The maldistribution of resources among black people who are the descendants of American slaves is brutally evident via its detrimental manifestation in every metric of society.
Whether it's the eminent domain law racist government entities have used to forcefully rip their way through enclaves of black-owned property or whether it's everyday racist citizens who've sabotaged or outright terrorized black businesses and economies, black people in America and around the world have deliberately and intentionally been prevented from establishing a financial state to collectively build generational wealth.
Based on our history of economic brutalization in the United States, it is imperative we not only build an economic base as a collective but that we also treat what momentary resources we do posses as sacred tools when it comes to how we utilize them. Maximizing the effectiveness of every penny without sacrificing our well-being and overall progress while, at the same time, saving as much as possible whenever possible is a crucial practice necessary for our continued survival as a people. And, small and simple practices we perform on a daily basis are how we accomplish the goal of economic independence.
That said, I would like to share one pragmatic and easy-to-grasp codified practices I, myself, perform regularly that may sound kind of silly or inconsequential at first glance but that squarely fall in line as counter-racist customs.
Food, of course, is one of mankind's more precious resources. Due to poor eating habits originating from slavery and due to a lack of access to quality food and water, black Americans have developed a poor relationship with food in terms of our knowledge of what we eat, how to best utilize every part of what we eat, and how to fortify a food's shelf life in order for it to last through emergencies and to save money (maximizing the effectiveness of every penny).
In order to correct these three areas of ignorance common among black people pertaining to our relationship to food, I want to share some strategies with you all I engage in that I've consciously adopted as a cultural norm in my own household.
I Buy Organic As Much As Humanly Possible:
Many of the fruits, vegetables, and animals we buy and consume were treated with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and growth hormones. Not to mention, a great deal of the plants we eat have been genetically modified. One strategy of someone who is practicing counter-racist philosophy is to respect one's body by properly nourishing and maintaining it. Based on logic, putting as few chemicals, unnatural substances, and molecular alterations, in our body as humanly possible would be a means of accomplishing that.
I understand most organic food is expensive. I completely get that, and at times, I wasn't able to afford it myself But, it's all about doing the best you can with what you have. If you can't find organic food in your price range, you can at least try your best to purchase the ones that don't need to be organic.
Luckily, the price for some organic items, such as the organic tomato paste I buy which I use as the base for my vegetable soups, has become fairly affordable, due to an increase in demand. Also, not all fruits and vegetables and their products need to be organic. Here is a list of the fruits and veggies you should place an emphasis on buying organic and the ones you don't have to. For example, things like onions, pineapples, mushrooms, sweet peas, and avocados don't have to be.
I try to eat as little meat as possible based on my own personal choices, but, when it comes to meat in general, I always try to buy organic. And, I try to buy all seafood products wild-caught and low in mercury.
Reading the Ingredients on Everything You Plan to Consume:
I check the ingredients for everything I put in my body, and I research them to see what kind of effects they'll have. Never consume any food product containing additives that sound unfamiliar and/or that you cannot easily pronounce. Look for products with simple and easily recognizable ingredients.
For example, I'd rather spend the money to buy fresh, wild-caught seafood from the market and freeze it myself rather than to buy it already frozen in packs, because they add sodium tripolyphosphate to it, in order to maintain the moisture and color of the fish. I don't know what sodium tripolyphosphate does to the body, and, quite frankly, I don't care. The fish I freeze taste perfectly fine without this chemical, and, if I can't afford fresh fish to freeze on my own, I can substitute it with canned sardines (which have an extremely long shelf life and are low in mercury). They may not taste as good as fresh seafood, but they're cheap and highly nutritious, too.
Remember. We eat for survival, not just for the taste.
Utilize Every Part of Your Food & Give Back What Cannot:
When it comes to things like animal bones, undesired animal tissue, and fruit and vegetable peels, roots, and seeds we toss most of it out thinking this material is useless.
I save all my onion peels and roots, garlic peels, carrots skins and roots, asparagus roots, and celery roots in a grocery bag I place in my freezer. At the end of each month, I take all of this material, I put it in a pot full of water, and I boil the heck out of it for 2 hours. Afterward, I strain the juices into a bowel, and I store it in Mason jars once I let it cool. I use this highly, nutrient-rich broth (because most of a vegetable's nutrients are stored in its roots and skin which I boiled out) as the base for my chicken and vegetable soups. Plus, it works well as a natural flu reliever (which I've learned through personal experience).
