Do you want to live? Or, do you want to die? This is how I open all of my community talks about health and eating well. The response to this question varies and usually garners gasps, hard stares, rolled eyes and even neck rolls. Many people answer this question immediately with an automatic, and instinctive, “I want to live!” After a moment passes, I look around the room, let it grow silent and then I tell my story of how I too want to live. I tell them how each and every day, I am doing everything I can to extend my life by doing what I call EAT LIFE!
See, for the last two years, I have been passionately addressing a personal health crisis that caused me to depend on a cane to daily mobilize myself. Neurological at the core, it took a while for me to face the fact that it is indeed Multiple Sclerosis. Eventually, I needed to get to a place with whatever was happening in my body to more fully address it. Not embrace it. If you know anything about this condition, it is a “boutique” health challenge that impacts everybody differently. It was after so many trips to the doctor without definitive diagnosis that I decided to take matters into my own hands; literally into my own hands. By that, I mean I dramatically and deliberately changed my approach and relationship to and with food. I cut out all processed foods, sugar, rice, starches, meats and pastas. Basically, anything that had no life and no color had instantaneously become off limits. I researched and documented like my life depended on it. Because in those moments that I was having an MRI done in the hospital alone, with no family or friends there, I felt as if my life did depend on it.
My point here is this. As people of color, WE ARE DYING! Our community is bombarded by health challenges such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lupus, congestive heart failure, and cancers of all types including breast, lung, prostate, ovarian and uterine. Many of these are preventable through change of diet. What we put in our bodies and indeed how we care for ourselves overall is critical if we want to live fruitful lives. We have a very serious decision to make. It starts with answering the questions, “Do I want to live? Or do I want to die?” The choice is yours, mine, ours.