Succeed (S.U.I.T.S.) PRESENTS “Food For Thought”!

Calling all event lovers in the tri-state area! Our friends from SUITS are throwing an AWESOME charity event in New Brunswick, NJ on Saturday, November 29, 2014. Prepare to give, receive and taste at this event will they will have awesome food orgs allowing folks to sample some good eats! AfroMadu will be there, and show should you! You don’t want to miss this!!!!

SUITS event

Sacrifice Until Infinity to Succeed (S.U.I.T.S.) PRESENTS “Food For Thought” A Night of Musical Performances x Poetry with a open mic segment. … R&B Duo Dose (@DOSE_2) will Be Performing also Philadelphia Singer Justin Graham …. (@JustinG_Music) …. Poetry by Lucy And Joel 
And A Food tasting featuring Specialty Food Brands Urban Foodie catering llc, Euphoria in a jar and S.U.I.T.S official Caterers Delish …
This event is to raise money, toiletries Clothes and Food for our #FoodForThought intiative Come out and support our artist
Located at Alfa Art Gallery 108 Church st. New Brunswick NJ
15$ Cover
Doors open at 7pm event starts at 8pm 

Foods & Habits to Maintain Radiant Melanin.

As children of the Sun, “melanated” peoples have an inherent glow that needs to be maintained. With the consumption of daily Sun, whole foods, and a useful skin care regime, this natural glow of “Black gold” will effortlessly shine. BlackHealth365 introduces foods and methods Black people can use to help maintain the natural beauty of their skin:

The Importance of Sun Exposure:

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Melanin is the pigment in our skin which makes humans the different hues we have come to be. It’s also present in the hair, eyes of not only us, but other species of animals. It is responsible for the tanning of skin exposed to sunlight. As people of African descent we have some of the highest content of melanin. In places closest to the equator, where sun exposure is more prominent, the people of such lands harbor a darker hue, giving them this glow of “Black gold” raved about. Melanin is produced as a response to UV ray exposure from the sun, so it is essentially protection from the harmful aspects of the life-giving ball of heat. The more melanin you have, the better protected you are from the sun’s harmful UV rays. This also means that in order to get essential vitamins from the sun, like the essential vitamin D, it is important for people of color to spend ample amount of time in the Sun on a daily basis. Sun rays contain rare dosages of Vitamin D, which provides humans with minimal free radical damage and maintains skin moisture and even tone.

Black people with a medium to darker hue are recommended to spend at least 35-45 minutes daily in the sun. For extra protection & moisture during time of exposure, apply either shea butter, coconut oil, or aloe vera gel on skin instead of chemical-laden, harmful sunscreens.

Foods For Skin Health:

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There are many foods that aid in the maintenance of beautiful skin. These are normally fruits high in vitamins A, E & beta-carotene or fatty nuts like almonds that the expansive organ loves. Here are a list of 10 foods to consume which are loaded with the vitamins & minerals necessary to promote beautiful skin:

1. spinach
2. mangoes
3. papaya
4. sweet potatoes/yams 5. raw almonds
6. aloe vera juice
7. carrots
8. blueberries
9. avocados
10. pomegranates

The best way to receive the nutrients from these foods listed is by way of smoothie drinks! This way the nutrients enter the bloodstream easier and can be sorted through the body accordingly without the added task of having to be broken down in the digestive system. In addition to these skin health boosting foods, water is a MUST for attaining beautiful skin. You can also add antioxidant-rich teas (green teas) & fatty fishes like salmon to your regular eating regimen to feed skin cells.

Hygiene Habits:

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 7.28.46 PMThis goes without saying, but showering on a daily basis, at least once a day is a must. Skin requires water nourishment inside and moisture provided on the outside. Going through this world filled with germs and bacterias, and harmful chemicals lingering in the air, especially those of us who live in cities, it is imperative that we wash that off our organ every day. In addition, remember that skin is a detoxifying organ, meaning it releases toxins collected within the body through the skin. You need to wash those toxins off or else they’ll linger on the skin and cause possible unwanted bumps & marks. You also want to incorporate sugar or coffee scrubs into to hygiene regimen to scrub off dead skin cells and help maintain your melanated casing’s youthful radiance.

Raw unrefined African Black soap is recommended for daily deep cleansing of the skin. This natural soap not only works better than commercial soaps filled with skin drying chemicals, such as Dove, but it cheaper, rich in real nutrients, and lasts longer. I, personally, use raw unrefined African black soap for facial and body cleansing.

 

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Keeping the skin moisturized on a daily basis is very important! Throughout the day the skin gets dry from movement an exposure to the outside world and needs replenishing. The best time to give the skin moisture it needs is right after a shower or nice bath. Literally as you’re soaking wet out of the shower, apply coconut oil (my favorite) or a shea/mango/avocado butter mixture of some sort and let it air dry into your
skin. Towels drying is unnecessary unless you want to pat dry. An ideal skin oil mixture for appliance after bathing would be a mix of vitamin e oil, almond oil, and coconut oil. I only typically use heavier butters in my hair or during “dry seasons” like winter.