When it comes to the leftover vegetable and fruit rubbish, I put it all in a compost bin. Naturally, over time, this material turns to mulch which other plants can be grown in. I donate this compost mulch to my family which they use for their own plant-growing endeavors (some who grow their own food sources).
I do the same thing for the bones of the animals I eat. I don't toss those bones from those Wingstop, lemon pepper wings when I'm done with them. I saw them along with all other animal bones and boil the daylights out of them, too.
Extending the Life of Your Food:
People buy frozen fruit and veggies, but why do this when you can buy them organic and freeze them yourself? Shockingly, most people don't know it's extremely easy to freeze just about anything.
Organic frozen fruits and veggies are either very expensive or they just flat-out can't be found in the frozen food section of most stores. No need to worry though. You can freeze your own food very easily.
Plenty of fruit, meat, and veggies require no prep to freeze, other than you cutting them to your preferred proportions and storing them in freezer bags, and they can be taken right out of the freezer and immediately used without any thawing necessary. For example beef, chicken, fish, turkey, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, kale, green beans, asparagus, cabbage, celery, rice (yes I said rice), bananas, apples, strawberries, and mango: These are all fruits and veggies than can be popped right into the freezer, with only you dicing them to your preferred portion size standing as the only needed prep.
Other vegetables like carrots, potatoes, peppers, and squash need to be blanched and drained before they're frozen to maintain flavor and nutrient content.
Certain vegetables, fungi, and fruits, like onion, watermelon, avocado, mushrooms, lemons, limes, kiwi, radishes, and turnips don't freeze well, no matter what you do. But, fortunately, they naturally have long shelf lives when stored properly.
Increasing the shelf life of your food not only ensures you have it available for long periods of time in case of an emergency (kinda like a certain pandemic we know), but it also saves a ton of money you could potentially lose through food going bad before you've had a chance to use it.
Learning That Eating Healthy Doesn't Mean Eating Tasteless Food:
When I was 26, I had chronic stomach issues, and I soon learned I was gluten intolerant, which means I cannot eat wheat, barley, or rye products. Subsequently, I was forced to explore raw and unprocessed food options. As miserable as the situation was with the amount of constant pain I was in and with all of the medical bills piling up, I'm, in a way, grateful that happened to me. Because, it showed me a lot of the takeout and processed foods I normally ate actually weren't all that great, simply for the fact I didn't have a taste reference point.
I began to discover a lot of the gluten-free food I had to start making on my own actually tasted better than the things I was ordering delivery for or buying in a can.
To find alternatives to gluten-containing foods, I was pushed to begin exploring a variety of spices, flours, oils, and condiments that deviated from the diet I'd pretty much stuck to simply because, for much of my life, it was the food I was raised on. And, I swear on my father's grave, in this day and age, I eat more delicious and healthier food these past several years than I have at any point in my life.
Not only do I eat tastier and more nourishing food, but I've also noticed an improvement in my overall health, in terms of my mental clarity, my energy levels, my sex libido, my hair, my age appearance, and the texture of my skin.
Another added benefit is, it's a lot of fun to explore the vast universe of food, and it's incredibly satisfying to find something new that's both delicious and good for you. Human beings are exploratory creatures, and eating the same food day-in-and-day-out simply because it's all you know how to make or eating food on a regular basis that doesn't make you feel good can be a downright morale killer. At that point, your mealtime just becomes redundant and flat.
Eating is supposed to be a fun experience. I enjoy the challenge of finding foods that don't have gluten in them. It's almost like a video game to me. When it comes to finding the foods that supply us with the nutrients our bodies need for us to be on our A-game in life and that give our bodies the power to fight off and prevent disease, black people should take great pride and joy in finding and incorporating them into our lifestyle habits. Taking the time to research what foods are best for us and holistically eating healthily is not just something for the white folks you find up in Sprouts and Whole Foods.
Above all though, remember. At the end of the day, understand that making a steadfast commitment to healthy living on every level–mind, body, and soul–is a revolutionary act against the system of racism. The better you feel and are, the more you'll be able to contribute to the cause and the longer you'll be able to do so.
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The Eye Wall – Literary Art, Racism Awareness, Social & Lifestyle Enrichment Commentary: https://TheStormyPoet.com
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