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.

3 Replies to “The Black American Diet”

  1. Great post! You and I have discussed this topic at length. I have become accustomed to eating fast food since that’s all there really is around work. As if the number of fast food restaurants and the quality of the food is not of enough concern, now most fast food chains accept EBT cards, which means parents can feed their kids fast food on my dime! We ALL gotta do better.

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