Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Eating White 

I will never forget the time I was working at a local high school as a school social worker. Sometimes the students would come up to my office and chill during lunch time. I’d usually take a break and eat with them. I don’t even recall what I was eating this particular day, but there was a lot of greens/veggies-no rice or French fries in this particular lunch meal. One of my students took it upon herself to ask “Ms., why you keep eating white people food?” My brain stalled on that one and years later I’m not even quite sure what to say to the countless curious Black folks who ask the very same question in different ways when they see me eating kale, quinoa, bulgur wheat, chicken that isn’t fried or whatever they just can’t readily identify on my plate. 

This whole notion that eating healthy is a white people thing or a “bourghie behavior” actually leaves some people *insert health conscious Black folks* feeling some type of way. That if salmon trumps ribs as your choice on a menu you’re just being extra. That eating healthy is other people’s habits and people of African descent only acquire this taste in food once they earn a couple of degrees and take flight to other parts of town. 

I’m Haitian. So I’m quick to remind folks, our ancestors ate and Haitians are today still do find their sustenance from the land. Our juices are made fresh. Our vegetables are a melange of eggplant, chayote (that’s militon for my Zoes), carrots, scallions, onions, garlic, parsley, bell peppers–all to create the legume meal that I love so much. I don’t need meat in mine. Some crab maybe. Some lambi (conch) maybe. With some white rice. And “sauce poi blanc”. Mezami, my tastebuds just took a detour! 

I remember being raised in a home where neither pork nor any shellfish was permitted in my diet. Part of that was my mom’s personal Levitical biases and part of that was that she knew better so she did better with our meals. Olive oil was a staple. Except for the time we lived with another family and overdosed on hotdogs and bologna, she preferred sliced meats from the deli that didn’t have all that salt added. Oh! Did I mention my mom wasn’t white and that we didn’t live in some uppity neighborhood? So it irks me to no end when people make broad stroke comments about diets being white or black. Granted I do maintain that Haitian food is THE best food in the world-and since this is my blog I’m only stating facts. Lol! Digressing again. 

So I got me and the hubster back on a juicing plan. I dragged out my Breville juicer and it is holding court right next to my smoothie machine on the kitchen counter. One bottle per day. Nothing major. He’s 45. I’m 42. Our bodies demand extra attention and what better way to do so than to make a concerted effort to get some extra veggies in our system the raw way. So we got celery, carrots, ginger, apples, lime, strawberries, kale all up in this latest batch. The celery gives it this refreshing taste. The ginger spikes it up a notch. The carrots and apple balances it off with some sweetness. And the lime, believe it or not, brings it all home flavor wise. 

There are some of us who didn’t grow up with the best cooks or best diets in our lives. And if you’re like me, living on my own in college caused all types of rules to be broken. I went from eating no pork to eating the Friday night griot. Every Friday. Of every week. These days I probably eat it once per quarter (yes I mind my junk food intake in terms of quarters) cause it takes about that long to leave your system anyway! 

Circumstances may not have allowed for healthy balanced meals. We all joke about the red juice that causes ADHD to go undiagnosed in many households. Food deserts is a reality. For me to get a juice on the go, I would now have to leave my predominately urban community and head either east towards the beach or west towards the Everglades. It takes effort to do right by your temple. It takes money and time. The first time I got back juicing I promise you I burned 1500 calories between the setting up, breaking down, washing and then mopping my sticky kitchen floor. Then you think of the time and energy you take to do some random activity and you realize the return on the investment really does beat out the annoyance. 

I have had non-Black colleagues quickly hide their amazement when I ask about the nearest vegan option or plant based option eateries. Once they get over the shock that I’m not asking for the nearest bbq joint (and no offense to them cause I can gets down with some ribs too), they are more than happy to share in the love of healthy foods. 

So next time someone makes some off color comment about your coconut black rice, adashah, kale, toasted coconuts and avocado lunch (and it’s usually some poor, misguided brotha or sistah) don’t give them the side eye. Take the time to let them know what’s on your plate and point out the health benefits of your meal. They may roll their eyes and go about their high cholesterol, diabetic living or they may dwell on your comments and who knows? You may have gained a convert to eating healthy–not White. 

