African Heritage: Why We Have Heart Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, and MORE!
Many people including myself have wondered why African American family eat the type of foods they consume. Why is our culture connected to fried chicken, biscuits, yams, ham hocks, greens, black-eyed peas, okra, chitterlings, pig feet and more to name a few?
There is a history behind everything and a history behind the foods that have been a part of our black culture. Soul food (ethnic cuisine) originated in the south in the slavery era. African slaves were only given the leftovers and scraps of meat from their masters while the slave owners got the meatier cuts. Many of us folk were farmers, fishers and hunters, and growing our own vegetables was something slaves were accustomed to. Hunting possum, rabbits, squirrel and waterfowl were the only source of food they had to work with.
We also season our food with pork products and “Shortening” (Trans fat) because it was all we had for seasoning. Continuously eating this way without exercise or regular activity to keep the fat off will open the doors for the illness, and is why our culture is prone to the following diseases today- Obesity, hypertension, heart problems and diabetes.
As a people we need to step away from the slave mentality of eating and renew our minds so that we can save our bodies and our people. A better way to cook would be to use healthier alternatives like olive oil or vegetable oil. Instead of frying foods we can bake or grill. Instead of pork use turkey or chicken.