A friend of mine queried me about nutrition and what I thought he should do differently in order to be more productive throughout the day. I asked him what his diet consisted of and how he felt by late afternoon.
“I eat a decent breakfast; I usually mess up around lunchtime.” He said.
I took a stab at what he ate during lunch. Probably something high in fat, starch and probably all of his food was the same color; beige or tan. I was right.
“I just need to be fully functional when I’m up instead of just dragging along.” My friend stated.
He made a valid point. Many people pride themselves in multi-tasking or being about, “that vamp life,” meaning, to stay awake for long periods of time. But how many of these people are functioning to their full potential?
There are a plethora of articles, TV shows, journals and essays on proper diet and eating healthy but for some it is a miracle to get through one day without something between two buns or soaked in oil.
It wasn’t enough to tell my friend he should just eat his vegetables. I needed him to understand why, as a black man, it was important to change his lifestyle. I could scatter this article with statistics charting the high number of African-Americans with high-blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cancer, sickle-cell anemia and many other ailments that have been our demise for generations since being brought to America, but those numbers have no significance to them without information on how they got to be so extraordinary. How can one expect to exert high amounts of out-put without the proper amount or type of input? It is not possible.
Although I am just a novice at understanding biology I have gained a thirst for learning as much as possible regarding the bio-chemistry of people of African-descent. I recently moved to South Korea for a teaching opportunity and while here I could not help but immerse myself in the culture. In doing so, I realized how much of a staple food is in Korean culture. It is common for strangers to offer you fruit, vegetables and all types of food. There is a great amount of pride felt when Koreans can share their culture with foreigners. At some point I had to explain to members of my temporary host country that I did not eat meat. So many of the dishes offered to me were heavy with pork or beef and I politely turned them down. The more I was questioned why I did not eat meat the more I had to explore within myself for that answer. It was more than for health reasons. I had developed moral and spiritual reasons as well and eventually, I have come to the conclusion that eating meat simply isn’t a natural part of who I am.
Tariq M Sawandi, M.H., N.D. states in his essay, The Science of African Biochemistry: A Nutritional Guide for Healing, Diet and Well-Being:
“There are differences in body physiology between the races of Mankind. Every human has a specific biochemical makeup and therefore requires a unique biochemical diet in order to stay healthy and free from disease.”
What does all of this have to do with productivity you ask?
Imagine a high-performance vehicle that only runs on Ultra gasoline. How would that vehicle run if one were to fill it with Regular gasoline and didn’t give it regular maintenance? It would run for a while but not without some problems that will eventually accumulate resulting in the owner either repairing major parts or buying a new car. Apply that same science to the human body, more specifically, to the make and model of the African body.
Tariq M. Sawandi also writes, “The science of African bio-chemistry is based on the melanin molecule which is dominant in Africans. Western health science is based on white body chemistry, and is incompatible with the African body type.”
Melanin is a pigment and living molecule that ranges in colors from pale yellow to red to black. It is able to energize itself and hold on to light in all forms such as solar, cosmic waves, laser and ultrasound. It interacts by absorbing heat and using it within itself without combusting. In other words melanin is the universe in a microcosm when it is in your body and in a macrocosm when you see it out in space. When it is put on the surface of something like a body it is able to use that energy from the sun while dissipating the heat.
Melanin is not only associated with skin pigmentation but it is also a part of the nervous system as well. It is produced by a pine cone-shaped gland called the pineal gland located in the center of the brain. Many people call the pineal gland, “The third eye,” and say it is the medium between the physical and spiritual world; that a higher consciousness can be accessed through this gland. The job of the melanin is to regulate everything that happens in your body; to tell the body to stay in balance. Melanin is a natural converter of energy, energy which is used for metabolizing food and rejuvenating cells.
The problem my friend was having was more than long work hours and skipping lunch. His problem, as well as many African-Americans, could very well be toxic melanin. A deficiency in Vitamin B makes it difficult for the body to rid itself of heavy toxins and eventually they end up at the source of the melanin, the brain. If melanin, the molecule that keeps your entire body in proper harmony, isn’t in harmony itself, how then can one expect the body to be in harmony?