Our ancestors would be honored to know that you too are eating off the land and honoring the food traditions that transcend race and yes even color lines. I’m Black. Been eating Black since 1975. Whatever that is. 🙄😂


Advertisements
Uncategorized

Every Day Livin’: Only In America

Uber Opportunities

Only in America would both my Uber drivers today be non-English speaking immigrants.  The second one only eight months in from Cuba.  He’s learned “left, right, stop, yes and no” and was thankful that I knew some Spanish to get us there.  When he dropped me off to collect my car at the mechanic,  he even waited around long enough to make sure that I was talking to a mechanic and not just standing there alone.  He gets five stars for that.

International Women’s Day

Today I celebrate every real life XX Chromosome carrying chick.  It has been one of those unifying posts across my Instagram feed.  Men honoring their mothers, sisters, nieces, grandmothers.  Women honoring each other and enjoying the brilliance and beauty that is our true essence.  I remember my mom and her bestie (Madame Babier), both of whom now serve among the cloud of witnesses in heaven.  They had a great work and home life together.  We lived with Mme. Babier and her family for the first two years when we moved to Miami.  I never got the sense that there was ever any competition between them.  My mom was quiet.  She was outspoken.  They made sense together.  They worked together for years in a sweat box factory, always complaining about the management but never giving in.  I miss them both on this day.

My Kinda Funny

I’ve been on this Golden Girls series binge for the past few weeks.  I watch it when I get ready to leave for my day and at least one episode before I fall asleep.  I know why I’m watching it.  It reminds me of my mom.  It reminds me of afternoons spent hanging out with her in her room when my dad wasn’t around.  The wisecracks and sarcasm are epic funny.  “I haven’t been a virgin since The Louisiana Purchase was in escrow!” barks Estelle Getty’s character.  I died a thousand death on that one.  My husband doesn’t understand the binge but whenever he’s around long enough to pay attention, I hear him laughing at some odd situational comedic scene and I know he gets it.  He even humors me and sits through an episode-or two.  Not sure if it’s because he knows why I’m watching it or cause he finds it funny too.  Just glad that he gets it.

Social Worker Month

I never need an excuse or reason to celebrate my profession.  I figure if I don’t do it, who else will?  I’ve been working on some projects to exponentially move forward the field of mental health personally and professionally.  What I’ve discovered is that unlike five years ago when people would bow their head and pass the collection plate in pity when they heard what I did for a living, folks are now paying more attention-really pay attention.  In this climate where people are looking for answers, looking for direction, looking for anything; I’m humbled to be a part of what it is going to take to bring about hope and perspective to those who are searching.  I never take it lightly when a total stranger decides to entrust him or herself into the hands of another total stranger with their story.  There is no definitive role that a social worker plays.  He or she can be a political figure one day of the week, a play therapist another day, life coach, therapist, case manager, consultant–you name it.  The sky is the limit.  So pardonnez-moi as I scream from the rooftops that “I LOVE MY PROFESSION!” It’s more than a job, it’s a calling.

Un-Fastening My Potential

I’m two days into my 40 Day Fast.  I get the sense that people are becoming less traditional in their walk with Christ and more “progressive”.  Christ was the most progressive human being who ever walked this earth, so I know he’s provided me with enough tools to maintain a level of constant renewal in my spiritual life.  No need to reinvent the wheel in that department.  Some days it’s like automatic.  I can read my Bible, pray and remain centered.  Other days it’s like searching for a light switch in a pitch-black room.  Both types of days require my trusting in God for the answers regardless of whether they come easy or hard.  

Abstaining from certain foods and activities is part of that.  I have never been disappointed.  Tested, yes.  Annoyed, yes.  Bothered, yes.  Disappointed, no.  It doesn’t mean that I become some hermit and go in a cave until the day before Easter.  The Bible actually warns against those who would have themselves look like they’re in misery during a fast.  Nothing changed but my choices.  Limiting my social media and news intake to Pulse and Instagram.  I figure I still gotta consume news to remain updated and I still want to learn from others who I don’t even know in areas that matter to me.  Those two outlets meet those needs.  I’ve always grown personally during these fasting periods.  It’s not something I can place my fingers on during some years.  In some years, I can see the hand of God just moving in ways only He could take credit for.  In other years, it’s been quiet shifts in my paradigm.  Just one degree of change still means change.
I’m having major caffeine withdrawals and it’s not pretty.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.  Prayers needed.
Solo Field Trip

This weekend I get to go to the much talked about Game of Thrones Concert Experience.  The nerd girl in me is super psyched to be in this space.  The introvert in me is extra psyched that I don’t have to share this experience with anyone else.  Going it alone. Solo dinner and solo concert experience. Can’t wait to tell ya all about it.