 BlackHealth365 Recommended products:

-organic cold pressed and unrefined coconut oil
-raw unrefined African black soap
-Nubian heritage soaps or other shea butter/vegetable glycerin based soaps
-whipped Shea butter (belle butters, Whipped, or your own homemade mixture)
-vitamin e oil
-almond oil
-brown sugar or black coffee to make scrubs

Following these suggestions will guarantee an improvement in the health of your skin and will surely make melanin shine bright! We must not forget that the skin is also an organ and needs to be fed to be at its best, like every other organ in the body. Remember, if it’s not safe to ingest then it isn’t safe to put on the skin. The skin absorbs so if you’re loading it with chemicals, these same harmful agents will eventually end up inside your body. You don’t want that. Eat right, drink PLENTY of water, spend quality time outside under sun, wash daily, and moisturize and you will glow like the child of the Sun you are!

A Drastic Fall of South African Maize (Corn) Prices.

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In the South African grain markets, the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 were largely dominated by high (white and yellow) maize prices, and there were steaming worries of rising food prices. On the 11th of March, yellow maize prices were in all time high of R3 850/ton; at the same time white maize reached R3 765/ton. However, from April 2014, the situation turned around; on the 15th of May Safex yellow maize traded around R2 072/ton and white maize traded around R2 089/ton.

These price hikes were mainly driven by increasing demand in the world market, and tight stocks in the domestic market. The leading importer in 2013/14 white maize was Zimbabwe with quantity at 246 692 tons, followed by Mexico at 190 097 tons, the rest mainly went to the BLNS countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland), Angola, Mozambique and Cameroon. For 2013/14 yellow maize, Japan was the leading importer with quantity at 596 315 tons, followed by Taiwan at 168 680 tons, the rest went to the BLNS countries, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Cameroon, South Korea, Madagascar, North Korea and Nigeria.

Some producers might have hoped that the high maize prices were going to last for a prolonged period, but the early deliveries/harvest pressure have significantly decreased the domestic prices. There is also a weak demand in the international markets, especially for white maize. The largest importer of the previous season “Mexico” is reported to be having a favourable producing season, hence expecting an increase on domestic white maize production. This will mean there are limited chances that South African 2014/15 white maize will reach the Mexican market.

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Most African countries such as Malawi and Zambia a said to be having favourable 2014/15 production season, with production expected to reach 3.9 million tons and 4 million tons, respectively. Malawi is having 1 million tons for export market, which might serve the rumoured expected 2 million tons demand from Kenya. Zambian 2014/15 maize production is mainly driven by increasing fertilizer subsidies by their government, hence an expected significant increase of 700 000 tons. This significant increase in Zambian maize production might pose a strong competition to the Zimbabwean market.

According to the Crop Estimate Committee, South African 2014/15 maize production is also expected to reach 13 million tons, with white maize expected to be at 7 million and yellow maize being around 6 million tons. This significant increase in production is also among the factors that are currently keeping maize prices on the low levels.

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Furthermore, in the United States maize production is expected to reach 13.9 billion bushels, up slightly from the 2013/14 record with higher expected yields more than offsetting the year to year reduction in planted area. On a global view, maize production for 2014/15 is expected to reach 979.1 million tons, which almost unchanged from 2013/14’s production. Expected decreases for Ukraine, Brazil and India are mostly offset by increases for China, Argentina, Russia, and Mexico.

For the rest of the year, South African maize prices might continue to trade at low levels. Good planting progress in the United State, expected large domestic crop, domestic harvest pressure will continue to suppress the prices.

However, even though this might be putting a strain on South African farmers, it is good news for the consumers. Stats SA reported in April that Agricultural commodities’ price inflation has dipped to 8.0% year on year from 13.3%, owing to a bumper maize crop; with the cereals and other crops price inflation rate falling to 9.7% year on year from 26.5% year on year in March. This means that in a month or two (leg effect), South African consumers will start to see low prices of grain related products on their retail shelves. Furthermore, Grain South Africa’s Supply and Demand figures show that the country still has more than 1.7 million tons of maize for export market. So, given the weak demand on the traditional South African export market, this is going to continue suppressing prices for a prolonged period.

 

1236455_10201166193989847_169122925_n  Wandile Sihlobo is a South African Economist; his main interests are Agribusiness, International Trade and Public Economics    

Pocket Pinching Health: Tips For Clean Eating On A Budget.

BlackHealth365 presents clean eating on a budget! Here is a list of tips and tricks to stay well and save money while doing it!

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  1.   The first and most important tip to eating healthy on a budget is planning! Plan your meals and write down your list of needs before shopping. Prioritize your list of needs by what you absolutely must buy at the top of the list and the items that can be spared if needed at the bottom. Organize by order of importance. This mean things like fresh fruits/veggies towards the top, chips & granola at the bottom. And most importantly, stick to what’s on your list!
  2. Check to see what sales are being offered online or in the paper at whatever grocery store/market you’ll be shopping at. It helps you better plan when you know what you’re going to buy in addition to how much it will cost for easier budgeting.

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3) Buy in bulk. Items such as rice, beans, and foods/drinks by the case typically come at a discounted price and can be stored to last you a longer time. Bulk = more bang for your buck!

