The Black American Diet

Moving to Leimert Park from the Mid-City area of Los Angeles was a dream for my family and I. We are within 5 minutes from both sets of grandparents, daycare is within walking distance, and our grocery stores, boutiques, and all sorts of shops are in abundance in this area. The drawback of moving over here has been our food options on nights when I don’t feel like cooking. In Mid-City we had a plethora of options to choose from. Chinese, Sushi, Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Vegetarian foods were all within a short distance and many of them delivered. Here in Leimert, our food options are extremely limited. The only places that deliver are Pizza Hut and Dominoes; the closest food spots are M&M’s Soul Food, McDonald’s, and Krispy Kreme; and healthful options are just far enough to be inconvenient on weekday night.

In my old neighborhood, the demographic was extremely diverse. We had a little bit of everybody over there off of Venice and Fairfax, but as you moved north, there was a larger proportion of White and Jewish residents in the neighborhood. Here in Leimert the demographic is predominately Black with a fair amount of Asian, Hispanic, and White residents in the neighborhood. Yet, food-wise, we are getting the shaft.

Why is this? Why is there always a disproportionate amount of unhealthy food in Black neighborhoods? When you think about it, it sets up Black middle to low-class families at a major disadvantage when it comes to their health. A single mother who works 40+ hours a week and has to depend on the convenience of fast food to feed her family doesn’t have the time to consider that the meals she serves her children are 1000 calories or more. Furthermore, the food that they are eating is setting them up to be predisposed to the many health issues Black folks fall victim to, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. So often we aren’t taught what to eat or how to eat – we just eat what’s been given to us, and maintain that same diet throughout our adult lives. The end result is 65% of Black Americans being overweight.

Filmmaker Storm Talifero, who has also been a raw vegan for the last 30 years is putting together a film project called B.A.D. (Black American Diet) which is currently in production. The film showcases how Black people (and all people) can adopt healthier ways of eating by making better food choices every day. Although we are at a disadvantage because our neighborhoods are littered with fast food (2300 fast food restaurants in South Central compared to 7 in Santa Monica) there are options around us that will make us healthier and assure that our children don’t fall victim to these diseases that are killing us in mass numbers.

We will keep you posted on the progress of this film, but please check out the trailer and pass this information on. The more support this film receives, the quicker it can get made and be in our hands.

Black Men Revealed: The Problem or the Solution?

This morning I caught an episode of “Black Men Revealed” on TV One. The segment topic was cheating. Representing black men were an old cheater, a young “pretty boy”, a “reformed” cheater, and a man who is in a committed relationship. They initially began to reminisce about times they were caught cheating and how their partners reacted. The pretty boy bragged about how he had sex with the mother of one of his “Starting 5” ON Mother’s Day. He called it her “present”. Then he was heralded “the man” when he confessed his starter was so angry with him he felt obliged to put her twin sister in the game.

The men also discussed ways to avoid confrontation when their woman suspects them of cheating. One man revealed, quite proudly, that whenever his girl suspected something he turned it right back on her and accused her of cheating. He said she became so obsessed with proving her innocence she forgot all about his dirt.

I could go an and on about the ridiculous inferences made during the show, but it ended with the revelation that most men on the panel had been cheated on at one time or another. It was then I realized these men are no different than all the women who have been cheated on and are jaded because of it. These harsh realities have left men and women furious with one another, questioning the merit of monogamy and naturally mistrusting of others.

Optimistically speaking, the producers of the show had good intentions when providing a forum to discuss issues related to black males. Unfortunately, the show serves as a vehicle to reinforce stereotypes about black men, such as them being pimps, cheaters, users and abusers. The show leaves much to be desired. Rarely if at all was there mention of these men or women being WRONG when they cheated. Rarely if at all did they mention how their families were affected. Not once did one man say to another “we gotta do better”. Not once did they mention the rising number of HIV/AIDS infections and other STD’s. The show glorified cheating and portrayed men on the hunt as a part of natural selection. ANIMALS hunt multiple prey. Doesn’t man possess the ability to reason and control instincts?

Is “Black Men Revealed” the problem or the solution?

Haaaaay girl signing off.

Best & Worst: Cell Phone Radiation

A few well-known phones with the highest radiation levels are the Blackberry 8820 (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon), the Palm Pixi (Sprint (S)), Motorola(MOT) Moto VE440 (MetroPCS), the Blackberry Bold 9700 (AT&T, T-Mobile) and the Blackberry Curve 8300 (Sprint, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, MetroPCS and CREDO).

The EWG is not telling you NOT to buy or use these phones. The group is providing these facts from its tests so that consumers can be informed buyers and users.

In their own words:

“Are cell phones safe? Many research groups around the world are working to find out. Your cell phone emits radiation to send voice and text messages from you to the other caller. Some (not all) studies of frequent cell-phone users suggest this radiation may increase risks for cancer or children’s behavior problems.”

The group wants you to use its facts to find “…safer, low-radiation choices.”

All of this sounds very ominous and scary. I’m not sure it should be your first priority when you buy a phone, but being aware of the facts and your phone’s potentially dangerous radiation numbers could make a difference.