The first reported heart attack in the United States was in 1912, and has steadily increased in the past 100 years. By 1950, about 30% of American Deaths were due to Coronary Heart Disease and it had become the number one cause of death. And the numbers have skyrocketed since then. The cancer rates are very similar. Cancer is now tied with Heart Disease as the number one killer of all Americans. Some estimations say that Cancer deaths are 1 in 3 Americans. These are very high rates, and despite what some may try to argue, it was NOT always like this. So, is Black American Soul food really to blame? People were not this sick 100 years ago and they certainly were not eating Raisin Bran and Skim Milk, Almond Milk or Rice Milk. They surely were not eating turkey bacon and skinless, boneless chicken breasts and microwaved food. And they certainly weren't drinking soda or kale juice. So, let's really take a closer look at the nutritional and culinary properties of Afro American Soul Food and the "Soul Food" from other parts of the Black World.
This Blog Post was inspired by Bryan Hunt's "Soul Food Junkies" documentary and I find many flaws with the accuracy of the information presented. There are many key and important points that have been missed and I know that the culprit in Soul food is not what people think it is. If you take a look a my video below along with the other links and sources presented you will have a very clear idea of what I seek to explain. I hope you all find this information useful and helpful. One of the first major myths in the United States is that fat is bad for you and animal fat in particular, along with cholesterol. Jumping on the bandwagon of that myth is a prescription for all sorts of health problems as you age which very well may include serious hormonal and brain dysfunction. I do suggest taking an analytical look at the Fat, Cholesterol and Oil Facts and the Inaccuracy of the Lipid Hypothesis.
COMMON WORRIES AND COMPLAINTS ABOUT SOUL FOOD:
Too Much Fat
One serious problem with S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) is too little consumption of the right fats. Too little consumption of Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Omega-3 fats. Most of the fats in the American diet are coming from rancid, Omega-6, industrial vegetable oils which are highly toxic and destructive. The more low fat diets have been promoted in this country, the fatter people seem to get. If you look at videos from the 70's and the 60's people were thin. You never saw obese people. Now you can travel around America and see morbidly obese people and children everywhere. However, in countries like France where they cook with lots of Duck fat, Goose fat, Lard, Butter and Beef Tallow, everyone is super lean and healthy. They do not have an epidemic of obesity, cancer, hypertension or heart disease. The fact of the matter is, we need consume fat to burn fat. And our brain is made of fat and cholesterol, mostly saturated fat and Omega-3 fat. Our hormones are made from cholesterol and that includes Testosterone, Progesterone and Estrogen. We also need cholesterol in order for our body to synthesize Vitamin D from the UV rays that hit our skin. Thus, without cholesterol in our diet the sun hitting our skin will not produce Vitamin D in the body. Also, we need fat in order to absorb fat soluble vitamins, Vitamins A, E, D and K. Thus consuming spinach sauteed in butter, creamed spinach, berries and cream, peaches and cream, yams and butter, vegetables cooked in beef tallow help us to better assimilate the nutrients from those plant foods.
Our bodies also produce cholesterol, it is produced in the liver to be precise. And it is produced and used to repair damage in the body. Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant. Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease and heart attack. Cholesterol repairs damage in the body, the damage is being done by something else and the body produces cholesterol to go repair the damage. It's akin to someone burning down a building and then the firemen and ambulances come and then someone comes along and blames the emergency responders for the burnt down building. When in reality the firemen and ambulances were coming to help, they were not the cause.
The fats that are a problem are the ones that come from labratories and sick animals. Beef Fat from grass fed cows is highly nutritious as is lard from pasture pigs, not regular pigs from the commercial food industry. It should be noted that the Okinawa in Japan are the longest living, healthiest people in the world and the number one oil they cook with every day is LARD. In Southern Cuisine, people once baked goods in lard and fried chicken in lard and other foods in beef tallow. But once the industrial vegetable oil companies began their smear campaign of barbaric animal fats and began convincing people to use margarine instead of butter and crisco instead of lard we see a steady increase in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Too Much Salt
Sodium is actually a required nutrient and must be properly balanced with other electrolytes such as potassium. However, the table salt that is widely consumed in the United States today is in a highly processed, stripped down form. It is in the form of Sodium Chloride. Instead, we should be consuming unrefined sea salts. Sea salt is a wonderful form of sodium because it is accompanied by many other electrolytes and essential molecules that are critical for proper digestion. One should not worry about consuming sea salt and hypertension is shown to be more associated with chronically low potassium levels (which is also severe dehydration) and chronic stress which prevents people from breathing deep and keeps adrenaline up. When one's adrenaline is up the blood sugar of the person also goes up, but that person is not physically doing anything to utilize all of the sugar being released in the blood. Also the lack of exercise is certainly linked to hypertension. More potassium, sea salt, more exercise, deep breathing and stress reduction are the proper prescription for hypertension.