Imagine melanin as the General of an army. It keeps its soldiers fighting all forms of attack. If the General is not well, it is only a matter of time before the soldiers themselves become weak and unable to fight any form of attack. If people with an abundance of melanin are bio-chemically different from people with a deficiency of melanin, it is only natural that the nutritional and medical needs of such people would be different as well.
I remember as a child in elementary school seeing the food pyramid approved by America’s Food and Drug administration stating that milk is a necessity in the American diet yet over 70% of black people (worldwide) cannot digest cattle milk. The digestive system of the African body requires nutrition from food that our ancestors ate some 2000 years ago. In Dr. Laila Afrika’s book, African Holistic Health, he writes, “Blacks assimilate food in the intestines differently. Also, despite centuries of living in countries outside of the African continent, their intestinal florae are the same as it was in their ancestor’s stomachs 2,000 years ago in Africa.”
With this information it is no wonder my friend struggles to make it through his day without a nap. He has, theoretically speaking, been putting Regular gasoline in his tank when he should have been using Ultra this entire time. The introduction to the foods so many African-Americans love came during a time of struggle and survival. Before leaving the continent, the diet of the African was primarily vegetarian. Meat was eaten rarely or as a side dish. Some of the staple foods include, but not limited to, were grains, legumes, yams, sorghum, watermelon, pumpkin, okra, and leafy green vegetables. A small number of fruits grew on the continent such as lemons, oranges, dates and figs.
The fatty and starchy foods that were fed to the slaves during the long voyage across the Atlantic were primarily to keep them full long enough to endure the ride. Once the diet of the African changed thus was the synchronicity between the body and melanin. Once in an environment where the nutrition was nothing like back home, slaves began to create their own style of cooking and pieced together dozens of tasty recipes which is now affectionately called, Soul food. Here are just a few of the recipes:
Black-eyed peas (served separately or with rice as hoppin’ john), catfish (dredged in seasoned cornbread and fried), Chitterlings or chitlins: (the cleaned and prepared intestines of hogs, slow-cooked and often eaten with vinegar and hot sauce), Ham hocks (smoked, used as flavor vegetables and legumes), ribs (usually pork but can also be beef ribs), sweet potatoes (often parboiled, sliced then baked using sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter).
These are just a few of the delicious recipes created by slaves that used what they were given as a means to survive. Although they may be tasty and have become a familiar staple in southern cooking, these foods are not in balance with the biochemical makeup of people of African descent. What is the price paid for living in such imbalance for so long? I mentioned some of the ailments above. Let’s discuss the ability to control behavior through something Dr. Laiala Afrika calls, Nutritional genocide. It is controlling and killing large groups of people through food products that have no balance. How many foods are zapped of their nutritional value then labeled, enriched, indicating the vitamins have been put back into the products? The relationship between the melanin and the body has been destroyed because these food products are not whole and the melanin has become toxic.
Each part of your body has an element that it is dominant in. Zinc is dominant in your eyes, Lithium is found in your heart, Iron makes you rational. The relationships of these elements must remain in harmony with melanin to keep humans in balance. If I want to create a manic depressed person, I would tweak the levels of lithium. If I wanted to cause a woman to go into early menopause I would tweak her manganese levels. It is no wonder that the mental health business in inner cities is at such an extraordinary height. There is so much imbalance that the only perceived solution are drugs or synthesized versions of natural vitamins of which can be taken naturally through eating a proper diet.
When mother said, “Eat your vegetables,” she knew best. The best way to develop great eating habits, to replenish your melanin and to stay productive and in balance is to eat from the colors of the rainbow; orange, yellow, green, purple, green, red and white. Think of fruits and vegetables in these colors and don’t worry so much about calorie counting or spending hours of research on which supplements you should take. The truth is there is nothing on the market to buy that which Mother Nature has not provided you. Consider this the next time a feeling of fatigue, sickness or disease seems overwhelming; your body is full of dedicated strong soldiers. What or who are you allowing to act as its general? Healthy melanin or something else waiting to control what belongs to you?
(n.d.) “Soul Food” A Brief History. African-American Registry. Dec. 4, 2012. http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/soul-food-brief-history,
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(Posted by Dom London)