Black vegans get no love. We’re shunned at dinner parties, given mistrustful glances on buffet lines and never asked to contribute to the church potluck. I’ve been told more than a few times that my eating habits are “bourgeois,” as if the deletion of meat and dairy from my diet has somehow placed me in a culinary caste system.
… A good friend hipped me to the “Fit for Life” nutritional principles and I adapted a strict vegan regimen to lose fifty pounds. As soon as I took charge of my health, a state of wholeness–physically, spiritually and emotionally–set in.
Once I embarked on this journey into nutrition and wellness, I became hungrier for more knowledge. I went searching for kinship and community and I found both in Dr. Nathan Rabb, a naturopathic doctor and trailblazer in the holistic health field…He caught my attention because his theme song is the psychedelic Curtis Mayfield classic “Junkie Chaser” …But I would soon discover that junkie chaser is an apt description for the work Dr. Rabb is doing in his neighborhood–trying to rid it of the dietary monkeys riding the backs of many blacks.
“Our community suffers greatly because of slave mentality diets,” Dr. Rabb tells me. I’m sitting in his Inglewood office and we kick holistic ballistics for a few hours. A Huey Newton of natural health, Dr. Rabb is passionate about educating people on nutrition. One of the main things we mull over is why blacks seem so reluctant to embrace alternative ways of eating.
“We hold on to traditions,” laments Dr. Rabb. “We still want to eat chitlins on New Years, and we attach that with something that’s supposed to be good luck. I don’t know how it can be good luck when you’re eating waste”.
…A lot of this waste has translated into higher incidences of illness and cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of African-Americans. …I’m all for more soul in this holistic health movement. Maybe once African Americans start revolutionizing our dietary habits will we experience a greater level of wellness. Who knows? Maybe even Trader Joe’s and Wholefoods will start opening up shop in our neighborhoods. Maybe the term “black vegan” won’t be viewed as an oxymoron along the lines of “military intelligence.” Whatever the outcome of our mobilization, as Dr. Rabb points out, “the ultimate goal is to eradicate ignorance, illness and disease. Ignorance is number one; it makes more people sick than anything.”
(Via Nicole D. Sconiers)