This is an open letter, a desperate plea, a hopeful attempt to say what I hope will not fall on deaf ears. There’s something weighing very heavy on my heart this early morning. Part of me thought to get around to writing sometime later, but this subject is just too important and urgent that it just can’t wait.
If you or someone you love suffers from diet-related health ailments (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, etc.), this letter is for you.
If you can’t recall the last time you cooked a dish without opening a box, package or reading an instructional label, this letter is for you.
If you tell yourself and others that “you don’t eat vegetables (especially the green ones)”, this letter is for you.
If you can’t recall the last time you ate a fresh fruit (and fruit cups don’t count), this letter is for you.
If you have a health condition that requires a restricted diet but can’t stop yourself from eating those restricted foods, this letter is for you.
I’m not a doctor. I’m not a preacher. I’m not your mama. However, I am a sister and a friend, and I care about your life and hope you do too.
There is a major health care problem in the United States, and it’s one that Obama can’t solve. It has nothing to do with Medicare or Medicaid. It has nothing to do with premiums and health insurance. Yes, there is inadequate health care in America, but I’m more concerned with the inadequate care for health. To see kind and loving people do such harm to their bodies is a travesty. I don’t believe that anyone is intentionally harming themselves by eating the foods they eat, so my only conclusion is that people are suffering from some level of slavery or delusion that keeps them from taking a moment to consider what enters their mouths.
There are some diseases and conditions that are, at least from what we can ascertain, truly hereditary. However, if you are suffering from a condition that your parents suffered from and you eat the way they did, and they suffered from a condition that their parents suffered from, and they ate they way they did; is this a hereditary problem? It sounds like a generational problem to me. Again, there are cases of true predispositions to certain ailments but how many “predispositions” can become obsolete by taking on new dietary and lifestyle habits that will chart a new path for your family’s future.
I love hearing Urbndervish recall his “vegan conversion” story because its so plain and simple. It’s not complicated and flowery or motivated by some hippy, yuppy or buppy trend. He didn’t have this life-changing moment when he decided he didn’t want to eat Bambi or Babe. He will tell you that he saw all of the men around him dying: his grandfather and uncles- from diabetes and heart-related diseases. When he took this into account, he decided that “this generational curse is going to end with me, and I’m not going to pass this on to my children”. From there, he phased out red meat from his diet, then poultry, then fish, then dairy products and has been the happy, healthy vegan we now know him to be for about ten years. To me, this is a revolution–the reality of it, at least. To look at the world around you, desire to change it, and to start by changing yourself.
It especially pangs me that people of faith are not concerned for their health too. I told Urbndervish this morning that maybe people need to hear this message from their pulpits to make a change, but he reminded me that the ones in the pulpit are dying of the same ailments. I don’t care what your doctor told you about your health at your most recent check-up. Look at yourself! Do you feel healthy? Do you look healthy? Do you want to be healthy? Most conventional doctors are reactive more than preventative. When its time to give you a new pill to treat your blood pressure once it passes that critical benchmark, the doctor will be sure to write your prescription but what does he or she prescribe to you when the blatant, glaring fact that your blood pressure has been climbing over the years parallel to your weight and medication intake for other ailments? Who wants to spend their last days on dialysis or on such a restrictive diet (low-sodium, low-sugar, bland, etc.) that you don’t enjoy eating anymore?
This is beyond a pro-vegan plea, this is a pro-life plea. Rise up and live! If you love God and God’s green earth, then eat from it. Get to know your Lord through the creation and its produce. The fact that religious texts refer to the natural produce of the earth as “God’s provision” and “God’s signs” must mean something to you! Consider the grains, the fruits and vegetables of the earth. Consider their healing qualities and nutritional content. Even if you don’t love God, love yourself enough to preserve your life and have enough vitality to live it! This generous planet has something to teach us all, but are we listening? Desire to live long enough to see your great grandchildren live. Why not?
Call a spade a spade, and be honest about your health choices. Pick up a book and be informed. Reflect on your body and how it interacts with the foods you eat. Take a walk. Watch something grow from the earth. Fast for a day. Buy a clue and look to the lifestyles of those around you who are aging well, without health ailments and distress. Maybe you two can share a meal of the same foods, but watch their proportions. Even if a person may “splurge” on occasion, how often are you “splurging” or telling yourself that you “deserve” to eat something that’s only merit is its taste? Train your taste buds to love the taste of life and living foods. Your taste preferences are learned, so retrain them.
A friend of mine would often tell us about a conversation between herself and her grandmother. As her grandmother was getting ready to “get down” on a bowl of chitlings, my friend said to her, “Grandma, you know this is no good for you.” Her grandmother replied, “Well, baby. I just say the Lord’s grace over it.” “But Grandma. If you said the Lord’s grace over a bowl of crack, wouldn’t it still be a bowl of crack?” That being said, connect your spirituality to your lifestyle. Monitor the diet of your heart, as well as the diet of your body and mind. Consider yourself a whole being and look to those you claim to follow holistically. Start where you are. Don’t smoke crack and don’t eat crap.
From the ones who love you,