4) Don’t be scared of frozen produce. They aren’t as aesthetically appealing or juicy as fresh as what you’d get fresh at the market, but most frozen produce is picked and stored at peak ripeness, which means they contain the same nutritional benefit. If frozen produce is not for you, buy local. This means going to farmers markets. Locally grown produce is cheaper in cost than what you find in stores.

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5) Reducing meat intake and focusing your diet to be more whole foods based will not only benefit your pockets, but your health as well. Buy cheaper proteins like eggs, frozen fish, legumes & nuts instead of meat.

6) Eating clean is not expensive. Eating organically, however, can be pretty pricey. This is where you may have to compromise. Ideally, we’d all eat organic all the time. However, all the food you eat doesn’t absolutely need to be. Fact is not all non- organic foods are bad for you. Here’s a list manufactured by the Environmental Working Group of what foods should always be purchased organic and which can be supplemented with conventionally grown produce: http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214

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7) Buy in season! Seasonal fruits and vegetables that don’t have long distances to travel are healthier for your body because they don’t require as much preservation work, they’ll be more abundant which means cheaper, plus you can feel good about stimulating the local economy. Here’s a list of fruits & veggies organized by season to make the process a little smoother for you: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/what-fruits-and-vegetables-are-in-season

8) So you’ve made it out of the store with everything you needed and only what was on your list. You even stayed within your budget. Congratulations! Now it’s time to meal prep! Cut, bag, and/or freeze produce as needed to images-138prolong usage. Make meals you planned out for the week and put in separate containers for easy grab-and-go access. Bag snacks like trail mixes, cut fruit, and veggie chips to snack on in between meals. This will speed up your metabolism, which will aid in weight loss, and more importantly, lessen the likelihood of you spending unnecessarily of junk food from snack stands/vending machines.

 

Be realistic. Coming into a healthier lifestyle a compromise of your time and sometimes personal expenses. Consider the expenses & habits that can be cut or reduced to accommodate this newly beneficial lifestyle. See it as the ultimate investment in yourself. You’re worth both the time and money.

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Plan. Stay organized. Stick to your list of needs. Prioritize. Buy smart. Buy locally. Buy in season. Buy organic when necessary. Prepare meals in advanced. Freeze the leftovers.

We want you to eat well while saving money doing so. Be consistent. All great changes take time as well as sacrifice. Again, remember you’re worth the investment.

Veggieville: Becoming a Vegetarian.

Thinking about becoming a vegetarian? Well AfroMadu is here to help you with the information you need to decide whether this would be the decision for you!

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Vegetarianism is becoming a popular trend in 2013 with many different pop figures supporting it. Names spreading from Justin Timberlake with his lyrics speaking on “Veganville” to former President Bill Clinton and his story of his transition to a full vegan diet and how it has helped him tremendously with his heart problems.
Over 4 percent of teens are vegetarians, which may not seem like much, but that is a 1 percent rise from 2007 and only 5% of our TOTAL population is vegetarian, so teens are playing a huge part in this trend and will continue to do so.

Vegetarians at minimum refrain from eating all animal flesh, including meat, poultry, fish and other seafood.Vegetarians do eat beans,grains, fruits, and vegetables, but disagree about animal-derived foods other than flesh. Lacto vegetarians accept dairy, Lacto Ovo vegetarians both dairy and eggs. Vegans refrain from eggs, dairy and often honey. There are about 6-8 million vegetarians in America today,and that number is growing as many people are starting to want to cleanse themselves physically as well as spiritually.

Vegetarian diets are “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment” of diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Veggie diets are “appropriate” even during “pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.” Being a vegetarian also helps the environment as you are cutting down on the use of greenhouse gases, pesticides, and the slaughtering of over 10 BILLION animals yearly. It is by far one of the greatest steps you can take against these issues. Vegetarians also live longer as being vegetarian expands your life expectancy by 3.6 years. There is even research stating that vegetarians are 40% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters.

images-54Vegetarians must pay particular attention to eating enough protein, iron, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, and Vitamin B12. Vegans need B12 supplements or B12-fortified plant foods to maintain their health, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group. Vegetarians must also be careful for  hidden animal-based ingredients such as rennet or the milk protein  casein.  If you aspire to be a vegetarian you should also work on menu and holiday planning, grocery shopping, being open to the questioning and skepticism of meat eaters.
These are challenges but realize that you are joining a minority group of people and have to deal with the obstacles the majority places in front of you (which should be nothing new for the black community).

From a personal perspective, I see little to no negatives to becoming vegetarian. It seems like a major step in maintaining a healthy and energetic body, you avoid so much of this world’s fillers and processed garbage. It is a huge step and I haven’t even taken the final step as I still eat chicken. Breaking a habit as strong and
consistent as eating is extremely difficult but the benefits outweigh the cons by a longshot and it’s all worth the reward to me. This article feels like the final step for me and could and probably will mark the beginning of my vegetarian journey. Hopefully this article will help you decide if this is the move for you.

Regardless, be happy, be healthy, be empowered.