The main causes of cancer is too much sugar, which is known to feed cancer cells and create the perfect enviornment in the body for cancer to flourish. Sugar also pulls many essential nutrients out of the body. Also, trans fats and rancid, industrial vegetable oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, margarine, crisco and Pam are highly responsible for the rampant destruction of DNA within the human body along with chronic inflammation. The industrial vegetable oils are Omega - 6 PUFA which are known to be pro inflammatory; unlike the anti - inflammatory Omega -3 Fats of Animal Origin. The fats Omega-3 DHA and EPA can only be found in animal foods and they have the same anti inflammatory effect as NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs such as Ibuprofen), except they work slower. These fats can only be found in the liver oils of cold water fish, the liver, raw milk and egg yolks of grass fed and pasture fed animals.
Epidemiological Statistics show the strong correlation and sharp increase in heart disease, cancer and diabetes and the ingestion of rancid, industrial (omega-6) vegetable oils, sugar and wheat. Think about it, how can old foods cause new diseases?
Real Soul Food Culprits
The bad foods that are a part of the Soul Food Tradition today include soda, kool -aid (for some, never for my family), macaroni, biscuits and bread, pies and cakes. I have discussed above how bad sugar is, so drinking a lot of soda, juice and kool-aid every day with your meals is a huge risk factor for cancer, diabetes, obesity bone problems, auto immune diseases, increased infections and other health problems. But so is the consumption of wheat products. Back in the day, lets say 80 years ago, 70 years ago, 60 years ago...people soaked their grains before cooking them. Things like grits were soaked over night in order to deactivate a lot of the anti nutrients found in grains. The same was done with the flour used for bread and baked goods. Now it is non existent. And the grains we are currently consuming are very genetically modified and horrible for our health in every way. I suggest taking a good look at the book "Wheat Belly" by: Dr. William Davis. Also, please note that grits is a traditional Native American food and they were a very healthy people prior to colonization. They were well built and lived to be well over 100 years old with all of their teeth and faculties and gave birth to healthy, strong, long living children for generations.
Traditionally, people ate food out of their back yards mostly whether plant or animal foods. People hunted animals in the woods by their house or got chickens and chicken eggs from their yard. And all dairy in this country was raw prior to the nationwide, legal mandate to pasteurize and homogenize all milk. However, everyone I know who sis 60 and older who grew up in the United States, tells me that the milk man came to their door with raw milk. The cream was on top in a glass bottle. I have heard this from people who grew up down south and up north. Every one got milk with the cream on top delivered to them by the milk man. Now the milk that is consumed is coming from grain fed cows, and sometimes cows who were fed animal pars. However, not only are cows strict herbivores, but they are only designed to eat grass. A grain diet and/or a diet with animal foods will cause a cow to get sick and thus produce sick milk. And then the milk is pasteurized and homogenized which further destroys the nutritional value and chi of the milk. I speak more about the difference between commercial milk and raw milk in these videos: Raw Milk and Raw Honey Part 1, Raw Milk and Raw Honey Part 2.
Like all food in America, foods from canned vegetables to canned fruit and microwaveable meals, food has become processed. So someone cooking soulfood from the regular Winn Dixie, C-Town, Pathmark and Walmart foods will not be preparing a healthy meal. But even if a person is not eating Soulfood but they shop at stores like that theyw ill still be eating old, overly processed food "products." And that is the point, it is not the Traditional Soulfood when cooked with the ingredients they were prepared with 100+ years ago.
Here is my Video Response Below:
I also highly suggest taking a very good look at the books and videos below.
"Deep Nutrition - Why Your Genes Need Traditional Foods" by: Catherine Shanahan, MD and Luke Shanahan
"Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by: Weston A. Price, DDS
"Real Food: What to Eat and Why" by: Nina Planck
"Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby's First Foods" by: Nina Planck
"Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill" by: Udo Erasmus, PhD
"Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Diet Dictocrats" by: Sally Fallon
"High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America" by: Jessica B. Harris
"The Oiling of America" w/ Sally Fallon
"All about Fat" by: Makeda Voletta
"Sacred Animal Foods" by: Makeda Voletta, CSCS
"Examining Vegan Propaganda - Spiritual, Epidemiological and Anthropological" by: Makeda Voletta, CSCS
"Traditional Fats and Sacred Foods" by: The Healthy Home Economist
"Nourishing Traditional Diets" by: Sally Fallon
-Makeda Voletta, CSCS
Two Years of study in the M.S. program in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Teacher's College, Columbia University
B.S. - Exercise and Sports Science w/ a concentration in Strength and Conditioning and minor in Nutrition
University of Delaware, 2003
NSCA certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
ACE certified Personal Trainer
AFAA certified Group Fitness Instructor
USAW Olympic Weightlifting Coach
ISSN Sports Nutritionist
Pat Etcheberry certified Tennis and Golf Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Sensual Strength Trainer