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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:04 PM

Film explores African-Americans' unhealthy "soul food" habit

Perhaps if free enterprise won't do the job, the federal government needs to jump in and start opening supermarkets with ONLY healthy food while chasing out the fried food restaurants.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/27/entertainment-us-soulfood-idUSBRE8BQ0ET20121227

After interviewing food historians, scholars, cooks, doctors, activists and consumers for his new film "Soul Food Junkies," filmmaker Byron Hurt concluded that an addiction to soul food is killing African-Americans at an alarming rate.

The movie, which will premiere on January 14 on U.S. public broadcasting television, examines how black cultural identity is linked to high-calorie, high-fat food such as fried chicken and barbecued ribs and how eating habits may be changing.

~ snip ~

Besides tradition and habit, poverty and neighborhoods without good supermarkets also contribute to an unhealthy diet, Hurt said.

"Low-income communities of color lack access to vegetables and have an overabundance of fast food and highly processed foods that are high in calories and fats. I always know when I'm in a community of color because I see ... very, very few supermarkets and health food stores," he added.

~ snip ~

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Reply Film explores African-Americans' unhealthy "soul food" habit (Original post)
FrodosPet Dec 2012 OP
FrodosPet Dec 2012 #1
nadinbrzezinski Dec 2012 #5
JI7 Dec 2012 #2
FrodosPet Dec 2012 #6
JI7 Dec 2012 #7
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #3
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #4
XemaSab Dec 2012 #8
FrodosPet Dec 2012 #12
LeftyMom Dec 2012 #13
Pretzel_Warrior Dec 2012 #9
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #10
quinnox Dec 2012 #11

Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:59 PM

1. Is there anything we can do to help?

Personally, I LOVE soul food. Fried chicken, greens with bacon, pork chops, watermelon...that's stuff I grew up with. All the food that is used as a racial insult, to me was good eats. But the reality (one I am REALLY starting to realize in my late years) is that much of it is not very healthy.

The dilemma is, not only how far can people push to get healthy food into our urban food deserts, but how can we convince people to give up a diet full of deliciousness and trade for something healthier but not quite as tasty or filling?

I know in my case, there have been TOO many times when I get all motivated and drop a big chunk of my small food budget on fresh fruits and vegetables, only to have them rot in my fridge.

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:23 AM

5. Some solutions

Our fried chicken is baked. (And it s still a rare treat). It s tasty, but it works.

Also teaching people to hav the real thing as a once in a while treat.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:35 PM

2. the same as any other ethnic foods like italian, mexican, chinese , indian etc

you have to limit how much you eat. balance it out with more healthy stuff .

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Response to JI7 (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:22 AM

6. So how do we teach this to African Americans without being elitist?

It is a delicate balancing act, encouraging healthier behavior without being disrespectful of deeply ingrained tradition and identity.

The best I can come up with, beyond encouraging availability is to support African Americans who CAN speak to people without coming off as scolds, and accept that people are going to do what they want to do.

The health care cost is HUGE, and if we had a single payer system where African Americans COULD get full and equal treatment, the high fat high carb urban diet raises it to astronomical.

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:27 AM

7. i don't think it's about teaching as much as just providing resources

just having places where they can buy healther stuff would help .

if you look at higher income areas they have less of cheap unhealthy places .

many people who live in lower income areas drive long distances to go to places like trader joes so they end up actually spending more since they pay for gas and of course the time it takes than those who live there and tend to make more money.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:53 PM

3. Everything in moderation.

Nothing wrong with fried chicken and barbecued ribs. Just not every day.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:06 AM

4. I'm cajun and from the deep south.

So I've been exposed to both deep south rural food cooking, and I grew up on cajun cooking. Neither one is particularly healthy. So I can relate.

More than anything else, I think nutrition education is the most important thing. People tend to continue eating foods they were raised on, and don't really know how bad those foods may be. A few changes, and those same foods could be made healthier.

As for better supermarkets in low income places, I doubt low income people would have the money to buy fresh fruits and veggies. They've gotten so expensive. But you can buy healthy food just about anywhere...even at 7-Eleven. IF you have had nutrition education and know how to buy healthy food frugally.

For example, frozen fruits and veggies are even healthier than fresh, they don't spoil, and they cost less than fresh. Canned fruits & veggies are very healthy, as well. And you can't beat whole grain pastas for CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP and healthy and filling. Things like that.

But the biggest key, I think, is just to eat less. It's hard to do. I read in that book The Blue Zones that one of things common to people who live a long time is that apparently they don't eat til full; they eat until they're partially full. Then they stop...and go do something that's more fun than eating to them, or something they have to do that is usually physical.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:33 AM

8. How is this not infantilizing?

White people are mature enough to be able to handle a whole damn aisle of chips and cookies and candy in THEIR grocery store, but black people have not demonstrated the requisite maturity so they should have an aisle of collard greens instead.

That's sort of what I'm taking out of the OP, and it's troubling to me.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:37 AM

12. It's a major part of the movie I pointed to

And a major aspect of many people I have known or observed over the years.

Trust, I cannot speak about every urban center, but I spent years in Detroit driving taxi and selling meat door-to-door. I've talked to a lot of people, a fair number of them about their eating habits. And a significant number say they aren't about to "eat rabbit food".

Myself, I am a "Live and Let Live" person. But my health is starting to crash, and I realize that it is primarily caused by my unhealthy diet. I need to do something about my own, and I want to help others, particularly in my poor battered, abused, and hated City of Detroit. I just don't know how.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:15 PM

13. I agree. But I know hella POCs who eat healthy.

This thread did remind me to get out the vegan soul food cookbook* and make some stuff.

*why yes, the author does live in Oakland, how did you guess?

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:33 AM

9. Slavery again the genesis of this problem

 

That actually makes sense. But inner city neighborhoods are food deserts. Very hard to find healthy foods in close proximity to where poor black people live.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:41 AM

10. The thing is, when soul food was invented, it was healthy... lots of greens, beans and rice...

and just a little bit of meat as flavor. When meat became cheaper and more accessible to nearly every economic class (and an expected part of a daily U.S. diet) that is when things swung way out of balance. This is true for white folks, as well. There are oodles of very large people living in nearly all white suburbs who have regularly have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:45 AM

11. ingrained culture is difficult to change

 

I have seen studies in the news that black Americans as a group consistently have lower life expectancy and more health problems compared to the average, and their food culture probably has a large influence on that.

Nice to see film makers calling attention to this in any case.

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